Monday, October 11, 2010

September Earnings Roughly the Same

I'm holding steady at $350-$400.

Have not been able to do much to push to the next level--my health is just not cooperating.

But I have registered a new domain. I have written a few articles and hubs. I do keep plugging away, but at the speed of dead snail.

I am niche blogging and web content writing in s-l-o-w motion. Ha.

October is looking dismal. I think I've made all of $2 on Amazon so far this month which is very low.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I submitted a cancellation request for my TKA membership a few weeks ago.

There is no question that The Keyword Academy is a great place to start with niche blogging. I would recommend it to anyone who is just starting out.

But I no longer felt it met my needs once I got past the initial learning curve.

Not enough to justify almost $400 a year in membership dues.

I know they've added a lot of extra features that many people like, but I have some reservations about those extras, which I'm not gong to delve into publicly.

Your mileage my vary.

My thought now is to funnel that $33 a month into outsourcing some content work.

See if that gets me any farther.

In other news, I have had some health challenges this month and my freelance work (in a non-writing field) has picked up enormously which slows me down. Frustrating. I need to somehow make this work. I have too much on my plate, my body is uncooperative arghhh. Overwhelming.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Earnings

eHow: Almost $300. So close, but couldn't cross the finish line.

Amazon: Getting closer to $50.

Adsense: Slightly more than $30

Suite: Almost $40 on 22 articles which is amazing.

But I need to somehow break through to the next level. I seem to be stuck at the $300-$400 mark and can't seem to grow much past it.

Need to work on that.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to Write Your First Article for Suite

My last post made me think it might be helpful to talk about how to write your first article for Suite101.

Like I mentioned in the last post, the first time I tried to work with Suite, I couldn't get past the editor. I had picked a technical topic that I have a ton of first hand expertise in and even though I added citations, my citations were not good enough.

Since when was the US Government with an in text linked citation, not an acceptable source?

I couldn't figure out how to make it work for the editor and I thought, if this is how the editors are, I don't want to work with Suite.

So I left.

When I came back, I was more strategic in selecting the topic for my first article.

I avoided anything technical or legal or with lots of facts and details.

I avoided sections like Health, Science, Law, and Business that typically require a lot of citations and enforce higher journalistic standards.

I actually wrote about a product category and made a shopping guide based on customer reviews on the internet. Not much for an editor to get hung up on there, fact-wise. My sources were from Amazon and unless they were going to read 300 reviews like I did, there was no real way to make life difficult.

If I had to do it over, I would probably write a craft or recipe article. Those topics probably represent the lowest barrier to entry for a first article on Suite101 because they are personal and not really authoritative. (Although note that those sections have some formatting requirements.)

I would also be sure to visit the forums and get a feel for each of the section editors. Most editors post their own section guidelines in the forum and it is well worth your time to become familiar with their requirements above and beyond those of Suite101.

It's also good to pick a simple topic since you will spend a lot of time learning Suite101's format and article structure in your first post. Don't complicate things with a complicated topic.

Oh and for the love of God, avoid the en dash--don't use two hyphens, like I just did here. You will be burned in effigy if you do that. If you don't know how to make an en dash or have no idea what I'm talking about, just avoid using dashes. Parentheses work really well.

Lastly, be sure to run your first few articles through Copyscape as Suite does check for plagiarism and scrutinizes new writers particularly closely.

A Suite101 Rant: Editor Badassery

Okay, even though I made like $4-$5 yesterday on Suite I am still fuming a bit.

There are editors and there are editors. Most editors are fine. Others have delusions of working for the New York Times or fantasize about being a Grammar Stealth Ninja. In other words, they have a terminal case of editor badassery.

I wish there was medication for that.

This is actually my second time working with Suite. The first time, I couldn't get past the weirdo editor to publish my first article and I walked away. Who needed Suite when the eHow gravy train was still going full steam ahead? (Ha! Famous last words.)

So the second time around, I picked an 'easier' topic, one less likely to bog an editor down in details, facts or figures. Or their own opinions.

Because some editors confuse their own uninformed opinions with editing.

Anyway, the other day, I was lurking in the forums and ran across some posts by a particular editor who was in full blooming glory of editor badassery. Hmmm, I thought. I am not going to write in this editor's section. They are way too hardcore.

Well, guess what?

Editors at Suite don't stay in their little sections. If other areas have a lot of work, then topic editors who aren't buried, pitch in and help.

Next thing I know, the grammatical equivalent of Attila the Hun is slicing and dicing my articles. Not only flagging them, but completely disabling them, which is quite unusual for Suite.

Notice I said articles plural. It's almost like they are gunning for me. I mean, what are the odds of the same editor hitting my articles across multiple topic sections? Some of them weeks old even?

Now, in some cases, I agree with the (minor) edits, but, the thing is, there are also inappropriate edits mixed in there. Edits based on what they think about the topic, not based on what I'm actually writing. (Maybe they should go write their own article, you know?)

