Sunday, December 6, 2009

Suite101 Forums are Discouraging

Over the past few months I have been doing some experimenting with various online writing sites.  I have tried out Examiner, Suite101, Mahalo, Demand Studios, eHow, and more.  So far, I'm completely sold with Mahalo.

Suite 101 Writers are a Bit Delusional

Without meaning to offend, I have spent a lot of time reading the Suite101 forums over the past two months.  As of this moment, I have written 6 articles and I have made $6.67.  I'm disgusted with this amount, but the people on the Suite101 forums say that is a GOOD start.  These people are looking forward to and excited for their first $10.00 cashout!  Some of them have been trying for MONTHS to get to the ten dollar cash out!

When you read the forums, there is a trend that always happens.  One person sas "wow, earnings are low here".  Another person replies "They do start off low, but its all about residual earnings and it will increase over time.  Just look at the finance writer who brought in over $5,000 in ONE MONTH!".  Everyone keeps bringing up this one particular writer who did well.  I'm sorry - but that's not enough to keep me invested in an online writing site.

Regardless how you look at it, having to write hundreds of articles and then let them sit for a year to make piddly cash is NOT a good use of my time.  The earnings there are so low, that it is not a good way to spend my time.

The Mahalo Comparison

The only reason that I can see people writing on Suite101 over Mahalo is because they don't know that Mahalo exists.  Mahalo is hands down a better environment for writers and makes big money.

The How To Team at Mahalo makes both up-front cash and residual passive income.  You can either write one of the tasks from the giant queue of available tasks, or request your own.  So just like Suite101, you can write about what you want.  The QC team is filled with people who help mentor you to be the best Mahalo writer you can be.  So just like Suite101, there is a great team to help you out.  Mahalo pays anywhere from $3.50 - $5.00 per How To upfront, and then you earn %30 of the Adsense revenue on the page.  You have control over the layout of the page.

In almost all ways, Mahalo is better than Suite101.  I have made over $1500 with Mahalo in the past two months, part time.  Suite 101 is full of people hoping that their hard work will eventually pay off...while on Mahalo its been two months and I'm seeing my writing paying my bills.  Here is information on joining the How To team on Mahalo.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My FIRST Mahalo Payout!

I just got my first Mahalo payout!  Woohoo! (click to enlarge)

I am going to have a much larger payout next month...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Writing For Mahalo - An Update

Aside from a couple articles this month on Suite 101 (which have made me just under $2.00, big whoop)....I have been concentrating full time on Mahalo.  I have several new things to talk about with Mahalo:

New Mahalo Homepage

Mahalo is currently switching over to Mahalo 3.0, which is an overhaul of the site to make it more user friendly and have even better SEO to bring more revenue to our pages.  So far, there is an overhaul on the homepage, and on individual pages.  Check out one of my recent pages to see the new look!

Vertical Managers

As part of the Mahalo 3.0 soft launch, they're rolling out a new feature which is "vertical managers".  A vertical manager will no longer be in charge of managing their own pages, instead - they'll be in charge of a whole category on Mahalo (such as Finance, Shopping, etc.)  They will earn 20% of all Adsense Revenue of all pages within their category (up to 3,000 pages).  Considering right now, I have 100 pages...and I'm making about $2-3 dollars a day of passive income on them (with 40% Adsense revenue), I think this will be lucrative.  Obviously, some categories have more potential than others because of high CPC and higher search traffic (like finance, health), but this is going to be an exciting opportunity for motivated writers.

I've submitted an application to become a vertical manager, and I'm really excited about it.  I'm looking forward to reporting about it if it becomes official.


One thing that frustrates me about sites like Examiner and eHow, is how you're not technically allowed to report your earnings.   Mahalo takes a completely different angle on this, and provides total transparency.  You can see leaderboards of what everyone is earning.  You can see a preview of the upcoming payout coming this month, which is what everyone is earning.  Here is the payouts for last month.  You can really see the earning potential in Mahalo.

So that's it, this month has been great.  I've earned probably $900 this month on Mahalo, and I'm not really trying ALL that hard yet.  It's a shame that more freelance writers haven't discovered it yet.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Earn over $6,000 on ONE PAGE on Mahalo!

I'm a Mahalo fangirl through and through.  I have earned almost $1000 there in a short time by writing and managing pages.  And now, up on the Mahalo How To blog, you can see that some writers are making $2,000 - $6,000 a year (projected) off of just ONE page.  I own 115 pages or so there, and my numbers are creeping up.

