Okay chalk this up as a bit of a rant. By now I should have learned my lesson and stick only to Associated Content, which I find to be one of the few consistent writing sites time and time again, and I’ve been here at AC for some two years.
Like most people caught by the writing bug, I wanted to spread my writing skills here and there in anyway possible to earn some extra money to supplement my SSI benefits. When I got my own computer a little more than two years ago, I realized I now suddenly had the luxury of time to write all day and night if I wished to, even at the wee small hours in the morning. This was a luxury I didn’t have when I relied on the hour’s usage at the library computers and not even at an internet cyber café. I can’t even remember exactly which writing sites I joined up with first, but think it was a three way tie between Helium, Gather and of course, Associated Content which I signed up for all three in March of 2007. Looking at my Gather articles I have posted some twenty over there, at Helium sixteen. I even wrote two articles for Hubs Pages. Here at Associated Content I have to date one-hundred and sixteen…I guess you can realize where my loyalties lie. And yes, I realize some of my fellow Content Producers have scores more articles under their belt here than I have, however, my having over a hundred articles is nothing to sneeze at, and considering that writing isn’t my only “thing”. I’m also a photographer and spend considerable amount of time scanning to digitize my negative and slide images I’ve taken since 1977…a fairly large task since I have over 21,000 slides and an estimated 15,000 black and white negative images and nowhere near completion.
While I’m not as active with my writing ventures with Helium or Gather, I’m more active here at Associated Content and have had positive experiences with all three. Then there are those writing sites that I have a gripe about and feel they often pulled the rug out from under their loyal writers who would knock themselves out writing for them.
First up was Ciao. I joined up with the Ciao review site back in October of 2008. Back then, they still paid $1.00 per review and one got a “bonus” extra $1.00 for a first time review of a DVD movie or product–you better believe I hunted them down like a bandit and within that first month made a nice earning, even more than I would earn on average here at AC. So of course, I became a it MIA from AC as I was concentrating my efforts there. Many of my movie reviews and recipes that I’ve re-posted here as a matter of fact, were the ones originally from Ciao (thank goodness I saved them)…I have scores more to re-post and slowly but surely am getting around to it. Naturally, since those reviews/recipes were published elsewhere I couldn’t ask for upfront payment here, but heck, page view earnings are better than nothing, right?
Then Ciao changed it’s policies of how they were to pay. Beginning a mere month after I joined, they went down from $1.00 per review to a mere .25¢. Okay, still no tragedy, as I still was able to make extra money there. Then, they changed their policy yet again, and now one only earned via page views. What happened? Well, unfortunately, Ciao was plagued by cheaters and plagiarizers. Not only did fellow “members” plagiarize from outside sources and claiming them to be their own work, some had the chuztpah to copy other members work within the system and many of my friends were victims of these plagiarizers. I know all this as I became one of several members on the look out for plagiarizers and reported them…yeah, yeah, a tattletale and snitch, but it went against our grain, that honest members were writing quality and rather lengthy reviews while other resorted to cheating. It became so bad, that many Asian members (even the honest ones) were blocked from the site, as unfortunately, these were the countries were most of the plagiarizers came from. Then, as of July 1, 2009, Ciao (at least the USA one) officially closed…it may have been due to lack of funds, or maybe they simply got fed up with trying to monitor all the cheaters and plagiarizers, in fact, me and my circle of friends who also tried to track down the plagiarizers, it became nearly a full time job for us…that’s how bad it had become there.
Another writing site I’ve had a negative experience with was eHow and thank goodness I didn’t write many articles there, only three, the thing is those three no longer exist there. Around April 2009 for some reason eHow did a “clean up” job of the articles posted by members there and suddenly people’s articles were deleted without any real reason at least they never bothered to give me an explanation even when I emailed them. According to them in an email they sent out to all their writing members, one’s articles were deleted as follows:
As you may have noticed, we have been making great strides to clean up the eHow article library. An email was sent a week ago to notify our members about the actions that would take place in order to maintain the content quality of the site. In addition to this email, we’ve also communicated to our members through our forums, blogs, and on member profiles, explaining this ongoing initiative. This email in particular has been sent to you because 3 of your article(s) have been removed from your account. Article(s) that were removed from your account more than likely fell into one or more of the following categories:
* SPAM articles; articles that read like advertisements.
* Articles that do not fit the How To format.
* Articles that are cloned. This essentially means creating replicas of articles with the same or similar body of content and using different titles.
* Plagiarized articles.
* Articles that are inadequately written– this can range from severe grammatical errors to incomprehensible How Tos.
* Articles that are search optimized for financial gain but offer little or no useful information for the reader
* Articles promoting click fraud on web advertisements.
eHow.com is known for its reliable online solutions and in order to protect the brand, as well as the reputation of our highly regarded community, we must ensure we are not housing articles that do not follow the eHow submission guidelines. Also, if you happen to discover member articles on the site you feel do not match these standards, please understand that these articles have simply not yet gone through the system.
To get a thorough understanding of what kind of articles are not allowed on the site, please click here for more information.
