Friday, November 20, 2009

eHow's Plagiarism Flag Stealing Earnings from Writers without Due Process

I've been watching the plagiarism flag sagas of several eHow members and been following the situation closely--even corresponding with members who are dealing with this. The post below was posted by one member on the eHow message board this morning and I asked if I could reproduce it here as I think it covers everything that is wrong with eHow's plagiarism policy. Especially note the sections in italics as they are particularly salient.

This is an important issue and I think eHow writers need to push eHow to review their plagiarism policy and make it more equitable.

Mrasey writes (having dealt with the plagiarism flag all week):

I would imagine now that new content goes through a plagiarism check that the number of plagiarism flags on eHow should diminish. Because they will have an internal time/date stamp that the content was unique upon initial publication. I would hope that future plagiarism flags would not result in temporary suspension or removal precisely because of the time/date stamp. This should allow eHow to feel pretty confident that their flag is catching someone offsite who has stolen content and they should be able to implement a system where authors are notified of the problem and given 2-3 days to prove their innocence, if that is necessary.

I hope that eHow does modify their plagiarism policy to incorporate the credibility given by the initial plagiarism scan upon publication.

Old content will continue to be a problem, however. This is what happened to me. I edited an old article and hit publish and got a flag because of all the sites that had scraped my work from eHow. Because eHow removed the article, I didn't have a direct link and that made it difficult to prove my case to some sites (although I ultimately prevailed in all cases at having sites remove my content). Further, when my article comes back, I will have lost quite a bit of money and based on what others have said, lost rank in the search engines which will hurt my income for months to come.

So while it is demoralizing and depressing, it is also a financial issue. All my hard work is wiped out because I am presumed guilty without sufficient evidence of guilt. That is my core issue with the way eHow handles plagiarism. They have no idea who is guilty, but pass judgement all the same. Judgement that hinders the author's ability to defend themselves and has lasting negative effects on their income.

It would be one thing if content was removed for a day and if these investigations were executed quickly, but that's not what happens. These plagiarism flags drag out. Content is removed for weeks at a time and the length of time it takes to resolve these issues is what creates the biggest chunk of financial loss.

Also consider the money eHow makes on the redirect to other pages when someone tries to visit your suspended content. Is the author compensated appropriately for this income once they are proven innocent and reinstated? Does that factor into the secret algorithm?

From a corporate due diligence perspective, I have to wonder how it is that it's okay to essentially cost people money based on suspicion alone. How is that protecting anybody? As much as eHow wants to avoid legal liability for plagiarized content, they actually create an additional legal liability, in my opinion, by robbing users of income without due process. eHow has closed one legal liability door and opened another which I don't think was the goal.

I think there are serious issues with their current policy. All it takes is the right mix of circumstances for someone to put together a legal claim.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sick With a Side of Troll

You know what's worse than a cold?

Having a cold and discovering a troll all over your ehow articles.

There's a reason I don't link to my sites or articles on this blog, it's to avoid the trolls. I don't want someone to get steamed about what I say here and take it out on my articles.

So that's why I don't link to anything. In case you were wondering. Which you probably weren't.

Aside from the cold, I've been spending a lot of time this week trying to figure out my niche strategy. I need to give it a good effort and see if I can turn any of the work I've done so far into profit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Some Important Thoughts on Adsense and Back Links

I am going to try to bang this out before my toddler takes command of the keyboard--I made the mistake of showing her and all I hear now is 'Letter? Letters? LETTERS?' followed by desperate scrabbling for the keyboard.

Anyway. Willow is talking about back links that use adsense on her blog today and I wanted to share, what I think is, an important view point on the topic.

Adsense. If you build back links that contain your Adsense ID to sites that also contain your Adsense ID, guess what? Google knows it's you and they know you're trying to pump up your site's credibility. Artificially so in their eyes.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: This doesn't pertain so much to back links for ehow content. So if you've only ever written for ehow, you can read this and file it away in the 'Good to know' drawer. Eventually you will get involved with Adsense because that is the next logical step forward after establishing yourself at ehow. You will need to know this adsense stuff someday.

This information is important if you have niche websites because Google is not thrilled with internet marketers. They don't like people trying to 'game' the system. So linking to your niche sites in a way they can spot (like using your Adsense ID on back link sites) may actually hurt your page rank and authority.

Some people work around this by setting up a second adsense account, which is technically against Google's terms of service and can get internet marketers in BIG trouble. Which is why I don't suggest a second adsense account until you are well versed in the dark arts of internet marketing. Google does not give second chances. One mistake and you are OUT of the game...for LIFE.

I do not have a second Google account precisely for this reason. What you don't know can hurt you when it comes to internet marketing. Always proceed with caution and as much information as you can amass lest you wake the dragon Google.

Other niche bloggers work around this by just not filling in their ad sense id on back link sites with revenue sharing. They forgo the profits and just go for the back links.

What I do is, open multiple accounts. I put my adsense on accounts linking back to ehow or other content online that does not also have my adsense id attached to it. Then I open a second account for my niche sites and I don't fill in my adsense id. That allows me to both earn revenue when possible and to build rank and authority for my niche sites.

Edited to Add: Willow has shared that her approach has been successful for her. However, I am still leery. I've read so many sob stories of internet marketers who lost their Adsense account--going from $3000 a month to $0--that I am very protective of my Adsense account. I don't want Google to think my niches are any less sincere than any other website out there.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

eHow Back Link Strategy (Part 2)

Go read the first post on this topic here. It gives the whys and hows of the strategy I'm going to outline below. Plus it covers the results, a.k.a. the money, of back linking.

Here are my rules on back links for eHow.

1. Back link everything you can. I find that the critic in me comes out during back linking as in 'oh, I think that article sucks' or 'Who cares about this topic?' or 'I don't care if I make money on that' or 'This article is waaaay out of season. No one wants to learn about summer in winter.' Ignore the voice and back link every single article you've posted on eHow. Don't think about it, just do it.

