Unethical Business Practices by Associated Content (AC)

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Today’s Internet slogan is ‘Content is King’. If you have well-written, keyword rich content, without grammatical errors, then you can rank very high on search engine results, thus making a lot of money. With this business idea, several companies have sprung up, and Associated Content (who call themselves, People’s Media Company) is one among them. Here, we will try to find answers to these questions:

1. What exactly is Associated Content (if you don’t already know this)?
2. Is it really worthwhile to work with them?
3. Why should you steer right clear of them?


What is Associated Content (AC)

Associated Content (AC) is a website, in which you can earn money submitting content (text, video, audio, or images). Anyone from anywhere in the world, past the age of 13, can submit content, but you are eligible for payments once you cross 18 years of age. There are two types of payments: Upfront Payment and Performance Payments. Upfront payment, is available only for the US residents; it is usually a meager $ 5-10. Performance payments are available for all articles and other types of content, dependent on the page views they get. This is also a meager $1.5 for 1000 pageviews (also known as PPM).

Thousands of writers from worldwide submit content to AC, hoping to taste success in freelance writing, and AC does a great job targeting them. But the fact that AC holds back from them the real revenues they earn from this content is deplorable and highly unethical for a business.

AC’s Unethical Business Practices

In AC, you are on your own to promote your content, in the way you like. You can mention your article in AC in any forum posts you make, you can link to the AC article from your website, or recommend it in your mass email to your friends. From your promotion of the content, AC's website gets visitors. And generally from thousand impressions of a page with Adsense advertisement, the publisher can get at least fifty clicks on their ads (besides Cost Per Thousands Impressions).

From these clicks, the publisher can earn no less than 10 or 20 dollars. Anyways, that cannot go below 10 dollars. But with so nicely placed ads as those in AC, and with proper Adsense ad selection techniques (which I may explain at a later article on SEO about), your content page may earn a fortune and will continue to do so for AC, not you.

In such a case, giving you $1.5 is extremely mean, don’t you, the owner of the content, agree? You are far better off putting that content in your own website and promoting it in your own way. You can build a brand of your own, get far more visitors to your site, get ad revenues as well as sales commissions from companies like Amazon and ClickBank if you have their ads as well. All these will maximize your revenue and you will have no idea of the fortune they will continue to make for the years to come. Compared to it, AC’s alms are nothing. So, I personally believe AC’s business practice is extremely unethical in that it hides from you the actual revenues it earns from your content.

Backlinks from AC?

As a means of promoting your website, you may submit content to other blogs, article directories, and ad revenue share websites. In these sites, (e.g., isnare.com, ezinearticles.com, Hubpages.com, etc.,) you submit your content for the sake of a backlink to your website. A backlink is very important for a website, since getting so many of them can rank it very high in search results. In AC also, you can get any number of backlinks from your content (as opposed to some article directories, which give you only one or two backlink from a separate resource section in the article).

But the problem with AC’s backlink is that they are all NoFollow, which means you are none the better by having that link (please read this to know what is NoFollow and what is DoFollow). Why does AC give you a NoFollow backlink, while encouraging you greatly to link to AC from your website (which they expect to be a normal DoFollow link)? Here also, I frown on the unethical business practice of this company in that they expect to get backlinks and free promotion from you, while not even prepared to link out to your website in the proper way.

Is a Great Exposure Really Awaiting You?

AC usually calls for content on popular hot topics from writers. To attract writers, they flaunt their huge network and tell you that you will get a huge exposure. A great exposure means thousands of visitors and press calls for me, while AC cannot guarantee you more than ten or twenty visitors to your article with no promotional job from your side. If you want a thousand visitors to your content (and thereby $1.5), then you have to promote your article yourself.

Is this useful for good writers? In today’s world, one can be on one’s own. He can publish and get paid ten times more money, if he chooses to, from the content he produces. No one need love an entire stranger like AC by promoting them besides giving them your best content.

Also, AC demands that you put your effort to give them the best content you can come up with, without any grammatical or punctuation errors of any kind. If such content is placed on your own site, you will get credit for it, a great amount of search traffic, and lots of money. On the other hand, your content on AC network will drive traffic to their whole site and they will get a hundred more subscribers due to your content's value and usefulness. And AC doesn’t recognize your part in this at all.

With such a huge network as AC’s getting too low exposure and pageviews on your content is highly deplorable. With other advertisement share networks like Hubpages, not only your content will rank high in search results, but also it will earn far more than AC in the long run.

