I've been on eHow for nine months and on HubPages for about one month [note: August 8, 2009 update--I've been on HubPages now for 4 months and it's still the most profitable revenue sharing site for me. note: June 1, 2010 update - It's still the best earning of all the article sites for me. Last month, my HubPages articles topped eHow's per article earnings by about $1 per article.]
April 5, 2010 Update: eHow has just today ended their Writer's Compensation Program (WCP) for new writers. Well, not exactly ended. EHow is no longer accepting new WCP applications and any new publishing on eHow will be through Demand Studios, their partner company (both are owned by Demand Media.) Existing WCP articles will remain on the site if you choose and continue to earn money. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post...
Neither are scams, according to my definition, anyway. They're revenue sharing sites, in which you write articles, and you share the revenue you earn on them with the operators of the website - eHow or HubPages. In fact, they're both pretty wonderful for the starving writer who is willing to write pulp--yes, pulp, except it's Web content pulp, rather than the science fiction pulp of the Golden Age.
The obvious benefit of publishing your writing on HubPages rather than on your own website is search engine ranking, sometimes erroneously referred to as "Google ranking." Getting traffic to your blog or website is a long and painstaking process; getting traffic to a HubPage article, like this article on grinding whole wheat flour (a randomly chosen but nice article on HubPages, not done by me) is easier. They come up high in the search results. This means more views on your articles and ultimately more revenue.
EHow articles tend to look crowded and busy, but eHow is big. Joining eHow is like joining a popular club in school. Most people do it, if only to do it. And just as a school's administration can seem like they "just don't get it," eHow's customer service often misses the boat, remaining in more of a traditional corporate model than an Internet-savvy revenue share model.
Update: As of April 5, 2010, eHow is no longer accepting new people into the WCP (Writers Compensation Program). Boy, things sure do change fast on Internet City.
I really like HubPages. Really, really like HubPages. Here is my complete review of HubPages. The site goes through regular upgrades, and it's become amazing. The "hubs"--or articles, like the "lenses" of Squidoo--have an attractive theme and some fantastic layout functionality. And they really are hubs, because they're multimedia centers, with RSS feeds, video (and not just YouTube) capabilities, Amazon and eBay affiliate modules, the ability to earn money through Google AdSense, and a flexible layout. The hubs resemble magazine spreads. The customer service is, in a word, amazing. The founders and operators of HubPages appear regularly on the forums, soliciting feedback and keeping writers updated.
One note about HubPages: it's not really designed for creating backlinks. HubPages has a system for ranking users, and if all the articles contain external backlinks, then the backlinks are "nofollow." HubPages has spammer defenses like nobody's business, and removes articles deemed as overy promotional. It's better to use other article sites than HubPages simply for the purpose of creating backlinks--you'll end up wasting your time and your article will probably get removed. Use it for direct revenue.
Why do people assume HubPages and eHow and other sites like them are scams? There's a very good reason--because the commercial Internet is still very new, and new ideas for making money are constantly cropping up. These new revenue generating models have trouble falling into traditional categories.
As consumers and as writers, we don't know what to think of them. They could be scams and frauds--and often are. They could be innovative, legitimate business enterprises--and often are. We don't yet know how to recognize what is what. Because we're floundering around in a truly new world, we don't yet have confidence that we know our way around this Internet City of multiple and amorphous identities. We have to rely on Internet research to find out if these revenue sharing models are legit.
It's a trial and error process. The more we experience and learn, the better we recognize what is an effective way to make a living as a writer on the Internet...and what's a scam or fraud - or simply ruthless exploitation of our skills and work efforts.
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