For example, say I write an article about 'How to Choose Between Cats and Dogs for a Pet' and the editor comes in with a 'what about ferrets?' comment. This is the kind of stuff I am dealing with. It's just not appropriate. Or helpful. Or productive.

So I am not happy. I am an experienced enough writer to know when an editor is just yanking me around because of their own agenda vs. me actually sucking enough to need an editor smackdown.

Flags I could maybe handle, but being disabled? Is not nice. And then to go after my other articles? Really not cool.

I hope this blitz fizzles out. In fact, I'm not going to add new content to Suite for a while just so this editor, hopefully, has time to forget I exist.

Stay tuned for some tips on writing your first Suite Article. Maybe I can spare you some pain.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

5 Back Links You Can Build Today

I freely admit I am not the best at back linking, but there are people who know even less than I do, so this post is for them.

Here are 5 back links you can take advantage of today.

1.Propeller. Last year when I used them, the site was too glitchy to use, but that seems to have improved.

2. Blogger. Start a topic blog. Make the topic broad enough to cover future articles. For example, 'Product Reviews' has a lot more flexibility than 'How to Buy a Kitchen Sink' which limits your ability to use the blog for anything else.

3.Tipsbase. is all about links. Post a blurb and a back link.

4.She Told Me is a social bookmarking site. I like it because links can be added quickly. Note, however, that the site will pull your account for inactivity so you're going to need to post something every couple of months.

5. Forums. Google forums for your topic by combining your keyword with forum (i.e. Kitchen Sink forums). Ideally, you want to find forums that cover broad areas in your topic so you can establish a long term presence for back links.

So in our example, search for 'kitchen forums' or 'remodeling forums.' Once you find a forum, add a link to your article in your signature and look for threads on your topic to participate in. In some forums, you may have to pay a small fee to be able to list links in your signature.

Note, none of these links are affiliate links.

P.S. I think I feel a Suite101 rant coming on...

Friday, August 20, 2010

$1 a Day

I am making $1 a day so far on Suite101 with just 20 articles. So yes, there is money to be made at Suite101.

It will be interesting to see what happens to earnings as my articles age, search engines find them, and my back linking takes effect.

If there are people making more than that with a similar body of work, they aren't posting on the forums. I am seeing a lot of posts from people who feel they aren't making enough money...with less than 5 articles.

Listen, folks, you have to do the work. Once the work is done, the money rolls in for years to come with little additional input. But if you are going to write 1 article and give up because you didn't instantly make $50, you are deluded about how this works.

Write until you hit 50 articles.

Take a deep breath and review earnings.

If earnings suck, your SEO probably sucks too. So fix it.

Then write 50 more.

Then move on to another site and do the same thing to diversify your income.

And keep adding articles to Suite.

That's it. The secret money making formula.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Killing Trolls and Backlink Score

Hey ya Mommas and Poppas. Grooviness, flowers and peace signs to you.

Yes, I am channeling hippies today. No, I don't now why either.

So there was some trolling last night on the wahm forums. Some guy who was doing so well writing for higher tier markets that he had the time to swoop down and lecture us lowly 'wimmin-folk' on how we could be doing so much better if we weren't lazy.

Yep, the troll called us lazy.

Well, here's a nice little tidbit that sums up why web content writing and passive revenue sites are good gigs.

I have a mere 100 articles on eHow. The last one I wrote was in February of this year. As of June, my earnings had already doubled over last year.

I am talking 4 figures here. As in thousands. of. dollars.

This is the beauty of passive revenue.

Unfortunately, the passive revenue market seems to be in flux now and I don't know if the business model will hold, which would be a huge bummer. For now, however, there's money to be made while I'm doing something else.

Dance while the band is still playing and all that.

This rocks. If I'm in the hospital, which I was earlier this year, I can still make money without worrying about deadlines or pleasing editors. If the baby is sick, I can give her my full attention. I can go on vacation and write it into a tax deduction. I can write about whatever topic I want. I can research and format as I wish.

I have no desire to garner a byline in more elite markets. Zero. I've done the 'writing is my passion' thing already. Have a few novels under my belt and have dealt with New York as well as agents (although I didn't end up selling a book, the editor flaked and quit their job which killed my book). I have published short fiction and hob-nobbed with big names in the writing world (who critiqued and mentored my work). I even started a very successful writing group that has yielded several published authors with multi-book deals.

And you know what? I'm over it! I. Don't. Care. At this stage in my life, I'm not about the glory, I'm about the money and there are a lot of pennies on the internet. If you get good at scooping them up, you can make bank.

Hey, more power to you if your dream is to write for the Big Boys and Girls. I'm not going to knock anyone for doing what makes them happy. But, it's not for me. Most magazines bore me to tears and the thought of writing the 50th annual Skin Cancer Warning Signs for Summer article (as if they haven't run a similar title every year since God was born) makes me contemplate suicide.

Not to mention book publishing is dying and is going to change so profoundly a lot of us won't recognize it anymore. So what's the point of chasing a book deal? May as well publish it myself (which I am hoping to do).

