As Google rolled out their latest Panda update, content farms are facing more pressure than ever before. Demand Media, Helium and Suite 101 are among the casualties (again) of this update. It is becoming even more challenging to earn a living writing online. However, that does not mean that all hope is lost, it only means that writers need to pay more attention to what they are doing and work smarter. For beginners, freelance writers should be exploring every opportunity that is available to them. I’ve given up on many of the sites I was writing for but, I am still actively pursuing many of the sites I have done writing site reviews for. My current plan of attack involves Helium, Writer Access, Squidoo and Textbroker. Here are the sites I’ve abandoned and why I’ve abandoned them:
Constant Content – There is a lot to be said for Constant Content, one thing I can’t say though is that it is consistent. For the most part, my work tends to be factual (I’m not a really strong opinion writer) and rather dry (even if I have to say so myself). There is little doubt that as time has gone on, like most writers, my writing has improved. I tend to use less “non-words” in my work, I’m faster and I have my research sites down pat. However, Constant Content has rejected a number of my articles and requested rewrites. These same articles have gone on other sites and done well in revenue share. The “open policy” at Constant doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, and the fact they take 35 percent off every sale makes me a bit crazy. If I have articles I want to sell, I’ll put a teaser up and offer them for sale. I know people who do very well at Constant Content and that’s great, I encourage them to stick to it!
Demand Media Studios – Back in July I signed up at Demand hoping to earn around $150 per week. Nearly everyone I talked to was making at least that much, and in some cases, a lot more than that. I signed up with high expectations and began the process of claiming article titles. I was astounded at some of the crazy titles I saw — especially the hundreds of articles on Origami (which I know from nothing about). I proceeded to “hide” titles I didn’t want. I finally found my first title and proceeded to plug away at it and *success* it was accepted. That was in July and the title was about Wage Garnishment. In August after several frustrating days of plowing through hundreds of titles a day I finally held my nose and took a Home & Garden title – something about getting the green gunk out of your bathtub (rolling eyes). My interest was in getting my first three in and approved and getting moving. Well, that didn’t happen – the article was accepted, no problem however, there have been so many changes at Demand with the First Look program that I haven’t seen a title that I could write to since August. In fact, nearly every day I log in and I check available assignments to see the same message time in and time out: no results found. I don’t like beating myself up over nothing so I have currently abandoned by attempts to secure that all crucial third title. What’s the point anyway since most people who are not in first look are not getting any work either? It’s a waste of time to spend all kinds of time waiting around for new titles when there is a shortage to begin with!
Suite 101 – The circular firing squad continues at Suite 101, they seem to be floundering around and trying to decide what to butcher next. I have never really been a fan of Suite primarily because I find a lot of the writers there to be total snobs. While there are many great people there, primarily what you have is highly-educated people that look down on most everyone who doesn’t meet their criteria for “expertise”. Pardon me all to hell. I’ve had a dozen articles (not my best work admittedly) sitting there for a year. I’ve earned $16.11 which is fine I guess but I won’t bother writing any more there simply because the community isn’t supportive and frankly, the platform continues to go through so many changes that it’s hardly worth the effort. I hate to remind these people but “regular” Internet readers are not looking for dissertations when they search the net, they’re looking for “reader-friendly” content. I also want to clarify something: There are some great writers at Suite and I wish those that are able to eke out a few dollars lots of luck but it’s not the kind of platform I am comfortable with.
Xomba – I abandoned Xomba when they decided that the way they were going to proceed was to prohibit users from promoting their own work. Now this makes a complete turn-around from where they were when I first registered. I’m sure someone is still making money there, I suspect the owners are making far more than the writers – and pray tell, why would you promote someone else’s work on a writing site? <shaking head>
Granted, I’m not going to make a million dollars on Squidoo or on Helium but I know the platforms. While Helium keeps my articles online, I just made up my mind that anything I might want to use later I simply don’t put there. Squidoo allows me 100% control (and while the earnings are currently pitiful at Squidoo) so I can put other things there. I’ve migrated my two blogs into one, that has seemed to help with page views (hence revenue) so I’ll continue plodding along and look for new opportunities.
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