Check out my guide to getting started with Mahalo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

October Earnings Report

Here is my earnings report for the month of October.  Note that I did a lot of switching around my focus from week to week, so there wasn't a lot of concentrated earnings.

Mahalo - $458.00 (only about $20.00 of this was passive earnings)
Demand Studios - $47.50 (only wrote a couple articles)
Examiner - Pennies (didn't write anything in October)
eHow - zero with 3 articles
Suite101 - $0.76, 3 articles
Adsense - $12.80

Total:  $519.06

Not too bad for extra side income with writing.  Now to get more of it to be passive...

Passive vs. Upfront Earning in Online Writing

I am still trying to balance and figure out whether I should concentrate on writing for passive income potential sites or upfront pay.

I know in my prior post I was explaining my frustration with Suite101.  I think the main problem is that I've not grown quick enough at writing articles yet.  When I spend a couple hours on an article and watch it make zero dollars, it frustrates me.  Sometimes I feel that my time is spent better elsewhere where the money is upfront and guaranteed.  This is why I wrote a glowing review of Demand Studios not too long ago.

Lately, I've been thinking more about the potential of passive income.  I'm hearing about folks who have made decent money on Suite101 and eHow just by writing 100+ articles and letting them sit there.  The idea of continuing to bring in money in the future without extra work has really been growing on me and getting more and more appealing.  I'm starting to understand why getting the quick $15 from Demand Studios isn't nearly as exciting as watching my revenue grow from my online work.

This is why I am putting Demand Studios on the backburner for awhile.  I feel like the articles I wrote for DS took a LOT of time because their editorial standards are high and the topics are more difficult.  I got paid my $15 each, but now they're just sitting out there making money for someone else and not me.  That frustrates me quite a bit. 

My new concentrations in their order of importance are:

  1. Mahalo
  2. Examiner
  3. My gaming blog
  4. Suite101
  5. Digital Journal
Mahalo is still a huge win for me.  I'm bringing in dollars every day of passive income, plus I've earned well over $500 in up front pay in the last month.  I'm part of the How To Team and the QC Team, I love the community and I love the staff.   It's definitely sticking around unless things change in the future.

Examiner is something that I'm waiting on to really start getting into.  I am in the process of switching my topic from Social Media Examiner to San Diego Uptown Examiner.  I think it will be fun to report on local events and news, and something new for me.  I'm not necessarily driving for tons of extra cash with Examiner (I know that won't happen anyway), I'm mostly doing it for the fun and experience.

My gaming blog has a focus on feminism, LGBT issues, and how they interact in virtual worlds and online games.  It's been going for a long time but I only recently started introducing advertisements to it.  I'm hoping to continue blogging there and step up to more frequent postings.

Suite101 is something I was ready to abandon before, but now I'm going to give it a chance.  I wrote a couple more articles for Suite this weekend and I'm hoping to just write my minimum of 10 every three months and an extra one here and there.  It's a good place for 3rd person articles on informative subjects, which really isn't my specialty.  The community of writers there is EXCELLENT though.  They've been a great resource.

Digital Journal is something brand new that I'm just starting out with.  It's a citizen journalism site that allows you to write about whatever topic you want as long as it's news focused.  With a rating system to encourage views, the pay works by splitting revenue with all the writers according to contribution.  Since I don't expect to write there much, I doubt I will see much pay.  We'll see.

So that's my order of priority right now.  I'm sure it will switch again. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mahalo - A Writer's Beginners Guide

For the last month I have been writing for Mahalo as my main writing gig.  Note that I do have a full time job, so this is just in my spare evening and weekend times.  Mahalo has several ways that writers can make money, and I've been doing very well there.  I'll start off with the facts that people want to know.

I've made over $600 there, part time, in the last month alone. 

How does Mahalo Work?

Mahalo is more complicated then eHow or Suite101 or Demand Studios, because there are more ways to make money.  Mahalo is basically a collection of pages that contain partially original text, and partially automatically generated text.  For example, take a peek at my How To Stream Movies to Your XBox 360 page.  The actual steps are steps that I wrote.  Same with the note on the right, the related pages, the tips.  I added the video at the top and the commentary.  The rest of the page Mahalo automatically generates for me.  They put in the images and the resources, and more importantly - the ads!

So you're wondering how this page makes me money?  Well, if you look in the lower right, you can see that I own it.

I earn money for page views and ad clicks on my page.  This particular page has earned me $2.03 in the past month and a half, and the rate of earning is increasing.   In this regard, it's very similar to eHow.