I don't want clients. I don't want hard editorial oversight (although some is okay). I just want to do my thing and make money. So far so good.

So there are my thoughts on all the 'elitists' running around so 'concerned' about those of us who don't aspire to be as 'successful' as them.

Here's a tip, go enjoy your success and stop trying to undermine ours. We don't care what you think and we don't need your approval either.

In other words, Suck It Troll.

In other news, squeeeeeeee, I got a good backlink on a niche site. Yay! Yay! Yay!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Am I the Only One Who Hates Social Media Back Links?


Backlinking today and it is sloooooow going.

Can't register with Mister Wong for some reason.

Propeller is super slow.

Xomba is giving me carpal tunnel with the clicky clicky.

Why did Google have to start counting social media??????? It's just more stuff to do with my limited time.

Okay rant over. Gotta get to work.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What It Takes to Make Passive Income Now that Everything Has Changed

1. Write, write, write. In my opinion and experience, you need at least 100 articles per website. Try to increase length too, 600 words is the new 400 (but don't kill yourself to get one stinking article that's giving you a hard time up to 600 words. Leave it at 400 and move on.)

2.More of everything; content, more SEO, more back links, more words. 2009 was the last 'easy' year for passive revenue, in my opinion. 2010 is the year that the bad economy hit the internet and companies like eHow shut down their programs. You'll have to hit it harder to do well in today's net economy.

3.Work with several passive revenue websites. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

4.Figure out what you are doing wrong. If you aren't making any money and if your passive income isn't growing, you are doing something wrong. Take a class, read a book, lurk on message boards, ask for help--whatever, but you need to put the effort into tweaking your strategy so that passive revenue works for you.

For me, I often compare myself to complainers in forums. If established people or newbies aren't making money,but I am, I consider myself to be doing okay--in conjunction with my income going up too.

5.Don't count on anything. The net lifecycle is short. Websites come and go. I no longer believe that you can earn on articles or one website forever--even if you run your own site. Sooner or later Google will make a change that will bury you. It happens. I see lots of 'old timers' giving up as their revenue plummets instead of realizing the business landscape has shifted under their feet and that they need to revamp, renew and rework.

You can't count on writing an article once and making money forever. Not anymore.

6.Rework old articles to extend their net life. Improve the SEO. Give them more back links. Make your older stuff work for you somehow. Be creative about it.

7.Don't expect much. Passive revenue is all about hitting critical mass which takes time. Gone are the eHow days of instant earnings, we are in the new era of 'slow and steady wins the race.' Content may take months and months to mature. My Hubpages that earn income have taken a year to show a profit (although I don't promote them so maybe I could've shortened that timeline a bit).

8.Don't buy a bunch of gimmicks and expensive gear. I see a lot of people trying to sell various 'make money online' products when I know they themselves are not successful. They're selling a product of dubious quality, not their personal experience and expertise.

9.Start blogging to create back links. This is a good way to immediately give your content a boost. There are many free platforms. Start several blogs in your topic areas, update as you wish and use them for backlinks. So long as you post unique content every once in a while, the blog will eventually rank as a good do follow back link. Much easier than writing a bunch of ezine articles. Plus, if one of the blogs gets good traffic, you can monetize it.

10. Get into social media. Google now gives weight to social media back links. So get people talking about your work. Start with Twitter and Facebook and branch out from there. However, be careful not to let social media become a time suck.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Earnings for July 2010 & Making eHow Work For Me (For Once!)

Before I forget...

-eHow: $300 and change. Up about $100 from the last month. Nice.

-Amazon: Still less than $50

-Adsense: More than $20 but not by much. Most of this is Infobarrel, particularly one article that seems to be doing well.

-Suite: Roughly $20 for the month, but actual income was more like $40 since they paid me for accrued earnings from previous months as well.

-Online used book sales: This is a new thing I've been experimenting with. Not sure I'll stick with it, but I did make $200 in used book sales.

My laptop is dying--it was a lemon from day one, the power jack has had constant problems. Replaced it once, it's dying again. New laptop comes in next week! Thank goodness!

So, quickly because my battery is dying and I can't get the power cord to work at the moment...

I am pruning my backlinks today. I even went into my eHow stuff and added links to new articles. So long as I hit the save button, the article doesn't run back through the plagiarism filter. eHow is not an 'official' back link, but it does drive traffic and a lot of my eHow articles get great traffic.

Just thought I would mention that in case any one is trying to get some traffic to new articles since the eHow WCP closed.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Catching Up

Wow, I haven't posted since May! Didn't think it was that long!

Quick earnings update:

eHow: $260
Suite: $0
Amazon: Less than $50

Suite: $0
Amazon: Less than $50 but up $10 over May

So that's that for earnings. I've been pretty bummed about passive income because it seems like eHow killed the entire concept when they changed the WCP program. Niche blogging continues to be the slowest horse in the race for me.

Suite is slowly taking off and is showing the most potential right now, in my opinion. I am also very slowly adding content, so it's partly my fault that I'm not earning more. (My health is better, but I still struggle and have just now regained my strength. Since colds and flu make me super ill, I'm not likely to stay healthy for long. My baby starts preschool this Fall and you know preschool is just code for 'germ factory.' Sigh.)

