Sunday, February 14, 2010

Results of the Short Survey: Do You Write Online Content or Articles?

When I started this residual income writing blog, I decided that I would do a short little survey because I could.  One of the things I am interested in most is where people write at and how successful they are writing there.   In hindsight, I would have included many more writing sites.  This is one of the things that I learned from doing the survey although even before this I knew there are many more places to write than just the few that I threw up there. 

Here are the results.  In one month 35 people responded.  Also, I let people choose more than one answer because I think that provides better results.  Surprisingly, not one person said that I am crazy!

Do you write online content or articles?

Yes'm, I'm at  --  16 (45%)

Yes, I write at Associated Content -- 20 (57%)

Yep, Helium -- 6 (17%)

Yes, I write at Associated Content -- 5 (14%)

Yes. It's not listed. -- 14 (40%)

You're crazy, there is no money in writing. -- 0

No, I'm deciding if it's worth my time. -- 2 (5%)

I stopped. It's ridiculous. --  4 (11%)

What I did find to be a little bit frustrating is that there are four people who have stopped writing altogether because they think it is ridiculous.  This can mean any number of things, of course, but I think it is too bad that people are stopping.  I would like to know if you are one of the people who has stopped writing online content, why did you stop writing?  I know personally that the past several months have been frustrating with all of the things going on at eHow and just the effort that it takes to build new libraries at new writing places.  Also, if you don't write, I am very interested to know whether or not you blog instead or what you do with your writing.  Looks like it's time for another survey!  But, I think this one will focus on what people really want to much do you make...

Leave a comment.  Let me and others know the places you write that are not listed and what else you do.  I'd like for this to end up being a place of resources and information.  Thanks for your help.
Saturday, February 13, 2010

Update to ChaCha Guide and Expeditor Training

Just a quick update to the ChaCha expeditor training evaluation post a few days ago.  After I received the email from ChaCha that I did not pass the expeditor readiness test, I was a little frustrated about the whole process.  What frustrated me most is twofold.  First, I felt a little misled because I didn't read anywhere ahead of time that I would have to pass a test after watching all of the videos, at least not until the last video.  In all fairness to ChaCha, if this information was available and I missed it then, of course, that's on me.  Secondly, I was more frustrated because I had filled out a bunch of personal information for them, including an IRS tax form.  I found this to be too much information for an unsure deal.

Ok, now to the ChaCha update.  I emailed them and asked what they are doing with my personal information and let them now that if they weren't going to offer or give me the opportunity to apply for a ChaCha guide position then I wanted them to destroy my information.  After reading the privacy policy it was not clear what they used the information for, so asking them to destroy it seemed like a fair request.  Today, I received a very short answer.  They have opened up the ChaCha Guide Generalist/Specialist positions.  I know that I was given an email or reference number to give out to people, but I tell ya I cannot find it.  Their website is so full of information that it is going to take some time to get used to it all.  Anyhow, I made a request to take the Guide test.  I have not heard back from them yet, but I am curious to see how this process goes.  It certainly is a more drawn out process than I anticipated when I signed up last weekend.

On a side note, I found out today that one of my eHow articles was used by ChaCha as a reference for a question.  I noticed today that I had increased earnings on a particular article so I looked it up in Google and found that they used it as a source.  This was great news.  It's nice to have my writing recognized in any way that is positive.  I'm always up for feedback, but who doesn't like good news.  The article they cited was about the number of times a person passes gas during a day.  What an article to choose!

I'll be looking forward to hearing from ChaCha regarding the Guide position and testing.  I can only assume I will have to take a test for that as well.  Just a clarification:  I think it's great that they use testing as a quality control measure.  In case anyone doubted that I thought this was not a good thing. 

How to Make Money Writing for Info Barrel -- Earnings Explained

Make Money Writing for Info Barrel

Info Barrel is a content site started in 2008.  With all of sites popping up lately, I think that writing for Info Barrel has the most potential to make money. The Info Barrel earnings platform is an Adsense profit revenue share.  When you sign up for Google Adsense they assign you a number.  You make money writing for Info Barrel because they show your Adsense ID number 75% of the time.  Most writers are confused when they first sign up because Info Barrel advertises that you can make money writing by earning 75%.  Myself and others think that there is a 75/25 revenue share split so that we are always earning on every ad click.  Instead it just rotates.  You do make money writing for Info Barrel and that way of splitting earnings is common.  The only exception is that InfoBarrel actually pays more than most other sites. 

If you're a skeptic on the earnings rotation then you can check it to make sure that your Adsense ID is showing up on the ads.  I learned this trick on the Info Barrel forum.  On one of your Info Barrel articles right right click on the ad.  Make sure you do not click the ad on accident.  Right click then click view source on the window that comes up.  Look for your Adsense number.  Refresh the browser a couple of times then you'll see that the Adsense ID # changes.  You make money writing for Info Barrel when someone clicks on an ad when your ID# is up.  When it's not then Info Barrel earns.

