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Thursday, December 16, 2010

I was accepted into the Yahoo!TV Superfan program

The results of the "Superfan" for Yahoo!TV are back.  I'll break down the articles one by one to give you an idea of how this happened in my case.

I submitted five articles for the test assignments:

"Blue Bloods" - This article was a recap of a particular episode.  It wasn't reviewed or published in a timely fashion (which is key when doing recap articles) so it published on AC.  I was accepted into the program to write for this show.

"NCIS" - This article was another recap. Like the "Blue Bloods" article, this article took a very long time to publish. Unfortunately, for this one, I wasn't accepted into the program.

"Criminal Minds" - This article was a best quotes type article and even though it was more evergreen than a recap, it was published on AC.  The format slightly screwed up within the article which makes it look bad, but it's getting page views at least.  I was a bit worried about this one.  It was the last to be reviewed.  I'd been told by an AC staffer some time ago that quotes don't count toward total word count on an article, however, the assignment details specifically stated that "Best of" quotes could be a theme idea for the test article.  Even though this article was published on AC, like "Blue Bloods", I was accepted to write for this show.


"American Idol" - This article was in a format of "Where are they now?" which I've had published on Yahoo!TV before.  This one focuses on the past 3rd place "Idol" contestants and what they've done since AI.  It was published pretty quickly on Yahoo!TV.  The funny thing is, while I have followed AI for many seasons, I actually had no intention of watching it again because of all the changes.  But I was actually accepted to write for this show so I will be watching it. It's a pivotal season for them and I am sure there will be many interesting things to write about!

"House" - In my opinion, this was my best article out of all of them.  I did a comparison of House on Vicoden vs. House on Cuddy.  It was delivered to Yahoo!TV but sits in limbo land waiting to be published.  I wonder if they are waiting on a string of new "House" episodes before publishing it.  But anyway, I was also accepted to write for this show.


Not quite what we expected

Several Y!CN members began their excited chatter about what shows they were going to write about and we discovered that it wasn't quite the exclusivity that we thought it would be.  I'm not the only contributor who will be writing on the shows I was accepted for.  It wasn't that I thought it would be exclusive but I actually didn't think that SO MANY people would be dipping into the same shows.  "American Idol", for example, has so many writers on board that I wonder how productive it will be for Yahoo! to pay upfronts for so many articles focused on the same episodes.

In addition, there were contributors who claimed some of the test assignments but for one reason or another, ended up releasing them instead of submitting them.  Some of them were accepted into the program.  I know, say what?  But it gets better.  There were a few contributors who said they never applied and were accepted.  This concerns me.  It makes me feel like the hard work I did on mine was for nothing.

ETA: Now I'm being told that some acceptance emails were sent out in error.  Y!CN is working to correct the problem.  I'll update about this program after the first of the year.

Looking forward to the experience

Even though it isn't what I expected, I'm still excited about it and will be putting on my game face with each assignment that comes my way.  I'm going to enjoy it as much as I possibly can.

Congrats to all others who also made it into the program! Let's look forward to the beginning of our assignments in 2011.


Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!

On that note, this will be the last post of the year on this blog for me.  I'll come back in 2011 with new helpful information concerning the Yahoo! Contributor Network.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings and all that jazz.  Here's hoping you don't get too wasted on New Years!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to Be a Productive Forum Member at the Yahoo! Contributor Network

So, you just joined the Yahoo! Contributor Network and want to take advantage of the forums? There are a several things to keep in mind when participating in this (or any other) online forum. From simple etiquette, to
following guidelines, and even reporting issues, here are some things I have learned from being a long-time member of the Yahoo! Contributor Network forums, as well as many others.

Read More...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Yahoo! Contributor Award Nominations

Today is the day when I opened my schedule and decided to do a day of reading.  Everyone has their own special criteria for nominating and mine consists of a variety of factors which I'm not gonna waste time listing.  So let's get right to it, shall we?

There are only three award categories this year (which has shrunk from years past).  And here are my nominations.  Have fun reading and nominate if you wish.

Outstanding Contributor of the Year

Alice Clair Gunkee - She writes a lot of television related items, many of which require lots of research and time.  It isn't easy sitting down to make out long schedules of programming, compiling items from all across many networks, but she stays on top of things and even goes after the holiday specials viewers search for.  She's an A+ contributor.

Angie Mohr - Her articles are highly focused and very helpful.  She writes on a variety of subjects but specializes in finance, food, and wine.  She's more than helpful to a great number of fellow contributors.

Jennifer Wagner - She publishes a lot of quality content mostly focusing on home improvement and decorating.  Her articles are always helpful, creative, and well written.

Jolie du Pre - She's hard working, and produces lots of great quality and entertaining content.

Katie Sharp-Dierks - A great and helpful contributor whose main focus is on pregnancy topics.  

Lyn Lomasi - She is the hardest working writer I know.  Not only does she find time to write but she finds time to promote and help others on a regular basis.

Marie Anne St. Jean - I'm not big on crochet (even though I do enjoy reading about it and looking at new creations) but contributor of the year, in my opinion, isn't always about the content. Marie Anne has proven herself time and again as someone who will spend valuable time helping other contributors. She is more than willing to go out of her way for another contributor.

Lisa Mason - Not only is she kick-ass when it comes to content publishing but she spends time promoting and helping other writers.

Rookie of the Year

Kyla Matton - She produces good regular content which is hard to find in a new contributor. She's a "Rising Star" as well.  It also helps that she's a sweetheart!

Sylvie Branch - This newbie writer has blasted onto Y!CN with full force.  She has over 400 pieces of quality content, has a "Rising Star" award, has a Hot 100 badge, and is already sitting at Clout 9.

Kay Balbi - A "Rising Star" and Clout 9-er with over 400 pieces of content, too, Kay writes on a diverse range of topics.

Content of the Year 

When You Find a Breast Lump, Fear Takes Root - by Angie Mohr - This piece resonated with me because I am one of those women who is dealing with an unknown lump.  This article portrays exactly how I feel. 

Why Sunless Tanning Pills Are Dangerous - by Ann Olsen - A look at a dangerous trend.  Ann outlines exactly why you shouldn't take these pills.  It's eye opening. 

Stan Lee interview with Associated Content - by L. Vincent Poupard - From my perspective, I really shouldn't have to state why I nominated this piece; the headline speaks for itself. Larry has taken his status as a Yahoo! Contributor and taken it to the next level by interviewing the one and only comic book legend, Stan Lee. 

Homeschool Tips: Coping With Sending Your Kids to Traditional School - by Lyn Lomasi - This was a personal piece for Lyn as she dealt with this issue first hand.  As a mom, I understand this.  This article isn't all inclusive to homeschoolers, though.  My oldest will be in kindergarten next year and a lot of the points in the article pertains to that situation as well. 

