Forgot your password?

Lessons From the Sandbox-How to Continue to Grow Your Online Writing Income on Revenue Sharing Websites

By Edited Aug 23, 2015 8 15

My Plan for Continuing on my Online Writing Journey

When I was growing up in the New York City borough of Queens, there was a playground between every two connected buildings.  In each playground, there were two swings, one slide and a seesaw. Because there was so many kids and so little equipment, we had to share and play games that included everyone.  We became very creative!

Outside the playground, there was a little sand area.  Not a formal sandbox, but a place where a few of us could sit together and play with our buckets and pails.  Somehow, we all managed to get along most of the time, as this was the only sandbox around.  There was no place else to go.

Near the end of the fifth grade, my parents moved our family to the suburbs.  One of the first things I noticed was that every house on our street had their own backyard playground.  I observed that when the neighborhood kids got into an argument and they could not agree on things, they picked themselves up and went to play in their own backyard.

Nice story, mommy, but what does this have to do with all of the latest changes that have occurred on revenue sharing sites like Info Barrel, Squidoo, Zujava and Hubpages?

It actually has a lot to do with it.

Lessons From the Sandbox-How to Continue to Grow Your Online Writing Income on Revenue

Google Changes and We Need to Adapt

When we, as writers, decide to try to earn passive income on revenue share sites like the aforementioned, we are not playing in our own sandbox. We have chosen to take our toys and join the others, all in the hope of earning some free money for our online efforts. They have rules and we have to abide by them.  

If we do not like them, we can leave.

Most writers who earn residual income online, myself included, were thrown for a loop at all of the changes of the rules revenue sharing sites have instituted recently, especially since we have been playing by the rules.

Revenue Sharing Websites have Their Own RUles


If you are new to earning passive income, here is a brief recap:


In August, 2012, Hubpages started to deindex Hubs that were not getting traffic.  By doing so, Google would only pay attention to the Hubs getting high amounts of search engine views. In theory, that makes some sense, because if they are not getting traffic they must not be all that good.

But what about Hubs that were meant to be evergreen? What kind of updating do they require?  

There is also the issue of seasonal Hubs.  They get deindexed, but how will anyone find them once the new season comes around? Of course they can be updated with the hope of indexing, but this is not guaranteed.

Getting Along in the Sandbox


Squidoo has been hit hard by recent Panda updates and internal strife within the community due to creating changes on lenses without any Beta testing. In March 2013, changes have had lens masters scrambling to fix lenses that they fear may be locked or even deleted if not fixed in the set amount of time given.

Quality has long been lacking on Squidoo, but, up until now, they were okay with that. Sales lenses made money for Squidoo, so why not make more and more and more of them with almost no content? Lenses with content were often ignored or placed in tiers that earn no money. They were not featured on the front page. Why should a writer do her research and write a 1,000 word lens, only to have it sit at the bottom of the earnings barrel?


On March 18th, Zujava made an announcement on it’s blog that had it’s small, yet dedicated group of writers up in arms. It was no longer going to allow leaf makers to place their own Amazon affiliate ID or any third party ID on the site.

This change comes after a 28 leaf February challenge that left writers who completed it more than upset.

The reason for the new change, of course, has to do with quality and Google. Zujava has a three leaf preapproval process. Apparently, there were writers who behaved while in the “Petting Zu” and then published leaves full of their own Amazon products and very thin content upon release. Bill and Justin, the administrators at Zujava, are putting their foot down early in the game to avoid a fiasco like Squidoo is experiencing now.


Quality has always been the hallmark of IB. Unlike other sites who let anyone publish or have a very short preapproval process, you really have to earn your ability to earn passive income here.

Over the last few months, there has been a sharp increase of forum threads on the topic “My article has been denied.”  The reason for more frequent denials is that there are more stringent quality controls that have been put into place. Info Barrel writers now have the privilege of earning even more residual income because of the change in how we earn money. No longer do writers need their own Adsense ID, we can use InfoBarrel’s.

And if you are going to use IB’s account, your writing had better be good!

