Friday, July 4, 2014

So long Yahoo! Voices / Yahoo! Contributor Network

Let me give you a brief run-down of my history on this website:

I started writing for Associated Content in January of 2009 after having spent months struggling on another content site. I fell in love with AC and amassed hundreds of articles over the next few years. I had the honor of being a category editor (a fancy term for the person who was allowed to pick the articles featured prominently in that category and write in those categories for a little more pay than what was normally offered) over several different categories, my favorites being Short Stories and Poetry. I basked in the glory of having links to my articles featured on sites like USA Today,, and many, many more.

Things were bopping along really well. I wrote, I made fair money.

Around mid to late 2010, Associated Content sold to Yahoo! for a hefty sum (*cough* millions *cough*).

I had a few successes with the new Yahoo! Contributor Network. I had regular beats for Yahoo! TV and was a featured parenting contributor. I also did local and national news commentary for Yahoo! News.

This is when things began to fall apart for me. There were so many article shifts, so many page view degradations, and soooo much inconsistency and miscommunication that it was difficult to remain positive about the site. A lot of us seasoned writers knew then, based on Yahoo's history of acquiring websites, mismanaging them, and eventually shutting them down, that it was more than a probable outcome for Voices and YCN. While I was able to be open about the good and the bad when the site was still Associated Content, I couldn't do the same with YCN without the threat of having my account shut down. I found myself no longer knowledgeable or helpful to other contributors not long after Yahoo! acquired AC. My frustration was high, my passion was low.

I stopped writing in this blog in March of 2011 and stopped publishing with YCN in June of 2012. My life was (thankfully) moving away from content writing as I explored and pursued other avenues of writing. Though I haven't published content in over two years, I still logged into my dashboard every few months and still collected the page view royalties from my articles.

And now what we all suspected and feared from the beginning of the Yahoo! take-over has come to fruition.

"Dear Contributors,
You made the past nine years incredible. At Yahoo, we're focused on making daily habits more inspiring and entertaining. That means we're constantly reviewing our products and experiences and, in some cases, we have to make tough decisions to no longer support a product. As part of our ongoing effort to sharpen our focus, on July 31, 2014, will be shut down; on August 15, we will make the final Performance Payment before closes. With the exception of content you provided to Yahoo under a work for hire license, or unless Yahoo arranges differently with you, we will remove from Yahoo all content published through Yahoo Contributor Network and rights for all of your Yahoo Contributor Network content will revert to you.

We know you have a lot of questions. Please refer to this FAQ for details.

It has been such an incredible privilege to share your talents with the world over these past nine years. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

-The Yahoo Contributor Network Team"

Though I'll miss the modest amount of money I've been pulling in doing nothing for them the last few years, I can't say that I'm not a slight bit relieved. This will give me the opportunity to filter through the content I've written, resell some of those articles or retro-post them on my blog, and essentially get rid of a Yahoo! mail account that sees no less than 200 spam emails a week for useless things like Viagra and phone sex hookups.

I have learned so much through my time with AC and YCN. It was the jump start I needed to get the confidence to put more of my writing out there. My first love has always been fiction; I'm making great strides with it. I don't think I would've had the confidence and gumption to do what I'm doing now without having gotten that start on AC. I am also grateful for the wonderful friends I've made through the site. They are some of the most wonderful people I know.

So long Yahoo! Voices. It's been nice knowing you but I can't say I'll miss you that much.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time to Move On

When I first started this blog, it was with the intent to help promote my articles on Associated Content.  Over the course of this blog, which has been running for almost 2 years, it has turned into an all inclusive help guide of sorts.  The ranking shot up, traffic has been fantastic, and I've met many wonderful people and writers through here.

But I think it's time to let this blog rest.  I may post every great once in awhile but it won't be near the frequency I have been.  There is a lot of information on here that I hope can help writers on the Yahoo! Contributor Network.  Because of recent events, though, I simply don't believe I can do an adequate job of providing the help and answers that writers are searching for.

My first reason is that there was a period of time earlier this month where I was without internet.  That time without internet taught me the lesson that I was wasting too much time chasing what ultimately would do me no good in the creative writing field.  This was coupled with the change in the FC program, so I was already feeling down in the dumps.  The fact remains, though, that if Yahoo! thought I was skilled enough to be in their Featured Contributor programs, they would have automatically asked me to stay like they did a select few contributors.

Even still, I had every intention of re-applying for my categories and perhaps even some new ones as soon as I caught back up on other things after my internet outage.  But this week has been terribly stressed as far as Y!CN is concerned.  Some of those who have applied are being given test assignments.  Some of those test assignments are accepted for their target Yahoo! sites but oddly aren't good enough to accept the writer into the FC program.  Still others aren't even being given the opportunity to turn in a test assignment and are being rejected outright.  Others whose articles are being rejected and reverted to Associated Content (now known as the failure Yahoo! site), are being given reasons such as:

-Very minor grammatical errors.  I do not exaggerate.  While I'm happy that Y!CN is finally buckling down on grammar issues, rejecting a piece for a typo which isn't common for that writer is crap.  No matter how long a person has been writing, no matter how professional a writer they are, humans make mistakes.  If they want perfect pieces then they need to either hire editors to correct content or they need to pay writers more so they can hire their own editors.

-Not having the Yahoo! "voice".  This is one of those things that you either have or you don't.  Telling fantastic writers that the quality of their work is exceptional but that they don't have the "voice" Yahoo! needs is contradicting.  I don’t understand.

