Monday, November 16, 2009

Examiner.com – Writing Site Review

Hi all,


As I mentioned before, I started writing for Examiner at the end of October. I am officially their Minnesota Heart Health Examiner. I had applied for the National Heart Health Examiner because I don’t live near any large cities, but instead they offered me the Minnesota job (even though it never really existed) and I am basically under the Minneapolis division. I really love my topic and it is one that will be easy to find endless subtopics on to write about for some time to come. I had been thinking about applying for some time and finally took the plunge to see what kind of money could be made there. As with most sites, some people love it and make a good income, others hate it and say it barely makes any income. All I can do is tell you about Examiner.com, share my experience so far with it and let you make up your own mind as to whether or not you want to add it to your residual income writing sites.

What is Examiner.com?

First off, Examiner makes it very clear that they are not affiliated in any way to any newspaper with the name of Examiner. They are their own independent website. Examiner.com is owned by The Anschutz Company which is a large media investment company. Examiner.com was launched in April, 2008 and covers over 110 major US cities in states all over the country as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines. Examiner is a growing website and expects to have over 18 million unique visitors to it’s website by the end of 2009.

Examiner is a huge website broken down into areas for each city. When you go to their main site, they will ask you to choose your state, then city. This makes Examiner similar to a city newspaper because the people writing for that area are from around that area. It gives it a hometown feeling with a nationwide reach.

Applying for Examiner

You must apply and be accepted before becoming a writer for Examiner.com. You choose your state, then the city closest to you. The application requires a writing sample of about 300 words in your area of expertise, a biography, reason why you think you can write about your chosen topic and your writing experience. Don’t let the application scare you away. You don’t have to be a professional in the topic of your choice, just a good writer who is willing to research your topic fully.

Acceptance or denial can come in as little as 24 hours or as long as 2 weeks, depending upon how busy the editor for your topic is. I was accepted within 24 hours and received all the information I needed to begin writing at that time. Once you are accepted, you have up to 3 days to publish your first article. Although your first article goes live immediately, they ask that you do not publish another article until the editor has looked at your first one and given you the okay. After that, you are free to publish as many articles as you wish in your topic. Also, you will be asked to fill out and return an IRS W-9 form in order to be paid. This you can download at the IRS website, print and mail in.

Writing for Examiner

Examiner asks that you write 3-4 articles a week to keep your page fresh. This is a good way to build up a following, build up your article library and, of course, build up your income. Articles must be a minimum of 200 words and a maximum of 400 words. You can go higher but they prefer short, quick articles. Articles should also be written in the third person. I have explored Examiner.com quite extensively and I see many writers that treat the site like their own personal blog with a lot of “I” and “Me” on their pages. Examiner frowns on this; however they do not edit everything that goes through so these writers continue breaking the rules. I suggest you do as they request in the event that someday they become like eHow and begin cleaning up and sweeping away any articles that do not conform.

Examiner gives you plenty of learning videos and information on what they expect of you as an Examiner, and I suggest you watch these and read whatever guidelines they give. Then get started and write your first article.

Article Rights at Examiner

At Examiner you own all rights to your articles and you can publish them elsewhere if you so choose. Once published on their site, you have the right to delete them also. You can also publish articles on their site that you have published elsewhere, as long as they are in your topic of expertise. So, you will not be wasting your time at Examiner.com. If you find you are not making as much money as you’d like there, you can either add to the income by publishing the articles on another site as well or delete them from Examiner and publish them elsewhere.  (This has changed - you can still publish your articles elsewhere but you can no longer delete or publish old articles on Examiner).

Payment at Examiner

Like other residual income websites, Examiner says their pay rate is a combination of page views, unique visitors, session length and advertising performance. Most people who write for Examiner find that they are paid about .01 cent per unique visit. If you get 200 visits, you basically get $2.00. Of course, if the same person revisits the article more than once per day, that won’t count so you will see at times that you may have 200 visits for the day but only $1.95 in earnings. I have found that I basically get the one cent per click. How much you earn will depend upon how popular your topic is and how many people you can drive to your articles through social networking sites and such. Remember, some topics are hot and earn a lot at first but then die down, while others earn slowly but steadily. So don’t expect to get rich quickly.

Payment is made via Pay Pal once you have reached the $25 minimum. (Examiner now has a $10 minimum payment) In order to be paid, you must have published an article in the past 30 days. Another good reason to keep your page current.

Examiner also has a Referral Program that will pay you if a writer you refer is accepted and has had their first article accepted.  The amount you earn is $50 per person.  Not too shabby.

My Thoughts on Examiner

I like writing for Examiner because I enjoy my topic and I don’t find it too difficult writing 3-4 short articles each week. I am not making a fortune as of yet, but I only have 7 articles there so far. I like that Examiner sends you e-mails updating you on special topics or guides they will be having for the month ( like their Thanksgiving Guide) so you can write articles and link them to these special features. I also like the idea that I own all rights to my articles and can walk away with them if I decide to stop writing for this site. Take a look at Examiner and decide for yourself.