If I am to be perfectly honest, I pay no attention to Google Panda, Penguin, Lion, Tiger or Bear updates.  This is not how I write.  Over the course of the last three years, I have learned how SEO and LSI works, how to do keyword research and what works for me. I may not be rolling in dough like some of the big name bloggers, but I am providing my family with an income that is much needed, as well as my presence at home, which is needed even more. 

My Plan to Grow My Online Income

Something I have told my children for years when there are rules they do not like is, “Accept, adapt, and move on.” Accept the rules, adapt to the new changes and let’s move on with our lives.  Arguing does no one any good.

I, too, have felt the monetary effects of these updates and have decided to change my strategy on how to continue to grow my own piece of the online world.


At one point, I had 53 Hubs, and I had planned on growing that number to 100 by the end of this year.

Since December, I have been slowly deleting Hubs. Some will stay deleted, as they were not my best writing and were writing solely to get backlinks to my other online work. Others have been rewritten and published and others still need to be rewritten. I will be deleting even more Hubs and only keeping a handful of articles there. I may dabble with a few more Halloween articles, but I am waiting on that right now.


This one is a toughie. Right now, I have over 130 lenses between my two accounts, with most being on my “mommy” account.

My original goal was to have 100 lenses on “mommy’s” and then spend the next few months writing 100 Halloween lenses for my other account.

That is not happening.

I am not writing anything new on Squidoo until the scans are over. To be honest, I am not overly worried about the vast majority of lenses on either account.

But do I have some sales lenses that were written simply for sales? Of course!

If these do not survive the scan, then I will simply delete them and fine tune my focus on what has been working.

Earning Residual Income on Your Own or on Revenue Sharing Websites


The recent changes have irked me. Not because I do not believe in quality-I do. I am annoyed because I just wrote 28 new leaves in February and now I have to redo all of them because others spoiled it for the rest of us.

I am also upset because more changes are coming, and I do not feel like fixing things again after editing them a second time.  Info Barrel has spoiled me with intensive Beta testing before new changes are administered sitewide.  

Bill has given us 60 days to fix our leaves to conform to the new rules. It is a fair amount of time, but not how I want to be spending my increasingly shrinking time to write. My plan is to wait it out as long as possible and then start editing when new Amazon modules are in place.

I will continue towrite on Zujava, as my Amazon sales are increasing and I have a big niche of articles I want to place there. I like the focus on quality. While it is annoying to have to edit leaves that were written within the guidelines just three weeks ago, in the long run, I know that all the writers there will benefit.


The new scoring system has everyone here thinking twice about their work after it is published. Everyone wants a green box! The best part about this new system is that even if our articles are in the red, we can continue to rework and revise them until they get better, and there is no fear of locking, deleting or deindexing.

Of course, I will continue to play in this sandbox. I have articles to update and improve, and a few will get deleted in the process. Looking back on how far I have grown as a writer, some articles are not something I want in my account any longer.

Earn Free Money Online

My Websites and Kindle

By owning my own websites and writing my own Kindle books, I own the sandbox and I make the rules. I feel this is an integral part of diversifying anyone’s online income, as you have the ultimate control.

I am going to take down one of my sites as I believe it will work better as a series/niche of articles. I just do not have time to maintain it and promote it.

My Girl Scout blog is my passion, and I plan to continue it even when my daughter leaves scouting (which is not anytime soon). I intentionally did not put Adsense on there and will look for other ways to monetize it over the summer, when most leaders take a much needed break.

My Kindle book has sold well and I have another one finished that needs to be edited (I need more hours in my day!) I am also waiting for my older daughter to have a few minutes to create a cover for me, as she is very good at doing this. It would take me hours what she can create in just a few minutes!

In the end, I will abide by the new rules in the sandboxes where I have chosen to play. For others, I am taking my pail and shovel and leaving. There might even be a new sandbox or two that I will join when all of my revisions and goals have been met.

In this ever changing world of earning money online, it is best to keep up with the rules and keep quality in mind above everything else.



