|Many writers wonder whether Suite101 is a scam. I've been writing for Suite101 for over 6 months, and I like it. It's not HubPages; it's suited to different types of articles. So is Suite101 a scam? My answer is that it depends how you define scam. Suite101 is a legitimate company and they have freelance writers with professional portfolios writing for them. They ask for no investment but time. They pay in a timely manner. They have a solid reputation in the online publishing industry.|
But Suite uses one of the new earnings models known as revenue sharing.
Suite101 outsources their writing to writers who are not paid, except insofar as the articles earn money from advertising. And that can be pennies, or it can be thousands of dollars per month.
Online revenue sharing is not really like any of the traditional publishing models, nor is it like a traditional job. For people who believe that payment for writing should be in direct proportion to work put in or skill in writing or years of writing experience, it might look like a scam, because that's not how revenue share payment is structured, at this or other revenue sharing sites.
It's more like writing a book and getting paid no advance, only royalties, but without the assurance that ANY of your books will sell.
The upside is that compared to writing, marketing, waiting for a response, submitting again elsewhere, repeat ad infinitum, finally getting accepted, making revisions, checking proofs, waiting for publication, waiting for royalty checks, and doing your own bookkeeping, writing for rev share sites means much less of an investment in time.
You learn SEO, do preliminary SEO work, write, submit, maybe make a revision or two, study the article's performance and do some tweaks over time, and then do your taxes at the end of the year. And you do it all in stages, gradually increasing your time investment. This is critical, because it means that you don't invest more time than you can afford. And that's what makes it superior to traditional publishing.
If you write 20 articles at Suite101 and find you are not earning, stop. Learn more SEO. Optimize those articles. Rewrite. Don't be afraid to change the title. Don't be afraid to overhaul the article. If the article is not commercially viable, then change your approach. Whatever you do, don't keep writing the same old thing if after three months or so you're not seeing earnings that look promising.
How much is promising? It depends on you - how long it takes you to write articles, and whether the earnings justify the time expense. For some writers, it's worth it to write thousands of revenue share articles if they bring in $1,000 per month, which amounts to pennies per article. For others, it's only worth it to write an article if it brings in $1 per month, while others aren't satisfied with less than $4 per article per month, average.
The downside of writing for Suite101 and other revenue sharing sites is that it's hard to learn how to earn a steady, reliable income. Very few people can do it over the longterm. Few writers can do it, because to succeed at Suite101, you have to be a marketer, as well. And if you're not already a marketer, you have to learn how. It doesn't mean you have to be cut-throat. But it does mean you have to think about your writing as product-related, and about your visitors as consumers.
Very, very few articles go viral. Social networking is not the way to succeed at article writing. Paying for advertising or visitors to your articles is prohibited on most revenue sharing websites. Therefore, the only way to succeed - to have your articles found and read by people who can make you money - is to apply search engine optimization techniques.
And it's not easy. There's no quick way to learn how to write articles that earn on Suite101. Specifically, to learn search engine optimization. There are no complete sets of lessons out there, fee-based or free. As soon as a new SEO rule is discovered, the rules change again, making any so-called SEO lessons quickly obsolete.
Why does this happen? SEO is changing all the time, because the search engines are changing all the time. The goal of people writing search-engine-optimized content is to get seen by visitors, and the goal of the search engines is to filter all the content on the Web. Writers and search engines are therefore at odds, the search engines trying to get rid of spam, the spammers trying to scam a living off of revenue share, and the legitimate writers trying not to be seen as spammers and getting caught in between.
Google just launched Caffeine, a major new index structure for their database, and "Mayday," a new algorithm for how online content is ranked. Besides that, they change their algorithm practically every day. Things change so fast that I've learned there are only a few rules about succeeding on Suite101 and other revenue sharing websites:
Write content people need to read. Don't follow the advice floating around to "tease" the reader with non-information. Don't tell the reader everything you know about a subject. Tell the reader just what he or she wants to know. Put yourself in his or her head and treat him like the customer he is - remember, your writing is your product.
Keep up with search engine changes - especially Google, Yahoo and Bing. Especially Google. Read Google's webmaster help pages. Visit Webmasterworld and lurk there. The information's out there and readily available. And don't be afraid to write articles and study what works and what doesn't. Ask your family and friends about their online shopping behavior. Don't rely on Suite101 forums, or HubPages forums, or eHow forums, for all the answers. The answers are not in the writing sites or the scam SEO sites; they're in your own intuition and your experience with your subjects.
So no, Suite101 is not a scam, but yes, there's a good chance you'll make no money there. To increase your odds, learn all you can about SEO and about writing web content people find useful, and then keep learning. Don't stop, or the rules will change on you. And you'll suddenly become suspicious of Suite101 or HubPages and assume they're scams. They're not scam sites - not unless you define any kind of investment gamble as a scam. And they don't really present themselves to be otherwise. (Or do they? If someone's had a bad experience there, I'd be interested to hear about it.)