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.