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Comparing Four On Line Writing Job Venues

Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Careers & Work Expertise:

Many people are trying to make some extra income, or even their primary income, by writing on Internet sites. As may be obvious if you glance at my rank here at Shared Reviews, I am one of these people. For three years, I’ve been writing for Shared Reviews (SR), Associated Content (AC), Helium (He), and Textbroker (TB). Here’s a comparison of these sites

First- just some side-by-side features

Ability to Choose Your Own Topics/ Titles

SR - yes

AC - yes

He - mostly no (you can suggest titles, which may or may not be approved)

TB - no

Payout - all by PayPal

SR - monthly, with 2 month lag and $10 threshold

AC - monthly for pay-per-view (PPV) and $1.50 threshold, within a few days for upfront offers

He - monthly with $25 threshold

TB - twice monthly with $10 threshold

Payment Scheme

SR - achievement levels lock in monthly payment, plus PPV

AC - upfront payment options, plus PPV tied to your clout level

He - complex scheme dependent on writing stars earned, payment for writing to empty titles, plus PPV

TB - per word on a scale tied to your level

Investment Potential (assuming all sites are stable)

SR - articles/ reviews can earn indefinitely

AC - articles can earn indefinitely

He - articles can earn indefinitely

TB - you are paid once per article, then no further income

Quality Level Expectations

SR - peer rating system, with editing options, but can be ignored if articles are basically legible

AC - for PPV only- none; for upfront pay- must pass pre-approval

He - peer rating system- very annoying- see following notes

TB - levels for authors 2-5 star system - client must accept article, higher levels very demanding

Article Length Minimum

SR - 300 words for articles, 200 words for product reviews

AC - 400 words

He - 400 words

TB - requested from client, varies

Ongoing Activity Required

SR - higher activity generates points, but not required, reasonable minimum participation to maintain badges

AC - no activity required for PPV, but you must log in once every 60 days or you lose everything

He - you must maintain rating stars to be paid, which requires a near-daily commitment

TB - at your preference

Annoyance Factor

SR - moderate - people and admin are friendly, payments may be slow but always eventually come

AC - high - moderators are snobbish - it takes up to two weeks to have articles approved, there sometimes seems to be no reason why articles are declined

He - very high - moderators are patronizing - the rating system is completely maddening

TB - moderate - editors are very tough - clients may request rewrites, very high standards expected for level 4 and 5 writers considering the rate of pay, sometimes client requests are unreasonable

Topic Range

SR - good - product reviews, almost everything except food; and articles, almost anything

AC - good - almost anything, although the fit within the category choices can be a bit strained

He - moderate - you can suggest titles, but mostly you need to write to lists of titles they have generated. However, they do have some subcategories that other sites do not, therefore improving search engine success for these topics

TB - moderate - there is quite a range, but you are writing for third-party clients, so you MUST write what they request

Additional Opportunities

SR - promised “bounty program” to write for third-party clients is not yet in place

AC - possible for articles to be purchased for larger distribution

He - possible for articles to be purchased for larger distribution

TB - none

Extra Comments on Each Venue

Shared Reviews - You have the power to control your success on this site, although it requires a serious time commitment. Hard work and good writing will end up giving rewards, although it may take a while to reach residual income levels. New writers are treated with respect. I earn the largest amount of passive income per month from this site (before and after the new scheme)

Associated Content - It takes a long time to build up enough articles and views to raise your clout level. You need hundreds of articles, and hundreds of readers to earn more than about $5.00 a month. I backed off to submitting for PPV only for a year because I was so annoyed with editors who declined articles for reasons that made no sense at all. I haven’t been on the forum recently, but I backed off from it due to a generally patronizing atmosphere.

Helium - You have to have a thick skin, patience, and determination to succeed on Helium. The internal rating system is despised by most writers. You have to read two articles side-by-side and choose the better one. (You are not shown articles in titles you have written to). This results in a hierarchy within each title. To earn writing stars, 10% of your articles must be in the top 25% as determined by raters. I can’t tell you how frustrating this is. Many good, solid articles languish at the bottom of their groups, for no reason I can determine. It looks very much as if raters are not reading the articles, although an “agreement” percentage is supposed to guard against this. All this means is that if everyone seems to agree that a bad article is good, then it’s “good.” The benefit is that there is a reasonably high monthly payout per article, tied to the number of writing stars you have. You have to have at least one star on the last day of the month to be paid, and you can gain and lose both writing stars and rating stars with amazing speed. Forum moderators are somewhat helpful, but they defend the strange rating system to the death, and there is no real way to protest perceived graft. (I’ve tried). If you wish to take a chance on Helium, send me a message.

Textbroker - This is without a doubt the fastest way to get guaranteed money in your pocket. You select a title from a long list of options, and write the requested number of words, before the deadline (usually 1 - 7 days). The drawback is that you will probably have to do a fair amount of research for most titles. But once the client accepts the article, the cash goes in your account, and you can withdraw it twice a month on the 5th and 20th. I have made hundreds of dollars here, but it takes hard work, and is not even remotely creative. Editors are very, very tough. You must write using AP guidelines. I was a level 5 (the highest), but got busted back to level 4 due to comma errors.


These are certainly not the only venues for article writing on the web. However, these are four which I know quite a bit about. Perhaps my experiences will help you make some choices.