Update 4/5/11 - Examiner announced in an e-mail today that they were changing the way they pay.  Instead of pay per page view, they will be setting an amount of pay per 1,000 views, much like AC does.  Your CPM will be determined by how many articles you post, if you post articles on a current basis, the quality of your articles and how much you "Share" your links to such sites as Digg, Stumbleupon, etc.  The more points you receive, the higher your CPM.  Apparently they think this is the best way to reward their loyal writers.  If you write only once in a while, you will have a lower CPM.  And, if you don't post an article at least once every 60 days you will not receive payment.  I will do a post about this later this week (4/5/11) if you want to learn more.  Read post on Examiner pay changes here.

Happy writing,

Deanna

Associated Press Guide to News Writing: The Resource for Professional Journalists

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking the time to share such invaluable information DeAnna. I had no idea that such a site existed..I'll go check it out.

    Cheers
    jackie

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  2. I meant to comment before -I write for Examiner too! Coincidentally I heard about it thru the Minneapolis Motherhood Examiner. I've noticed some people don't follow "the rules" so much on there -I've been trying! I'm excited since this is my first "official" writing gig. I'm glad they changed the pub. tool since it was kinda flaky before - the latest problem I've had is tech. difficulties with the slideshow on my last 2 articles (still waiting for the last 1 to be fixed) But,other that -I really like it!
    I'll check out your articles and you should check mine out too! -Always good to keep the $ up :)

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  3. thanks for sharing this. I've considered trying to write for the Examiner, even partially filled out the application, but didn't follow through. Now to rethink this.....

    lisa

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  4. Thanks for this post DeAnna! I read it yesterday, went to my local Detroit part of the site, applied, and have already been accepted as their allergy expert. Of course, I did use your referral number. :)

    Thanks again!!

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  5. I recommend everyone I know who wants to get into writing to try Examiner.com. I've been writing for them since the end of August, and I've been making at least $120 a month. I'm a freelance journalist for print media as well, and examiner.com is so much better in that your copy is much shorter and linking to other articles is permitting which does not require as much time securing interviews-- you can link directly to the source.

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  6. I don't like writing for Examiner. I'm the Minneapolis Music Examiner even though I live 2 hours south of MPLS. It's hard because I want to write concert reviews but it's too long of a drive to get to the concerts. I started writing for Examiner in August and have only made $18. I used to post at least 2 articles a day but I haven't posted anything since the end of October. It's just not worth it. The comments I've been getting on my articles are mean. Someone made a comment that I shouldn't be a writer and that they laughed at how bad the article was. Another person accused me of plagiarism and thought that the article didn't have any substance. I got a third comment that said that the band in one of the articles was a joke and they couldn't believe that I liked such a band. I'm going to make a few more posts to get me up to $25 to make payout and then stop writing for them. I also find their emails annoying. I love classic rock, blues, folk and jazz but they suggest that I write about Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga (music I don't really like). I know that they would be popular and get me more views but I want to write about stuff I'm passionate about. I don't want the popular music shoved down my throat which is what I feel like they are doing when they send me 3 emails a day. I suggest only trying Examiner if you are going to write for a popular topic.

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  7. Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment.

    Alecia - I'm sorry to hear you have had such a bad experience with Examiner. I only get e-mails once or twice a month from my dept. head giving suggestions for topics, so I don't mind that. And it's terrible that people are leaving such horrible comments. I know some people make good money at Examiner and others hardly make a cent. It really does depend upon the topic. I hope you find a site that you do enjoy writing for.
    Good luck,
    DeAnna

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  8. Hi DeAnna, this is jenicoe2001 from eHow again! :) Another terrific article! Love your blogs!

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  9. Examiner no longer allows their writers to delete their content any time they want. In fact, Examiner can and has put articles back up after a writer removed them:
    "By uploading, posting, transmitting or otherwise making any User Content available on or through this Site, you are granting Examiner.com, and its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, and other related entities an irrevocable, nonexclusive, perpetual, royalty-free, transferrable, sublicensable, worldwide license to copy, reproduce, modify, publish, display, distribute publicly, perform, exploit, and prepare derivative works of such User Content (including your name, image, likeness, or information you have made publicly available in connection therewith) in any manner, media or format now existing or hereafter devised, without any obligation of notice, attribution or compensation to you."

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  10. Kathryn,
    Thanks for visiting and for the update on Examiner. I wasn't aware that deleting an article there was a problem. It's good to know.

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  11. Deanna, Angelgirlpj (from Ehow)joined & referred me. I tried to enter her referral code in the registration form several times and it would not go in, so I emailed them to let them know. They accepted me but declined the referral code, so I refuse to write there.
    I have my first article posted there and my profile image which looks totally different from the picture I sent them. They will not pay her and refuse to delete my account.