When you first get started with Mahalo, you can't write How To pages.  You can write regular pages which are things like Alienware Coupons or Farmville Ribbons.  To write a page, you search for the page title you'd like to write on  If that page already exists, it will come up.  If it doesn't exist you'll see a list of search results with a request box to the right.

If you click "Request" you can put in the amount you would like to receive for writing the page.  Note that the price is in Mahalo Dollars (M$) which is US $0.75 per Mahalo Dollar.  Generally, putting in $2-3 is a good amount.  They'll check out request and then approve it (or not) based on if they think it would make a good page.  Once it's approved you are then assigned the task and you write the page.   You make not only that upfront pay, but also 40% of the Adsense revenue on the page going forward.

That's one way to make money on Mahalo.

Mahalo Tasks

You can also work on tasks, which are available here.   Tasks are pages that the Mahalo Staff have decided they want written, and they have a preset dollar value on them.  Sometimes the tasks are "Barnraising" tasks, which means that they're all of the same theme and there are prizes for the users who finish the most of them.  For example, right now there is a Thanksgiving Barnraising where all the tasks are related to Thanksgiving and whoever completes the most pages gets a reward.

There is a great guide for how to do tasks here.

Remember that even when you do tasks, you still earn 40% of the Adsense revenue for being the page manager.  Being a page manager means that you are responsible for keeping the page up to date throughout it's lifecycle and making it the best possible page on that subject.

How To Team

The biggest money making opportunity on Mahalo BY FAR is the How To Team.  There is a page that details exactly how you do this.   What it basically comes down to is, you claim a Rush Week How To task here, and you do an absolutely awesome job at it.   To do an awesome job at it, read these posts:

How to Build a How To Page
How to Build a Mahalo Page
How to Write a Guide Note

Once you submit your Rush Week How To, the QC team will approve it or add suggestions and have you resubmit.  The best submissions are then filtered out, and their writers are invited to join the How To Team.  Once you're on the How To Team, you can write an unlimited number of How To articles at M$5 each.  Upfront pay (although small) PLUS residual passive income through revenue sharing.  It really is the BEST of both worlds!

Page Management and Promotion

I could write a whole article about this, and I probably will.  Once your task is approved, you own the page.  It's your responsibility to knock it out of the park and make it awesome so that it rises in search engine rankings.   This is a big difference between Suite101/eHow and Mahalo - you don't just submit your article and expect it to be done.  You have to continue to maintain it and refresh it.  This is a GOOD THING because it means you have more control over your page's SEO.  You can use tweaks of the content.  It takes a little time before the pages will start bringing in cash, but some start earning instantly. 

Check out these resources for maintaining your page:

Mahalo Page Management Guide
How to Market a Mahalo Page

So that's the very beginnings for getting started.  I'm having a TON of fun on Mahalo.  It's great to see my income going up even though I'm doing this for fun.  I love how the earnings are all public too, so you can actually see what people are making.  (Notice that I'm near the top for last month - this is PART TIME work and I've just gotten started).  I can only imagine what my earnings will be when these pages rise in search rankings and start pouring in cash for me. :)

Any questions?  Let me know!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Niche Blogging

Learning to make money online from home is really all about experimenting and finding what works best for you. I'm still trucking along with Mahalo. I've even recently been added to their QC Team, so I've made about $200 on Mahalo alone in the past three days. It's great work, but I'm still not convinced the residual income will be high enough.

My next attempt at bringing in some cash is through niche blogging. I've started Become A Petsitter,which will be a place where I attempt to bring in a combination of AdSense and Affiliate revenue.  We'll see how it performs, and I'll be sure to update here with that information.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Giving up on Suite101.

So, that didn't last long.

I got discouraged with Suite101.  I wrote three articles, and made zero, which is discouraging to me.  I *know* that most people have to have 30, 40, 50 articles on the site before they start making money, but that's just NOT for me.  I need to start seeing action soon.

I am concentrating solely on Mahalo for the time being, since I got a small amount of upfront pay AND revenue share on the pages.  I'm not making $1/day there yet, but I'm getting closer.  Lately I've been concentrating on Farmville pages, since they seem to do well on other sites.  Here are a few that I wrote:

Farmville Bot
Farmville Coupons
Farmville Crops
How to Cheat at Farmville
How to Be the Best at Farmville
How to Level Up Quickly in Farmville

We'll see how they perform!  My top page has earned me $2.08 so far.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where to spend my freelance time?