Why Few Men Teach Elementary School - by Sterling Beaumont - This male elementary school teacher touches on a subject that isn't often thought about... unless you're actually a male elementary teacher.  It's a good perspective on a topic that doesn't get a lot of attention. 

My Story: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease After Childbirth - by Jan Corn - Many people have the misconception that PID can only come from having a sexually transmitted disease.  Not true. I also experienced this after giving birth. A great article and helps debunk a popular myth. 

What I Want You to Know - a Letter to My Daughters -  by Rodney Southern - This brought tears to my eyes and I think it will hit close to any parent. 

Business Alert: Terry's Complete Renovations - a Contracting Business in Scottsboro, Alabama (Video Link Included) - by Pamela Gifford - I'm nominating one of my own. I worked hard on this piece not for pay but so that no one else in my area would be pulled in by the shady contractor displayed in the article.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Using the "Resources" section to your advantage

When I first started with AC, I would often bypass the "Resources" section unless I found a link that I felt compelled to share.  Now that much of my work focuses on similar topics, I learned how I could use that section to place links to relevant or similar articles that I'd written. 

For some reason, though, it took me awhile to realize that I didn't just have to put the links there.  You can't use HTML in the box so it looked like the only option was to just have a link.  And not many people are going to click on a link without a headline of what it is.

So here's a little tip I picked up a while back: you can include the article title and then follow that with the link.  Click here for an example.  Scroll down and look on the right hand side under the tab "Resources".  You'll see how I'm able to utilize that section for previous articles I've written on the subject by including the headline and link.  I just wish I'd realized sooner that I could actually work it that way.

Friday, December 3, 2010

November 2010, Month End Review

So for the past two months, I've been whining about my page views on AC.  There's a sweet spot where if I pick a topic that gets good views and stick with it throughout the month, I do well.  For September and October, I never hit it.  November was a bit different and my page views once again increased enough for me to make a descent amount in performance pay before Christmas.  I've even managed to get my Hot 500 badge back! (It now says "Hot 500 Yahoo!" and is no longer a cute little flame, but that's cool.)
My Profile

But there were many more things that went on in November.  First, entertainment contributors were offered the opportunity to apply for a regular Yahoo!TV gig.  We opened an application window, told them what set us apart as television contributors, check marked what shows we kept up with on a regular basis and sent it in.  A short wait later, we received descent paying assignments that would test our ability to write for those shows on a regular basis.  For me, it included five shows, "Criminal Minds", "House", "American Idol", "NCIS", and "Blue Bloods".

As of right now, I've had the "NCIS" article and "Blue Bloods" article, which were both episode recaps, published on AC.  Now, I'm not sure if that means that I won't get those spots.  Recaps were allowed as part of the test articles but their timeliness in publishing is what makes page views.  The staff did not get around to publishing them until they were a few weeks past air date so inevitably, they went on AC and page views suck because they weren't timely.  Going to Yahoo! TV was more evergreen content.  My "American Idol" article has already been published over there and my "House" article, which is a comparison of House on vicoden vs House on Cuddy, was delivered to Yahoo! TV yesterday but hasn't been published yet.  My "Criminal Minds" article, which was a "best quotes" type thing, is still sitting in my queue waiting review.  I'm anxious, as I'm sure everyone who applied for the positions is, to see who gets the gigs.

November also saw the change from our status as an Associated Content contributor to the Yahoo! Contributor Network (has a nice ring to it).  There are still glitches to be worked out but I have confidence they will be remedied.  As long as I can publish and I'm getting page views and am getting paid, I can live with the glitches without getting too upset.  Annoyed at no notifications, yes.  Angry, no.  There's no point to it.  This was a huge roll out and was inevitable.  It still can't compare to the disaster that was Examiner.com's "upgrade".  After that, I can deal with the stuff YCN is going through.  (Once I hear back from Yahoo! about logo use, there will be a change in this blog's header, too, hint, hint!)

So November was a rising point for me.  And I continue on.

Be looking for an upcoming special post within the next week or two about the Yahoo! Contributor Awards.  Check your account page on YCN if you have no clue what I'm talking about.  I am planning a day devoted to reading and nominating my choices for these awards and I will post my choices on this blog in case you'd like to nominate them, too.  :)

I hope all the U.S. contributors had a lovely Thanksgiving.  Hope your Christmas (or whatever you celebrate this time of year) goes well.

-Pamela

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Where do my AC page views come from?

I never actually thought this would be such a sketchy issue but after a recent forum discussion, I'm inclined to post this bit of information just to clarify this for some contributors.

People who get a descent amount of page views get them from search results via Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. 

There is a misconception around the block that the majority of page views come from other contributors within the Yahoo! Contributor Network and Associated Content family.  If that were the case, the likes of the millionaires (displayed in the sidebar) would mean that they were superheroes when it comes to networking.  Well, yeah, some of them might be, but you'd have to have millions and millions of followers to get those kind of results.  It's just not feasible.  Now, if you are slowly inching along on page views, this might be true in your case.  How do you get better page views on Associated Content?  You can always post your work in the "Workshop" section of the YCN forums.  In addition, you can click here for the page views topic within this blog.

If you're looking for quick money and a sudden rise to fame on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, you're in for a big surprise.  Networking helps, but ultimately, it's not gonna amount to much.  Learn SEO, dig in and take advice from other contributors, most of whom are more than willing to lend their knowledge and advice.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I won the war against the plagiarizer! I guess I'm a hypocrite.


The above seal is what you see when you go to dvdscollection.com now.  (I wouldn't recommend going there, as I've heard that when you visit, you're IP is flagged which I guess mine is now if you believe those things.)  As I detailed in a previous post (click here), I began the war around a month ago after finding a stolen article of mine on their site.  Read the previous post to see what I went through with the aforementioned site.

Now, I'm not gonna be so vain as to assume that all my reporting and phone calls were the direct result of this site finally being removed.  I can only assume that maybe I played some small role in it.  Either way, it makes my day that someone who was profiting from others' work can no longer do so.

Does this make me a hypocrite?

Not even a week ago, I read an article that had been posted by the Jefferson Republican Party Facebook page (as a disclaimer, I'm not an actual member of this political group; I support a couple of politician friends who are and I do agree with some of the party's ideals) about the government being able to yank down a website in the name of copyright infringement without having to prove that it actually was copyright infringement.  In other words, there's no accountability which leaves things wide open for abuse of power.  I don't agree with that.  I own a few websites and would hate to have someone with an agenda to just flip a switch and turn them off if I (and I often do) piss someone off.

On the flip side, of many of the domains that were seized, it's easy to see that the vast majority of them are product sites which for all cases of appearance were more than likely selling bootlegged, fake products, etc.  According to this report from Stanford, over 70 sites were seized in this "internet raid".

I feel like a bit of a hypocrite that I'm happy this site has been pulled while at the same time not supporting the method, so to speak, in which it was removed.

I'm sorry I'm happy.

But I can't help it.  I've been reporting this site to many, many places for the last month and to finally see them taken down makes me happy.

