Wednesday, March 30, 2011
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
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
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
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The Newbie's Guide to Success at the Yahoo! Contributor Network
Thursday, February 17, 2011
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 http://www.marrow.org and join the registry (if your health allows). You could save a life, maybe even Rissa's.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
This change is understandable as Associated Content is no longer the main platform for Y!CN publishing. Associated Content, while still a viable publishing platform, has become what I'd like to call the rejects of Yahoo!. Yup. It's given me a complex to say the least. Since the change over to the Yahoo! Contributor Network, I've rejoiced in the fact that many pieces of my content have been used on various Yahoo! sites. But then when one of my featured assignments would be reviewed and published on Associated Content instead of a targeted Yahoo! site, I almost view it like a failure. I thought I was doing really well on Associated Content until Yahoo! came along. I was just mediocre again.
And this is coupled with the fact that this was my first month as a featured parenting contributor. Now I have to change all my damn bios again.
Forgive me for being doom and gloom today. If you read back through my blog, I'm not usually like this. While I have been hard on Y!CN at times, I am generally one of the first to ask that contributors take it in stride and give things a chance before they start drawing storm clouds above their heads. I usually point out that AC/Y!CN has shown themselves to be above game in times like this. But I'm not going to say that this time (although keep in mind, I'm not dismissing it either).
The main thing I have to take into account how things have worked at Y!CN since the change over. Even though there are great higher paying opportunities, there are a ton of tech/help issues, some of which are costing contributors page views. Everything from botched notifications, to lagging page view updates, to articles in limbo, to having to sign in sometimes two or three times (and then click back to the article) to leave comments, *to not being able to switch from one site to the other on our profiles, and more... never, since I began writing for this site have I seen such a dragging of issues not being fixed in a timely manner. Let me reiterate; issues addressed, yes. Fixed, no.
*ETA: Since I published this post, I can now switch from one site to the next on my profile page. Hurray!
Second, I don't see where this is the best solution. The troubles with the old FC program was that there were too many people who weren't following the guidelines as an FC (not a professional byline or picture, not submitting assignments, etc). You don't have to shut down the entire program and start from scratch to weed out the ones who aren't doing what they are supposed to. This, in my opinion, is a complete waste of time on both the staff and the contributors and it's caused an unnecessary amount of frustration and worry.
Third, and this was the kicker for me yesterday as I read through post after post of discussions on the subject, there were people who were/are FC's who were told that they didn't have to reapply for their positions. Everyone else would. While I'm happy for those contributors who do not have to reapply, I did NOT receive such a message and I am pissed about it. As if I didn't already have doubts when my work isn't chosen for a Yahoo! site, here I'm going to have to reapply for positions that I already have. So here's my funk; I've never missed an FC assignment. I may have had one decline toward the beginning of the program when I got categories confused but have otherwise done very well... or so I thought. I write consistently, I write well. I get descent page views. I realize I don't write as much as some because I have two little ones still under school age but I have always thought I was doing pretty good. Shows what I know. To sum it up again, I suppose I'm not as much pissed as I am crushed. I know there are others out there who feel the same way. In a way, it's degrading.
I don't think I would be so upset had events unfolded differently. When AC still had category editors, I was specifically asked by a staffer to be a category editor; I didn't even know that I could be a CE. Only a few short months later, they scrapped that program and introduced the Featured Contributor program. I didn't apply for awhile but I kept getting messages urging me to do so. So finally I did and was accepted very quickly each time I applied. Now that's being scrapped and I have to reapply... while others are able to write without having to worry. I guess I'm so upset because I feel like I put so much effort in, I work my ass off, but it seems a bit in vain now.
I am very fortunate and thankful for the TV beats and the new news beats that I've gotten. That is probably the only thing that keeps me from being a total gloomy gus about this whole thing. I'm going to apply for what I can when March rolls around and just sit and hope that it's good enough to go through.
So I leave you today with this final thought: In order to have (and keep) some form of happiness writing content for any site, don't expect anything. If you have beat assignments, enjoy them while they last because you never know when something will change. If you don't expect to keep them forever, you won't be so quick to be down when they are pulled.