2. Don't build links too fast. I could be wrong on this, but a big part of niche blogging is letting content age and not linking too fast. I am extending that practice to my eHow content. Back link articles that are at least 1 month old. However, also feel free to play around with this rule and see what works for you. So I guess this is more of a suggestion.

3.Don't bother with back linking until you've got at least 50 articles. The money on eHow is in quantity. If you don't have enough content to reach critical mass, you are better off writing more articles. Back links are the final step, not the first. The first step is to write the content!

Until you write the content, just bookmark this post or print it out. Don't read further until you have 50 articles. 100 is even better!

4.Learn about SEO, search engine optimization. Quality for ehow lies in good SEO. The money is found in Quantity of good SEO. If you don't know what the Google Adword Keyword Tool is and have never used it, you are not ready for back linking. Back links are the cherry on the sundae, not the ice cream or the fudge. Get the ice cream and fudge going first--to carry a bad comparison to the bitter end.


Create blogs in all the categories you write in and post links to your articles. Blogs that you own are part of your long term content marketing strategy.

Also write unique posts for those blogs every once in a great while so the blog doesn't look like a 'blog farm' which is a no-no for Google. You can use a free service like Blogger. I would avoid using adsense on these blogs, but you can eventually use a Blogger blog to get an adsense account (which is important for making money on other sites you may wish to write on).

HUB PAGES - Not Recommended

I love the format of Hub Pages, but as far as earnings? They SUCK. Views are slow. Earnings are slower. HP is not the best back link option. You have to create new content and maintain your 'hubber score' so the links you put in remain 'do follow'. (Do follow links are back links. If your hubber score drops below 74, your back links become 'no follow' meaning they give your content zero link juice. So you end up babysitting your score which is a pain.)

Between having to create content and maintain your Hubber Score, Hub Pages is high maintenance. Best avoided unless and until they actually prove to be a viable source of earnings on par with eHow. I only mention them because HP is where I first started experimenting with back links.

If you do work with Hub Pages, you'll want a Google Adsense account so you can make money off of any ad clicks your content may receive. You should also slant your content toward selling Amazon products as HP earnings seem to do better when hubbers market Amazon affiliate items.

EZINE -Not Recommended

Ezine is an online article directory. People use ezine content for websites, blogs and newsletters. It provides back links via the requirement that all content users post the author's bio which includes a back link to whichever site the author is promoting. It is a valid, but time consuming way to build back links. Avoid it unless you have no other choice or unless you need a really high ranking back link. Google loves Ezine and they have tons of rank and authority which juices up your back link.

The important difference between Ezine and sites like Hub Pages is Ezine doesn't share ad revenue. You basically give your article away for free in exchange for the back link.

There are other article directories out there that operate similar to ezine. This information should apply equally to them as well.

- Sort of Recommended - Like Ezine but with Adsense

The title says it all. I like Infobarrel as an alternate source of passive income. Not so much as a source of back links, but you can kill two birds with one stone. Write for Infobarrel to diversify your income and build back links as you go. I like IB over Hub Pages because you don't have to babysit your score to get do follow back links.

However, note that you need an adsense account. Those Blogger blogs I suggested you start are going to come in handy in terms of getting you started with an Adsense account.

XOMBA -Recommended

Xomba allows users to post links and blurbs to web content. It is simple. Fast and easy to use. You can upload your Google Adsense id as well, so if anyone clicks on an ad, you might make some money. It also has decent Google authority and rank.

This is a good place for creating back links. Community participation is optional, but I would suggest spending a minute or two rating other people's posts and friending people at random.

Oh, and note that Xomba has identified Hub Pages links as spam. So no linking to HP content.


She Told Me is similar to Xomba. It allows you to post a blurb and a link. So an excellent and easy way to make a back link. Fast to use too.

Community participation is optional, but I would suggest spending a minute or two rating other people's posts and friending people at random.

Propeller - Recommended with Reservations

Propeller is similar to She Told Me and Xomba, but the site is glitchy (right now I can't even log in and I can't tell if they've accepted what I uploaded or not) and mass uploads of content are frowned upon.

Maybe save Propeller for those times when you really want to push an article. I don't see it being efficient for mass article promotion. Which is probably how they like it!

Community participation is optional, but I would suggest spending a minute or two rating other people's posts and friending people at random.

REDDIT - Recommended

Reddit is another great place to build back links. It's fast and easy to use. However, this is an active community that will not respond well to a flood of article links. So parcel links out slowly, maybe 3 or 5 at a time to avoid getting in trouble with users.

Community participation is probably a good idea and I would suggest spending a minute or two rating other people's posts and friending people at random.

Do Follow Digg
- Recommended

Do Follow Digg is a hole-in-the-wall website (at least that's how it strikes me) with high authority and google page rank. It appears you can post up to 3 links a day. That's all I know. There's no 'about' page or FAQ. You're kind of on your own, but because of its rank, it's a good place for back links.

The hard part is keeping track of which 3 you've uploaded because Do Follow Digg lacks user features found on other sites, such as a 'my posts' list. You'll need a spreadsheet or some kind of system to keep track of what has been submitted.

There are other sites beyond the ones listed above. These are just the sites I have worked with so far. As time permits, I may blog about other sites that I've found.

I hope you've found this helpful. Note that one or two links are affiliate links that don't hurt you at all, but might help me.

Thoughts on Back Linking & My eHow Back Link Strategy (Part 1)

I first started learning about SEO on Willow's blog (see links in sidebar for Freelance Home Writer and go visit her, she's awesome!) and continued my SEO education at The Keyword Academy*.

The Keyword Academy is where I learned about the value of back links. Basically Google rates all web content based on a variety of factors. SEO is one. Google wants to give web searchers exact results whenever possible so having the exact key word in your content only helps you rank with Google.

Another thing that Google looks at is who has linked to your content. One way links have more weight than link exchanges because (I assume) it looks like someone independently liked your content enough to pass it on, which carries a huge amount of positive karma with Google. Link exchanges are reciprocal and tend to be 'deals' between bloggers that are intentional marketing efforts which Google does not love as much. I mean, you do get some 'link juice' with exchanges, just not as much as you would with a one way.

