Write for money online series - Part II - Associated Content

by Xin Lu on 30 January 2009 14 comments

In the first part of this series about writing for money online  I covered a relatively new revenue sharing site named Bukisa.  Today I am reviewing a much more established website called Associated Content. I joined this site over a year ago so I have a bit more experience with how it works.

Website use and feel

Since I have joined Associated Content they did a revamp of the site, and now it looks much more polished than before.  When you publish content you select the publishing rights and payment style first, and then select the type of content you want to publish.  Then it is fairly straight forward.  Overall I would say that Associated Content has more steps than  a lot of other  sites, but it also gives you more control over all the things you want to input.  The ads on this site are also quite nicely done and not very overcrowded.

Allowable content

Associated Content allows people to upload text,video, audio, and also slideshows.  I think the slideshow option is also pretty interesting because people can just upload their vacation photos and possibly get paid.  You must be the owner of the content you produce.

Copyright

Associated Content has a Master License Agreement here.  You can choose to grant either exclusive license, non-exclusive license, or display only license.  Exclusive license basically means that your content cannot be published elsewhere and Associated Content has the right to do anything to the content.  Non-exlusive license means that your content could not be published elsewhere right now, but you can publish it later elsewhere, but you also give Associated Content the right to use your work for other revenue.  Display only license means that your content could have been already published and Associated Content can only display it and not resell it. The different levels of licensing affects what types of earnings your content could get.

Payment details

Associated Content pays in two ways.  First, you could receive an upfront payment for each article, and then also receive a performance payment for page views.  If you grant only a display only license then you cannot receive upfront payments, but you can receive performance payments only.  If you are just starting out, the performance payment is $1.50 for 1000 pageviews, and then there is a tiered system where if you have more pageviews you get paid more.  The maximum is $2.00 for 1000 pageviews, but your articles  have to have more than 1 million pageviews collectively to be at that level.  That is very hard to accomplish.    This is why I said that $3.95 for 1000 pageviews at Bukisa is quite good. Associated Content pays very promptly and you only need $1.00 for a payout to Paypal.  Everytime you have a payment they will send you an email to confirm your Paypal address.  After you confirm your address the payment is sent very rapidly.

The upfront payment option also comes with a manual review process.  Basically, you have to submit your article and wait for an editor to approve your article for payment.  This can take several days. If you are submitting your article for performance payment only then you do not have to go through that review.  I have had my articles rejected for upfront payment for reasons like, "this article does not contain keywords we can monetize".

The most I have gotten for an upfront payment was $4.01.  Just a few months ago Associated Content allowed you to submit previously published content for upfront payment, so I submitted articles I already had on my personal blog and edited them a little bit.  Now they no longer allow previously published items for upfront payment and most upfront payments are around $3.00.  Associated Content also has something called "calls", which are basically assignments of topics writers can write about.  Sometimes these calls can be $5.00 for news items. So after one year, I have earned $73.00 for around 20 articles, and most of it was upfront payments. I have received around $2.50 for performance payments because I do not promote my articles very much.

Associated Content also has contests that reward top content producers and they work like a bonus payment.  The winners of these generally have thousands of articles and millions of views.

Conclusion

Associated Content actually has a lot of quality articles because of the manual review process, but the pay is quite low.  If you are a good content promoter then you could be paid more than $1.50 to $2.00 for 1000 page views very easily at other sites or at your own blog.  With that said, I think it is a decent place for people to practice their writing because there is a manual review.  You can also study what kind of articles are popular so you can post similar articles on other sites for more pay.  I actually enjoy reading a lot of the articles on AC because they are well written.  One thing that prevents me from submitting more articles is that I can no longer republish my edited blog articles for upfront payment, so it is no longer worth the effort because I would have to submit completely original articles.  So if you do intend to use AC, I would advise submitting some stuff you have already written but not published online.  Then you should probably choose the non-exclusive license to get an upfront payment and then republish the content elsewhere.
 

 

 

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Guest's picture
Guest

Like the other site you wrote about, this one is also a waste of time for individuals who are professionally trained writers and who research and write original articles. (Not just rewrite, revise and basically copy other stuff on the Web, which is what a lot of the stuff on these sites offer up.)

