I’ll probably take a ration of crap for this post but so be it! Like it or not, Helium is an option for making money online. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses and if you think you’re going to make hundreds of dollars a month, then you need a reality check. Chances are that unless you have a couple of thousand articles, you’ll make less than a hundred dollars and the fewer articles you have, the less you are going to make. If you are going to write for Helium, you need to have a long-term goal in mind and forget about the short term unless you want to contribute to the assignment system.
The good things about Helium
One of my favorite things about Helium is the fact that I do not need to come up with my own article titles. Frankly, I suck at titles and having a list of titles available to me at the click of my mouse works really well for me! I also like the fact that there are a lot of categories to write in including recipes, business titles, jobs and careers titles and a whole lot more. For myself, of the 1313 articles I have as of this writing, I have more than 900 in only four categories, Business, Arts & Humanities (which is deceptive), Jobs & Careers and Personal Finance. It’s ironic that none of these titles is in the “highest paying” channels which seems to be health.
Some of the other good things about Helium is that in addition to making wide range of titles in various categories available, there’s a great supportive community of other writers. Many of them follow each other on Twitter, share each others work on Facebook and Google+ and generally are supportive of each other. There have been a number of changes at Helium since I started writing there back in 2007 and some have been good, others not so much, but you weigh the good with the bad and you make your own decisions.
Some of the not so good things
Personally there are three things that really irk me at Helium. Others have different complaints which I’ll do a post on later in this series of money making opportunities.
- Rating system – I really detest the rating system at Helium because I think that articles should be allowed to “rise and fall” based on their own merits and how popular they are with readers. This is the case on sites like HubPages and of course on our own blogs. At Helium, the “community” decides how an article is rated. The articles are rated by writers in that channel. One of the challenges that this presents (in my opinion) is that people who write only one article in a channel and may never write there again are judging the quality of an article. In addition, your article may be “technically” perfect and it will fall to the bottom of the heap based on “projections” by other writers who may or may not have an interest in rating at all but they rate because without one rating star, they can’t earn money.
- Contest for everything – Ironically enough, Helium runs weekly contests. I’ve entered more than one or two of these contests over time. Each time I do I vow that I will not do it again! I continue to torture myself because I happen to like the article grouping, not because of the money. However, when I see people ranking higher than I do in a contest, especially writers that I have graded their work as sub-standard, my blood boils. I almost always see as much as a one point fluctuation in my writing score when I enter a contest and each time I do, I wait until the contest is over, I leap my articles and lo and behold they jump back up to one of the first three spots in the title. Infuriating. The best thing for me to do is avoid them!
- Assignment System – the contests aside, the Assignment System in my opinion is the pits. I honestly do not mind writing at Helium even without upfront payments and the fact that the Assignment System offers one or two dollar incentive payments is really fine with me. However, the fact is that up to five people have to “compete” for that incentive payment. This makes me crazy. Because of that I have all but abandoned the assignment system but that’s another story for another day.
Be sure that you read the Terms of Service at Helium carefully. Once you post your work there it is there in perpetuity. Make sure that you write your articles in Google Docs or another offline word processor so you have a backup of your original work. You must maintain one rating star to earn revenue share. for me, none of these things is detrimental (but I may be in a minority there! Overall, if you are looking for a long-term earnings option, Helium can work out for you. Don’t depend on it for steady income unless you are prepared to understand how the Assignment System works and you are confident about how many pieces you can submit to the contest aspect and win. Trust me, it’s more grief than its worth in my personal opinion. You’ll be better off in the long-run if you go ahead and view Helium as an investment for the long-term and depend only on revenue share.