But I sometimes feel as if the internet changed when eHow changed. The opportunities aren't there like they used to be. Is this the bad economy finally hitting the internet? Will things perk up next year? I don't know.

I was scanning various writing message boards and forums and I don't see anyone crowing about making a ton of money at any one site. There's not a lot of positive chatter about niche blogging either, although maybe people are keeping quiet to cut down on competition--I don't know. From what I see, people seem to be cobbling together income from multiple freelance sources.

I thought it was telling when the Keyword Academy dropped their fees from $66 to $33. People can't or aren't willing to pay $66 in this economy.

I also don't see all the people with e-books on eHow pushing their product. I thought at least someone would rewrite their book for the 'new eHow' because a lot of the info still applies. Just retool a few chapters, cover Demand Studios and you have a saleable product again.

But nope, don't see that happening either.

It's weird. Hopefully this is a lull and sites like Infobarrel will rise to fill the eHow gap.

How's it been for you, since the ehowpocalypse?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mid-Month Check In

Chugging along.

eHow earnings are 1/2 of what they were last month so far. Not good. I'm sorry to see it drop so soon--I was hoping for a few more months of love.

I have to say I am kind of curious on the radio silence now that everything goes through Demand Studios. No one is raving. No one is complaining. What gives? I checked the Alexa rank and ehow is holding steady so they aren't tanking. It's just odd to me that all the chatter has gone mute. I would think that people's ebooks could easily be retooled and sold to newbies same as before--the income stream is still there. So what is going on? Anyone know?

Is Demand Studios offing anyone who dares to talk? I may write a revenue share article for them just to see what's going on for myself.

Adsense took off like a rocket and then petered out before it completed the mission. So I am not sure where I will end up for the month there, but I had hoped to go up another $10 in income at least. Things could still turn around.

Amazon has been dead dead dead. I wonder if their sales are down or something? It is just beyond dead!

Other than that, I'm writing writing writing. Trying to heal still. Getting ready to renew my domains and reflecting on the fact that out of 10 sites, only 3 are showing signs of life. I will probably sell the other domains sometime next year.

Oh! And one of my sites finally hit page rank of 2. Woot!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

April Earnings

I am still alive and kicking, although barely it seems. My health continues to be a challenge. Hopefully this is the last of the bad ju-ju for a while.

Earnings chugged along nicely and boy am I grateful for the power of passive income.

eHow--Almost $400 for 100 articles. It won't last, I know but it was nice to see. I hope to see a few more good months from eHow before they screw us over completely--you know more sweeps are coming once they hit critical mass on content submitted from the DS platform.

Also, it was interesting to see the earnings be so high considering that I have copied some of my content on other sites. So perhaps the penalty of duplicate content is not immediate or a myth? Time will tell.

I do need to get the rest of my content established elsewhere and aging so when eHow pulls the plug on us 'old timers' I still have earning potential.

Suite101--Is going slowly for me because of my health--less than $5. I will make the 10 articles in 3 months deadline by the skin of my teeth. Some of the editors are really picky and the style guidelines feel like a minefield. Every content editor has their own take on the rules so it can be annoying.

However, the editors have been unfailingly professional. Which is a huge and welcome change compared to Demand Studios.

Infobarrel--Is going to be a moneymaker in my humble opinion. I make more there than on Suite101 so far (and I've been targeting good keywords on Suite too). Today I had a $2 click.

Niche Websites: Are chugging along. More on them when I talk about adsense.

Hubpages: Not producing much for me. I still love the format. I suspect they are going to suffer a google smack because there's a lot of crappy spam and international scam types on there churning out low grade content. If they don't clean that up, I think their days are numbered.

Amazon: Could have been better but not horrid either. Less than $50.

Adsense: Hey, whaddaya know? I'm making almost $1 a day. Now to grow that by a factor of 100. My adsense income breaks down roughly like so 40% Niche blogs, 40% Infobarrel, 20% Hubpages. In terms of age, the Hubpages are the oldest in terms of age, followed by the niches, with Infobarrel being my 'youngest' content.

Now to get healthy and find more time in the day to write more content!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not Dead, But Sick Yet Still Working Hard

I am still struggling with my health and therefore am running behind on everything.

Earnings last month... were better by about $50. I'm not going to go back and look it all up to do a break down here at the moment. So we'll leave it at that.

Of course when eHow closed the WCP program, that was a setback. Current earnings are good on eHow, but not what they were last month. I expect it to decline.

My niche blogs seem to be in a steady state. I earn something almost daily BUT I am not making the big bucks yet. I'm trying to really focus on this as I have a few sites that are really taking off. Note that it took me almost a year to get this far, which is not very far. Still it's progress. I am happy to see it's not been a total waste of time.

Also, niche blogging is a SLOW income stream. If I was a better backlinker I probably could've done this faster, but not by much more than a few months. Niches have to age like wine. For the love of blogging...Build that time into your business model!!!!

