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Helium Revisited

Helium got back to me un-snarling my security question way faster than I followed up after I got squared away. They have some truly nice, interesting and helpful people there. (You know who you are.) And just to be clear, I’m the one who made the initial mistake, mistyping my mother’s maiden name of all things.

Anyway, it turns out that, at least in theory, I’ve made way more money so far with Helium than with Associated Content and Triond. The total at the moment is $5.04. I say in theory because in order to collect I’ve got to earn $25 accumulated. And I’ve got to have something called a rating star. As I understand it to get my first star I’ve got to get 40 “rates” within 90 days. 

As I recall, part of the Helium game is to rate other people’s articles. I assume that’s where my rating might come from. Rating takes time, not a whole lot of time, but it does require some effort. I frankly don’t understand what Helium is trying to accomplish with the rating system. It seems unlikely people who buy the articles would be too concerned, but maybe I’m wrong.

Helium, like Associated Content, let’s publishers post writing needs complete with price. I didn’t look at all of them, but it looks like most are around $20-$25 which is certainly better than the SEO articles for $3 we see so often.

If I were going to work these sites for real experience and profit I’d probably do something like I did this time. Write one article that I can spin three ways. I’d study the rules and I’d do what I could do to promote myself, including having my own website where I’d point to all three services and to my individual articles.

It’s entirely possible that if I were just beginning my freelance writing career I’d even be a little excited about these sites. After all, I waited for 6 weeks for my first two rejections from magazines. In that length of time I might have made a buck or two online.

Is anyone submitting to print magazines these days?

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • I have submitted to magazines and ezines in the past and will be returning to submitting to these again very shortly as well as continuing on with my online work but I have started a new job very recently outside the home and will now be limited for time. I will not give up writing and reading either.

    Happy Easter weekend!

    Michelle Kafka’s last blog post..Poetry: Neon Nightlife

  • To paraphrase L’Oreeal:

    $1/word — because I’m worth it!

    Devon Ellington’s last blog post..Thursday, April 9, 2009

  • It is true that writers used to more traditional freelance pay opportunities may consider $40 to $200 (approx. $70 avg) per short article (500-word avgs) — which is common fare in Helium’s Freelance Marketplace — lower than what they have been used to.

    It is also true that the availability of higher paying gigs has shrunk. Helium is helping writers fill in the gaps. It may take more pieces to reach previous pay rates, but these are usually much shorter and less involved. Those that require research are not usually too time consuming. The higher paying gigs often require more research.

    But every writer must make his own choices about where to spend time. Busy freelancers often moonlight at Helium. Most add Helium to the many freelance revenue streams they can in a given month.

  • I’ve been working for print magazines, Anne. $1/word in most cases. I dropped one because it was less than 10 cents a word and involved entirely too much research and interviewing.

    Lori’s last blog post..Yes Virginia, There Really Are Stupid Questions

  • Thanks for the insight, Anne. I’m glad that Helium seems like such a good place, and it’s great that Barbara Whitlock took the time to leave comments and information.

    But, come on, $5.04? $20-25/article? Yeah, it’s better than Demand Studios, but I’ll stick to the 50 cents to $1/word for articles, thank you very much.

    I’ve been focusing on the book deadlines, the plays, and the editing jobs lately, but I’m getting ready to get out a bunch of queries and submissions to print magazines. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Devon Ellington’s last blog post..Thursday, April 9, 2009

  • Hi Anne,

    Virtual doors always open!

    Please know that peer review is our front line team to man the quality gate. But also realize we complement that with many layers of oversight — from volunteer stewards who coordinate different channel areas to article reviewers and fact-checkers. Staff partners with these empowered volunteers, which all add smany layers of oversight to complement the peer review process.

  • admin

    Barbara, “Helium collects articles in shared title groups.” is significant information, particularly when coupled with the seo info as you do here… didn’t find that on the site. But I”m not sure that it contributes to quality.

    Rating might contribute to quality, and it certainly keeps Helium from having to hire a bunch of editors. I know when I’ve worked to networked sites editing was either non-existing or patchy at best. I’d be happier if Helium simply stated we want you to rate articles for quality so we don’t have to hire a bunch of editors… I’m all for transparency, really.

    Like Isaac, even that 10 minutes seems like a long time… it isn’t. It only feels that way because I’ve got other things I want to do. If I were seriously trying to make a living with your site and others it would be simple enough.

    I’ll check in from time-to-time.

  • Isaac

    I dunno. I’m running out of time for these things.

    Isaac’s last blog post..Fun with Rambo

  • Hey Anne — this is great news. Helium is a warm, supportive, helpful and welcoming place. Stick around and you might have more fun and earnings.

    Here’s a great beginning place for new writers — gets you up to speed in less than a week: http://www.helium.com/zone/2147-first-steps-success-tips-for-new-helium-writers

    Let me explain the rating process, because it is at the heart of the Helium difference in web writing (that and our Marketplace where our writers earn well on paid gigs sponsored by our 100s of magazine, web and — increasingly — newspaper publishing partners).

    Most websites simply warehouse a writer’s work. Helium collects articles in shared title groups. This is a jackpot for SEO effectiveness, with strong keyword density, and it’s a great incentive to ensure high quality.

    Writers rate articles in the channels to which they’ve contributed, so each member helps assess all the content for quality. Your rates (plus tens of thousand others) translate into rank placements for articles. You only need to commit 10 minutes 2-3 times one week to get that first (and only needed) rating star. 10 minutes once a week should hold hit, if you rate attentively.

    The Helium red carpet is rolled out to you and anyone else: bwhitlock@helium.com. Welcome wagon to follow!

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