In addition, the page rank or google authority of the sites linking to your content carry weight as well. There's a difference between a Chinese Viagra spammer linking to you and MSNBC, you know? Google takes this into account when evaluating the rank of your page/content.

If you can get your content to outrank the competition you can make good money with a website or online article. The trick is to build back links in a way that gives you the most 'Google juice' or 'link juice.'

So we know that Google doesn't think too much of reciprocal link exchanges (which is why internet marketers are always looking for a 'three way' exchange--not as kinky as it sounds, just chasing the elusive one way link). Google is also suspicious of sites or content where a lot of back links pop up in a very short period of time. You might as well get Internet Marketer stamped on your computer screen. Google doesn't want people to scam their rating system. They want good, honest, sincere content. Google is trying to 'keep it real' so to speak.

Meaning internet marketers go to great lengths to look legit with google. There are formulas and time lines as to when exactly and how often a back link should be set up. It can get intricate. So intricate, I've just ignored all the advice and winged it, just waiting a while between back links.

As for eHow...

I didn't build back links for eHow content initially because I started my web career at ehow and a lot of big money eHowers told me not to waste my time with back links or article promotion.

So I didn't. And I made money. More money than most people, I think, due to my SEO. Most eHow writers don't get into SEO right away, they learn it after they've written a bunch of articles and then ask people why they aren't making money. Whereas, from the beginning, I was aware of SEO and trying to get it right. 90% of my articles have made money. I've only had 1 stubborn article that required super human effort to get money on it despite good CPC and SEO. I only put the effort into making money on it because the lack of earnings got under my skin like a bad itch. I think I've made twenty cents on it--so still not hot. I guess the competition must be tough for that keyword. (The other non-earners I can accept because they are low cpc topics or they are recipes.)

The other problem I had with back links is that The Keyword Academy method taught me to get back links by writing even more articles for sites like ezine. Which is great. It's a bona fide, high quality back link. But it takes work and requires more writing.

I could not see writing almost 100 ezine articles just to promote ehow content. Who has the time? Not me! We're potty training over here, which is like the third circle of parenting hell and very time consuming.

However, when I joined Hubpages 2 months ago, I started linking back to eHow articles whenever it made sense.

And my earnings took a jump to $5+ days on a consistent basis. Most importantly, the articles I linked to saw immediate earnings increases. I now had direct evidence of the power of back links.

Then I ran across an article talking about places where I could back link articles without writing another one. I'm not linking to the article because some of the info was bad, but I did find a few gems in that article.

And my earnings took another jump to $7-$10 earnings per day on a consistent basis.

So far, for November, I've made more than $10 a day each day this month. From $11 to $15 a day.

I do believe it is the back linking.

My next post, because this one is long enough and my toddler is ready for lunch, I'll tell you where I put my back links and which sites are worth your time and which were duds.

*The Keyword Academy is a good place to get some basic SEO. However, it's not as comprehensive as I would like. Unfortunately, I don't have time to go into detail at the moment. Perhaps in another post.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Status Update and My First Ceast & Desist Letter Plus Lots of Opinions

Things are hopping over here. My daughter has hit the 'been there, done that, why do I have to do it again' phase of potty learning. Which is to say, she screams a lot while I really wish I drank. Three bottles of Jack Daniels a day would probably do it. Unfortunately, I was born with a palate that makes alcohol taste like moldy dog-doo. So no relief for mom.

Anyway, I digress. This is an internet marketing and writing blog.

Some things are going really well. Others not so much.

-eHow is going gangbusters for me and I barely spent any time working this month and my earnings will break all previous records. I finally wrote 3 articles this week, the first in over a month. I also spent an hour doing some back linking. Which has paid off in a major way, my earnings have really shot up.

I see lots of forum posts over on eHow where veterans say they don't do any article promotion. I have to think, based on the results I've seen, that they are lying and perhaps hoping to sabotage the competition.

Or maybe I got lucky? Who knows, but I do know building back links means more money for me. Plus, it's mindless work, great for those times when I just can't face a blank page.

-Amazon affiliate earnings have had a boost this month. Not huge money, but a huge increase over what I have made in the past. I'm really impressed. I also emailed my friends and family asking them to use my affiliate link, although that was recent enough I doubt it reflects in my earnings.

-Hub Pages is just a black hole of nothing. Very few views. Even fewer ad clicks. Almost no revenue. I continue to be puzzled. I have read rumors that Hub Pages got the ol' Google smack down and I have to believe it's true. How can I be so successful on eHow and then to go Hub Pages with the same SEO skills and...nothing. Very strange.

The thing is, I like Hub Pages. I love the format and the ability to do all sorts of different things. So I keep posting there and hoping something good comes out of it.

-Niche Websites are not doing so well, but I can't say I've given them a lot of attention either. I really need to work on adding content and back links so that I can say I gave niche blogging a fair shot. Right now, I couldn't tell you if I was successful or failing because I don't think I've put in the work. Time is in short supply and eHow is so much easier and more profitable.

I did manage to get myself into a bit of trouble with niche blogging. One of my niches happens to have the same name as another website. Completely accidental, but even so I received a 'Cease and Desist' letter all the same. So I need to come up with a new name. Which kind of sucks. Although, it could be worse, I could have lots of traffic and revenue on the line, which I don't. So I guess low earnings aren't always bad. *weak smile*

-I am going to work on an internet marketing plan for a blog someone wants to start. I'm looking forward to creating a business plan and showing someone how this all works. If it goes well, I may put together an ebook on the topic, but we'll see.

In other news, I continue to follow the noise over the whole I'm a writer and wouldn't touch Demand Studios with a ten foot pole because they have content mill cooties vs. No, I'm a writer and I love Demand Studios so much I take Viagra to keep them happy controversy.

Right now, I'm of the mind everyone would be better off just doing their own thing. You do you and let me be me kind of thing. It's just a waste of time to argue. The fancy pants writers could probably make $5,000 with the time they are wasting complaining about everyone making 3 cents a word at DS or people like me who are making $200+ this month doing nothing more than resting on their laurels. I'm beginning to wonder if the real writers doth protest too much.