And that's all for now. I'll update when more information comes my way. Thanks for reading.
This post brought to you by All Holidays Fever.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
If you find your article in whole on another site, first check to make sure that it isn’t a partner distribution from Y!CN. Look under your content tab on your account page. You’ll see the word “Partner” on the right. Click on it. Check to see if the article is listed there and what site it went to.
If you don’t find it, look under payments for any payment that was a distribution payment.
If you’re still coming up empty handed, it is likely plagiarism. Note that one key item that can tip you off if it’s plagiarism is if they don’t have your Y!CN byline on it.
This isn’t okay. And it isn’t just NOT okay, it’s illegal. But what you do next is determined by what rights to the article you’ve retained when you published it on Y!CN. If it was Exclusive, then shoot an email to the legal team at Y!CN and let them take care of it. If it was Non-Exclusive or Display Only, then you’ll have to deal with it yourself, however you want to deal with it.
Part of the article
If another site is going to link your article, they should only take a paragraph or two with a link back to your article. I do this on my TV Slugs blog all the time. This is completely okay. More than okay, really, because it gives you a link back and more exposure.
But some sites do get greedy. I found the whole first page of an article once on another site. They linked back to my article but after reading the entire first page, only a small fraction of readers, if any, was going to click through to my article. I politely thanked them for providing a link back to my article but taking a whole page wasn’t proper etiquette. (Anyone who does niche blog content exposure knows this, so I’m sure it wasn’t news to them.) I asked them to shorten it or remove it.
But that’s it. If another site takes a paragraph or two and links back, great! Anything more then that is cause for concern.
For more info on plagiarism topics within this site, click here.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Now it's my turn to shop and I've just been introduced to a website that will help. The Car Connection is so detailed that I can't help but be impressed. So what kind of vehicle am I looking for? My friend, Jennifer says I should go for a convertible like a Mazda Mx-5 Miata or a Volkswagen Eos. Those are nice vehicles but they aren't really my style. I'm a mom and I'm just starting the whole "transport your kids to ball games" thing so I'll need something a little more practical. The Ford Focus looks alright but with two boys, I believe I'm going to need something a bit bigger, like maybe a Chevy Tahoe.
Whatever I end up deciding on (I'll be waiting until this fall to make my purchase when the best deals are), I'm sure I can find all the information I'll need like reviews, news, and more. PP
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Another big change in the program is that upfronts have gone down on these assignments slightly. Most people I have talked with actually expected this change and aren’t that concerned about it. While I’m okay with getting a lower upfront, I hope it doesn’t get to the point where we’re only making a couple of dollars a piece on them. I'm not sure any lower upfronts would be worth the research for evergreen or be worth the long review time.
Congrats to everyone who made it through the first round of cuts. May you all have a prosperous month and happy writing!
This post brought to you by TV Slugs.
Monday, January 31, 2011
To understand what a content mill is and what they are looking for is the first step in making a living as a content writer. Also it is important to realize that you have no need to be embarrassed or feel any shame for writing web content for pay. You aren't doing anything wrong and if no one was looking for the content that content mills produce, they wouldn't be able to be such huge successful companies, and they sure wouldn't pay you to write it.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
We've all heard this but do we all adhere by it? Unfortunately, no. Some people, I would imagine, even have a hard time understanding what an intelligent opinion is. I'll sum it up for you.
You'd think that anyone smart enough to be getting by fairly well on Y!CN would know that you can't state an opinion intelligently by grouping people together and calling them all a name. But it happens more than you might think.
In a recent article by a contributor I will not name here, everyone in a religion was grouped together and called "crazy", "dumb", and "stupid". Sounds more like elementary writing, doesn't it? I've seen similar articles here and there and they do nothing to gain the respect of readers or peers... unless they are just as elementary as the writer, that is.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with having an opinion. But be intelligent about stating your opinion in words. Name calling helps no one, especially you. All it does is make you look like you have no class.
That will be all for today. Have a great week, Y!CN!
