Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review of Top 5 Internet Sites That Pay You to Write

1. Constant Content: If you’re a professional or semi-professional freelance writer, this site was made for you. Constant Content works by creating a virtual “marketplace” where authors can set prices for articles and post those article in hopes of attracting interested buyers. Authors have the option to sell, one-time, unique, or exclusive rights to buyers, similar to Associated Content. Also, buyers can send out requests to authors to write articles centered around certain themes or ideas, along with the amount of money the buyers are willing to pay for those articles. Constant Content makes money by taking a portion of the sale price – about 35% -- for each article sold. This large fee, however, is compensated for by the high prices that most articles sell for – sometimes as much as 250$ for a 1000 word article.

Overall, the site seems legitimate. While I haven’t sold articles on Constant Content directly, I have a close friend who has, and he has been impressed by both the professionalism of the buyers on the site and the amount of money that authors can make from selling only a few articles per month.

2. Seed: Another great place for aspiring freelance writers is Seed.com. The content generated on Seed is distributed through a network of affiliated sites, most notably AOL. Articles are generated from assignments sent out from the site editors and can cover a range of topics, everything from history lessons for kids to stories about crazy road trips. While the pay is not quite as high as Constant Content, a 400 word article can still generate upwards of 25 dollars per article. Experienced authors can also easily receive 20+ article assignments per month. They also have an alternative performance pay system, but their upfront pay system is so good that my friend has never bothered to write anything for performance pay only.

Seed seems to me to be a site that caters to authors looking for a series of assignments that offer a one time, upfront payment. While I have again not personally written for this site, the same close friend who wrote for Constant Content also highly recommended this site and regularly uses article assignments to supplement his income to the tune of an extra 1,000-1,500 dollars per month.

3. E-How: Among the “performance pay” internet sites – sites that pay users based on advertisement performance on their site instead of upfront – E-How is probably the most well known. I used E-How to find out how to make sushi rice long before I realized that they were part of the pay for content scene. As with Associated Content, they are mostly a pay for content site, with pay coming as a cut of the ad performance from your articles. I believe that they also have a program similar to the “featured contributor” program at Associated Content that allows certain authors to collect upfront pay.

My sentiments about E-How are mixed. On the one hand, they have arguably the most name recognition of the pay for content sites, meaning that the articles on their site, over time, probably have more traffic than the other choices. However, in order to get any of your hard earned performance pay, you have to build up ten dollars on each individual article (as opposed to an aggregate system on sites like Associated Content). Because of that restriction right there, I have never been able to generate even a single payment from the several E-How articles I’ve submitted. I’m not a big fan.

4. Helium: Helium is a good site for people who like to write niche articles about technical or specialized topics. They have a mix of performance pay and upfront payments, similar to Associated Content, with the upfront payments tending to be slightly higher than those on AC.

The main detraction that I’ve seen so far with the articles I’ve submitted there is that their traffic tends to be much lower than Associated Content, meaning lower performance payments. Also, Helium tends to only pay upfront for a very limited selection of articles, most of them quite technical in nature. Still, their terms are better than E-How.

5. Associated Content: Associated Content is somewhat akin to a glorified blog: you can literally post almost anything and see if it generates you any money. I’ve seen everything from old term papers to travel guides to poetry and everything in-between. Have some old documents on your hard drive that you need to delete? Stick them on Associated Content and see if they make some money!

So far, I’ve had good experiences with Associated Content. My page views per day have been increasing every day for the last few weeks, and I think that the rate of 1.50-2.00 dollars per thousand views is generous. By comparison, my blog has had over 5,000 page views and it averages about 40 cents per thousand – not very good.

Bottom Line: If you’re serious about making a living from writing online content, try Constant Content or Seed. If you’re writing for fun and lunch money, stick with Helium and Associated Content. Stay away from E-How.

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