Sunday, May 29, 2011

How Panda Has Changed Where I Write

How could something so cute cause so much trouble?
Photo: Juha Soininen
Hi all,

Google’s Panda took a bite out of my residual income just as it did for many of you. And, it did not discriminate. Almost all of the revenue share sites that I write for, including Suite101, Triond, Associated Content/Yahoo! and Examiner, have suffered from the changes at Google. The result has been losing up to 75% of my residual income. Needless to say, this has made me rethink where I am heading as a freelance writer and what I want to do next.

Why I Had Been Building Residual Income

When I first started writing, I focused all of my attention on sites that paid per article, clients or print magazines that paid upon publication. After starting my blog, I began connecting with other writers who were very much into earning residual income and that idea intrigued me. Earning money for years off of the articles you write once sounded much better than selling one article at a time. So, for two years I tried many of the revenue share sites (and shared my experiences with all of you) to find the ones where I would earn the most for my articles. And, through a few of them, I did begin to build a nice monthly residual income. Then, Panda hit and eHow gave the ultimatum to buyout or get out. Not only am I now losing my monthly eHow money, but all of my residual income has dropped to barely anything. Luckily, I hadn’t placed all my eggs in one basket.

What Saved Me From the Ferocious Panda?

For the past few years while I was working on my residual income, I was also working on building two other sites, continued to look for and find new up-front pay writing opportunities and continued placing articles for sale on Constant-Content (CC). I never completely trusted that the residual income would last forever, so I wanted other income to fall back on. Let’s face it – even if Panda had not happened, articles on sites like eHow, AC and Triond do eventually get old and out-dated and the traffic will eventually go down. Only by continuing to add new articles would a person be able to keep the income level up. And since the best earner, eHow, had closed its doors to anyone who didn’t write for Demand Media Studios, then the income would have eventually faded away. So even in pre-Panda days, I wanted to make sure I could always earn money from other avenues other than revenue share sites.

Over the past month, I have decided to concentrate most of my energy on my two other sites and writing for CC. By building up an even bigger cache of articles for sale at CC, I can enjoy a constant stream of income coming in each month while still having the freedom to choose the topics that I write on. And, once the two other sites I am working on begin earning an income, (if they do!) I may branch out and create other sites. I have also been searching the web, finding new opportunities for up-front pay at sites that pay far more per article than DMS, Break Studios or any of the other content mill style sites. There are many opportunities out there, it just takes time looking for them.

What about Revenue Share Sites?

While I may not continue to write for many, or any, revenue share sites in the future, it doesn’t mean I don’t believe that they will not eventually re-build themselves to their former glory. I do think that some of them will make the necessary changes and bask in Google’s glory once more. And since I have articles at many of these sites, I really want to believe this is true. I just don’t want to put my faith, and income potential, into them again because you just never know. Google giveth, and Google taketh away. So I think I will stick with what works and earn my money one article at a time.

What are all of you doing different since Panda?

Happy Writing



  1. Deanna, I like this new theme. I also use this theme on one of my Blogger blogs.

    You were wise in diversifying. I still use content sites, but I have a different view of them. In the past I looked at them as a way to build residual income. Now I look at them as a way to backlink to my sites and if I happen to earn money it’s a win-win.

    Even though the content sites have been smacked around by the Panda, articles placed on content sites till get more traffic than articles placed on a brand new blog. I like steering some of that traffic my way with a backlink.

    Because of my job-aversion-itis condition I think I’ve also developed an allergy to up front pay. With my allergy and my “itis,” my only other alternative is to work on my own sites and create new venues for earning money online. It may not be the easiest route but it sure is fun. :)

  2. Hi Felicia,

    Thanks - I like how streamlined this design is.

    I think using content sites for backlinking is a great idea because, like you said, they do still generate more traffic than a new blog does. I also think that creating your own sites is a smart way to go for building income. I know you have had success doing that. I enjoy writing articles and selling them. It doesn't feel like a job to me because I love doing it so much. I think everyone has to find the right fit for their individual needs and talents, no matter what direction they decide to go. Writing for up-front pay sites will be my main source of income for now - but who knows, if my own sites start to take off then I may head more in that direction in the future.

  3. I've got to say that Constant Content is probably the only "up front" paying site that I might revisit. You're right. It's not like a job. You write it and forget it. Someone may buy it and maybe not, but there's no pressure.

  4. I too had my earnings eaten alive by Panda. I'm continuing to create content for those sites. Thankfully in January, before Panda hit, I was already focusing on building sites to increase my affiliate sales. I know it will take time to see the fruits of my labor, but I still feel ahead of the curve. I'm also thinking of starting an offline business and using my online skills to market it.

  5. Hi Lynn,
    Thanks for sharing. I think a lot of us could see the change coming and started preparing before it hit hard. Glad to hear you were already creating your own income before Panda hit. I wish you well.


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