I feel slightly dirty now.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Does it really matter if I have a picture on my article or not?

This question comes from John Robertson, a fairly new contributor who signed up under my referral and has published consistently since.  (Psssst, he was also an honorable mention in this year's Halloween flash fiction contest.)

His question was:

"Just out of curiosity: Does it make much difference if you add pictures? I thought about just taking some that I thought would work well with my articles, but I wasn't sure if it would really be worth the extra time.  Any advice on that?"
 Answer:

In short form, yes, having pictures does help, even if only a little.  Most people are visually inclined so in general, more people will click on an article that has a picture rather than one with just a headline.  Also, having an image makes it easier for the staff to feature your content on the front pages (and yes, the page views garnered from being just on category front pages is worth the few minutes it takes to find an image).

Here is a link to the images topic within this blog.  Read through some of these posts (yes, some are a little old but they still apply).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Waging War Against a Plagiarizer

earl53/morguefile.com
For the last few weeks, I've declared an all out war against an online plagiarizer.  Little ole' me with limited tech experience, has decided that no matter how many people try to tell me that there's nothing I can do about a China based website, I will not stop until this site has been removed.  And if I see them again under a different name, I'll start the next round.

The site's name is dvdscollection.com (I don't want to give them a link back so I'm not linking it up).  They are not only skimming articles from Associated Content and Examiner, but they are also selling bootlegged DVD's.  Here's the story thus far.

I received an alert concerning one of my articles having been "Buzzed Up" on Yahoo!Buzz.  Great!  But that isn't all.  The link was to a site I didn't recognize, not to my article on AC.  Following the link took me to dvdscollection.com.  There was over half my article without attribution or even a link.  So I contacted the administrator.  I politely told them they could either pay me for the reprint (since this was a DO on AC) or they could remove the article from the site.

Now usually, this works.  Some people don't realize that this is infringing and upon learning they take immediate action.  Others who are knowingly stealing content get scared that I'm onto them and take immediate action.  One time I did have to research the site owner (which is weird because he was a lawyer in Utah) and call him personally to ask him to remove or link my content properly which he did.  But generally, an email is all it takes.

Not so in this case.

Round 1

I received a reply that they would handle the situation.  But the deadline came and went and my article was still up on the site.  So I started digging.  As it turned out, this seemingly U.S. based site actually originates in China.  Where I would usually start filing DMCA reports to hosts and advertisers, I couldn't find information on anything like that.  Asking around about what to do netted little response and most of the responses weren't hopeful.  It looked like I couldn't do anything about it.  Digging around the site some more revealed that every news article they had up on their site was skimmed from other authors.  I contacted some of those authors but realized that it would not do much good.

I researched the site some more and found out that a great number of people believed this to be a bootlegged DVD site.  This blog post on Random Ramblings confirmed that.  In addition, the company that ships these DVDs (Yan Hai Electronic Commerce (Beijing) Ltd.), has several complaints against them for a variety of problems like damaged products, incorrect products, poor service, and a whole host of other problems which are indicative of a company running illegal products.  Additionally, while speaking with a live chat rep, I was told that the DVD's were the "Asian" version.  I'm not stupid.

In another email, I again asked them to remove my article.  They didn't respond and the article remained.

Round 2

Not willing to give up, I started with reporting their activity on Yahoo!Buzz and was able to get several posts of theirs removed.  I started researching further and began reporting them on every site that I saw them posted on.  I was able to get them removed from several networking and article sites which they were using to promote their website and have left reviews and comments where they post.  Just today, I received an email from the YouTube legal team that stated their content was being removed.  Those are small victories in the war, something that makes me feel good when there might otherwise be no recourse.

I wrote the site another email and let them know what I was doing and how I was reporting them to everyone they were coming in contact with.  Low and behold, after two weeks of fighting with them, my article has been removed from their site.

ppdigital/morguefile.com
But the war continues

But even though I was able to get them to take my content down, which was the original intention, I've decided not to stop there.  What happens to those authors who don't know they are being stolen from?  What about the copyright owners of these DVD's that are being pirated?  Why should the owner of this company continue to make money from other people's hard work?

If you're not a writer and just don't understand why I take this so personally, allow me to give you a perspective.  Let's say you're sitting in your house and someone you don't know walks in and takes your television and there's nothing you can do about it.  Then they come back in and start lifting your small appliances from your kitchen.  You have no recourse but to sit there and do nothing while your property is being stolen.  Can you imagine what that feels like?

That's exactly how writers feel when our work is stolen.  It's a terrible feeling.  And it takes desperately needed money out of my pocket, money that pays bills and puts food on the table for me and my children.

So I've made it my mission to continue reporting where ever these people representing this website pop up.  I even obtained numbers from a Disney rep to contact their legal department, which is exactly what I did yesterday.  I've also been reporting them to other networks and companies they are infringing.

A couple of roadblocks

In this war, though, there will inevitably be those people who refuse to take a look at the evidence and who want to say they aren't involved when they really are.  While a good number of websites that I've reported to have investigated and removed content related to dvdscollection.com, two websites, thus far, insist that because the article (or in one case the document) isn't directly infringing, they will take no action.  One site is docstoc.com (don't want to give them a link back either so here's a copy/paste URL to the document in question, http://www.docstoc.com/docs/38426682/Dvdscollectioncom-Intro-Archer-Season-1-Dvd-Box-Set), who, since initially telling me that they couldn't take action, have ignored me.  The other site is ArticlesBase.com who stated that I should contact the author and that they had no authority to remove articles that aren't directly plagiarized (regardless if it promotes illegal and unethical activity).  (This is the URL paste of the author in question who is using article writing to promote this website: http://www.articlesbase.com/authors/jetame/167362)  I tried to explain to them that the author doesn't give two craps about promoting such a site (okay, I didn't use those exact words but you get the drift).

I also spoke with an AC YCN staffer as it would pertain to Associated Content if someone had reported a contributor writing articles about a site which, upon investigation, turned out to be a site engaged in unethical or illegal activity.  My suspicions about how AC YCN would handle it was confirmed.  They would look into it and if the reports were valid, the author and articles would be removed from the site.  (Did I mention that I heart AC YCN?)

So I included in my response that I knew ArticleBase.com had every authority to remove the author if they saw fit but they just didn't want to follow-up on the reports.  I haven't heard anything from them since and the articles remain published on their site.

So the war continues and will likely drag on for a long time.  It doesn't hurt my feelings any to take a little time here and there to see what other site I can report them to.

Oh, and if you happen to catch them on a site, will you do me a favor and report them, too?  Thanks!