I have a 40+ hour a week fulltime job, so writing is a side project for me in my spare time.  However, my spare time hasn't been all that plentiful lately.  How do I decide which website to spend my efforts on?

Demand Studios requires a lot of work on my part per article.  Most of the articles are not in my comfort zone and require a lot of research to write an article that won't get rejected.  The money is good, but it's all upfront money.  There's nothing I'm really looking to purchase or pay off right now, so I'm really looking for passive income.

I signed up with Examiner and I am the San Diego Social Media Examiner.  I quickly saw that even with decent traffic, I'm looking at $1-$3 a day.  I'm already making that on my horse forum with Adsense revenue.  I just don't see the point in devoting time and resources to writing articles for the Examiner when I could post the same content to a blog and SEO the heck out of it to get hits.  I also tried Suite101 and eHow, and I'm feeling similar sentiments there as well.  I've written three articles for Suite, and am no where near earning anything.  If I'm going to do a revenue share-type product, I at least want to know a guarantee that I'll be paid something.

This is where Mahalo comes in.  I have been on the Mahalo How To Team for over a month now, and I go back to it on and off.  I have about $180 Mahalo Dollars there (which is unfortunately only 75% of the actual dollar value) and most of it is just from passive income on pages over the past month or so.  I'm up to almost a dollar per day at Mahalo and I have definitely seen an increase.  I'm confident that my numbers will get higher as my pages live on the site longer and I update them more.  I have about 50 pages right now and rising, and I'm starting to really snag some pages that I think will blow up.

Mahalo works by letting you claim pages and write them, and then earning 40% of the AdSense revenue.  You also get up front money for creating the page, anywhere from $2-10 Mahalo dollars.  So there is a small upfront bonus and also the revenue share.  If my pages perform well and I snag good pages, there is a money making opportunity there.  It's also FUN to own and build pages.  I really like having a chance to put my expertise and research ability to a fun use.

I'm working hard on building out more pages right now.  I'll report back on how these daily earnings go up as I spend more time and increase my collection of pages.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Demand Studios Planning to Offer Healthcare Benefits

In a press release issued today, Demand Studios has announced that they have just published their 1,000,000th piece of content and are planning on providing health care benefits.

The article states:

Demand Studios will leverage that scale and offer health care options to active, tenured writers, filmmakers and copy editors who meet eligibility requirements.

I am curious what their definition of tenured, active writers is.  I presume that I am nowhere near eligibility for that.  This is VERY interesting indeed though, and hopefully catches on to spread elsewhere.

Edit: And, it turns out that Freelance Writing Gigs has the details.  3 months is tenure, with an average of 30 articles per month.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why I Want to Be a Freelance Writer

I've heard this a few times now.  "Why do you want to be a freelance writer?".  Most people assume it's because I don't like to work, or I don't like driving.  These actually are pretty far from the truth.  Here are the reasons why I want to freelance write from home.

  1. Flexibility - I own a beautiful horse that I'd love to spend time with every day.  Being able to set my own schedule so that I can go out to the stable daily at varying times would be wonderful for my happiness.
  2. Future Flexibility - Freelance writing from home and establishing clients that allow me to work from anywhere will be great for not only having children in the future, but also in case we ever relocate.
  3. Motivation/Self Starter - I am the kind of person that if given unlimited income potential will work my butt off to make money.  Freelance writing means that I will generally make what effort I put into it, and I enjoy the idea of this.
These are the three top reasons why I am going to keep working hard until I can make this dream a reality.  Why do you want to be a freelance writer?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Writing for Demand Studios - A Review

Demand Studios was like a gold mine when I found it.  The only online freelance writing that I had done is revenue share through Mahalo, and so I thought it was awesome to be paid in advance for my writing.  DS is still my favorite for up-front and reliable money.  Here's some details:

The Nitty Gritty:

Demand Studios is a "content farm" kind of website, that pays thousands of writers to complete articles from a pool of available articles.  They supply articles to websites like eHow and LIVESTRONG.  The articles are anywhere from 250-600 words in length and you can write as many as you want.  The pay depends on what style of article it is - an About or Strategy article pays $15.00 per article, where a shorter fact sheet pays $7.50.  Demand Studios pays writers twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, through Paypal.  They also have Revenue Share articles available that have no upfront pay but share Adsense revenue with Demand Studios.

Signing Up:

Getting started with Demand Studios requires you to fill out an application and provide writing samples and a resume.  Once you apply, it can take a week or two to hear a response back.  Once you've been approved, you can fill out your payment information and profile and get started right away. 