This is a worse insult to real writers than the paltry pennies per word that some businesses now pay since everybody now thinks they are writers. (Just because you can type and/or post online, doesn't mean you can write. Look at the junk that fills the Web to see why professional writers don't even bother trying to get work anymore. If people who are hiring can't tell the difference between what is out there and professional work, and many cannot, it's no wonder they won't pay for it.)

Writing for page views? That's not writing folks. That's a method of payment, set by people who do not write.

Just because someone clicks on a page to see something, doesn't mean it's read or even worth reading.

Professional writers and/or those with something to say, would do better off with their own blogs and taking some form of advertising.

The amount of time and energy needed to write articles worth reading is in no way compensated by these types of online companies.

Guest's picture
Guest

You have a valid point, but the writer of this article is just evaluating these sites, and like she has continuously said, these sites are not necessarily for professional writers -- every one has the right to express themselves, why not make some money, too.

I, however, have a suggestion for you... why, instead of "just" (and I didn't say "not") criticizing the writer's ideas, you don't mention suggestions of sites that are in fact good for professional writers. You seem to be informed about the process. And I'm saying this because by just criticizing you don't accomplish anything positive. And if you are a writer, and perhaps professional at that, your aim should be to build up -- not tear down.

Guest's picture
Guest

First of all, every writer has to decide his or her standards as a "writing professional". Is someone who writes ad copy a professional writer? Is someone who writes catchy headlines a professional?

Next, it helps to get exposure and page views. Just from writing on AC, I've gotten other jobs and diverse comments.

But here is what really helps with AC: residuals, also known as monthly page views. Write an article for a magazine and you might get a higher upfront payment but will you get payments monthly, for the SAME article? At AC, you can. As long as people search for the info, you get page views and some articles get quite a few views....every single month. Some writers there get a steady $800 or more monthly and never have to write another word.

Maybe that gives them more time to write on even more professional writing. Just a thought.

Guest's picture
Guest

Exactly what constitutes a "professional" or a "real" writer? I suggest the use of a dictionary as to the definition of "professional". If you write, you are a "real writer". No one person can decide who does and who does not qualify. As to writing on AC, yes, the pay is minimal, but many choose to publish articles on AC for other reasons. Some do so for future promotion of work, and regardless of their reasons, these writers do not deserve to be accused of "rewriting,revising,and basically copying other stuff on the web". The business of writing is just that...business. How you run your business is a separate issue than your ability as a writer.
Personally, I have found the writers on Associated Content vastly superior to the majority of these "professionals" who are being paid to write for newspapers and many magazines.

Xin Lu's picture
Xin Lu

hmm...I'm guessing you're the same Guest that commented on my previous post.  I have already said previously that not everyone can be professional writers.  Wise Bread is also a site that pays writers by pageviews received by articles, and I think a lot of things here are worth reading.  People have the freedom to write and read whatever they want on the web, and if you're insulted by it you don't have to participate. It doesn't hurt to figure out what works for you. 

Guest's picture
Guest (The one from the other article)

No, I didn't post the comments above, but given that they tend to agree with my comments I'm not surprised at the confusion.

I'm still tagging along to see how the numbers pan out. I like how Xin is approaching the reviews, and her articles do contain practical information.

But to keep this in perspective, one company I used to write paid $100 - 150 per article for decent submissions (this is for short online articles, not full length print features).

Some indie publications, like Brave New Traveler and Matador pay $25. That's three articles for the price of 20 at AC.

I agree with Xin that not everyone can and will be a professional writer, but why not write something meaningful that isn't going to get lost in a sea of thousands of other articles?
Write for an independent publication. Write for a charity. Write a blog.

My point is to write, but do it in a meaningful place and in a meaningful way.

Xin Lu's picture
Xin Lu

I think these are good questions.  Why should you write for these sites rather than your own blog?  I will write about that in a final conclusion. 

Guest's picture
Guest

If you post online, expect comments that may be construed as criticism.

I wasn't criticizing the writer of this article, per se, but rather this whole slew of sites for "writers." I think they're mislabeled.

FYI: I don't owe the people who comment here or this writer a list of who pays for articles online. (I spend a lot of time trying to find people who pay. It's the equivalent of say an accurate Media contact list. Companies sell those for lots of dollars. Why would I give away the names of my clients, that I took a long time to find? Think about it. it's like saying: Hey, here's my contact list that I worked years to develop. Feel free to solicit them. Find them on your own, like the rest of us do.)

After all, I'm not the one who is being paid to write about places where you can make money online.