ETA (later the same evening I published this): I've just been informed that docstoc.com has removed the document.  Here was their email to me:
"   As the document appears to be an advertisement of sorts, as a one-time courtesy, we have removed it.  We cannot, however, assure that we will do so again in the future if it is re-posted by a Docstoc user, or is available elsewhere on the Docstoc site, though you are free, of course, to let us know again in the future if it is, or similar documents are, available on the Docstoc site."
Well, that was nice of them, even though they were a little begrudged to do so. :)

ETA: 11/22/10

ArticlesBase has finally removed the author in question who was posting the articles promoting the website.  After several emails back and forth, they decided that they do have the power to remove them.  Thank you, ArticlesBase.

Update and resolution to this war (11/29/10): Read:

I won the war against the plagiarizer! I guess I'm a hypocrite.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The New Yahoo! Contributor Network and Reaching Clout 10

My Yahoo! Contributor Profile


So it's been a whirlwind of a weekend. 

First, AC contributors knew that AC would be going down for maintenance Sunday evening.  We were told there would be a big change.  So I hung around Facebook between 8 and 9pm last night waiting for the word from fellow contributors while also checking Associated Content's site for any sign that we were kicking again.  Not that I was waiting to publish anything.  I just wanted to know what was going on.  Pretty soon, Marie Anne St. Jean wrote, "AC is up!" and it was on from there! 

My first stop was at the new Associated Content homepage.  I was blown away. I really like the new front page (and hope at some point, I can make it on there).  

Now, of course, there's gonna be a few glitchy parts here and there, for example, payment reports are a bit screwed up.  They are still showing 0 for the month and I have a notice of 4 pending payments when I'm not owed anything right now.  So definitely there's some adjustments to be worked out but all in all, I think this is a fantastic change.

And the best part is that contributors are now being offered performance pay on Yahoo! sites.  Some of our previous Yahoo! published content have shown up in our accounts with back pay attached; even though we had a legal agreement that we wouldn't be paid page views for those pieces.  This, in my opinion, was the step that I talked about in previous posts when Yahoo! was publishing our DO content.

At this point, I'm certain the forum is rife with questions and discussions of the new Yahoo! Contributor Network.  I, personally, am avoiding the forum for now until I've caught up with work today because I know it will be a long read that will probably take some time to sift through.

On that note, if there is anything substantial to add after-the-fact, I will post at a later date.  So far it looks great and the opportunities are exciting.  I'd also like to direct your attention to contributor Lyn Lomasi's blog where she provides some good information: Associated Content and Yahoo! Reveal Yahoo! Contributor Network.

Great job, AC and Yahoo! team!

And on to a second note...

I reached Clout 10 this weekend!



I wasn't really expecting this for another couple of weeks.  Getting to Clout 10 was slow going.  My little percentage bar on my account page had been leisurely inching along.  The last I looked, I was sitting at 95% and then suddenly, I had almost 10,000 page views in a span of two days!  So I've topped out on AC performance pay.  My next milestone will be the half million page view mark.  Hopefully, it won't take me but a few months to reach it.

Enjoy the new AC and keep checking back here for any additional info when I come across it.  As always, if you have a question, feel free to ask.  If I don't know the answer, I'll find someone who does.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Asking Associated Content to Edit Articles

It's an icky feeling: you publish your non-exclusive or exclusive content with AC and then realize there is a glaring error.

I used to tell contributors that they would just have to suck it up and deal with it.  Why?  Because there is an article out there where I got some information mixed up and even though I went over it several times before publishing, I still didn't see it until I'd had a full night's sleep.  When I emailed AC for help in correcting it, I received a hasty (bordering on rude) reply that with thousands of pieces of content, AC couldn't possibly edit within the contents of an article.  They would alter a title if they needed but wouldn't change anything within an article.  This was a long time ago but I still remember that reply and how blatant it was.  So I apologized for the error in the comments section of my article only because it was terribly obvious.

Since then, every once in awhile a person will come into the AC forums and ask how to go about getting AC to edit an error.  After having received the hasty reply I had, I was confused over and over when more knowledgeable contributors than I would tell them to email community@ if they needed a change on a serious error.  ( A small error absolutely don't bother emailing them.  Don't tie up their email for a simple typo.)

Mine was a serious error.  Why was I disregarded like I was when these more experienced contributors were advising others to go ahead and email AC?  No one knows. 

An AC staffer assured me that usually, AC will fix problems if asked.  If a particular contributor is constantly asking for edits, then they will be "encouraged" to up their proofreading skills but otherwise, there's no reason why I was regarded like I was by an unknown AC staffer.  Maybe they were having a bad day or maybe they'd been bombarded with so many emails they snapped.  I don't know.  I don't care now really but at least we cleared up whether AC will do some edits or not.

Here's something to keep in mind, though.  When you publish non-exclusive or exclusive with AC, always proofread, edit, and submit the very final draft.  Mistakes do happen but ultimately it is up to you to make sure it is error free.  Do the best you can with it so you don't have to worry about asking AC.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Freelance Writer Online - one of the best sources for content writers

How many times have you performed a search for "Work at home jobs" or "no scam work at home" or other similar terms?  And how many times have you been disappointed at the outcome of those searches?

When I was first starting out as a content writer, it was very hard not only to find something legitimate but it was hard to find out pay rates, reviews, and other essential information that you would want to know when you're looking into this type of work.  It's stressful to say the least.  You want to feel productive and you want to make sure that what you are getting into is going to be worth it.  So what paying sites are worth writing for?
screenshot/http://www.freelancewriteronline.info

Freelance Writer Online (or FWO for short) is the first and only website of its kind that I've seen and completely trusted.  Suzanne Alicie is a dedicated freelancer who considered the things she would've liked to know when she was first starting out and she compiled it all into this very informative site.  You can find an extensive list of paying websites, reviews on those sites written by the people who have or currently write for the site, and you can find general information about content writing, blogging, and so much more.

It's very obvious after being on the site for a couple of minutes just how passionate Suzanne Alicie is about what she does.  And the best part is that all the information on the website is not only free but you also don't have to register for anything.  Even if you've been content writing for awhile and are looking to spread your wings a bit, you'd be hard pressed not to bookmark this site.

Enjoy site hunting! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another Income Option for Your AC Content

If you write on a particular subject often, one option for an additional (I almost typed addiction; a proper term with regards to AC, I suppose) revenue is to gather several articles of the same subject and compile them into an e-book.  For example, if you write about a television show all season long, at the end of the season, you can do a wrap up of the season and then publish it into an ebook.

Pssst! I design e-book covers! Click me!
Publishing e-books yourself is a rather simple process and most platforms will give you simple instructions on how to format and do this.  Some e-book platforms I use is Amazon's Kindle Publishing and Smashwords.  Each time one of your books is sold, you earn a royalty. :)

Please note though, that if your content is Exclusive on AC, you cannot do this.  (Read THIS POST for information on AC Content rights) Any content that is Non-exclusive or Display Only, you can put into an ebook.

Happy writing!

This post brought to you by Becca Badgett's Clearing the Air With Indoor Plants

Monday, November 1, 2010

2 Year, 2 Months - Month End Review

October is over and I doubt very seriously that I'll get my Hot 500 badge back for October.  My page views were even lower than September. 