Your Submission Rights to AC

You can impart to AC three different forms of rights. The first, which is the exclusive rights, means you dethrone yourself as the author of the content. You cannot publish the content anywhere else, and you give full rights to AC to publish it anywhere, in any form, with any modification or editing to create derivative works. So, you are completely submitting to AC the product of your toil for meager upfront payment and starving performance payments. Also, once published the article cannot be removed from AC at all.

The second form of publication is that you retain some rights, and you can republish the content in some other site. But you share all the rights of publication with AC and their partners and you cannot remove the content from their network. The little problem with this is that if you republish the content in your blog, it will be deemed as duplicate content by search engines and they will penalize your blog for that. While AC allows republication, they state it clearly that the content should not be previously published elsewhere (so that they are safe from any such penalization).

The third form of publication is that you retain all rights and give AC only the display rights. This way, you are eligible only for the alms (and not the ‘generous’ upfront payment), and you can remove the content any time you want.

AC recommends the first form of rights and has made it the default. Now friends, is it a good company that recommends you—the customer—the worst option, which may be the best option for the company? If you fall for it, then you are screwed like anything. The fact is that most people just go ahead and hit that submit button without realizing that they are selling their souls. Most really believe that the companies are ethical and they will not deceive. Here also I frown on their business practice. Is AC your pet to get such tender, affectionate treatment from you?

The millions of dollars AC gets from ad revenues are all due to the content it gets from thousands of authors out there. All these authors submit their content to AC because they are made to think it is a great option to make money writing online. But the fact that they are better off writing for their own website or blog is forgotten by all; AC’s impressive design and reliable look easily haze naïve writers’ eyes.

If you are a good writer, capable of writing an article of the standard AC recommends, then the best course of action you can take is publish it with your blog first, and then submit it to AC in their third publication option retaining all rights with yourselves. An upfront payment is not something attractive at all. Also, I recommend screwing someone who has screwed and continues to screw millions.

Also, submitting an already published content is not an option with the first two rights of AC., and there are thousands submitting for no upfront payment from outside the US.

A Revenue Comparison

What AC tells you is that they offer higher amount of money than any other ad network. AC obviously is not an ad share network like Hubpages. If you are in control over the ads displayed on a page where your content appears, a thousand views can mean 40 clicks on your ads. These 40 clicks will convert to 10 dollars or more. Which means, for each 1000 pageviews of your articles on AC, AC earns 10 dollars or more. And you are paid a fraction, $1.5. Also, you are not told anything about what they are earning from your articles.

My Thoughts

All in all, AC shows a very deplorable business practice by underpaying their content producers, who collectively form their backbone. The pain-evoking fact is that there are a million naïve unsuccessful writers out there, who believe AC is a wonderful Internet freelancing career. Publishing is an industry with a lot of scams and frauds. I think you went through my previous article about Blogit, which is another scam company offering to publish your content for a fee.

I believe Associated Content should be avoided by all writers. If you want to get some money for writing online, the best way is signing up with Constant Content, one of the best freelancing websites. You can sign up for free with them and market your articles at your price of choice. Meaning, you can put up a brilliant 500-word article and you can charge anything like 50-100 dollars for that single article.

If it gets purchased, you will get 65 % of the sales amount. Plus you can have referrals, from whom you can earn. A transparent, beautiful business idea, profitable to both sides.

On the other hand, if you look at AC, there is no transparency on their business. It sets a fixed silly amount to pay you for every thousand pageviews and you are expected and encouraged to do all the promotion. This means you are being employed by AC to write content for them and promote them, and you are given alms to do it all—worse than the most seriously underpaid third-world porter. Moreover, they don’t actually give you any exposure they promise.

Content is king! And you need it for great marketing and high sales. Unless you write good content, you cannot get high search ranking. Writing for AC, giving them your great content means you are promoting their website, enriching them further. For that, the ungrateful AC treats you like street dog by spitting their ort at you. You should never neglect the fact that they are growing on your back. If they thrive at your toil, they should be willing to disclose their complete earnings from your work or at least be prepared to indubitably share the actual earning you deserve, like how ad revenue share networks like Hubpages do.

In Hubpages, you can submit your content and your Google Adsense ID. Your Adsense ads will be displayed in your content (you can verify this by looking at the source code), and the content you submit are automatically indexed by search engines and get high rankings, thanks to Hubpages’s high PageRank website. So, you are partnering and earning with them. Here in AC the difference is that you are working for them (in every respect) and they are earning in thousands from your content, while you are looking up expectantly and contentedly with alms in your hand. With Hubpages, the top members are earning in thousands from Adsense in every single month.

