This is part of an email I received from a content mill contributor:
I only began writing for (a content mill) last fall after being asked if I was interested by another (content mill contributor). Little did I realize at the time that she wasn’t recommending me because of the articles I had been writing for years as an unpaid contributor to our local newspaper. I was respected and recognized as a really good writer by individuals in my community, after 16 years of contributing articles and editorials to our local newspaper. This woman just wanted the $50 referral reward.
At first I was thrilled beyond comprehension, and felt that the long-sought-after recognition that I deserved, was forthcoming. I was going to finally be PAID for my articles. Well, I soon learned that getting paid was going to be a long and gradual process. The formula they use has more to do with how long any given individual spends reading your article. They want you to attach pictures, videos and URLs to other web sites. I was a good writer — not a computer geek — so this was extremely difficult for me, as a novice.
To this day I have not received any money for my eight articles.
Why do people sign up for content mills? To make fast, easy money like their ads usually state, right? Well, from what we’ve been reading over the past several months, the money is anything but easy. We’ve run previous profiles on AllVoices.com, Examiner.com, and DemandStudios.com.
They don’t all work exactly the same way but, basically:
You write about a specific topic.
You may be required to provide photos, graphics or other special files in addition to your writing.
You are encouraged (and in some cases required) to promote their website.
You may have to be approved by one of their editors.
They can reject your piece, leaving you with nothing.
Many content mill writers report making less than minimum wage (see links above).
The content mill makes lots of money (through Google Adsense and other advertising) and you, the one doing all the writing, may make just a pittance…if anything at all. (Many have minimum dollar thresholds that must be met before you can receive payment.)
What if YOU could write what YOU want, and get all the Google Adsense money yourself? You’re doing all the writing and the promotion for the content mill anyway, right? Why not write and promote your OWN website or blog instead of theirs?
Well-known author and successful online entrepreneur Morris Rosenthal of Foner Books still earns most of his money through print book sales but he also posts plenty of free content online, and runs Google Adsense ads on those pages. If somebody clicks on one of those ads, he earns money. He states he’s earned an average of $25K per year over the past 4 years through Google Adsense. He wrote, “The best feature of online advertising for Foner Books is that it allows us to earn something for our publishing efforts without having to sell a book or an eBook (we don’t sell subscriptions). It opens up a whole world of monetizing content on a chapter or article basis, and importantly, allows us to earn some return on research and time spent developing material for books that may never reach the publication stage for one reason or another.”
I exchanged emails with Morris this week and he added, “I earn money both on excerpts of published books and on draft material for books I never published, or haven’t yet.”
I asked him specifically about out-of-print titles and he wrote, “I would definitely encourage authors to put their out-of-print books online to see if they draw search traffic. Adding advertising is a way of getting more information. If an out-of-print book starts earning significant money with advertising, it would pay for the author to keep an eye on the ads that are being displayed and to see if they reflect an ongoing interest in the subject matter that suggests a revised edition of the book would do well. Advertising is funny because sometimes it means that your visitors really aren’t interested in your writing, they are more interested in the ads. But other times it means that your writing is spot on and they are clicking ads because they offer something that is complementary to your writing, like hotel reservations for a location at the bottom of a page that details what a great trip you had there, etc.”
You can read more Adsense success stories HERE.
According to Google, “AdSense is a free program that allows website publishers of all sizes to display relevant Google ads and earn money.” So, why not consider dumping that content mill and going it alone? You can sign up for AdSense today HERE.
HINT: Google allows you to specify specific companies you DON’T want to advertise on your page. This comes in very handy for people who are adamant about not supporting specific products/services/firms. For example, a writer was recently running a survey promoting higher pay for writers and his survey had Google Adsense ads on it. What types of ads were running? You guessed it! Content mill ads! By keeping an eye on the ads appearing on your site, you can let Google know, via your account, which companies you don’t want featured on your website.