While this hasn't been a very good month overall for any $ project, I did get a one of my highest upfront offers ever for a general article (excluding Featured Contributor assignments).  I got a good offer because my article relates to NaNoWriMo which actually begins today.  I also believe that I got a good offer on it because of my personal and professional experience with the topic.  If you care to take a look, click the title below.

There is No Such Thing as a Perfect Rough Draft

Another good thing that happened at AC this month was that I had another Yahoo! pickup.  One of my FC assignments was flagged by AC for Yahoo! Editors to look at.  While the article sits now in the "Partner" tab on my account page, I have to keep an eye out manually on the Yahoo! TV blog for when it might be published.  If Yahoo! rejects it, it will be published on AC, and I get to keep the extra compensation, but I think with it sitting in my Partner tab, it might have already been accepted.  Not sure.

In any case, I've had the opportunity to apply for a regular Yahoo! TV writing gig.  I'm currently waiting to hear if they want me to send a sample article.  I would be so psyched to write for Yahoo! on a regular basis!

In any case, here's hoping November will not only provide me more page views and upfronts, but also that I have more time to pursue those page views and upfronts.  I seem to be caught up enough to do just that.

Have a great November, everyone!

Oh, for a tip, get your Thanksgiving articles wrapped up this week and then start working on Christmas articles.  You want to have those Christmas articles up and indexed by the time the major searches start happening in order to take advantage of rising page views.  :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Profit Power of Writing 'Display Only' on Associated Content

Top contributor Will Stape talks about Diplay-only articles in the following article and why there is a lot of value in this "free" work.

Before I provide the link, though, I want to reiterate that while this is a good option (I should know because some of my biggest paid months have been when I've just published DO articles), you shouldn't also dismiss upfront payments just because it seems hard to figure out.  Getting declined?  Then head to the forum and place it in the Workshop where experienced contributors can tell you why.

While I don't always have time to write on AC as much as I'd like to, I still see the value of utilizing both the DO side and the upfront side of AC.  Don't stop because you may be getting frustrated with it.  Doing so will hurt the amount of money you could make.

If you want to read more about the "upfront" topic, look in the right column at the label cloud at the top and click on the word "upfront" to see more posts.

Profit Power of Writing 'Display Only' on Associated Content
Don't like giving it away? Hate the idea of dealing in freebies? Does the thought of publishing display only give you the chills? Here's why you shouldn't hate nor fear the 'free' on Associated Content.
Read More

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The truth about labels: Getting blogging categories right the first time

This post is actually related more to blogging but I can also attach it to AC's keyword section when you are publishing content.  The keywords you type in at AC have nothing to do with how your article ends up in a search and more of how AC will match similar content to your article.  Those similar content links will be on your page.

Until AC allows us to pick "Related Content" from our own article garden, we're stuck with everyone else's links on our page both on the right side and underneath our articles.  A way to try (and I emphasize try because the process is completely computerized and random) to get more of your related content on the same page as your latest article is to try to use the same keywords on each.  This works for me sometimes but not all of the time.

Read further for more about how labels define blogs.
------------------------------
 When I first started blogging, I thought that the box where labels go at the end of your blog post were aides in helping your content be discovered through a search.  So the more labels you use, the better your chances, right?

That actually has nothing to do with search-ability at all.  Your blog's search-ability has everything to do with content and nothing to do with labels. 


Read More...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Remodeling with Glass Tiles

For the last two years, I've lived in a construction zone.  There seems to be an ongoing remodeling project in one or more areas of the house (right now it's the bathroom floor and building walls in the basement).  While that's enough to drive any mom slightly insane, it's not a completely negative experience.  Shopping for the new items to decorate with is one of the fun aspects.

I was sent a link to Glass Tile Store.  They have beautiful tiles of all kinds.  Case in point, I'm having small fits over the verde diamond glass tile.  I can see that making a beautiful backsplash in my kitchen when we get ready to tackle that room.  There are also great choices for bathroom tiles.  Unfortunately, we're already in the grout (which, btw, they carry grout, too) stage of the bathroom so we'll have to pass on that.

They also have subway tiles which is great for bathroom, kitchen, walls and more.  This is certainly a site I'll be bookmarking in our "Remodel" folder.  PP

Monday, October 18, 2010

All About Multiple Sclerosis

I don't know much about multiple sclerosis or otherwise commonly known as MS.  I know that the percentage of people who have it isn't very high and I know that it is debilitating.  That's the extent of my knowledge.  I don't have it and I don't know anyone who does.

But what if someone I care about was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis?  How would I find information that would tell me what it was?  How would I know about MS treatment or symptoms? 

If you find yourself needing to learn more about MS, then you should check out the website allaboutms.com.  I never knew there were so many topics that focus on MS.  There is everything from living with MS tips like how to keep cool during the summer, sexuality issues, traveling with MS, and info on multiple sclerosis diet.  It looks like a good site to keep up with news, too.

If you have MS or know someone with MS, this site may be exactly what you are looking for.  PP

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is AC/Yahoo lifting articles again? What about AOL buying Yahoo?


Okay, first, I'm going to address the AOL thing.  If you haven't heard this, here's the story.  From what I understand, this is not concrete.  There is more to the process then someone saying that AOL is bidding on or saying they are going to buy Yahoo.  To be honest, I know absolutely crap when it comes to stuff like this.  I don't understand the jargon and when it comes to reports like this, I don't know what to believe.  What I do know is that this is just talk right now.  As far as I know, we are not all suddenly going to be thrust into AOL.  For right now, AC has more important things to worry about.

So moving on....

Is Yahoo! lifting DO articles again?  For a bit of background on what has happened, read this.  Apparently a contributor thought that a DO of hers was put on Yahoo! recently but to my knowledge, the content was actually a non-exclusive.

Okay, so as far as I know, the feed error is not happening again BUT this doesn't completely cover all the issues that contributors have over the whole Yahoo! thing.  I've actually learned some things since that last post that I will share and try to explain.

First, giving $5 to contributors for the distribution of content to Yahoo! seems like a slap considering the number of page views Yahoo brings in and how many page views can be taken from the original.  But contributors are certainly within their right to go with the flow of that if it suits them.

Next, contributors are of the mindset that Yahoo! can't be interchangeable with AC while at the same time being a "partner" that can pick up content.  Actually, at this stage, yes, they can be both.  This leaves all the rights with Yahoo/AC and NO rights with the contributors.  If Yahoo! wants to pick our content and throw a minimal amount of money at us for it, they can. Additionally, according to these policies, Yahoo! can also take whatever else they want without paying us or even without notifying us.  It's their site and they can do whatever they want, right?  From the responses, legally, yes, they can.  While AC and Yahoo! are still in the initial stages of the "merge" or "integration" as they call it, they are legally covered.  They can pick up DO's or anything they want.  The writers of the site, the ones who are doing the leg work for AC, apparently have no rights whatsoever.  That's the way it appears anyway.  The only issue that stands out is that the original agreement means that we're supposed to be paid performance for every article unless specifically arranged otherwise.  This is really the only legal leverage we have.