-I can even dig that Yahoo! wants educationally qualified people to write in these Featured Categories.  But here's the thing; many who are educationally qualified likely have full time jobs and/or aren't going to want to write for what Y!CN pays.  But look!  They have writers who are qualified because of their track records in writing for the web in the categories they want featured.  These writers are dependable, they are experienced in content writing, they bring in the page views, and they write great.  But they are getting rejections, too.

There have been other reasons for rejections that I don't agree with but I'll leave these as the primary ones.  You know, what makes me think I have a chance in hell of getting in when the likes of those wonderful writers aren’t even making the cut?

Oh, the memories...

This reminds me when I was working management for an oil company.  When the company was small and local, my work with them was great.  Then that oil company sold to a bigger regional company and suddenly I wasn't so good anymore.  Whereas the old company dogs were talking promotions for me, I wasn't of much use to the new company.  This has been my experience between the Associated Content to Yahoo! change.

Right now, I'm focusing on my creative writing (*shameless plug alert* head over to my author site).  I'll still write for Y!CN where I'll keep up with my news beats for as long as they'll have me and where I'll still publish on Associated Content.

I'm going to leave this blog with this final thought; I still love Y!CN.  I do recommend it to anyone looking to get their feet wet in content writing.  If you have a passion for it, the opportunities since the Yahoo! change are fantastic.  Just because I don't feel like I can dive into it head first, doesn't mean you shouldn't try.  I'm sure they'll get this FC mess straightened out eventually.

Associated Content was my stepping stone into building confidence and honing my skills.  If it wasn't for writing for Associated Content, I wouldn't have accomplished half the things I have in writing, and that includes my creative writing.  I would have never been confident enough to put my fiction out there for others to read if not for AC and for that, I'm grateful.

Thank you for reading.  You can catch me on my author site to see what I'm up to.  For anything else, here’s my other site.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Withdrawal from the Superfan Program

I haven't posted anything in awhile due to some hefty computer problems.  And it looks like they aren't even completely fixed even now.  I just hope it all holds up until I can get caught up with some assignments.  In the meantime, I haven't re-applied for the featured contributors new program yet.  I probably will eventually, but I'm trying to get some things caught up in both my online work and my personal life.

One thing I did do was withdraw from the Television Superfan program.  I was very excited about this when it first started but as time went on, it's been a series of glitches coupled with the realization that we still didn't have a time line on when we would be able to submit recaps or timely material.  There's only so much you can do with evergreen content on television shows.  The upfronts were nice but ultimately the page views weren't cutting it.  Trying to come up with quality evergreen content without cookie cutting the same idea for multiple shows just wasn't worth the time and effort in my opinion.  So I withdrew.  It got a nice invitation to return to the program should I change my mind in the future.

In the next few months there will be some major changes with this blog and with my online work overall.  More details will come soon.  I appreciate the continued support.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The New Feature Contributor Program / Google Hates Us

The two focal points of interest with Y!CN as of late: Google's big screw up and the changing of the Associated Content Featured Contributor program.

Let's get the FC program change up out of the way first.  I have not changed my mind about how unfair and time wasting it was to start from scratch; to accept some while telling other deserving contributors to reapply for positions they had already worked for... but since I already wrote how I felt about that, I won't go back into it.

Will I reapply? Yes.  But how many I will apply for remains to be seen. I still have bills to pay. (I originally typed "I have bill to pay."  Bill is my brother-in-law and as far as I know, I don't owe him any money.)

It's been a crazy and stressful couple of weeks. Which leads me to the next topic of Google trying to hold a monopoly over their search engines.

I don't understand all this search algorithm tech stuff.  Even though I understand the basics of SEO, I don't speak tech.  All I know is that Google has decided that since we are part of Yahoo!, they are going to shove us to the bottoms of search results, even if we have the information people want.  That's the short version.  Here's the long version.  In the meantime, contributors across Y!CN report record losses of page views.  And they report monetary losses of up to $100 or more. 

My page views are the lowest they've been in over a year.  Google has decided they only want to show content they have a vested interest in.  In the meantime, every place that they are blocking or pushing to the bottom that has Google Adsense... well, you don't have to speak tech to understand how that will eventually turn out.  It will end up biting them.  Whoever's brilliant idea it was to start this crap and to mess with people's paychecks, I hope they end up eventually losing their job.  Let's see how they like it when they can't pay their bills.

Whew.  Now I feel better.  If this continues, everyone is screwed, not just us writers.  Small businesses are screwed, too.  Just read through this article.  I guarantee you won't like it any better than I do. 

I'll keep y'all updated on the FC thing and hopefully Google will come to their senses.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Freelance Writing Tips: Your Client is Not Obligated to Please You

Should your client offer certain perks? Are there certain things you should expect them to do besides pay you? When freelancing, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out the roles played by you and your clients. Is the client asking for too much - or are you the one demanding the impossible? In freelance writing, my number one rule has always been that the client is not obligated to please you. In fact, you should be instead be providing what the client needs. If you can't or won't, let them find it elsewhere. Here's why.

Read More

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Newbie's Guide to Success at the Yahoo! Contributor Network

Here is a great slideshow put together by veteran contributor Lyn Lomasi. It outlines the steps you need to take in order to find your place and reap success from the Yahoo! Contributor Network. It's very easy to follow if you know how to work hard.

The Newbie's Guide to Success at the Yahoo! Contributor Network

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Y!CN Contributor Rissa Watkins needs bone marrow

Without it, the consequences could be dire.

Read up on the initial post I did on Rissa and how you can help her financially.

I woke this morning to this video.

Click to go to and join the registry (if your health allows). You could save a life, maybe even Rissa's.