Earn Money Writing

Info Barrel does not have the search engine power like some of the other content websites.  Yet.  Because of this it is really important that you learn to write quality content involving strategies such as keyword research and search engine optimization.  As with most sites you should write a lot of content before assessing the website's worth.  If you are branching out your writing portfolio from a site like eHow, you will quickly see that the earnings algorithm of Info Barrel is very straightforward whereas eHow's is muddled with, well, algorithms.  As explained above you potentially earn 3/4 of the time your articles are shown.  You earn all of the money when someone clicks on your ad.  This makes writing for expensive keywords appealing to some writers. 

To make more money writing for Info Barrel join in the monthly fun and write for the contests.  Every month that I have written there has been a contest.  During this time they announce a writing theme for the month.  If you write articles that fit their contest criteria (theme based and over 500 words) you can increase earnings.  For January, I wrote a few articles and this month instead of the 75%, my Adsense ID is now showing up 83% of the time.  You can earn up to 90% of the time.  As with almost all of the content sites the way that people make money is through a reliance on ad clicks.  The Google Adsense program is one of the biggest things that enables us to earn money writing online.

Info Barrel also gives you the chance to earn money using Chitika. Chitika is another ad based website similar to Adsense.  They target words a little different and I notice that sometimes when my ads do not match up from Adsense they do with Chitika.  My thought on this is that so many people use Google that it is ultra competitive, but not as many people use Chitika.  This allows them to deliver better targeted ads which means a higher click through rate (CTR).  Of course, a higher CTR means more earnings potential for you.  I strongly suggest you sign up for Chitika.  When you are prompted to enter a website use the Info Barrel URL.  Adsense income will likely earn you more money than Chitika however it is better to have more than one stream of income on your articles.

In closing, I believe that you can make money writing for Info Barrel.  It is a good ground floor website to join. The staff is friendly and they maintain good quality control on the site.  If you ever see a problem with an article you can email the staff and they will fix it.  Get signed up at Info Barrel and start making money writing.

**If you sign up through my affiliate link I will do my best to answer questions and help you so you can start earning money on InfoBarrel.  Just sign up, leave me a comment here, start writing articles, and comment if you have questions.  The forum is great, too.
Thursday, February 11, 2010

eHow Compensates Writers for UK Articles with a Slap in the Face

eHow "Compensates" Writers for Using Articles on eHow UK Site

The "generous compensation" eHow paid for article misuse is in January earnings.  eHow decided to compensate content writers for the misuse of their articles on the eHow UK site.  A small group of eHow members kept pressure over months until eHow was forced to admit that they used member articles on a cloned-mirrored-money-stealing-traffic-pilfering eHow UK website.

I am almost at a loss for words, but as a writer, there is something to say.  This is ridiculous.  The eHow compensation payment is a slap in the face, especially because eHow was caught lying after they were caught in ass-covering lies after six months of diverting member articles to the eHow UK site. Rich, eHow's community manager lied to members, telling them that eHow UK had nothing to do with their decreased views, earnings, and even went as far as telling people to "write better articles."  I am not the only one who thinks this stung. Even tried and true members call the eHow compensation a slap in the face.

eHow's General Manager Admitted UK Articles Impacted Earnings

If you read the transcript of eHow's official response to the UK deal or you watched eHow's video response, you know that eHow did admit that the UK site impacted earnings for over six months.  Their admission that the UK site affected earnings for six months means that they were caught inflating their true size (and possibly worth since the idea of an IPO has been whispered).  They stole, misguided, and misled their members who are full of work and stay-at-home moms and dads, retired and disabled people, students, freelance writers, and those who needed to supplement their income and trusted eHow.  Not only did they admit eHow UK hurt earnings, but Greg, eHow's general manager said, "we’ve gone back and we’ve generously estimated uh those earnings."  Straight from the GMs mouth.

Did eHow Compensate to Avoid Copyright Lawsuit Violations?
From what I have seen on the forums, eHow "generously" compensated content writers with about two days worth of earnings.  This was supposed to be for six months of use.  The eHow compensation for the UK article fiasco is pathetic, plus is potentially muddies member-lawsuits against eHow. There are some people who are saying that accepting the UK article compensation forfeits the right to sue under alleged copyright violations and contractual violations by eHow.  The payment is not easy to reject though since eHow very slickly lumped the compensation with January earnings.  The compensation was NOT sent as an independent amount, and it didn't state "here's the money we owe you for stealing your views, money, articles, and lying to you for months -- thanks for your contribution to our bottom line."  I do not know what the law says about the right to sue and the need to refuse the small compensation because eHow pays through Paypal, an automated acceptance of earnings.    You don't get to accept or reject this pathetic little slap of a compensation effort.  If anyone knows whether or not the assessment of lawsuit information is correct, please comment below. Perhaps only a lawyer can answer.

