Update 11/15/10 - Associated Content is now the Yahoo! Contributor Network. There are only a few changes from the old AC, so most of this blog post is still applicable. For more information on the changes, see thisblog post.
If you haven't already heard of Associated Content (AC) then you may be interested in learning more about it, especially if you are new to the freelance writing world. While you won't get rich off of submitting to AC, it is a good place to develop a portfolio of writing clips as well as making a little extra money. And if you have a huge pile of articles posted there, you may actually make pretty good money each month.
Writing for Associated Content
Associated Content is a site where you can publish your articles, poems, opinion articles, short fiction, or any other writings of interest that you think people would enjoy reading. You can submit your articles in different ways; either as an exclusive for upfront payment plus performance payments; as a non-exclusive for upfront payment plus performance payments or for performance payments only. Confused yet? I will explain.
If you have written an interesting article that has not been published elsewhere, you can submit it to AC for an Exclusive up-front payment as well as earning pay-per-click money once it is published. Up-front payments are generally between $1-$20. The average up-front payment is around $4-5, so don't feel offended if this is all you are offered. Also, it can take up to a week for AC to review your article and offer you a payment, so be patient. If you chose to take their offer, then you cannot publish your article on any other sites because you have sold it to AC as an Exclusive (meaning full rights). Once your article has been published, you will begin earning money through performance payments (clicks). The rate is $1.50 per 1,000 clicks until you have surpassed a certain number of clicks and then your rate will go up a little. While this pay-per-click amount sounds very low, if you have a large number of interesting articles on AC you do have the potential of earning a good amount of money each month with performance payments.
If you have an article that you have never published elsewhere and you wish to retain rights to it you can still submit it to AC as a Non-Exclusive up-front payment plus performance payments. If your article is interesting enough you will probably get around the same up-front payment as you would have for the exclusive (say $4-$5) but you will still retain the right to publish it elsewhere. Once the article is published on AC you will then begin earning performance payments also.
The third way to submit to AC is through Performance Payments only. This way you retain the rights to publish your article elsewhere but can earn money per click on your article. When you submit an article this way, you do not have to wait for AC to approve the article, it will be published instantly (after you have published at least 2-3 articles on AC). Many times an writer will do this only because they have several articles that are already published on other pay-per-click sites and want to enhance their income.
Payment at Associated Content
Payment through AC is by Pay Pal only, so you will have to set up an account if you don't already have one. For up-front article payments, they will generally pay you on the Tuesday or Thursday following the date it was accepted. Performance payments are paid to you monthly. The performance payments are updated on your AC page daily so you can keep track of how much money you are earning.
Always read all the FAQ's and the Writer's Guidelines before joining any site so that you understand how the site works. I have been with AC for about two years now, and while it hasn't made me rich, now that I have a good amount of articles there I am doing fairly well there. I can attest to the fact that AC has always paid me on time and I've never had a problem with them whatsoever.
If you have any questions, or have an experience with AC that you'd like to share, please leave a comment. I would enjoy hearing from you.