I will say, I think web content writing is different from being a traditional writer. I wouldn't call what I do writing, I call it internet marketing. Of course, at parties, I tell people I'm a writer because no one knows what the hell internet marketing is. (Also, as I've mentioned, I do have some bona fide publishing credits).

I will also say that the paradigm is changing. The real writers think the problem is all of us willing to work for Demand Studios, when in actuality, it is the internet. New technology has changed the game and the angst that causes is being displaced on the not real writers who are moving with the times.

I read an article recently that said 80% of ad revenue is being diverted from print to online media. It's cheaper (usually), has a wider reach, and is more effective than print advertising. The future for freelance writing is on the internet. In addition, I happen to believe low prices won't hold sway forever. Things will evolve quickly once print media stops hyperventilating about how the internet is eroding their market and gets with the program. The internet isn't the enemy, it's the future.

Grow or die.

Monday, October 19, 2009


So there is a lot of brouhaha over Writers Weekly expose on Demand Studios and once again we have lots of controversy and conflict.

In this corner, the freelance writers who, apparently, make $1000 a word and feel sorry for us slobs who can't figure out how to get up on their pedestal.

In the other corner, the slobs. The ignorant masses who aspire to write and who, poor souls, are suckered into writing at pay-per-click sites or for content mills. Demand studios pays *gasp* 3 cents a word, if you're lucky. A far cry from the freelancers' income.

Okay, I'm being a bit sarcastic, but before you smack me, consider this:

In the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre, a professional pay rate for fiction starts at 3 cents a word. For Sci Fi, three cents a word is 'art' that can be nominated for a Hugo or Nebula--kind of like an Emmy or Oscar for writers. (By the way, I got my start in fiction, in the fantasy genre.)

For Demand Studios, it's a crime against humanity.

The same three pennies have completely different meaning depending on where the words are published. For me, it's semantics.

Would I like Demand Studios to pay more? Hell yeah. But you know what? They are the highest paying so-called content mill out there and they will drive prices up for everyone else, which is a Good Thing in my book.

Do I dislike the editors at DS and think there are areas that need major improvements? Yes.

But I'm not going to feel sorry for or dissuade anyone who wants to write for Demand Studios. It's a good gig that develops some solid skills for new writers.

Now, here's my comment left on another blog in response to all the hoopla.

I think I will be the lone voice of dissent here. I am having a good experience on ehow. I haven’t written an article since 9/20 and I am on track to make more money this month than any other.

Am I getting rich? No. But how many freelancers doing it the ‘right way’ would still have revenue coming in if they weren’t writing and actively developing clients?

Could I build this into a $500 a month revenue stream? Yes.

I think there are a few salient points being missed in this debate:

1. Not all pay-per-click-content mills are equal. Some are better than others. Suite101 and ehow are probably the best pay-per-click markets. As for content mills, believe it or not, Demand Studios is the highest paying content mill I’ve seen. I am not thrilled with Demand Studios–their editors sometimes appear to be maliciously capricious and they don’t allow for any back-and-forth with editors to clear up minor issues–but they are still the highest paying content mill and they are actually raising the bar, in my opinion, for other mills. The ability to just work and not worry about pitching, queries, acceptance etc… is refreshing.

2.Not all writers are created equal. I’m sorry, people who have written 100 articles and earned less than $100 are doing something seriously wrong. They are working with the wrong sites, don’t understand SEO or are otherwise failing to hit the mark.

I’m around the $5 mark and don’t yet have 100 articles yet. Nor have I even hit the one year mark as a pay-per-click writer. Heck, I haven’t even hit the six month mark. At a year, I will have earned $60 per article. Considering I spent _maybe_ an hour on each of my articles, this is a good return on investment.

A lot of the financial analysis being done to show how awful content mills are presupposes that the writers could actually get freelance work that pays top rates. I hate to say it, but some of these writers are at content mills because they aren’t marketable anyplace else. In addition, all the financial analysis is done with a steep negative bias. I calculate $60 per article, the naysayers only look at the earnings I have, not the one year projection. It’s a very selective view and I believe it is inaccurate.

3.Not everyone can take the time to nurture a client. I love the freedom of pay-per-click content. I have a small child at home and am limited in how much work I can do. I do not have time for a needy client. I’ve tried. They make my two year old look mature.

Are there downsides and valid issues? Yes. I am not claiming perfection, simply that the downsides are not quite as steep as others believe and there are some nice upsides too.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

September Earnings

This is a quickie...

Ehow: $144 and change -- with less than 100 articles.

Amazon Affiliate: $4

Adsense: around $4.

Apparently Suite101 has lifted the ban on discussing earnings and people are making about 7 times what I am making on ehow (i.e. $800) with the same number of articles. Hmmmm. Sounds like I need to give Suite another shot.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I am biting my cheek this very second so as to keep myself from shouting about how I am averaging a $100 a month on eHow as of my first full month on the site.

I see sooooo many new people who are completely lost and instead of being proactive, they whine, whine, whine.

I know people who could use a $100 a month but show zero interest when I talk about my online money making ventures.

I also see many people complaining about making zero money from Hubpages and looking for a solution. I always point out that ehow money is much faster than Hubpages and I'm summarily ignored.

Sure, writing web content may not be for everyone but, here's the thing, the big secret about making money on ehow...

It is FREAKING EASY so long as you invest the time to learn and the time to write.

Here are the three keys to making money on ehow:

1. Understand SEO.
2. Know how to find good keywords.
3. Build good backlinks.

That's it. If all the above is Greek to you, then please check out Willow's excellent and FREE ehow tutorial. If you must, go ahead and buy an ebook but there's no reason to spend money on the ehow learning curve, particularly because I think the game has changed a bit since most of those ebooks were written. Web content writing is more competitive, there are a lot more people now and everyone wants to write about the same moneymakers (i.e. acai berry weight loss) so newcomers need to really be ready to bust their butts.