-The eHow Team
As you can imagine, not only I but many fellow members were, to put it mildly ticked off (not the word I want to use), at least I only had three articles zapped, but other members had ten or more deleted, and these were quality old-time writers who had been writing for them for quite awhile. As I mentioned when I emailed eHow, they never told me what offense I had done…I CERTAINLY didn’t plagiarize, nor spam nor any of the other offenses cited in their list. The real downer is that they deleted our articles before any of us had chance to save them to possibly submit them elsewhere (though I do have copies in my documents folder, but most didn’t). Have I bothered with eHow since? Are you nuts? Of course not.
Another place I’m wary about is Reviewstream. They have a rather high minimum payout of $50.00. Technically speaking one can write reviews, recipes, website experiences, and so-forth, kind of similar to Ciao and one can earn up to $2.00 per article/review. I only wrote four articles there and DON’T plan to write anymore, why? I started hearing real negative reports from fellow writing friends of mine there. It seemed just when many of my friends were nearing the payout, bingo, all of a sudden Reviewstream deemed their reviews as unworthy and not only deleted their articles/reviews but canceled their accounts. These friends of mine I know to be quality writers and no, never plagiarized.
Comparedby.us. Here’s another “winner”. Many of my friends told me about this site as well and is another review type site to write for. The problem with them, they changed their policies and rates of pay so many times one got dizzy trying to figure them out. They too, paid $1.00 or $2.00 per review, at least at first and their minimum payout is $20.00. Unfortunately, I’m suspecting that many of the cheaters and plagiarizers that formerly had haunted Ciao were now making their appearances at Comparedby.us and thus the reason for their forever changing policies…they too are down to paying only .25¢ per review. I’m only two dollars away from payout, but with the changed policy, I can only submit three more reviews to be considered…like huh? So that would mean I would be a mere .25¢ away from payout yet can’t get that extra amount for payout since it would mean an additional review which by their number limit wouldn’t qualify. Huh? If you’re confused, so am I.
Today.com: Okay, I have a major beef with them. Once again, a few friends recommended this place to me and proudly mentioned how they earned money there. The premise is this: Today.com is a blog site and one can earn $1.00 per blog post per day once it’s officially reviewed and approved and must be at least 100 words and the minimum payout is $50.00, something one can easily earn in less than two months by daily blogging. I’m by nature not a real blogger per se, but figured heck, 100 words per day in a blog would be easy to do, so of course I signed up. I was very faithful in the beginning, making a blog entry everyday. Then, yes, you might guess…they changed their policies and instead of $1.00 per blog entry, one only got paid per page views which were mere pennies. As you can imagine, my interest then waned . But here’s the real kicker. For the past month, I, as well as many other Today.com bloggers have been bombarded by “spam” by them. The emails sent mention that I have signed up for their points earnings surveys and for a paid advertising stint. Well, I don’t think I have amnesia as I never recall signing up for any of these. Just recently, I emailed them and I wish to share it with you.
I have a question which I hope you can answer.
I have to admit I haven’t been as active in writing my blog as I was when I first started. Back then I faithfully posted an entry to my blog on a daily basis. Then various health problems took place and I wasn’t able to. By then, when I resumed my blogging, the $1.00 payment per posting was reduced to page views. Due to that, even though I did earn some “money” I am no way near the payout of $50 and would take forever for me to do so.
I was looking at the terms of service and didn’t see what I was hoping to find. That is, do I own the rights to my blog entries or do you? You see what I would like to do is repost some of my entries on my personal blog, where I don’t get paid at all, it’s just a personal on-line memoir type thing.
But rather than re-type basically the same thing I previously typed for my Today.com blog I’d rather simply copy my blog entries from there and enter them in my personal blog…can I do this?
Also, I’m getting a lot of emails from you where you are claiming I signed up for bonus survey points and advertising…I did none of this, that is sign up for any of them, so wondering why am I getting these emails?
Here was their response to me:
Today.com owns the content and there is a non-compete clause in the agreement.
From the Terms & Conditions (which can be located in the account area for review):
Notwithstanding anything that may be contained herein to the
contrary, Contractor may perform services for any competitor however
Contractor must refrain from publishing the same material published on
TODAY.COM on any other website, blog site, or publication.
Now once again I don’t think I have amnesia as I DID read the TOS and never saw the above statement. I emailed them back and asked once more, since I’ve never gotten paid, if I can re-post my entries on my own private blog I have that does NOT earn money if I not only delete my Today.com account but agree to forfeit any money I may have earned with them to date (which is below the payout level). I’m hoping they do. I wrote a lot of good quality entries with them that had I known that they technically own my blog entries would never have done and instead write them on my own personal blog. My take about it all, is that Today.com is probably in financial straits, thus the reduction to page view status of blog entries and all this spamming for survey points and advertising. I wouldn’t be surprised if they fold and terminate their site.
Now, as far as the other writing sites, and they are legion. Since I’m not involved with them I can’t say anything against them. Many of my friends are with these other writing sites and they for the most part are page view type deals. But since I feel rather gypped and jaded by my past experiences with the sites I mentioned, I’m hesitant to try them.
Bottom line: My loyalty is here at Associated Content and this is going to be the only writing site I’ll write for consistently. Let’s hear it for Associated Content! :-)
Sources: Personal Experiences