I have an ebook that I had hoped to publish next month and ummm, yeah, that's probably not going to happen. I haven't been able to work on it for the last month due to illness and medication that gives me the attention span of a hummingbird on speed.

So that's that. What's new with you?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Deal with Demand Studios

Okay, folks, here it is in a nutshell, the down and dirty on Demand Studios.

Their editorial process (and frequently the editors themselves) suck.

This will be the single biggest problem with the change in how eHow operates. Hobbyists who flourished at eHow will not be able to cope with the mercurial nature of Demand Studios editorial review.

If Demand Studios had made a concurrent commitment to improve their editorial process (which has been a big complaint among their writers for years) I would be more optimistic about the big changes at eHow.

But they aren't.

Which means when/if I (or you) write an article about the color Blue and get an editor who tells me I must also mention the Moon Landing or else I'll get a rejection, I will be sh*t out of luck. As will you. This is a common editor issue and Demand Studios has consistently done nothing to address it.

For the time being, until the dust settles, I would do nothing for Demand Studios except upfront pay assignments. With upfront pay, they can't suddenly come back and pull the rug out from under your feet. You know you will never have the rights to the work vs. one day you have them, the next day you don't. I would take the income hit and just focus on other websites to diversify my earnings while waiting to see exactly what rises from the rubble.

And FYI the writing was on the wall for this change according to this interview:

"Large authority site content mills are all the rage in early 2010. Will they still be an effective business model in 2013?

It's tough to see how this could be quickly and effectively reined in, at least not by algorithm. I assume that this kind of empty filler content is not very useful for visitors — it certainly isn't for me. So I also assume it must be on Google's radar.

I'd say there's a certain parallel to the paid links war, and Google's first skirmishes in that arena gave then a few black eyes. So I expect any address to the cheap content mills to be taken slowly, and mostly by human editorial review.

The problem here is that every provider of freelance content is NOT providing junk - though some are. As far as I know, there is no current semantic processing that can sort out the two."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Surviving the Ehowpocalypse

I have been sick and in the hospital so I haven't been online as much. It figures the day I start trying to catch up, ehow shuts down the writer's compensation program. I did kind of call it, didn't I? In the sense that I said the Terms of Service would be changing.

Here's what I think you need to do... and I'm not wasting words because I'm still pretty sick.

1.Get your articles up someplace else that doesn't care if it's duplicate content. I would not do a wholesale delete of ehow content because we might still be able to get some money in the short term. However, I would not expect that to last and, on the forums, the mods had said that, going forward, all terms could change and they specifically mentioned payment. Do not expect to continue to make money from ehow.

Expect at some point that your content will disappear or that you will remove it. So lining up another home is preparing for that moment. It will probably hurt your earnings short term, but should be a good move long term.

2.Rewrite your top earners for sites like Infobarrel, Hubpages, or Suite101 and other sites. (You need an Adsense account stat by the way.) You are going to need twice the amount of content on other sites to approximate eHow earnings, so get ready to work like a dog.

3.Build good back links to your new content.

4.Eventually, kill back links to ehow content.

5.Do the $1 trial at The Keyword Academy and learn everything you can about niche blogging. You need a new business model, this is a good one to explore and the skills will translate to almost anything you do online.

Do you have anything to add to this list?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ehow Stealing Again??????

Wow. I have pretty much been staying away from eHow of late and focusing on other revenue streams, but today I pop into the forums and what do I find?

A thread where writers are discovering that eHow is taking their article images and using them on other content elsewhere. Also, the hyperlinks associated with writers' images are being redirected to Demand Studios content NOT the original contributor and owner of the image.

Here's  a link to the eHow forum thread on this issue.  I have a terrible head cold so I haven't been able to fully process the effect of this deceit, but here are some quotes from the conversation on it that I think are edifying... (Note: The wonky formatting is not my doing, it's just how it pasted into the Blogger template.)

"Here is another example of unfair eHow global photo banks.....Here you will find my image of Bailey and her Hot you would think that My image would link to my article...nope it goes to another eHow members article.  My image is shared with all, not one person asked me if they could use it.   I get no traffic from my how is this fair?????"

"Personally I think we should convey a message to eHow that using our images on other  writers articles is unacceptable.  My kitten image took me 7 hours to shoot, I laid in a bush and waited for those kittens to strike a pose...It is not a stock image and it is not up for grabs ....It is protected with a creative commons Lic...and it is indicated on my intro not copy, all rights reserved but eHow took it without my permission, and I am not happy.  "

"I had this same problem.  LiveStrong...a Demand Media site, was using one of my images with MY TITLE and linking it to a Contributing DS writer of a different article.  I was VERY PISSED!  I wrote to DM and boisterously complained.  It took a few weeks, but they finally have the image linking to MY article.  I'm okay with that.  That's a good backlink.  I'll take traffic from LiveStrong any day.

Susan, you need to do the same thing.  Write to DM and demand that they either provide a proper backlink to your article, if they are going to use that photo, or else take it down. Request that your demand go to the Content Editor. 