So now comes the obvious question.  If this is the case, why aren't many of the more experienced writers running for the hills?  This has obviously caused many contributors to be leery; some contributors are publishing a lot less and some have stopped publishing altogether.  But while the writer's rights are minimal to none while this happens, the honor system of AC is something that has enough merit to me to continue.  I believe AC when they say they would never intentionally republish our DO content.  I believe AC when they say they are working toward integrating page view payments for content published on Yahoo!.  While my trust is leery after having discovered the feed error on my articles myself (it wouldn't have been so bad if AC had alerted us that it might happen) , AC has always paid me what they agreed to and I've not had any other outstanding payment or display problems with them.

Think about it.  What good would it do Yahoo! or AC to completely alienate the contributors, to piss us all off enough that we not only look at legal options but also enough that we stop writing for them?  AC would be worthless without continuous content.  We are the base of what keeps the site going.

There are still matters to clear up and I doubt this will be the last of the story but here's my take on it.  I would encourage contributors to continue to write, pay close attention to the rights and distribution rights when you publish, and keep an eye out on your content on any other site (which is something I hope you do anyway).  Hopefully, we'll all get answers and a resolution soon.  In the meantime, let's encourage the integration so we can start getting some Yahoo! page views!

This post brought to you by AC Contributor Becca Badgett.



Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Lost my Hot 500 Badge :(

September was the absolute worst in page views I've had all year.  I made just a little over half of what my lowest PV bonus has been since January.  Why?  Well, I did slack off a bit on the television writing in favor of working on my latest novel.  I have my test readers for my novel getting a chapter a week and they are starting to catch up with me.  I've also been working on private client work and other projects that has kept me from doing my normal AC work.

My overall freelance/contract earnings were lower than usual as well so it wasn't just AC.

In the meantime, while I hope I get the badge back next month, if I don't, that's fine because I know I have more to write than just AC articles.  :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't be afraid to stick up for yourself when your photos are lifted

When you sit and work on a slide show for Associated Content or any other site, it's disheartening when you see others lifting your photos to use without your permission. 

So here's the scenario I had to deal with a few weeks ago.  I was doing publicity for a local event.  Knowing that I'll be doing the same next year for said event, I put up pictures on AC in the form of a 2 part slideshow in order to help promote the event next year.  Then I stuck the links up on Facebook for both my local website and for AC.  The next thing I know, I had over a handful of local Facebook friends posting MY PHOTOS on their Facebook pages.  I get that they were excited about the event.  I get and appreciate that they had a great time at the event and liked my photos enough to share them.  What they didn't understand was their actions were illegal and was directly causing me to lose money via page views.

Dealing with a plagiarizer is a different tactic although the premise is the same.  This is copyright infringement.  So how do you deal with people you interact with, your real life friends and family, when you know they really meant no harm?

First, don't fly off the handle.  That's southern speak for remain calm.   When it comes to people who don't work online or don't do much online period, chances are, they just don't know any better.  Second, send the "lifters" a polite message letting them know while you appreciate that they like your photos, you get paid from page views and they've just taken money out of your pocket.  Instruct them in a nice tone that if they wish to support you as the photographer, they can delete the photos they put up and proceed to share the link to your slideshow.  That way, others get to enjoy the photos and you get paid for your work.  In most cases, you'll see this is all you need to do.  If they are educated about photo copyright infringement, most often, they won't do it again.

What do you do if they don't take the photos down?  Well, that's really up to you.  Is it worth it to you to report them?  Is it worth it to cause a rift?  Only you can determine, based on the relationship you have with the person, whether it is worth it to pursue a legal path.

But whether it's an article or a photo, don't feel like you're being petty if you stand up for your self.  It's YOUR work and you are entitled to compensation for it.  Other people don't sit at their desks for 8 hours a day doing their work for nothing, yours should be no different.

Related Article:  It's okay for me to "share" any photo, right?

This post brought to you by Becca Badgett's Growing Blueberries in Gardening Zone 7

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Writing for AC is Featured on 'Your Blog Connection'

Fellow Associated Content contributor and blogger Theresa Wiza has featured this blog on her blog "Your Blog Connection". 

To read the post, click on "Check Out This 'Writing for AC' Blog".  Thank you, Teresa for the links and the recognition!

Oh, and I love the Barefoot's smiling mug in the screenshot! :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Unambiguous Southern Grammar (humor video from the Barefoot)

Writer pal and AC contributor theBarefoot shares something near and dear to my heart; southern grammar.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Top Contributor Will Stape Gives Interview to BBC Academy

In an interview with Matthew Wells, one of Associated Content's top contributors, Will Stape talks about his experience with Associated Content.  Visit his page and you'll see why he such a great contributor.  I've been subscribed to Will Stape's content for a long time and was delighted to see this interview.  Watch the video of the interview below and then head on over to Matthew Well's article to read more about Associated Content and Will Stape.

Century 21 in Wilmington, North Carolina

Century 21 has been around for years and is the world's most recognized name in real estate.  The folks up in Wilmington, North Carolina at Sweyer & Associates have been around for 23 years.  Anyone looking into Wilmington NC real estate should check out their website. The first thing that catches my attention is the beautiful pictures on the front page.   We're talking beach front here.  If anything, at least go check out those pictures.

Another thing I noticed about the site was within a few minutes of my arrival on the first page, there was a "ding!" and a chat window opened with an offer of assistance if I needed it.  Curious, I typed a polite response and mentioned how beautiful the pictures were.  I was astonished to find that the chat was with a real live person and not some chatbot program!  Thumbs up.

Heading to the listings, if you're searching for Wilmington NC real estate, you can enter your own criteria such as what kind of dwelling you're looking for, what your price range is, and more.  You have the option of a quick search, which is ideal if you're not exactly sure what you're looking for yet, and then you have more detailed options such as school zones, what kind of lot you're looking for and more.

You don't just have to be looking for Wilmington NC homes to live in, you can also find a vacation home.  If the pictures are any indication, this looks like a peaceful place to get away.

Happy home searching!

PP

Facebook: A regular page or a "Like" page?

When you're looking to promote your business or your image (such as for a band or politician), I always recommend a "Like" page on Facebook.  The biggest reason is to gain more exposure in search engine results.  It's fairly easy to manage one and you can do it directly from your main (personal) account, assuming you have a personal Facebook page just to keep up with friends and such.

Using a Facebook "Like" (previously known as a "Fan") page is one of the best tools for online networking.  As Facebook continues to grow, even locally, the exposure your page can have to potential customers and fans is phenomenal. 

Read More...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AC and Me (or is it AC and I?)