And here's the one action that brings in guaranteed ehow income:

1. Write 100 how-to articles. (Although I have fewer than 100 and am now pulling in over $100 a month regularly. See, if you nail 1-3 above, then you don't necessarily have to write as many articles.)

Yes ehow is glitchy, mercurial, and sometimes bites the very hands that feed them, but it is also the fastest and easiest way to get into making money online with absolutely no experience. eHow is a valuable training ground and it pays you to learn.

In other news, Hub Pages has been a surreal experience for me--Like holding a party that no one comes to. For all eHow's faults, the site really does generate income quickly, which is nice positive feedback. Hub Pages is slow to pay off from what I can tell. I think I've made like $3 in the last 3 weeks with them. So kind of lame. However, I have been using my hubs as backlinks for ehow which has pumped up my earnings there quite nicely.

So not a total loss.

My niche sites are slowly inching along. I am starting to think they were right when they said it takes a year to get off the ground. I am making pennies. Getting some traffic. But nowhere near outpacing ehow. affiliate sales are also slow for me. At one point this month, I had posted a bajillion links and was getting a ton of clicks and zero buyers. So my conversion rate went from 4% to 1.2%. Nuts!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pleasantly Surprised with Average Earnings on eHow So Far

I thought I'd pop in and note that my daily averages so far this month range from $2 a day to almost $6 a day. I've tapped into another moneymaker somehow, although I doubt it will be anywhere near as prolific as the first one.

Also, dead articles that were earning squat previously, have seen a nice bump in earnings from the backlinking/interlinking I did. Which was minimal as I don't have a ton of time so I'm doubly pleased to see those results.

I've also started at hubpages as well, but won't be able to go into detail as my toddler has just demonstrated that you don't need a bubble wand at all if you can just get enough bubble solution in your mouth. I must go investigate to see how much of the bubble solution was eaten vs. spilled on the carpet.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

August Earnings Update, Some eHow Tips & eHow is Not Forever

Hi! I'm here. We were busy in August, out of town ALOT. There was a wedding, a vacation on the pristine beaches of Lake Michigan, and a writer's conference. There wasn't a lot of internet access.

Fortunately, I worked my butt off in early August and had 15 new articles on ehow as well as wrote niche content. While I was out watching my toddler go swimming for the first time and bust a move on the dance floor at the wedding reception, I earned $40.

My total ehow earnings this month were $110, down $30 from last month because my time sensitive moneymaker died.

Adsense was close to $30 for the same reason, time ran out on the money train. *sob*

It will be interesting to see how earnings go this month now that I'm not raking it in anymore.

Some eHow Tips

Here are some simple eHow tips for newbies:

1. Make sure your link to your other articles in the resources section. For example, all parenting related articles, should be interlinked.

2. You can also choose your articles as 'related articles' when you first publish content on eHow. It's a bit awkward to do, but well worth the effort. Note that, from what I understand, this has to be done the first time you publish as you can't go back and edit the related articles later. (Note: You can still edit your content, just not the related articles.)

3.Link from blogs and websites back to your eHow articles. I've been using my niche blogs for back links and I think this has helped. Out of the last 10 articles I wrote, I have three at or over $1--one is almost at $5.  9 out of the 10 articles have earning something, at least $0.40.  This is much faster than it was when I started, I think in part due to the backlinking I now do as well as, I think/hope/pray, concurrent improvement in my SEO skills.

If you don't have a blog, start one for each of the main topics you write about on ehow (i.e. a Parenting blog, a cooking blog, etc..).  Segregating topics, in my opinion, helps create targeted traffic and ad clicks as opposed to just one blog where you dump everything all together--SEO is not a pot luck! I think topic matters.

Anyway...Use a free blogging platform like Blogger. Put one or two original articles on it that have been SEO-ified so that google will rank your blog for that topic. Then post links back to your ehow content.

Do NOT put adsense on these blogs as you could risk losing your account for TOS violations.

This will give you a bump in the rankings for a minimum amount of work, but realize it will take some time to see results. The blogs I'm using have some good google ranked content on them, so I get a boost, I think, fairly quickly from my backlinks, but that took some time and sweat.

eHow is Not Forever.

The latest article sweeps at eHow continue to highlight the company's flawed business model and poor customer relations. I think it is unwise to go into a business that depends on public goodwill and then piss all over that goodwill and tell people to shove it. However, someone at eHow thinks this is a sublime business paradigm.

I understand eHow thinks they are doing everything ethically and responsibly, but the complaints are mounting as are the examples that show eHow management to be capricious and untrustworthy,which means something is not working.

Is it just me or do you ever picture the eHow staff as a group of twenty somethings with no kids, a surfing habit, and growing marijuana on the balcony of their apartment so they can toke up during smoke breaks at work?  Okay, maybe that was off base, but I've been to the West Coast several times and have seen that dynamic in companies there. I'm just trying to understand how they make the decisions they do.

eHow is the glitchiest site I've ever seen. They routinely take days to answer questions. They are now deleting articles that shouldn't have been deleted and they don't seem to care. Or, if they do, that is not the impression eHow contributors are getting.

Having also worked on the Demand Studios side of eHow, I can attest to the fact that DS is just as quirky. It's a pervasive problem that has permeated the company culture.

eHow needs to revamp their business model with an eye to treating contributors, who have many many many options to take their work elsewhere, with respect. Just because there are a lot of spammers doesn't justify treating every single writer as one. I'd like to remind eHow (and DS) that Quality Control isn't only important for their writers, it's important for them too.

And just so no one thinks I have sour grapes, I have not lost any articles in the sweeps, although I'm sure my time is coming.

Monday, August 3, 2009


This will be quick as I'm short on time...

1. Ehow $140. Roughly $100 from my moneymaker. Almost $10.

3. Adsense Almost $40.

So just shy of $200 this month in ad revenue income.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


#1 baby! Several times over. In less than a month. Yup. One of my niches is now ranked, highly, by Google and I will probably have somewhere around a $10 adsense day today. Maybe. We'll see. Because adsense is nothing if not unpredictable.

