Recently, I've been hearing about new sites popping up all over the Internet promising big money to those who write for them. Many are offering higher-than-normal percentages on ad revenue in order to entice writers to join and add content. If you've been around the block (or Web) a few times as I have, you tend to be leery of new sites until you have read reviews and completely looked over their Terms of Service. Unfortunately, in their haste to earn income from their writing, some writers tend to get overly excited when a new writing opportunity comes their way and jump headlong into the site without doing their homework. We all want to make the most from our writing, but instead of joining every site that offers ad revenue for your articles, take a moment to read and understand the site first.
Always Read The Terms of Service
I know all this small print is tedious to read, especially when you are so excited about joining the site and earning money, but it is important to read and understand these terms. Many times the terms explain how the site will use your writing, even though this information does not appear in the Author's Rights section. For example: I recently heard about the writing site InfoBarrel, so I had to go over and check it out for myself. It sounded pretty good, after all they are offering 75% of all Google Adsense revenue from ads attached to your articles. However, after reading the Terms of Service, I decided this wasn't the site for me. The terms read:
"Rights Granted. By submitting your Original Content for publication on the Site, you hereby irrevocably and unconditionally grant InfoBarrel, and any of its affiliates (hereinafter also referred to as "InfoBarrel"), a irrevocable, perpetual, unlimited free of charge and exclusive right to publish the Original Content on the Site and/or on other Internet Sites the Original Content shall be referred to by InfoBarrel (hereinafter also referred to as the "Site"), as InfoBarrel shall deem suitable under the terms and conditions of this Agreement, as well as allow users of the Site to view and further use the Original Content, free of charge, for any such purpose permitted by InfoBarrel, provided such use shall not be for profit generating purposes. Without derogating from the above, InfoBarrel shall be entitled to edit, delete, cutback, rephrase, reproduce, copy, translate, merge, add, use and make use of the Materials, in whole or in part, in any way or manner and at any time, as InfoBarrel shall deem appropriate in its sole discretion. "
Yet, under Author's Rights, they state that the author owns all rights to their work. Hmmm, I didn't like the sound of it. Besides, at InfoBarrel you have to submit content that has not been published anywhere else on the Internet or in any media form whatsoever. That is fine, but I don't like the thought that I must submit brand new content that I cannot publish anywhere else yet they can do whatever they want with it. I would rather place my fresh content on a site such as Constant-Content and sell it for far more than I would probably make on residual income at Infobarrel. That is just my opinion. So please, read the terms of service before signing up with any site.
Always Read the Author's Rights
Reading the Author's Rights should be a no-brainer for most serious writers. You need to know if you are giving away all rights to a site, or if you will continue to own all rights. It is also important to know if you have the right to publish the material elsewhere or if, once published on the site, you cannot republish. Let's say you publish several original articles on one site and then find a few months later you are not happy with the income you are making. Are you allowed to delete the material from their site? Can you then submit it to a site, like Associated Content, HubPages or eHow, that allow previously published material? Understand your rights so you don't work hard for someone else to make money off of you.
Understand How the Site Pays
Okay, I know we all sign up with eHow not quite understand HOW they pay, we just know that they do pay. But with eHow, you know that if you reach the $10 minimum, you will receive payment via PayPal. Find out the minimum payout on each site you join and understand how they are going to pay you. For those of you who live outside the United States, make sure the site will pay non-US citizens. If the site does not offer a clear explanation of payment, don't join, it's just that simple.
Read the Writer's Guidelines
Every site has their own guidelines for how they want their articles written. Always read the writer's guidelines and follow them. All the hulabaloo at eHow over articles being deleted is because people either didn't read the writer's guidelines or thought they didn't apply to them. Save yourself, and the site's editors, a lot of trouble and read them.
Some Writing Sites I've Heard About
Here are a few writing sites I have heard about but have yet to have time to review. I hope you will do your homework before you join and submit. In the future, I hope to review these in depth.
Leave a comment if you have written for any of these sites and the experiences you have had with them. I love hearing from you.