I realized as I recategorized my labels yesterday on this blog that I haven't done a random progress report in awhile.

So how am I doing on AC?  For the last several months, I've been doing fantastic... this month, not so much.  My page views this month are less then half what they usually are and I've been writing just as consistently as I always have.  But I fret not.  I'm going to take some advice at the end of this week and do some networking and such.

I have mostly recovered from the AC/Yahoo! blunder that I'd been stressing about the last couple of weeks.  My payment for the test feed error came through Monday as promised.  There are still questions surrounding the legality of the whole situation but for the most part, I think it is something that can be moved past.

I'm also gunning for a "Best of AC" award this month for television.  I was nominated last year for the award but didn't get it so I'm hoping that maybe this year will be my year. 

In any case, I would really love to write more for AC.  I could kick some ass if I had the time to write as much as I want but I do have other obligations and I have little ones at home. 

I hope your time with AC is fruitful and I'll see y'all next time.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where is my account number for my Associated Content W-9?

When you make enough money to finally be responsible for the taxes from your Associated Content income (hurray?), you'll get an email that states you'll receive no more payments until you turn in a W-9.

In the email, it states that you can fax or mail it, but you can also print it, fill it out, scan it and attach it in an email.

You'll also notice at the bottom of the email that you must put in your account number.  Community Guide Marie Anne St. Jean often tells contributors to "click to your profile page, then look at the number just before your name in the URL".  This is your account number.  There is a space at the end of the first section of the W-9 where the account number can go.

Why does AC require them?

I have no clue.  According to knowledgeable contributor (and tax mogul) Angie Mohr, no non-IRS numbers should be going on a W-9.

I did not know this when I submitted my W-9 and after consulting Angie about it, I simply submitted my W-9 without one.  I included a note in the email that I had no clue what it was for or where to find it as my first email to them asking where to find it went unanswered.  I never got an email stating whether that was okay or not but I started getting payments again so apparently they accepted it. 

It's unclear why AC is requiring this number but so far, using Marie Anne's advice hasn't produced any further questions on the matter.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Writing for AC Wins the Blog Goddess Award

Blog Goddess Award courtesy of Bloggoddess.weebly.com
This blog has just been peer picked for a Blog Goddess Award.  This makes the second peer award this blog has received and I'm truly flattered.  Thank you so much!

The Blog Goddess Award goes to women bloggers who maintain blogs that are motivational, inspirational, dynamic, full of useful information and more.

I received this award as a direct result of my post about Associated Content and Yahoo's mistake which led to articles being published on Yahoo! without permission.  You can read that post here.  Essentially, people find it touchy to write about things that are as controversial as this topic has been (and continues to be).  But if you don't speak up, who will?  I've come to realize over the last couple of years that if I don't open my mouth and provide information or state my opinion, then I can't expect change for the better in anything that I (or others after me) do.

I appreciate the recognition.  And I will continue to provide my readers with the good and not-so-good of Associated Content for as long as I am writing for the site.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yahoo! and Associated Content's GREAT BIG Blunder to AC Writers

Because I took the weekend off, I've spent the majority of a fine Monday morning not only mourning the loss of one of my favorite uncles but also feeling quite robbed and violated by Associated Content and Yahoo!.  Because I've promised to give you all the information, good and bad, that came along as a result of writing for Associated Content (and I feel like I've done that fairly well over the past sixteen months), this is not something I'm willing to ignore because this was a huge blunder and in writing standards, I think "blunder" is actually a nicer form of the word then what I want to use.

The Yahoo!/AC "Blunder"

Last week, as I was following up on reports of a site (completely unrelated to Yahoo! and AC) that many people were saying was plagiarizing AC content, I came across a feed that showed a television review of mine.  I clicked on it and was absolutely shocked to see an article I'd written on the 10th of August on the premier of "Bachelor Pad" in its entirety directly on Yahoo!News.  The only link backs to me on AC was links that I had placed within the article myself.  My name was not even linked to my profile.  Several things were immediately evident to me.
  1. The article had been a DO (display only) article and Yahoo! didn't have the permissions to publish it on their site.
  2. I had not been notified by Yahoo! or AC that my article was published.
  3. I had not been paid for the display of it on Yahoo!
  4. The article on Yahoo! was up for almost a month, competing with my original article's page views.
  5. I didn't get a Google alert for the article so I wondered how many more articles of mine were displayed illegally.
This is a shocker, I know, especially for those who don't frequent the forums enough to be aware that this is going on.  And let me just tell you; this is one of those instances that I equate to catching your spouse kissing another person.  I thought a lot of AC and I respected Yahoo!.  But to see my article like this, it was a blow.  I took it hard.  I felt betrayed by someone I trusted.  After some consideration about what to do, I posted in the forums.

As it turned out, there were others with similar problems.  DO articles completely lifted and placed on Yahoo! (such as in my case), others who have had no extra payment for articles displayed on Yahoo! but instead offered more work as a "Thank you", misled information relating to assignments and more.

Copyright violation is a serious offense to a writer and this was, in mine and many others' opinions, a perfect copyright violation.  (I should note here that AC and Yahoo! deny this is any sort of violation and I'll explain that further down.)  What makes it even worse is that evidence suggests that AC was aware of this.  They had sent notifications to some contributors (oddly I wasn't one of them) that there were feeds being tested.  I have no clue what was going on in their heads even after they found out they were publishing full DO articles.  And even worse... this practice continued.

Listen, I completely get that there are bugs that happen when testing things but when you know that something is going wrong, it should be stopped.  According to one contributor, even when this was brought to AC's attention, the response was that there was nothing they could do about it and that we (contributors) should just suck it up.  Not the exact words but similar in meaning.  Only when it burst into full force in the forum was there a scramble to make up for lost time.

The Response

I waited and fretted most of last week over the issue.  You'd think as against copyright infringement (oops, sorry, non-permissive usage (towmaytoe, towmawtoe)) as most reputable online sites appear to be, that the issue would have been addressed immediately.  But that's neither here nor there.  It was eventually addressed Saturday but I had taken the weekend off and didn't see it until yesterday morning.

On first glance, it looked like those of us who had our content lifted were going to be patted on the head with $2.  Sorry, guys, $2 for a piece used without permission is like trying put a band aide on a wound that needs stitches. 

I've said before that when I find an article of mine copied without permission on another site, the first thing I do is send an invoice to the owner of the site and I charge them more for reprint rights than I would someone who asks for permission.  Neither one of those amounts come close to $2.

The Second Response

Sensing that the masses were unhappy with the $2 insult and with outstanding legal questions, the guy with the unfortunate task of relaying the messages to us came back with a $15 appeasement gift per each DO that was published without permission.  The reason is NOT because they used it without permission but because they took so long to fix it (and it's not even fixed yet; read more).  I'm rolling my eyes at this.  An apology that they did us wrong (and are continuing to do us wrong) is in order but I doubt we'll see it.