Were eHow UK Articles Removed or Redirected?

To top it off, eHow has not removed the articles from the UK site as they said they would.  Rich (community manager) made a statement that the articles were removed from the UK site. The truth is that eHow said they were going to redirect UK articles back to the US .com site.  It seems that if the solution was so easy as to apply a redirect that eHow should have know

I am dumbfounded by eHow's greed.  It's not that I expected a large amount, but their choice of compensation is just wrong.  I think they would have done better telling us all to bugger off than throwing this small amount at us and having the nerve to call it generous compensation.  My compensation was $11.  I can only imagine how newer members feel about either not getting any compensation or only receiving pennies.


After discussing the compensation issue with other eHow memebers, I have been asked to show some interesting data by an eHow member.  CWilliams was an avid eHow writer making payout almost immediately and going strong until the eHow UK disaster hit.  Posting her thoughts in the eHow forums almost got her banned because of a new rule that says members cannot post earnings. This is the first time I have ever heard that rule. eHow makes it up as they go, encouraging earnings posts when they want to look good.  Since the earnings post relates to the low ball eHow compensation, suddenly posting earnings is against the rules.  Go figure.

"With 3 articles(out of 48) that make $660.60, there is no way that 6 months of damages, and compensation for use of my work equaled $9.19. I want everyone that does write, or is considering writing for eHow, to see that while my figures might look great they are not the norm. I have actually had pms asking me why I bother to say anything at all because I make so much."

Now, here is another place that I have a problem.  People are getting reprimanded for speaking up.  No one should write this person saying shut up because she makes money anyhow.  This is NOT the point.  Feeling like the compensation was a slap in the face comes from the devaluing of our writing and the illogical means for coming up with compensation.  How does two days of earnings compensate for six months of the eHow UK diverted views and lost earnings? That accountant should be fired.

Image credits:
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taking the Test: Evaluation of the Expeditor Process for

Last weekend ChaCha popped into my head and I decided to give it a shot.  Several months ago there was a buzz about it on the eHow forum, so I knew this was not a scam.  At that time, I had checked out the website only to find all of their posititions were full.  Enter Friday evening. When you go to the ChaCha home page they say they are hiring for guides.  This is actually only half-true.  They are hiring for expeditors.  When I read the role of the expeditor it was not something I was interested in doing. But, I like doing research and learning new things, so the guide position seemed a fairly natural fit. Or, so I thought.

Here is the process:

You sign up for ChaCha giving them all of your personal information, including filling out a completely unnecessary IRS form.  After completing all of the personal information you have to watch several videos. Sprinkled throughout the videos are little tests.  Pay attention to the tests!  Although you will have a chance to go back through them, it is for some reason more difficult the second time around.  You will be evaluated before you can begin the expeditor process

I failed the expeditor test.  It stung.  While I am not top of the class, I am not used to failing.  I believe that I put out quality work on a consistent basis.  This being said, I do have weaknesses and one of them is quick decision-making under pressure when the information is not clear.  ChaCha is all about answering questions very fast and they have a pretty fantastic system in place to accomplish that mission.  The videos don't answer all of the questions.  I think it would be more effective if they specifically showed the process of a question coming in and how long it takes to answer it and so on. 

In the video prep for the expeditor training they slowly show you the possibilities of each question.  Slow is not at all what you will deal with when you take the expeditor test.  Because of that I can only assume that doing the real thing is much faster. After watching all of the videos, it is only toward the very end that you hear you will only have one shot at the expeditor test.  You will have a time limit for individual questions on this expeditor test. 

Taking the expeditor test for ChaCha

  • Stop after the first question if it times out or you think you get it wrong.  You can set your status to away.  Do this and go back through the videos.
  • Do not apply if you do not want to give ChaCha all of your personal information without being sure that you are going to be working with them.
  • Pay specific attention to how to "succinct" or clean up a question. 
  • For the first timed test you must read through the beginning information because you'll be asked pertinent business questions.  If you fail this first timed test then you will not move on to any of the process above.
  • Pay attention to the steps.  You only have one shot at taking the test.
Good luck.  If you have more questions, leave 'em in the comments and I'll try to answer them.  I emailed ChaCha after the test to ask them what they do with our personal information and inquired into why they get our information without telling us the expeditor work is an unsure thing.  I have not heard back from them yet.  Maybe I will hear from them at a later time regarding working for them as a guide. That's the position I wanted anyhow.