I had to complain twice, before it got changed, btw."

"Wow. Wow. Wow. Is this ever WRONG! I just did some checking and so far, ALL THE IMAGES I checked--pictures I took of projects I did myself ALL LEAD TO DS contributing writers' articles instead of mine. That is, the first of the two choices one is given in a Google search. The first choice always being the larger of the two images. For example, my biggest traffic draw EVER is the Wild THing Muppet, and the article it links to is not mine! THat is ME IN THE PHOTO and you don't have my permission to use me for your own purposes!
Excuse me, but up until now I thought some of the complainers were going over the top in wanting to shut eHow down, and I still would rather just see eHow start practicing GOOD FAITH and LEGALITY, but if this continues, you bet I will be pushing for a shut down of this scam site. I want my pictures pointing to MY articles and only MY articles."

Don't know why the below is in bold (I hate it when Blogger goes wonky), but here are some final thoughts...

What do you think? Is this okay for them to do this? Unfortunately, one legal issue I can think of is that licenses from sites such as istockphoto probably do not permit this kind of wholesale use of their artists' work.   In my cold medicine haze, I can't lay my eyes on the WCP terms of use but I think use of photos is probably covered in their TOU (although as I've always said, just because it's in the TOU doesn't make it right nor mean it can't be changed). However, eHow needs to disclose exactly how they will use those photos so people don't end up in trouble with third party photo licenses.  

It's not helping that they do all this crap in secret.

On top of that, there still may be the legal issue of unfair competition. It's unfair and unethical for eHow to take people's work and use it against them to undermine their earnings.  

Here is some great information on unfair competition.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Niche Blogging Back Link Strategy

I have recently discovered the concept of do follow blogs and do follow forums. So I am making a list and plan to target these sites as a means to acquire back links.

If you are interested in doing the same, just google do follow blogs and do follow forums.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Earnings Addendum

I realized I forgot to mention a few things in regards to earnings...

1. My eHow UK 'compensation' was a joke at $29. This came in January though not February.

2.Adsense earnings came primarily from: My own sites, Infobarrel, and a tiny bit from Hubpages. Even though my own sites are now outearning Infobarrel, it has taken since July 09 to get there. Infobarrel earned much, much faster. Working on a site with pre-established page rank really helps.

Only... I still don't know what Hubpages' problem is. WHY am I not seeing more money there???? I don't get it at all. And I continue to write hubs, which seems like a waste of time.

Oh, and the Suite 101 editor loved my article and said it was "fantastic" so phew.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Earnings

March earnings are in and...

I'm still treading water at $300 a month.

If February had been a bit longer, I would've earned an extra $20 which would put me back where I was on eHow earnings-wise before everything nose dived. I am slowly weaning myself off ehow because I can't trust that it will always be a source of income. So I spend less time on the forums. Less time on articles and more time elsewhere.

Adsense grew quite a bit for me. From $14 in Jan to $20. Wow! Finally some progress! I can almost afford a pizza! I am living the niche blogging dream!

Amazon is always a crap shoot, but it performs well for me. Over $50 in February. No way to know what it will do in March.

I heard from Life123 that my one article I submitted (before they shut down) hit the $5 mark. I haven't been paid for it though and don't know if I ever will.

Same with Seed. They owe me $30. As far as I know, I've done what I was supposed to do in order to trigger payment. A month later, nothing.

I am back on Suite 101 and just sent in my first article. Which I hated my article, but I have some weird mental block about Suite since I had a bad editor experience the first time I tried to write there. I have literally agonized over this one stupid 400 word article for almost 2 weeks! Insane! And I still think it sucks. I just closed my eyes and hit submit anyways. I need to get past the hump and move forward. Hopefully, I get a nicer editor this time.

I saw that Maria a.k.a. Writergig left a comment in response to my censure of the lack of honesty/disclosure from those writers/bloggers/ebook authors making money off the ehow craze. While she may feel she is above board well... I don't know, I still think there's an ethical and moral obligation to be sure people understand what happened on ehow so newbies go in with their eyes open. There's still a lot of 'ehow is great' rah-rahing going on and I feel for new writers who have no idea what the history is with ehow and how fast the industry can spin on a dime.

Besides, there's a lot of confusion about what happened on ehow which has led to lots of misinformation and conspiracy theories--people need to be able to sort the wheat from the chafe.

So, is there money to be made on ehow?


Is ehow great?

I would say no. I don't think anyone should be encouraging others to think they can make a huge income just by writing at ehow alone. I think the game has changed, the internet has shifted under our keyboards. We are writing in a brave new world now. It would be nice if those who have gone before, showed the rest of us the way.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hilarious Video about Writing for Demand Studios

Oh. My. Gawd. This is hysterical. I laughed until I cried. If you write for Demand Studios or are thinking about it, this is a must see.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ehow January Earnings and UK Update and a note on Life123 and

January has come to a close on the heels of an announcement from Demand Media promising to "generously" compensate eHow writers whose content was used on the UK site to the detriment of writer earnings.