While this doesn't completely cover the brunt of the violation that occurred, it was, in my opinion, a step in the right direction.  But there's more.

Those who were crying "Copyright infringement!" (including me), needn't retain lawyers just yet.  According to the Master Licensing Agreement, because it owns AC, Yahoo! is considered "The Company".  So in other words, Yahoo! has every right to take our content, place it on a Yahoo! page, let it suck page views from our AC published articles of the same name and not pay us for it.  In the same breath, they say that they would never intentionally do it.  At least they recognize the practice as highly unethical.. or at least I hope they do.

But it Hasn't Stopped!

The article I found has been pulled from the Yahoo! site and so has several others and while I haven't found any more of my own (and believe me, I've been looking), some other contributors have... even as late a YESTERDAY.  I don't know everything about tech issues but this ranks right up there with the huge Examiner.com upgrade fail.  The more they keep trying to put a lid on the bugs, the more it keeps spilling over.  Now contributors are wondering why it's taking so long, why there are some contributors' articles still being affected, etc.

What Now?

Do I think this is an intentional attempt at stealing articles?  

No.  I feel like this is an error in both technology and in the way it was handled after the fact.  


What will Yahoo! and AC do about it?  

As already stated, many articles have already been removed from Yahoo! sites and I hear they are in the process of removing all of them.  I hope they are taking care of the feed problem as we speak.  We're being compensated $15 per lifted piece.  I do believe them when they say that they wouldn't intentionally do such a thing but I'm still upset at what happened and what appears to be continuing to happen.  (And trust me when I say this ONLY because it's AC and Yahoo!; someone I wasn't associated with wouldn't be so lucky.)  We were violated, legalese or not, this was a violation of our rights and our trust.  As a writer, one of the biggest insults to me is when someone takes my work without even so much as asking much less not even paying for it.


What will I do now?  

I'm going to continue writing for AC with extra attention being paid to the wording of rights.  I will be leery about Yahoo! and AC in much the same way I was when they first attached to each other.  I'm only continuing with AC because I don't feel like this was something that was brought about by intentional deception.  If I had thought otherwise, this post would be entirely different.  I do feel like, though, it was with a lack of respect for our intelligence that it was handled the way it was.  And it takes awhile to build trust back up after it's been betrayed.  


What do I expect to happen now?  

  • I expect whatever it is AC and Yahoo! are doing TO STOP.  Despite the legal coldness of it, I don't think AC or Yahoo! really believes that it's ethical to place our articles in dual to compete with one another without express permission from us.  To do so without our initial knowledge robs us of page views and money not to mention erodes our trust.  It is my hope that they are making this their priority.
  • I would like to know why this was tested the way it was without a payment system in place to protect your writers in the first place.  I understand there are kinks but I have to wonder whether my lack of page views last month was a casualty of this nonsense.  It makes me feel like we're not valued as contributors.
  • I expect AC to be more upfront about these issues.  I realize it's not the most legal-etiquette way of handling things but when you're spouting cold legalese when so many people would like a simple apology and an acknowledgment that what's been done to them was WRONG, it goes a long, long way in rebuilding trust.
  • I expect AC and Yahoo! to address the other issues that have come up as a result of this but to do so in due time after the feeds have stopped and no one else is complaining about more of their work showing up unexpectedly on Yahoo!.
There are many more things I would expect of AC and Yahoo! but this is going to have to do for now.  I'm tired of stressing about this.

I will just state here that I'm really dismayed and disappointed.  More care should have been taken and the AC staffer who knew about the problem before I even knew about it but did not respect the impact of it should be counseled on identifying a real problem and taking appropriate action instead of letting it go in the interest of "testing a feed".  Additionally, I expect that Yahoo! and AC will take further care in the future and that something like this NEVER happens again.

I'm still excited about what the future holds for AC contributors and Yahoo!.  The possibilities look really promising and I can't wait to see where it goes.  If you're running into this blog and you're not a contributor, please don't let this deter you from giving it a go.  Every integration has it's problems; this just happens to be a big one.  But I'm willing to stick it out for now and see what happens only because AC has been a great place to be.
 

But I shall proceed with caution.

*Note: If you would like to check for your articles on Yahoo! do a search in quotes for "your name" site: yahoo.com or for the title of your article (or unique phrase from your articles) in quotes "title or phrase" site: yahoo.com.

How to Get Fans and Followers on Associated Content

How to Get Fans and Followers on Associated Content
Does your AC profile need some love? Do you keep checking your fans and followers pages in hopes that more people will appear? There are many different ways to get fans and followers on Associated Content. The methods I find the best might surprise you.
Read More

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Linking Articles from One Site to Another or Between Articles

A reader posted the following comment on my How to Start Writing Content article on Associated Content: 

"So, do you try to link your AC and Examiner articles? How about your blog? Are your posts to each duplicated or in concert with each other in any way? Just starting out, so I'm curious how to get organized from the beginning. Still learning about all the RSS, Digg, Twitter, etc. options and trying to tie it all together cohesively. ~ Thanks for all of the tips, etc."

This is a lot but I'll try to explain, from my perspective, how I can link different things up.

When I still regularly wrote for Examiner, if I had an article that related to one I was writing for Associated Content, then I would link it.  If I didn't have one, then I wouldn't.  The same goes for my blogs or other sites.  If it isn't relevant to the article you are writing, then don't link it.  It's really that easy. 

I don't intentionally write things that will link up with one another.  I think about each blog and each site that I write for, create a list of topics for each and start writing.  After I'm finished writing it, I think about whether it is relevant to another site or blog.  If it is, I'll find a way to link it.  If it isn't, then I move on.  You should never try to link up something to your articles just to create a link.  It is a quick way to discredit yourself.

Sometimes, I will write an article on one blog or site, and then realize that it is relevant to another blog or site.  In most cases, if it is on a blog (not AC), then I will do a teaser and then link the article from my other site.  For an example of this, see this post.

And sometimes, I will specifically write an AC post that will link up to one of my blogs or another site.  For an example of this, see this post.  Because my Associated Content articles are scattered from topic to topic, I don't expect someone who is interested in my television articles to be interested in my local articles.  But I want to keep the interest of these readers and I do so by having a television blog and a local blog which each feature my content on the subjects as well as others.  (Notice how I linked those up because it was relevant?)

I don't often duplicate articles from one site to another but I also don't write for many different sites.  I'd rather link to and from my blogs so I get the page views from one to another.  But I realize it's different for everyone. 

Social networking (Digg, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) is a different beast than inter (or intra?) linking your content.  For social networking topics, visit this post and this post.  You will find some great information on those links.

In reality, there's no easy answer for how to correctly do these things.  You can read all the material you want but it doesn't equal the knowledge you gain from time spent actually doing it.  Over time, as you build your library of content across whichever sites you write for, linking between articles will come naturally.  You'll then understand what is relevant, how best to do it, and how to be successful overall.