Recently I found a top member’s performance results in AC. She had about 300 articles in AC and had around 300,000 page views. Means, she might have earned almost $3450 ($10 upfront payment plus 1.5*300 for performance) from these articles she wrote for which she might have spent about a year or more. What a waste of time! All her articles might have produced a million for AC in toto by that time.

I may be the only person who raises these disputes about AC. Associated Content, the People’s Media Company, is a highly respected content provider amongst us all, thanks to their content producers worldwide, who are willing to get published for anything. Usually, the person who raises voice against something big is but single. However, it’s eventually their path that all will follow (remember Copernicus, who said earth was orbiting the sun, and nobody believed him). I expect to hear a lot of comments and reproaches from the readers of this blog and others who pass by and check this article out. But I am prepared to say this anywhere.

I believe the Internet has made the business far more transparent for us all than it was previously, and anything that faces away from this fact and deceives people like a swindler in priest’s dress should be smacked on the back until it falls off the cliff.

I wrote all this with a lot of love and affection for those unsuspecting writers out there. My heart goes out when I think of them all, who waste their time in vacant promises by companies like Associated Content or Blogit. In fact, you should give some time to think of how much wastage of one’s life these companies can do really. They are telling you a fabricated story of great exposure and wonderful readership, while it’s nothing you get for the work you do.

While Blogit scams you by telling you that you will get a high readership and payments from the writings you do (while you end up paying them an amount every month), AC tells you that you can get paid (something silly) for the content you create. Also, look at those poor people who try to submit to AC for the sake of the NoFollow backlinks (there are an awful lot of them who believe a link will help their site’s rankings). It is not illegal or wrong to give NoFollow backlinks, but knowingly exploiting the ignorance of people is a totally different thing, wouldn’t you agree?

Conclusion

It’s our world that nurtures the likes of AC, and it pays for it as well. So, friends, you had better leave AC and steer clear of their territory, if you are already part of them. I am writing this for the good of all the writers out there. Do your share of hard work for yourself or for those needy. Not for those already affluent ones who continue to swindle shamelessly for their benefit. You may make a worthless hundred-dollar bill from your hard work in AC for so many months, but a rusted cent you make from an ethical business is far more valuable than that.

Related Entries:

Backlink Building; Nasty Techniques
Advertising Scams and Frauds

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

53 Opinions:

  1. It's funny you mention Associated Content, because I just discovered it today while browsing random articles.

    I'm honestly not sure how I feel about these kinds of websites in general. I can understand the lure of posting the odd article to, say, Ezine Articles, if only for the backlink to your own website, but otherwise it seems a disservice to yourself to do so.

    At any rate, I feel more comfortable posting my articles on my own websites, on my own terms. The serious writer, he or she has to value their own work. See beyond the dollar signs.

    But that's what makes these websites tick -- like the graphic designer working for free or cheap to "get noticed," the aspiring writer will resort to the same methods.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is such a well written article and I like your candid style, and the way that your views were presented. Not everyone has or wish to have a web site. And even if they have a free blogger or WP blog they still need lots and I mean much traffic to start earning well enough from their own writings. The fact these people do not know better ways to publish their work and get paid for it (no matter how small the amount that they get for is), doesn't make AC a scam. AC is simply a smart business conglomerate. Could Google be classified as a scam just because they do not give any info about how much publishers are earning from what advertisers are paying? Or any other info about how whatever of theirs is working and how can we earn more by using their service? Love your guts nontheless Lenin, and will check your blog as often as I can :)

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  3. Tatiana,

    there is difference between Google and AC in what you speak Two points I have told in my article, I would like to detail here:
    first, Google is no scam because they give us in depth data of our daily visits and adsense clicks. So, we know what we earned from it, plus they are giving us platform for earning. On the other hand, AC is using Google's platform, and alluring readers to their platform (showing off their conglomerate). But they are not reporting to the content producers how much they earned from their content. That's the scam (unethical business).

    Second: People not knowing about starting their own website and earning from it is their ignorance. They will know about it in some time and may start earning. But taking advantage of their ignorance, by telling them that their writing will get NOTICED (which actually doesnt happen in AC) is unethical. I have myself submitted to AC and I know that an article never attracts more visitors than a few hundred in months, that is unless you promote your content yourself. But if you can promote your content, you can do that better in your blog and earn more. So, what does AC actually do?

    It's a complete consummate pure scam, dont publish with them.