I see lots of people saying they don't understand the UK issue and telling the complainers to be quiet. Respectfully, I say if you admit you don't understand the UK issue, then it is you who needs to be quiet. This was a big deal--it is the writers that shape the industry just as much as the clients/content mills/magazines/editors etc.... What the writers do matters and if you haven't taken the time to figure out what does matter then you have no business having any opinion at all. In this case, the writers won an amazing victory that will benefit writers for years to come because it will shape the web content business model in a material way.

In other news, Life 123, the content site that paid based on views, abruptly closed up shop this past week. They say they'll pay their writers, but we'll see. I smell a scam here. All those people who wrote content that hadn't yet had time to mature to the $20 pay out level are probably going to lose out.

Life123 illustrates that nothing is forever in this industry and if all your eggs are in one basket, you're asking for trouble.

As for It seems very professional. The assignments are more journalistic, looking for expert interviews and the like, than other content mills. But there is a distinct lack of a good style guide and comprehensive writer guidelines. You're left to try and figure out a lot of things on your own, which probably plays into the rejection rate on Seed. So, write at your own risk. The pay is good, but it's competitive and editor response times are slow. Recently, prices went down with the disappearance of the $100-$200 assignments. I wonder if Seed will eventually realize that, if their competitors are only paying $15 per 500 words, then why should they pay $20 or $30?

Okay, so earnings.

1. eHow is still down from November's high, but the earnings are still there. I'm off about 20% and haven't seen any positive growth for 2 months. I'm averaging $2 an article. I had one $20 day and one $15 day and the rest were below average. I've even added articles in an attempt to boost earnings and it doesn't seem to be helping. The UK's negative effect on earnings is much more pervasive, I think, than people realize.

2.Adsense is picking up. This is due, in large part, to Infobarrel. I am seeing clicks most days of the week. The totals are still low. $12 last month. $14 this month. Not getting rich, but seeing any up tick in activity is a positive change for me.

3. Amazon is down from the Xmas shopping high, but still respectable at more than $50. I have had some affiliate sales from Infobarrel articles.

4.Niche sites. Of the crappy niches I am working, a few are starting to show some potential. Even had some ad clicks. I really need to devote myself to this--which I think I've said this umpteen times here. The truth is, for me (because it's different for others), life with a small toddler is much more conducive to one-off articles than strategic web site campaigns. But we'll see.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Commentary on the eHow UK Debacle

As most of you are aware by now, eHow 'cloned' 'mirrored' or 'copied' (no one can agree on a term and eHow doesn't like the term 'cloned') the US site and launched it in the UK. Along the way, they turned the 'laws' of SEO on their head and made it so that UK content outranked the US site. All of sudden earnings, mine included, were in the toilet.

If you are not familiar with SEO, the way Google is supposed to work is by recognizing the original publisher of content and ranking them higher than scraped duplicate content. Somehow eHow scraped writers' articles and then outranked the original writers on the US site. They basically subverted traffic and revenue to the cloned site.

To make things worse, eHow denied and denied and denied that there was a problem. Only through the persistence of a few vocal writers did eHow finally investigate and admit the UK site was the root cause of the earnings drop. eHow then agreed to remove US scraped content but that has yet to happen.

Now it's members against members--arguing amongst ourselves like a dog chasing a tail. One faction of members are afraid if writers make too big of a stink that eHow will shut down the Writers Compensation Program (WCP).

The other faction is, rightfully so, pointing out that if they hadn't spoken up, eHow wouldn't have done anything and one of the premiere passive revenue sites on the internet would've ceased to be profitable for writers. So kudos to the people who stood up and pushed and jumped up and down until eHow finally paid attention.

None of the writers making money off of selling ebooks spoke up against eHow, which is interesting to me and it is one reason why I have not signed up for any affiliate programs. I don't want my income sources to erode my ethics. I'll use a referral code here and there, but that's about it (and I never make money from those anyway, although I keep hoping!).

Ultimately, pushing eHow to deal with this issue is to their benefit in the long run (as well as that of the writers). If the company undermined the WCP to the point where no one made any money, I have to wonder what would happen to the site. Or the initial public offering they keep talking about. Probably not good things.

The reality is, if the WCP had been completely subverted by eHow's content scraping and mirror tricks, all the writers would've moved on to greener pastures, quickly making some other site the best new thing in revenue income. The influx of so many experienced content providers, would have further eroded the eHow brand while, at the same, time strengthening competitors.

Again, I say, it's really to eHow's benefit to remove the cloned content. The writers would've suffered in the short run, but would land on their feet in the end. There are waaaaay too many competitors looking to eat up eHow's market share for their not to be an influx of new opportunities. Competition is already happening without eHow helping it along.

But what about the Terms of Use (TOU) everyone asks. Well what about it? Yes, eHow can use our content as they see fit. Yes the TOU does say this, but I would argue there are some holes in the TOU. eHow is not completely free of liability here. Also, my personal expectation, would be some disclosure of how they plan/planned to screw over writers.

