In a struggling economy, many freelance writing hopefuls have justifiably gravitated towards the revenue sharing potential of such websites like Associated Content, fireHOW, Bukisa, Info Barrel, and, of course, the infamous eHow platform. While there are, in fact, many other article submission websites available for free registration, quite a few don't really even offer a percentage of advertisement revenue share to their very users/content providers. In fact, such article submission websites, like 'Instructables' have managed to develop a very tight knit community of users who are actually willing to pay the website owners, in order to be afforded an even "greater user experience" where they will be, hopefully, more likely to continue to contribute more and more content.
While I may be wrong, I have difficulty believing that a model like this is truly sustainable in the long term, when users are not only asked to pay a monthly fee for a series of slightly different "packages", but, are also expected to contribute with absolutely no revenue upside potential.
The "Instructables" website, and ensuing business model, only begins to skim the surface of similar shady business practices that are conducted way beyond the confines of their platform. For one reason or another, whether through lying or flat-out deceit in advertising, people have gravitated to websites that exploit them significantly. It is absolutely sickening that they would charge a monthly fee, in order to allow users to contribute their hard written article material.
In an era where transparency is not only cherished, but is expected, somehow many similar article submission, revenue sharing, websites, have made it a commonplace occurrence to hide elegantly behind a massive veil of secrecy. A simple exploration into their respective FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and Terms of Service, is sure to unveil shady holes in transparency that are either largely ignored, or are really just too extensive for one to read and ingest. More oftentimes than not, users commit to these websites without really even knowing what they are getting into.
As the leading subject matter of many of my recent Info Barrel writings, my inspiration for these writings has been founded in a deep-rooted desire to help safeguard the writing, time, and effort, of innocent freelance writers across cyberspace. Outside of a series of about five emails that went completely ignored by eHow staff, I have never been personally harmed by eHow. While I have been subjected to painstaking glitch after painstaking glitch, like many eHow members, I have never had a single one of my articles fall prey to their massive site wide "article sweeps". I have never had a single one of my highest earning articles deleted, with little to no feedback, or opportunity to remedy whatever grammatical or spelling error placed it in an automatic deletion qeue.
Unfortunately, many long term eHow users have experienced similar occurrences, and both their user forum, as well as personal blogs, are absolutely inundated with tried and true case-studies of sheer user neglect and mistreatment. For a work-at-home mother's income to suddenly disintegrate by almost a half of what she was accustomed to earning, because her highest earning article was deleted with little to feedback or opportunity to make it better, simply breaks my heart and have become my inspiration for writing these articles. Where the impact of big business, marketing machines, and corporate greed has delineated a distinguishable line between user and company, these resounding screams of user neglect and mistreatment have gone largely unrecognized.
While the most simple thing to do is to walk away, many longterm eHow members have already, yet the shady business practices remain and continue.
Advocates are clearly needed for these people.
Beyond the complete cesspool of filthy user complaints and dissatisfaction that has become their very unwelcoming forum, the issue of transparency is revisited on many occasions in many of my similar articles. From the unexpected, massive, site-wide, "article sweeps", to very unclear advertisement revenue earnings distribution, many eHow users are justifiably gravitating elsewhere under the intense pressure of unclear user content submission guidelines, and expectations.
On a general side-note, I do find it particularly interesting that an article, still indexed in Google, entitled "How to Make Money Writing for Info Barrel and Earn Home Income" would be conveniently deleted by eHow staff, and redirected to this page. Perhaps the creator of that article was deemed a 'threat' for highlighting the generous, and clear, revenue sharing model/ opportunity of Info Barrel? The truth is, however, that many former long term eHow members are becoming really quite attuned to these shady practices, as evidenced by their own hand-crafted blog articles, as well as, rather detailed comments left at the tail end of a variety of my other similar articles.
I do also question eHow's inability and/or unwillingness to simply communicate with it's users. While a picture can be found, on eHow's website, that depicts a rather large staff, Info Barrel is fueled by the blood, sweat, and tears of only two individuals. Even amongst their insane work loads, they still find the time to address the needs, and concerns, of their users. It appears that the hallmark of Info Barrel's business model is one that eHow should strive daily to emulate, especially in an industry where their nearest competitor could simply eat them alive. Slow and steady growth is paramount and, unfortunately, another unresolved question regarding eHow is their willingness to engage in a massive marketing and promotional machine, without the very infrastructure to safeguard the work and writing of their most dedicated users.
With glitch after painstaking glitch, many have found their website platform to be intolerable, at best. Couple this feature with their intense desire for uncontrolled expansion, an eHow has really become a place that I would strongly caution all freelance writers to avoid, at all costs. While monthly payment may be somewhat reliable and consistent, I do strongly believe that this model will be unsustainable in the long run, if they so choose to continue to ignore even their most passionate, long term members.
As always, it would be an absolute honor to have you share both your Info Barrel, and eHow, experiences with both, and other passer by users/readers. Whether positive, or negative, I would really be interested in hearing what you thoughts are!
Tools I Use for InfoBarrel: Market Samurai Keyword Tool, The Best Spinner, My 6-Book InfoBarrel Success Course, Unique Article Wizard, and more to come soon....