    I just signed on at Factoidz and this site seems to pay better than Triond.

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  12. Hi Judy,
    I am suprised about Examiner not allowing the referral code - that is terrible. I think you made a good decision to not write for Examiner after all. The money you make isn't worth the time.

    I've looked at Factoidz but haven't tried it yet. Let me know how it goes - it looks interesting.

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  13. Deanna, thanks for sharing this. It seems though that at Examiner you are limited to writing about only one subject. I already post to Helium and Associated Content and I am definitely interested in earning through more sites but I am not sure about the one topic thing. Can you write about a variety of subjects with Examiner?

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  14. Hi Chanell,
    Thanks for visiting. At Examiner you have to chose a topic in order to apply for a writing position. Once you are accepted you do have to write on that topic only. If you choose a topic you enjoy then it isn't that difficult to find subjects to write about. I am both the Minnesota Heart Health Examiner and also the National Alternative Medicine Examiner and I never have trouble coming up with articles. I can understand that not everyone would enjoy this though. You should check out Experts123 for revenue share writing and Suite101 if you don't already write for them. Triond is doing well (at least for me) on Google Adsense earnings as well as their site earnings that they pay, so you may want to try them too.

    Cheers,
    Deanna

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  15. Examiner.com is TERRIBLE place to write. A penny per view is ridiculous and they send so much spam. I decided to quit. To make some freelance money, check out Demand Studios instead. They pay $15 per article, so at least it's a guaranteed payment.

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  16. Anonymous,

    It seems that everyone has a different experience with Examiner depending upon their topic. Some people earn really well there, other earn nothing at all. I'm sticking with Examiner to see if all the new changes they are making to the site will make a difference in income.

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  17. I see this was posted a few months back, but wanted to go ahead and ask anyways. I just recently started writing for Examiner.com. I'm the West Palm Beach Makeup Examiner. This is my first week, I've made about 5 posts (not from a local point of view) and have only have $1.50. I'm using social networking sites to get my friends to check out the blog and also going on Yahoo Answers (answering questions in my topic and leaving my URL as a signature). Is there a better way to get the word out?

    Has your opinion changed on Examiner in the months since this last post? How much money have you made?

    I'd really appreciate your response. I really don't want to waste a bunch of time with this.

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  18. Hi Natalie,

    Thanks for stopping by the blog and congrats on your Examiner position. To begin with, if you had localized your articles, even in a small way, you'd have $6.50 for the week instead of only $1.50. Those dollars do add up - especially if you will be writing 5 articles a week. You would easily reach payout each month. Also, find more ways to share your articles. Join Digg, StumbleUpon, SheToldMe.com, Infopirate.org and Xomba.com and share links to your articles. From the last three I mentioned, you can earn Google Adsense money if any ads are clicked on your links to your articles. I've earned $10 this past two months on Google Adsense from Infopirate alone. It all adds up.

    Another way to make more money from the time and energy you spend on your Examiner articles is to post your articles on Triond.com first, then post them on Examiner. Under the new Examiner agreement, you can still post your articles on other sites - especially if you post them on another site first and then on Examiner. You may think this will hurt your Examiner traffic, but I haven't found that to be the case with my articles. At Triond, I generally earn an extra $10-$20 a month in Google Adsense and $10-$15 in monthly pay (they pay two different ways). And this is all from the same articles I have on other sites.

    Do I think Examiner is worth writing for? It depends. If this is a first online writing position for you, I think it is a good way to get yourself into the spotlight. Move on to Suite101, Demand Studios, Break Studios, and further up from there. No, you will not get rich from Examiner, but it's a good site to earn some extra money at and it may bring you other jobs. I still write for my two Examiner titles, but I don't make it a priority. I have enough articles on Examiner now that it would be silly of me to give up my titles and the daily earnings. Some people claim to make a good income at Examiner and many give up right away. I guess it all depends upon what your future goals are and how much time you have to build up residual income from your writing. Any writing site you work on - if it is residual income and not up-front pay - it will take time to make the "big bucks".

    Good luck,
    Deanna

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  19. Question: I received a payment from Examiner for $62.63, yet my earnings for the month only reached about 7 dollars. I know I shared my link with other people to become a writer, but I was never told why I was paid. $50 + 7 obviously doesn't equal 62, but even with my local incentives it still shouldn't have been that much. I'd like to know what I did, so I can know what to do next month! Do you have any idea?

    Thanks,
    Emily

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  20. Hi Emily,

    I track my daily/monthly income from Examiner so I know what I am owed as compared to what I am paid. In your case, you can look in My Reports and get a total of what you've been owed for the year and subtract the last payment you received to see what they should have paid you. If you have $50 more than they say, then you must have also received money from a referral. This is the only way I can think to track earnings. Otherwise, I don't know what to say because I don't have access to your account. If I were you, I'd take the money and run! :)

    ReplyDelete

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