But, yeah, baby. #1!

I also had a $7 update from ehow. I'm getting there.

Happy dance.

Happy dance.

Joy. Joy. Joy.

I'm a little excited.

As for Demand Studios, I see their writer scorecard is live and I'm now completely demotivated. Even though my rating is above average, I still don't feel it reflects the quality I give them (and note the writing quality here on this blog is NOT stellar and I don't claim it is so please don't think it's representative of my professional writing--this is my brainstorm and blow off steam blog. It's not meant to be pretty.).

For me, until they make it so we can rate the CE's back or at least dialogue with them when they are unreasonable instead of having to walk away or risk outright rejection (which counts against you and can cause you to be terminated so lots of people just walk away), I'm going to be peeved.

Still, I need to put on my big girl panties and just write for them. I need the income because niche blogging isn't going to meet my income needs for a while.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


First, Julie has a nice article about writing related posts on ehow that ehow writers will find helpful.

Things are chugging along with my niche blogging effort. I have made a little money from Infobarrel this week, which is amazing since I don't think I have even 10 articles up. But I'm working on it.

This week, I plan to start some hubs on hubpages as well.

The only thing is, I've been sort of pooped lately and feeling low on energy. I need a good kick in the pants.

I also dipped my toe into outsourcing content and was NOT impressed. Terrible writing and no research and I was paying $10 for 400-500 words, which is less than writers deserve, but more than most of them get. (I know because I've been there, done that!) It doesn't help that I outsourced content for areas where I have expertise so I can really spot the lack of research. I don't know if I'll try to outsource content again. At least not until I can pay enough to get a good writer.

Friday, July 24, 2009


1. I am so beyond ticked that I wrote such a better article on a topic and the editors of the website (that shall remain nameless, but I'm sure you can guess) picked a crappy article on the same topic for the homepage. It doesn't even conform to the site's format standards!!!! I am SO annoyed. It further confirms my suspicions that there is a serious flaw in the business model on that website and affirms my decision to control my own content as much as possible.

I can see a crappy article being on the homepage, that can happen to any site, but to highlight content in violation of the site's guidelines? After they've pissed off their contributors by deleting content with the same format violations with no warning? Nuh-uh. Something is wrong, wrong, wrong with their business model and I think it hurts their credibility. I question how long that kind of stupidity is sustainable for both site owners and users.

2. I have made some money on my Amazon affiliate links. Less than $5, but I'm amazed because I would've never predicted the traffic source for that income. People are buying (small) appliances based on something I wrote, which just makes me smile. I was trying to be helpful and it appears I was successful.

3. Adsense is rocking! I have a 5% click through rate already and the site is only a month old and has only had adsense for 1 1/2 weeks. I did monetize it right away (which is a huge no-no) but only because the topic is so time sensitive with an expiration date in just a few months. I don't rank really well yet on Google, however, I have an ad revenue article that is in the top 10 results, which has been driving traffic to the niche site. This topic is HOT and all over the news so tons of people are looking for information.

4. My ad revenue earnings are chugging along. I will definitely, overall, make $100 this month. Or more. There's still a week left.

Okay, now I've got to get cracking!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I am a woman obsessed. I have never been known to have OCD tendencies...until now.

Now I refresh and refresh all my earnings pages. Ehow. Infobarrel. Adsense. Statcounter. It's like a tic and I can't stop. I'm afraid google is going to ban me from Adsense for refreshing the earnings screen too much.

Other than the need for some good psychotherapy and medication, I am chugging along. I've picked topics that I have some expertise in and have been building content.  I guess it pays to be insatiably curious and to have good retention of obscure minutia. Believe it or not, I was a Fortune 500 manager and a massage therapist and a writer and a baker. All at the same time. I was made to be a nice blogger, I guess.

We have even had some ad clicks. So exciting.

And that is all. Just learning, learning, learning and writing, writing, writing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I am psyched to report I've made a little bit of money on my 2 niche blogs. It's less than $5 but it's still something.  I am going gangbusters on ehow as well and am holding my breath as I wait to see if I'll make it to $100 this month--and I haven't written anything since the beginning of the month.

Partly because we've been traveling, the baby has stopped sleeping (ugh!), and I think I'm catching a cold.

Here are some interesting links on niche blogging and making money with blogs:

Blogging tough way to make money - but here's how-- I actually disagree with this article. The monetary rule-of-thumb seems to be outdated. Fifty cents per 1000 hits? I don't think so--I'm doing better than that and I don't even have 1000 hits yet. Still it was an interesting, if outdated, read.

How to Make Money from your Blog -- A nice overview of what it takes to be a niche blogger.

How to Build a High Traffic Blog -- Another nice overview from someone who is an expert.

Happy niche blog reading!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I have my first rainmaker, one article that is raking in the dough over at ehow. I've had $10 earning jumps in one day and have around $40 in earnings so far for July. Which is a huge jump.

On the one hand, it's exciting to have a money maker finally.

On the other hand, it's depressing because I have 40 some odd articles that are earning pennies dimes. And that's on a good day!

Plus, my rainmaker has an expiration date. The topic will go belly up in the Fall because that's when the program I wrote about ends. So another bummer, this is just a temporary blip.

I need to write a lot of articles to make up the income gap, which does not sound like fun at all. Blech.

On the niche front, I wrote some articles to build backlinks to my niches and am still waiting for them to go live. The approval process is taking forever. In fact, I just got back from a 2000 mile road trip and the articles (just 500 words each) are still in the editorial queue. Hard to imagine that I can drive faster than someone can review a 500 word article!?!?!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Someone recently said to me that niche bloggers fall into 2 different camps; those who can write but don’t know much about internet marketing (that would be me!) and those who know internet marketing, but can’t write.

Because of the amount of content required to be a successful niche blogger, many niche bloggers outsource content. Or, if they are strapped for cash (or have been burned a few times by bad writing), they try to write everything themselves.