    Lenin Nair

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  4. This is the first time that I've ever heard of Associated Content, but it definitely seems like an iffy business to me, contrary to what Tatiana seems to think.

    Not that I am against business or anything like that, business should be free, but business should also be treated ethically and morally.

    Lying and misleading people into thinking that they are getting something that they aren't is wrong. They should be upfront about the things that they provide to the people that are interested in using their service.

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  5. Lenin and Charles, I guess my comment on your article wasn't written the way that I intended it to be. I am definitely not defending the practice of unethical business, and agree that by using people's ignorance AC is committing unethical practices.
    But most of big business on and off line are doing it, and they are doing it with the law on their side, and protected by the law(s) too. They are not committing a crime in the real sense of the word, and we - you and me - can't touch them. You have taken the step to go to warn the ignorant among us, for which I thank you, and this is what I meant by saying that you have guts. Hopefully your article will be read by many, and they will not use the services of AC after that. And I was not planning at all to ever use them for articles of mine.

    And, than about Google. They do let you know how many visitors yes, and how many clicks, but they do not let you know what percentage of the money they are getting are we getting. Nor do they protect us from "click-bombers," and all of us know that our accounts will get closed if, and when we get click-bombed. Knowing that they know who did it, and that it was not done by us isn't going to help, and the accounts do get closed. Plus the fact that they have the technology to protect us and don't do it is the other problem that sucks. And, than, there are other platforms for us publishers, as Adsense, that do share with the publishers what percentage we get from the earnings. They are smaller though, and have far fewer advertisers than Adsense does, so the earnings are not high unless you have a specific niche and this niche has enough advertisers. Than you could start making much more than with Adsense. Hope this is making clear my own frustrations with Google and their Adsense.

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  6. Lenin, this is excellent research. You are doing a great service bringing it to the attention of bloggers. Wow, I hope AC has a google alert out there and see this post. Every blogger should be warned. Thanks

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  7. Very nice article. Well thought out and well written.

    While my writing probably wouldn't fall into the category of what some of the commenters write, it is refreshing to learn about all aspects of the writing business.

    Many thanks for the info.

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  8. The argument against Constant Content would be the fact that you have to sell articles in order to get anything(social security number still a requirement?). Yes the payout is significantly higher, but those who like to write certain types of articles would struggle to sell anything. The page view tactic AC uses can be manipulated easily by the administrators(any algorithm used by any site can be altered behind the scenes). But I don't think they would go that far as to fatten their own pockets and toss scraps to the users.

    I use AC because they don't restrict creativity as as other sites. I know the articles I write would just gather digital dust at CC. AC definitely isn't the best publishing option for experienced freelance writers, but its great for those starting out or like writing for fun.

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  9. Kataztrophy,

    I agree that they may not be altering any code to "toss scrap at users", but wouldn't you agree that they are doing just that? Tossing scrap, while they can make much more money from the writers' articles?

    I believe you can be a lot creative even more creative than you can be in AC with a blog like this one I have. And you can get paid for the content you write, far more than you can with AC.

    From AC, from one of your articles, you can get 1.5 dollars for thousand page views, while the same article will make 20 dollars for AC. Now, why would we allow that as smart writers if we can put the same article in a blog of ours and earn that 20 dollars without any hassles?

    Lenin

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  10. On the top of that, there is no argument against CC. It's because, we are in control there over everything. If people want our content they will pay and take it. we can set the price. If they don't want, it's fine. But it's not deception as in AC.

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  11. thanks for the great explanation. i wanted to write at the site but I will postpone it. Some site offers place for writer but they are not honest. Can you tell the honest site for amateur writer?

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  12. Hi, if you wish to be into freelance writing, then Constant content is the best. Please read my review, accessible from the sidebar: freelance writing opportunity.

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  13. The problem with Constant Content is that they have a high minimum requirement before they release monies to you for articles you've sold. So they can be holding onto $50 of yours indefinitely until you sell another article. Point #2: their reviewers are ignorant and have ridiculous requirements that sometimes don't make any sense. They will commonly reject your article for no good reason at all. Point #3: when your article is rejected, you have to resubmit it from scratch every time instead of just going into a preexisting submission and making a minor change. Point #4: When responding to a public request you will spend the time writing a specific article for a specific client, and because of Constant Content 's unreasonable review process you can miss the boat and never have a chance to submit the actual article to the client! It's pretty retarded. It would make more sense to have the client receive the article and then request their own specific changes.

    Associated Content is definitely getting over with what they pay their writers, but at least they make the submission process easy and their reasons for rejection are clear so that you can keep things moving.