Mar 21, 2013 6:06am
This is a great analogy! I like writing for sites like Infobarrel and Squidoo for a lot of reasons, but I can see wanting my own "sandbox" too, especially with the possibility of everything changing. But there's only so many hours in the day...
Mar 21, 2013 8:50am
I have tried having more than one sandbox, and I always give them up for my Girl Scout blog.
Mar 21, 2013 7:10am
This comment has been deleted.
Mar 21, 2013 7:13am
Thanks mommy3x! I'm new to all the sites, but find this very useful information!
Mar 21, 2013 7:14am
This comment has been deleted.
Mar 21, 2013 7:14am
Thanks mommy3x! I'm new to all the sites, but find this very useful information!
Mar 21, 2013 7:15am
This comment has been deleted.
Mar 21, 2013 8:50am
You are welcome! Just play by the rules and always have your documents saved on your computer!
Mar 21, 2013 7:23am
Excellent advice, Mommymommymommy. I agree wholeheartedly about getting your own domains if you can and doing product reviews on a site you own. Everything was flowing along fine for me as a writer until I jumped on the Amazon wagon.

The constant updating and worrying about ranks, tiers and content being locked on some of those sites is so exhausting. I find that my Adsense income is much more reliable and "passive".

The more I worry about falling in the ranks ( gosh, sounds like the Military ) the less time I devote to my personal make-me-happy blogs.
Mar 21, 2013 8:52am
Google scares me, as one day you can wake up and BOOM! it is all gone! I cannot stand updating lenses, so the ones that stay really have to ones that I enjoy writing and maintaining, like my ones about Girl Scouts.

I want to go back to Seekyt sometime soon, just to add more to my portfolio there. I earn on the articles I have written, but there are only so many hours in a day!
Mar 21, 2013 9:03am
This is a must read for any writer! G+'d !
Mar 21, 2013 9:17am
Thank you so much! I have been thinking long and hard about what my next moves are. In teaching, when something is not working, you monitor and adjust the lesson plan so that it works for your students. I am doing that with my online endeavors. Thanks for reading!
Mar 21, 2013 12:43pm
I can really relate to everything that is going on, as it mirrors my horrible experiences with Suite 101. I am so grateful to be writing here at Info Barrel, and so glad that you encouraged me to do so. Especially, since Suite went completely under the water recently. I much prefer to improve my articles slowly, as I get a chance, so I can do a thorough job rather than trying to chase my tail about it all.

It does make me a bit timid about sticking my toe in the water elsewhere, but I'm only just shy of being halfway to my first goal of 100 articles on Info Barrel, and writing elsewhere (other than Text Broker) isn't on the table quite yet.
Mar 22, 2013 9:58am
I think it is best to work on other platforms, as when one site has issues, you still have other sources of income. Once you have your 100 articles, you will have a clearer picture of what works and what does not. Then take what works and write elsewhere, link to IB, and reinse and repeat.
Mar 22, 2013 8:07am
Great novel way of explaining our writing with sandboxes. Its funny that you had no luck with hubpages. That has always been my best paying site. Yet I have only written one there in the last six months. I go and check it out every couple of weeks and reply to comments. Yet it still pays. Not hundreds but a few more dollars than anywhere else.
I am rewriting a lot of my old one here on info which is still the best managed I have seen and they prove this by caring about their writers. thumbs up well done
Mar 22, 2013 10:00am
Thanks, Eileen! I do have a handful of Hubs that do very well, but the others have not. I am glad to hear that you earn there. Sometimes one platform works better than others.
Mar 22, 2013 3:20pm
Thanks for this awesome article. I feel lucky to have "stumbled" upon IB first as it is a great way to get my feet wet and learn. I originally wanted to write for multiple sites and still do, but I have decided that I want to do it in stages now. I want to get to that magic 100 number here and then add another writing site and hopefully my own sandbox. Thank you for summarizing what is happening with the other sites and sharing your strategy.
Mar 23, 2013 5:14am
A journey begins with the first step. Learn one site and then move to another...it is a strategy that works!
Add a new comment - No HTML
You must be logged in and verified to post a comment. Please log in or sign up to comment.

Explore InfoBarrel

Auto Business & Money Entertainment Environment Health History Home & Garden InfoBarrel University Lifestyle Sports Technology Travel & Places
© Copyright 2008 - 2016 by Hinzie Media Inc. Terms of Service Privacy Policy XML Sitemap

Follow IB Technology