Which is hard to do, especially if you don’t have any writing experience.  So I thought I would share some thoughts on how to approach the craft of writing online content based on my background as an experienced fiction writer and writing web content for Demand Studios, private clients, and eHow.

1.    Use subtitles to break text into sections. Subtitles also are a great opportunity to use alternate keywords for SEO purposes. They also help readers skim the article and find the information they are looking for.

2.    Keep paragraphs short.  Big chunks of text turn readers off. Aim for 75 word paragraphs.

3.    Avoid word repetition as it reads flat and loses the reader’s interest.

4.    Use actionable verbs as much as possible. Notice how all my advice starts with a verb, do the same whenever it makes sense.

5.    Write as if you are explaining something to a friend. This helps keep your ‘voice’ natural and engaging.

6.    Use lists and bullet points to make important information stand out.

7.    Stay on message and don’t meander.  I always suspect meandering when I have a piece full of big, long paragraphs. Anytime you write content that involves a story or anecdote, be on the look out for meandering as well.

8.    Don’t panic if the words aren’t flowing. That’s what editing is for.  At first, just write and then edit your writing into quality content. 

9.    Be interesting. Juxtapose divergent concepts. Make a short joke (emphasis on short). Use a play on words here and there. This keeps things lively and entices a reader to keep reading.

10.    Be useful. Good content says something helpful or interesting.

11.    Cite your sources to build authority and credibility. Readers are more likely to trust you if they feel you’ve researched your topic.

12.    Check for logical flow. I think peacocks are beautiful...would be an example of poor logical flow.  Be sure each paragraph introduces an idea, supports an idea, and offers a conclusion on the idea without diverging into peacocks.  (Although I really do like peacocks, especially the feathers, but I digress!)

13. Sometimes, writers create these beautiful orphans, sentences that just don’t fit anywhere, or they have essential information that really needs its own paragraph, but doesn’t have enough data to support expansion.  These orphans must die. I usually cut them and paste them at the end of the document so that if I find a way to work them in, I can do so.

14. Write with ad clicks in mind. Meaning, the goal isn't just to be informative, it's to get the reader thinking they need to learn more, which, in my experience, makes them more likely to click an ad.

And that's it. Everything I think I know about writing web content for niche blogs. How do you do it?

Thursday, July 2, 2009


There's been an uproar over the second round of article deletions at eHow. In case you weren't around for the first wave, eHow has been deleting content that doesn't meet either their standards or terms of service. Fair enough, however, writers have been complaining that high earners are being deleted and pointing out that eHow benefits financially from removing competition for their wholly owned content (i.e. articles they paid for from the Demand Studios side of their business).

Willow Sidhe has written a thoughtful post on the topic and I responded with a lengthy comment which I'm reproducing here:

I think this is well put BUT Ehow does have a financial incentive to discriminate in favor of their wholly owned content.

Remember, they can see the comparative stats and we can't. It has to occur to them if they eliminate the competition they can increase their earnings. What they do with that information, I don't know. Ethically they should ignore it, but greed does strange things to corporations.

I agree with you that many of the articles people are sharing have problems that justify their deletion. But we haven't seen all the articles and it is a strange business model that deletes moneymakers. You would think they would at least give writers a shot at editing because that benefits everyone.

Personally, in my opinion something doesn't smell right here. Ehow needs to be more transparent because this is affecting their credibility. Right now, I'm assuming they are acting in good faith and have just royally botched the writer relations side of things.

Then again, having worked in Corporate America, that kind of massive customer relations fail is often indicative of management quality and thought process. When I go down that thought path, I am disturbed to realize they could care less about their contributors. That's not good.

If Ehow continues to do arbitrary things that piss off writers, that would be a strong signal of a deeper problem.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


So my eHow earnings so far:

1st 2 weeks: $3.69

1st full month: $13  @ 4 times previous earnings

2nd full month $25 roughly double the previous month and @ 8 times earnings my first 2 weeks so the growth has been exponential.

1 contest win: $100

Total eHow earnings for 2.5 months: @$140 or 1.5 months worth of diapers.

The goal is to reliably pull in $100 a month from eHow and I think I'm on track to meet that goal. I'd like to get to where I don't have to work quite so frantically to get content up.

As for Demand Studios, they show I made $337.

So in all, very close to my goal of $100 a week.

Monday, June 29, 2009


If you're anything like me, you have the interest and desire to niche blog, but maybe lack the technical know-how to really take a stab at it. Yet you keep hearing about all these people making money, thousands of dollars in fact, with niche websites. And who doesn't want to make thousands of dollars?

Niche blogging is the perfect business. Set your own hours. Work at your own pace. Take days off and still make money. Like taking candy from a baby, easy peasy.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? That's because what people think they know about niche blogging is mostly a romanticized myth.

Niche blogging requires a good knowledge base of internet marketing and web development. Plus, you have to be able to write, in quantity, on any given subject. And spend hours fine-tuning your site promotion strategy so your niche ends up in the top spot on Google.

I expect it will take me a year to amass the skills I need and begin earning any amount of money. Niche blogging is definitely not a get rick quick scheme. It's a long term strategic campaign that requires a lot of discipline because about the only fun part of niche blogging is collecting the pay check. The actual work is tedious, repetitive, and dull.

If you have the time and don't mind the work, niche blogging might work out for you.

There are some things I've done in the last 2 months that I think will help me as I learn to niche blog. I'm listing them below, so you can follow in my footsteps. Remember, this is basic stuff for the very beginner. If you sometimes refer to yourself as a luddite, this tutorial is for you! If you're the one making fun of the luddites, this is probably too simplistic for you.

1. I wrote for ehow and practiced my budding SEO writing skills in their sandbox. With SEO, it's much better to make all your mistakes at the expense of someone else's adsense account than it is to trash your adsense rating with Google (meaning they devalue the ads they place on your site and basically think you suck and treat you accordingly).

2. Read all the free information I could find about ehow. I also bought several ehow ebooks, which are helpful, but the same information is available for free if you google hard enough.