There are places online that have written up such information, beyond what you've seen in these two articles. Some searching will quickly turn them up.

What you'll see is that if you just want to write, as opposed to making an income, which is something a professional writer is trying to do for a living, not a lark, that it really pays to just blog or set up your own site and post.

My criticism is that most of these places are not worth your time, professional writer or otherwise. That's an opinion, to which I'm entitled without having to justify or augment with the names of places where you can make money.

And what is your intention with what you write? To provide information? Then think about which sites and companies might really need it and pitch to them.

Can't find anyplace or anyone? Then, create your own site or blog. If you have an authentic voice, your audience will find you. (And I have lots of respect for the many bloggers who work tirelessly and with little compensation, if any, because they have something they believe in and want to share/say with the world. That's very different than people who just want to "write" and make some quick money.)

It's work getting work as a writer. In fact, it's often much more work than the actual research and writing for a final article/product.

Actually, my real issue is with these companies who pay nothing (or next to it) to all these people who want to write. Some of those people are good writers with something to say but they are not compensated appropriately by these "word mills."

Guest's picture
Beth

I honestly don't know what to think of these websites so I'm grateful for Xin's reviews and the comments they are generating.

After seeing some of the numbers I can't help but agree with some of the guest comments. These sites seem like sweat shops for writers if they pay so little.

The problem is that it takes people a different amount of time to writer. If you can write those 20 articles in five hours, then that's almost $15 an hour pay. However, if it takes you ten hours, then you're earning below minimum wage (at least here in Canada). If it takes you twenty hours... Well, you get the picture.

In case anyone's curious, the Professional Writers Association of Canada has suggested pay rates for freelance writers here: http://www.writers.ca/whattopay.htm

The numbers are quite eye-opening, but i wonder if people actually earn those rates!

Guest's picture
Guest

If people focus on upfront payments, they can miss an important part of the AC system and how money builds for the writer. It isn't the upfront payment that should be the focus. Instead, think about monthly totals and if you can get hundreds monthly for articles already written...then that is just free money. Why pass that by? Each article adds to the monthly payment amount, if the writer can maintain reader interest and focuses on topics which have high search rates.

Guest's picture
Guest

I think you have to take sites like Associated Content for what they are, not what you might like them to be, right?

There are thousands of people writing there. Some good, some bad. I think sites like that are great because they work for all kinds of people who are writing for different reasons.

The point is to find something that works for you. If Associated Content and its ilk provide what you want - a platform to write and a little money for doing it - fantastic. If not, move on to the next thing.

Guest's picture
Guest

The problem I have with residual pay content is that the writer may possibly not get any money for their work, or very little. What it is, is more like a "promise to pay." There are no guarantees of getting paid. I think it is humiliating...

Guest's picture

This is a great post, and the information is accurate. Well done!

I am not a professional writer (I write for fun), but I think writing for AC and other pay-per-view sites is a great way to earn passive income. If you look at it as residual income which will continue to grow over time, then it is not so bad. You can use the money for gas or recreation without tapping into your primary funds.

I started writing last year and posted on sites such as Ezine Articles and SelfGrowth for FREE. All I got was more people wanting to host my articles for free on their site. I did it then because I had no clue about sites such as AC, eHow etc. Now I mainly post my articles on sites that pay. When I need traffic for my websites, then I write on the free sites.

If you are blogging on someone’s site for free, you only have something to gain by posting the same information on a site that pays. It is a win-win for all.

Guest's picture
Guest

I haven’t been able to log into Associated Content for three weeks. The Help desk has sent two emails that were totally non-responsive. The first one reminded me to cut and paste the new log-in address. It states that on the original email. As if I didn’t try that more than once?! A week later I receive an email asking me for a copy of the link. The email trail below that comment included the link. I responded politely, “Look below,” and copied the link yet again.

I think AC is blocking some people who don’t have much content to avoid paying any advertising revenue the articles generate. It’s certainly not much for one person, but it adds up for the company when you consider thousands of articles. I called the company for some assistance when my email was never answered and was told help is ONLY provided through email. Good luck with that. I think there needs to be some federal government investigation into these writing mill sites to regulate the illegal business practices. A publisher can’t sign a contract to pay royalties on a book and then block a bank account payment. Added insult is the fact that the email requests are ignored! This seems to be a problem with a host of writers. Any legal eagles out there wanting to make a name taking on a writing mill for contract fraud?