I would have never written for eHow in the first place if they had told me they were going to ever do what they did and I think a lot of other writers would've avoided them as well. It's one thing to use our content to build a distinct non-eHow brand elsewhere, another thing to use our content as a mirrored funnel that bypasses our accounts.

I would expect a new TOU to be issued as eHow works to rectify what went so horribly wrong with their UK business plan.

And make no mistake, this is a failure on eHow's part. They made some serious mistakes. I hope they take the time resolve them in a way that is equitable for all parties.

Lastly, eHow is still the best paying revenue sharing site on the internet. However, that could all change this year depending on the choices they make and what the competition does. 2010 is going to be a crucible for eHow. Will they burn or rise like a phoenix?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hubpages: Answering Questions

So Maria read my last post and asked:

"I am a UK resident and wanting to start on hubpages and then on to suite101 when I build experience.Unfortunately I don't have such a large choice of good residual or upfront income writing sites. I can't seem to get to the bottom of whether hubpages is worth writing for I have looked at their page rank and its pretty decent but you have a very negative view of it. Could you please elaborate a bit on why you don't think it is a good earner? Also, what do you do when you find a good keyword based on the amount and quality of the competition and you check hubpages and somebody has already used that keyword. Can you place modifiers before or after the keyword? Can you still compete effectively with the other hubpages contributors for that keyword? Excuse all the questions, but after reading around a lot I haven't found a lot of objective information about hubpages except for your site. With thanks for all your kind help."

Truthfully, Maria, I have no idea if HP is a good idea or not. I don't think my experience makes for a full data set. However, I know from my earnings on eHow that I am not an SEO idiot ergo I would expect to be more successful on HP. The fact that I am not, is suspicious.

I love the Hubpages format. It's elegant, easy and there's multimedia. I would love to make my residual income 'home' on Hubpages, but after 12 hubs and some backlinking and time to allow the search engines to find me, I have not seen enough earnings to justify spending any more time on HP. And yes, I know 12 hubs is nothing, you need a lot of hubs just like you need a lot of eHow articles. However, I still would expect to see some earnings. Even on eHow, I earned with just 2 articles when I first started out.

I do hear many people talking about a google 'smack down' that pushed HP off the first page. I would hazard a guess that this is true. HP is not getting the traffic that eHow is and is nowhere near as competitive as eHow or even Infobarrel for that matter. I know for a fact that traffic is better on eHow and Infobarrel, because I can compare that data point for my content one-to-one against Hubpages.

As for keyword modifiers, yes you can use them. How well you can compete against other people targeting the same keyword is going to be a factor of the long tail keywords you use in the article and the back linking you do.

Using HP as a training ground for Suite 101 is probably a good idea. I would not go into Suite 101 completely green on web writing. You can even join eHow and post some content there for additional experience ( you just can't earn any money). I would write on topics you want to address at Suite so you can use your HP work as a back link. eHow's links are 'no follow' but they can still drive traffic so you can also market your Suite work there.

Hope that helps!

Friday, January 1, 2010

November & December Earnings and What to Do for 2010?

I've been pretty busy with lots of family holiday type stuff and haven't been able to update.

In November and December, I made roughly $300 from all sources each month, so $600 for both months together. However, eHow took a nose dive in December and I feel lucky to only end up $40 short of the November's total and that other earning sources came in high enough to cover the eHow shortfall.

Because eHow is incredibly secretive, I can't say for sure, but my gut says I am missing a day or two of earnings updates. I know they swear up and down that there is never a problem, but eHow's parent company, Demand Studios, did manage to accidentally overpay their writers in December. Call me skeptical, but I don't really think eHow has a good handle on their IT platforms. Anyway, my dates on views, articles, and earnings went wonky mid-December and just never came back right that I saw.

Now, of course, you can't even see your eHow earnings due to some year end glitch that takes everything off line. So I can't even tell you my final total for December or for the year! Grrrrr.

Do I sound jaded? Well, I admit I'm a little less than enthralled with eHow at the moment.

However, income from other sources is not exactly blowing me away, so eHow is still the best paying gig online when it comes to residual income.

Hubpages brought in zero earnings in December and under $5 in November. Infobarrel netted less than $4 the last two months and I was even on the front page at one point! Adsense is down too, but I was never making much to begin with, except that one time when I had a time sensitive topic that made it to #1 on Google.

Amazon is my saving grace right now. Earnings there have steadily grown and I need to find ways to leverage that into even more income.

As for 2010... I am reserving judgment on my strategy as I'm waiting to see how some things play out with eHow--there are some serious ethical issues with their business practices that I need to get a feel for. However, when people mention their earnings on message boards and blogs, I can see that I am outperforming them. Maybe I just need to deal with the shadiness and just go for it on eHow, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don't like being lied too, even by omission which seems to be eHow's preferred method. I also don't like being exploited.

Other than that, I probably need to abandon my niches (either selling the sites later this year or using them for links) and start new ones that are better researched.

And that's it.