Writing Articles:

Finding articles to write is rather easy, there are thousands of articles available at a given time.  DS provides a master list of categories that allows you to search keywords to find an article you want or browse through categories that interest you.  You can also sort by payment price or format (About, Strategy, Fact Sheet, etc.)  You simply click on an article title to "claim it", which puts it in your queue.  Initially, you are allowed to hold 10 articles at a time in your queue, which includes articles that you've submitted for review.  As you become more experienced on Demand Studios, they will increase that number and remove the submitted items from counting towards your queue.

Once you've submitted an article, a Copy Editor must review it.  This is seen to be the biggest negative side of Demand Studios, because the Copy Editors are quite rigorous and picky with the requirements.  DS has a very specific editorial guideline for each format that you must adhere to, and are very strict with references and resources.  If a Copy Editor (affectionately known as a CE) has changes they'd like you to perform, it is known as a "rewrite".  You then have the option to make those changes and resubmit, or abandon the article.  There is no monetary penalty for having a rewrite, however it does slow you down and you are scored on the number of approved and rewritten articles you write.  DS also tracks grammar and content and gives each writer a score.  The copy editing is very impersonal as they pay thousands of Copy Editors, therefore you don't get to establish relationships with your editors.


Once your article has been approved, your payment goes right into your DS account and will be delivered via Paypal on your next pay day.  A huge advantage with Demand Studios is that they will pay you TWICE a week, on time every week, and don't take any sort of Paypal cut from your earnings.  The money is reliable and always there.  You will need to withhold your own taxes to prevent being screwed at the end of the year - this part is important.  Your articles then will be published onto whatever site you are approved for.

Help and Support:

Demand Studios has a very complete Workdesk with a Writer's Resource Center that lets you ask questions of fellow DS writers.  It is a great and friendly place with people who are glad to help.  There are forums for new writers, special projects, title clarifications, news/suggestions, and general discussion.  DS also provides all of the editorial guidelines as downloadable PDFs for ease of reading.


As mentioned earlier, the one major downside of DS is how picky they are with articles.  For some people this isn't a problem.  I personally enjoy having my standard of writing high and enjoy getting feedback. Other people have mentioned receiving negative and unfair feedback from Copy Editors that are not justified.  Luckily, DS allow you to submit arguments up to their site editors for review in those cases.

That is basically the only downside.  Writing for DS has been very positive.


There are many reasons to work at DS.

  1. Income potential - Demand Studios is the only freelance writing site that pays you in advance for articles and doesn't put any cap on how much you write.  There is always work available, and many people make $4000+ a month on Demand Studios as a full time job.
  2. Reliable Pay - Unlike some other sites, DS pays you regularly two times a week.
  3. Ease of Entry - It was relatively easy to be approved to write, and was a great learning experience.
  4. Good resources - Learning to adhere to editorial standards is a great learning experience for anyone beginning with freelance writing.  The community is very helpful and great.
What are your thoughts on Demand Studios?  I love it. :)


I was just approved to write for Suite101.  I'm actually pretty excited about this, and think it's going to replace my Examiner gig.  It mostly interests me because of how I'll be seen as the "expert" and can write about literally any topic I want.  For someone like me with diverse interests and knowledge, this will be great.  I plan to write about gender/cultural issues, horses, video games, and relationship advice.  I think this will be a lot of fun and a nice change of pace from Demand Studios, where I have to choose from existing titles. 

I just wrote my first article.  We'll see how it goes!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

September Earnings Report

September was the very first month I've kicked off this experiment.  Here are my earnings!

Demand Studios: $162.50 - 13 articles
Mahalo: Current Mahalo Balance on 10/18: M$144.61 ($108.45 USD) for 41 pages managed
Examiner: $3.61 for 3 articles

Total: $274.56

This was a pretty good first month.  October is not going to be quite as great here, because I've not been doing much freelance writing.  I hope that I can be motivated soon and pull in some great money!

Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for stopping by my site!

I am a professional in the online gaming field, but I'm trying to make some extra cash through freelance writing online.  I have been writing blogs and articles online for years now, but have only started to see actual cash rolling in from it.  I want to chronicle this journey not only to help others achieve their dreams of earning money online, but also to see my progress as a personal tracker and set goals for myself.  Seeing my goals written down will be immensely motivational for me.

Right now I write for:

Demand Studios

Thanks for stopping by!  I look forward to chatting with everyone who comments!