Friday, January 21, 2011
Theresa Wiza (right) has been a contributor for over two and a half years now. In September of 2009, she learned she had breast cancer. She is still battling it and will be for a long time. In the meantime, she has provided her readers and friends a journal on Associated Content that details her experiences with the disease.
An excerpt from Diagnosis: Breast Cancer - Part 1-
"We [a dear friend and I] talked about how I could now use breast cancer to excuse myself from having to do anything I didn't want to do:
Sorry, can't mop up that mess. I have breast cancer. Sorry, didn't hear you - my breast cancer is acting up. Sorry, officer, I was in a rush to beat my breast cancer. And on and on.
From that point we went off on a tangent to discuss how my grandchildren could use the breast cancer excuse too. Sorry, couldn't make it to class today - my grandma has breast cancer.
Am I delirious? Possibly."
I came across these in part because I remembered someone saying that Theresa had breast cancer. My next fiction piece centers on a woman with breast cancer. Since I didn't know anyone close to me with the disease, I asked Theresa if she would mind helping me in my research. She continues to answer questions that pop up as I write the story.
I admit that I didn't realize what I was getting into when I first came up with the story idea. I knew very little about breast cancer, treatments, or the toll it takes on those afflicted. But it's the best part of being a fiction writer; researching and seeing an entirely different side to life. Even when the topic is an unpleasant one, the knowledge that comes with researching the personal side of things is often eye opening and emotional. And it's thought provoking in a way that helps you understand the world around you and appreciate people and their struggles more.
If you'd like to read Theresa's breast cancer journal, the links are below. It's a bit long but well worth the read.
Here are some other links where you can find her:
Theresa's Yahoo! Contributor Profile
Your Blog Connection
Help for Single Parents
My Heart Belongs to You
Writer of Blogs
You can find my fiction site at www.PamelaCaves.com
Being that I'm centered between being considered young and being considered middle-aged, I wondered if I was showing any osteoarthritis symptoms. I wanted to learn more about it, find out what works, what doesn't, and how to prevent it.
As a result, I've been researching the latest health news on osteoarthritis and have found some interesting things. Did you know...
- ...taking Vitamin D hasn't shown any sign of lowering osteoarthritis risk?
- ...osteoarthritis actually has to do with cartilage degeneration as opposed to bone degeneration like osteoporosis?
- ...knee pain is often higher in people who also have other joint pain?
Arming myself with knowledge is the best first step I can take to preventing myself from getting osteoarthritis. PP
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I've just been introduced to a cheap ink site called InkGrabber.com. In trying to determine if it would be worth buying from them, I searched out the cartridges my HP printer uses. I was surprised at the sheer number of selections available. You can search by brand or you can type in the search box.
We all know printer ink isn't cheap when you have to go to the store to get it. So how does the site measure up? In comparing the prices online to the ink cartridges I usually by, I saw where with the remanufactured cartridges, the prices are very reasonable. For new ones, the prices are about the same as what you'd find in any store. But for either one, it saves a 30 minute drive! PP
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
But this change also brings out some things that few may have thought of. This integration has now made standard page view goals and subscriptions almost irrelevant.
When you publish on Associated Content, two things happen. First, a notice goes to those who've subscribed to your work. Second, at each daily page view update, you see your main page views go up. But some contributors regularly have articles that go to Yahoo! sites now. Those articles' page views are separate from our main page views. This makes a heckuva difference when you have thousands of views on the Yahoo! sites and your main views don't go up. That makes getting to be a PV Millionaire with the little badge of honor on your profile a bit harder to reach (as if it wasn't hard enough before). Also, for those articles, a notification doesn't go to your subscribers so they have no clue you've published new content. Not that it really makes a difference on page views (more views come from searches than subscribers with most content), but it could be a little disappointing for those fans who want to read specific topics of yours.
In any case, I'm not complaining, just pointing out a flaw. No longer can I successfully say "I'm going to reach 500,000 by July," when so much of my content is being shifted to other sites and page views are separated.