3. I learned how to use the Google keyword tool.

4. I lurked on the ehow forums and other message boards across the internet pertaining to SEO and internet writing. I even copy pasted important tidbits of info into a word document.

5. I wrote for Demand Studios which helped expand my repertoire as a web content writer and gave me a good grasp as to what is acceptable quality for web content writing.

Two months of 1 through 5 and I signed up for an online seminar on niche blogging, bought 7 domains and am actively building niche content. Stay tuned to see what happens next.

Later this week I'll have a post on the craft of writing good web content for all the non-writers out there.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Things are chugging along. I'm evolving as I learn more about writing web content. I don't want to write for ehow, I want to be ehow.

To do that, I need to get into niche blogging. Which I have started to formally pursue this past week. I'm working on 7 sites with a potential income of $1000. The first site should go live this week.

It is ALOT of work and I am wary as to whether or not I can be one of the lucky ones making thousands of dollars a month. Partly, because I'm not raking it in at ehow.

However, I am making money with ehow and grossing more each month, just not enough to write home about or keep the toddler in diapers. There are ehow beginners doing better than me. I'm not sure what the problem is. I think my SEO technique has been a little heavy-handed and spammy, which probably hurt me. I also wonder if I'm just not gifted when it comes to topic selection. I think I'm doing well, picking hot topics, but then the article turns out to be a dud.

My strengths as I see them though are 1) I learn fast  2) I know how to work hard 3) I can write my own content (pity the niche bloggers who can't write!) and 4)I have very little to lose. I think I'm embarking on the niche blogging adventure with less than $100 investment. So it's mostly my time and a little bit of money at stake.

I'll keep you informed!

Monday, June 22, 2009


A quickie to give you breaking news on major changes in the way we make money online...

This is going to be getting a lot of buzz in the blog-o-sphere. Especially for mommy bloggers who make a living off their blogs.

On the one hand, if all the FTC is going to require is disclosure, that's fine, but if they start policing things beyond that, it will be a problem.

The proposed regulations and comments on it are found here.

I do have ads on this site, but to date, have not utilized any affliates nor have I received financial compensation for any products or websites mentioned in my posts.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


A status update...

I seem to be doing better than anticipated with my goals. I am averaging around $100 a week somehow.

Ehow ended up paying me $100 in contest winnings which was cool (or maybe I was on the homepage more than once and didn't know). However, residuals from ehow have been slow to build although I think it's still early yet. I added 10 articles so far this month (my second full month) and should make the $10 pay out minimum. Whether I make more than that, I can't predict.

But I'll keep adding articles and hope I start to get the right mix of topics, information and keywords.

Demand Studios is going well. They now allow writers to snag new assignments as fast as they can submit them. So writers are no longer constrained by a 10 article limit and editorial review times. However, the current scuttlebutt is that rejection rates of 3% or higher and high rewrite rates can result in termination. Of course this is all secondhand from terminated writers. Demand Studios doesn't actually spell out what their standards are although that is supposed to change.

As for my private clients, I let them go. I do not have a lot of free time and I need long lead times. Demand Studios gives me a week, ehow is whenever I have time, but private clients want everything now, now, now and they pay less than Demand Studios. Maybe when the baby is older I can dip my toe in again, but right now I need a better work-life balance and that means sticking to DS.

I'm also debating if I want to get into niche blogging. I'm just not sure I'm sold on the services out there that promise they can teach me how to get rich on the internet.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Okay, first things first, I think I am probably the slowest web content writer on the planet. Actually, it's likely the active toddler that needs wrangling that is capping my income. The reason I say this is I've seen some income reporting threads on forums with people posting income in the thousands of dollars. By comparison, I'm making pennies.

So, income so far... drumroll please...

Demand Studios: $415 total to date (started late April).

Ehow: $18.08 to date with 35 articles. Plus I won the Home & Garden contest which should garner  $50 in prize money. So official ehow total is $68.08 and growing.

Private Clients: $100

Infobarrel: I wrote 1 article and haven't checked back to see if I've made any money. Nor have I posted any other articles, which I should do something about that soon.

Suite 101: Nothing, I'm having some editor troubles there, which is disappointing.

Started 2 niche blogs with zero earnings (although I haven't actually checked my adsense accounts to see if I've made any money).

Currently I am not making the $100 a week target I had set for myself. Partly because there was almost no work on Demand Studios for several weeks in May and the editors forgot to take their Xanax or smoke their weed (something!) and went off the deep end. (If you google you'll find some entertaining message board threads where writers vent some steam re: DS editors.) So I stayed away for a while and focused on creating ad revenue content.

I looked at other upfront pay opportunities, but didn't find anything that was a good fit with my very limited schedule. Many upfront pay companies have high production quotas and/or tight article deadlines, which is difficult for me as I'm at the mercy of the toddler--I never know how much time I'll have to write or how much sleep I will get.

Just to disavow anyone of the idea that this online writing stuff is easy peasy, please note that, for the last 6 weeks or so, I have literally been writing every spare minute and staying up way too late trying to get things done.  I'm exhausted, but I do feel like I'm seeing some results for my hard work. Now the question is can I take it to the next level?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Media Is Talking About Making Money Online

Ehow is in the news with a Wall Street Journal article (not linked because you have to be a paid subscriber to read it) and a local CA news affiliate interviewed an ehow writer.  Apparently the economic downturn has made people interested in and more willing to try home repairs on their own and ehow fills that niche nicely.

I found the ehow stats interesting: 600,000 articles and 150,000 videos.

The Wall Street Journal also published an article about freelance work from home jobs and this one is free to read without a subscription. It's a pretty good overview of where to find jobs and common pitfalls of freelance work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

First Post

I'm a stay-at-home mom in need of diaper money and I also happen to be a writer (a.k.a. starving artist). Serendipity sent me down the rabbit hole of web content writing. From week one, I was making $100 a week and I hope, with hard work and knowledge, to grow those earnings to $1000 or more.

I'll be sharing what I learn and what I know as I go. If you've ever wanted to start a freelance writing career or wondered how you could make money online, this is the blog for you.