Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign? -- Five Man Electric Band

Squidoo and eHow had loyal communities of writers, most of whom learned to write articles at those sites. Somewhat like your first love, it was hard to see the faults of the platforms, and a difficult thing for writers to learn that they were not interested in their growth as writers, but was instead a content farm. And so many were blind to what was happening that they did not want to see the writing on the wall. If you are one of those writers, I feel for you; it was difficult for me to accept, too. But after the eHow UK experience, I decided to branch out, and began writing for other sites as well.

However, eHow was the first, and for some reason, one of the best-paying sites to write for, and for a while there was a real community of helpful, supportive writers. People like Anthony Delgado wrote ebooks such as Need Extra Cash? How to Write Articles that Pay on how to write for eHow, and while Anthony Delgado certainly made money, he and the other ebook writers helped a lot of other eHow writers make money, too.

And so it was that many people were shocked to hear, on the day after Easter, 2010, that eHow would be changing, and no longer accepting writers into the Writers Compensation Program. From now on, all eHow writers who wanted to contribute would work for Demand Studios, under Demand Studios' rules. Some of us who wrote for eHow had been asking questions about their plans for the Writers Compensation Program for almost a year, ever since the eHow UK debacle. So we were not particularly shocked, and had been making plans to write elsewhere, or had at least been diversifying our writing efforts.

I, for one, do not plan to write for Demand Studios. For one thing, all submitted work must go through a copyediting process. I am an award-winning, published writer, and have no desire to have my work copyedited by someone with fewer skills than I have in writing. In addition, I have no desire to have my work owned by anyone but myself: if you write for Demand Studios, you give up any rights to your work (they grant you a license to use it non-commercially on your blog or website, but you cannot repost the content in other places). As if that were not enough, new articles must use a stock library of photographs, which may or may not serve the purposes of the article writers. And finally, I have seen the way eHow treated its writers: continually lying to them, stalling on answers to questions, refusing to answer questions, ignoring questions, and answering questions in a way that only raised more questions, then disappearing and not answering questions. As eHow is owned by Demand Studios, I do not feel that I can trust anything that I am told.

And while there are some fine writers at Demand Studios, after all, it is a content farm. Demand Studios researches high-paying keywords through an algorithm, and then, through software, constructs titles through an algorithm based on the keywords. Demand Studios writers are allowed to write only to these titles. Unfortunately, based on the titles, I would guess that no human person reviews them, and so the titles that are available sometimes make no sense.

Now, with the closing of other content platforms like Squidoo, Helium, the Yahoo! Contributor Network, and others, it's difficult to find a place to republish your content, and there are so many hoops to jump through on many of the existing sites.

So if you decide to write elsewhere, what should you look for?

First, a site where you own your own content. This is key, because if the site goes down, you can re-use the material elsewhere. Infobarrel is particularly generous in this regard, because if you take the material down from another site, you can instantly post it on Infobarrel. In addition, because Infobarrel allows you to publish articles that are removed from other sites, you will be able to reuse your old content.

Second, you should look for a site that has responsive admins. After it was proven that eHow had been less than honest with the writers under the Writers Compensation Program, because they had either misrepresented the facts, engaged in unfair competition, deleted high-paying articles in favour of those articles whose rights they owned, featured Demand Studios writers over eHow writers, and many other evasions and outright deceptions, it is clear that responsive admins who answer the questions they are asked, in a straightforward manner, are to be prized. Here, Infobarrel wins again: if you ask a question in the forums on a weekday, it is likely to be answered within hours, and somehow, Infobarrel admins almost always err in favour of the writers rather than their TOS agreement. And if a writer accidentally violates the rules (and let's face it, even the most sophisticated of us occasionally forget which site has which rules), the Infobarrel admins will politely inform you, rather than simply deleting an article without giving the writer a chance to fix it. Also, the admins are quick to implement suggestions for improving the site, even if they come from newbie writers.

Third, you should look at the site quality. There are several sites that police their content, and Infobarrel is among them. The preapproval process at Infobarrel may be onerous at first, but the fact that writers are screened is a plus, because it keeps the spammers out. Few spammers stay for the entire preapproval process!

Finally, you should consider revenue share and transparency. Again, Infobarrel wins as one of the sites whose rules and transparency are clear. eHow and Squidoo had secret algorithms; Infobarrel rewards its writers who participate each month with increased revenue share. Infobarrel is one of the more generous sites, offering up to ninety per cent revenue share each month for writers who participate in monthly contests, seventy-five per cent otherwise.

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All in all, Infobarrel has a lot going for it. Again, it is wise not to put all your eggs into one basket, and you should write for the sites that suit you, and for a variety of sites. But by having a screening process in place, and deciding on which sites to place which articles, you may find that your separation from your former sites will be a lot less painful, and you may actually gain in the process.