In any case, the same page view tactics apply to any site. This is not meant to say that anything is different regarding how to get page views on Associated Content, only that it's a different standard now.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
In Austin, Texas, there is a place called the Steam Team which boasts being the only locally owned complete service cleaning and restoration business in Austin. Impressive. Even more so is that they've been in business for almost 30 years. They have to be doing something right to have that kind of longevity.
Beyond steam carpet cleaning service austin, which is an obvious one, they are also experts in many other kinds of services.
One that surprised me when I visited their website was hardwood finishing and cleaning. I don't live around Austin, Texas, but I found their website useful in that they offer hardwood floor cleaning tips austin. We have the hardwood ready to install in our house and one thing that has really concerned me was the cleaning of it. I've never had hardwood before. After reading some of the information provided by the site, I feel better about it.
And we've recently had an issue with a leaking roof that's left those ugly water stains on our ceiling. You know what? Repair water damaged ceiling austin is just another in the long list of services this company provides.
I urge you to check out their site. You'll find just what you're looking for. PP
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
It was around this time last year when I decided that I'd had enough of struggling through Associated Content. I'd been writing for them for about a year at that time and was making mere change. In that year, I'd gotten 56,000 page views. That's an average of 153 page views a day.
Today I have over 357,000. A huge leap, right? That's an average of roughly 825 views a day. So what made the difference?
I stuck with it and I continued to learn. It wasn't like I read a bunch of articles on SEO and suddenly my page views went up, it was a combination of listening to the advice of more experienced writers, reading material on the subject, and simply learning by doing. When you're just reading about SEO, page views, and all that jazz, the topic seems so daunting and frustrating to the inexperienced content writer. I, personally, learn better by just doing.
One main thing I learned, though, is that different tactics and methods work for different people. Some people find their best income is earned through upfront payment, others through page views only. Some people do well by on hitting on a lot trending topics, others by evergreen content, some by writing on a variety of topics, others by cornering a niche. It all depends on your style, what you enjoy writing, and a basic grasp of what content writing is about.
There is no one formula for success. Every person, every goal, every factor is different. You need to find what works for you. One proven way to fail is by giving up on it before you've allowed yourself enough time to get a feel for it. If you're impatient with it and expect to be making a descent chunk of change after only a few months, you're going to be disappointed.
My Goals for the Year
I'm not making any yearly goals, just short term. I'm going to continue to write, continue to work, and continue to learn. Happy New Year!
Sunday, January 2, 2011
A community of togetherness
One of the best things about Y!CN and content writing in general is that if you network yourself, you get to meet a variety of great people. We come from all walks of life, have many different backgrounds, and while many of us are from North America, we are sprinkled all over the world. And it never ceases to amaze me the sense of community, the acts of kindness and helping one another that our freelance, content writing circle makes. It gives me warm fuzzies.
So as I began reading up on this, I began to see Risa Watkins name on lots of different articles and blogs. It makes me so happy and proud to be part of this wonderful and kind networks of writers.
How you can help
I had a big paragraph of what you could do to help Rissa out but I just watched the below video from theBarefoot that lays everything out neatly for you. Please help if you can.
Subscribe to the Barefoot's YouTube Channel
Merry New Year! There's lots going on. Forgive the fast-talk, but I was trying to stuff it all into one video.
Oh, shirt! http://thebarefoot.spreadshirt.com
JPLnews - What's Up for January 2011? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvIHDw...
Buy a leukemia tee shirt & 100% of the profit goes to help Rissa fight her cancer:
teeBarefoot Charity items - http://ow.ly/3wUfm
Another shirt for Rissa from Angel Sharum http://ow.ly/3wUf7
Read. Simply read. Yahoo pays Rissa for every page viewed:
Rissa Watkins at Yahoo/AC http://ow.ly/3vX77
Make a purchase from Twin Trinity Media (http://www.shop.twintrinitymedia.com/).
$1 from every book and 25 cents from every e-book sold goes to Rissa
Send messages of encouragement:
Rissa's Facebook profile http://www.facebook.com/rissa.watkins