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  14. Sandra, your points are slightly inaccurate.

    Constant Content has a very good approval system and the editor does approve your posts if they abide by the rules. It is actually far better than that of AC. In AC any writer who doesn't really abide by all rules of grammar can succeed in getting published, while CC is more strict.

    When I was submitting at first at CC, even I got rejections for minor errors on articles. Then, when I started giving more importance to my grammar, by editing deeply on all articles, I started getting prompt acceptances. Now, my articles are getting accepted within a day usually. This actually makes submissions pretty fast there. It also helps your writing, in case you need to move on to a better writing job.

    While on AC, after three submissions, your approvals are automated for one particular type of submission rights. This causes you to submit articles with mistakes. So, it is degrading your writing ability.

    Yes, as you say, submitting articles from scratch is a problem with CC. So far, the only problem perhaps. And I guess in AC also the same problem is there.

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  15. Hi, Lenin. We've been in touch but I'd like to post publicly and invite people to contact me directly.
    I'm Laura, I work at Associated Content. We are completely honest with our Content Producers (CPs) about payment rates and their individual page view numbers because transparency in our transactions with our CPs is a cornerstone of our business. Most importantly, we pay our members what we say we are going to pay them on a frequent basis, with no gimmicks. We stand by our honesty and transparency.
    Associated Content provides an outlet for thousands of writers and other aspiring creative types who do not have the desire or ability to create and maintain an individual website or blog. For those people, AC provides a platform that offers better traffic, promotional opportunities, distribution opportunities and search rankings that most personal blogs or websites simply cannot provide. In August, as a whole, AC received over 7 million unique visits and ~40 million page views. These numbers are growing every month. And, while you may feel that $1.50/1,000 page views is not very much, in fact, most ad share networks pay much less than that for revenue sharing deals for small independent sites. Thus, articles on AC will earn more than an ad sharing deal on a smaller site.
    While we don't share our overall revenue, and I cannot think of any company that does, we are the only online content publisher that tracks and shares 100% of page views information for individual Content Producers and pays them accordingly.
    Again, Associated Content stands by our honesty. We offer opportunities for writers beyond those at sites that simply buy content up front and don't allow for residual earnings the way that we do.
    Thank you for the chance to post this on your site and if you or anyone else has further questions please email me, laura@associatedcontent.com, or call 646-619-2774 x 313.
    Laura
    Associated Content

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  16. Good to see you posting comment here, Laura. I will clarify what's wrong here:

    1. Yes for thousand impressions ad share networks and advertisers pay a fixed amount like half a dollar or so, in which you are right they pay less than AC. But they also pay for the clicks one gets for thousand impressions. For instance, in Adsense, for thousand impressions, I get about 20 clicks and that pays more than five dollars. This is the case with all networks. Hence, for thousand impressions any network would pay more than 4 or 5 dollars, if the network is honest.

    On the other hand, AC pays for only impressions not for clicks. In AC you have Adsense ads, which get clicked if viewed thousand times. You are not sharing even 10 per cent of the total money you make with those thousand impressions and clicks.

    2. AC doesn't give you exposure. That is unless you work for it. Can you prove it wrong? I have experience myself. I promoted my content well by linking to and submitting to various other forums and blogs. Thus I got 200 visits to my page in six months. And that is still no great exposure. If by submitting along to AC I can get daily thousand views, then, that I would call a great exposure. But no, AC doesn't give that kind of exposure.

    And if you have to work to get exposure, you can do that with a blog in Blogspot, completely free. You get far more money than with AC.

    3. The writers and other aspirant creative 'types' as you say, may not know about how you guys are making money. Hiding from them the fact that you are earning with Adsense far more than they are paid, while they themselves can sign up with Adsense (and of course other affiliate programs) and make a living, is deplorable. Particularly since Adsense is a public company not associated with AC.

    In a business, ethical practice includes sharing with the partners how exactly the profits are made and how much exactly. They are not to know about profits from outsiders.

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  17. There are many such non opportunities all over the place. I personally use a few of these purely for backlinks.

    As I use SEO for Flock, I know immediately that my comment and the backlink here has no value to me. You complain about AC and their NOFOLLOW yet you do the same.

    My comment here adds to your discussion, yet you don't pass link Juice on.

    I have a rule on my blog. I always pass on the Juice to people who add value.

    Sure AC are making some money from the less savvy, but so do a million other websites. Thanks for the heads up but I probably would have steered away from AC just after reading their T&C's. Give away my copyright for a maybe, No Way.

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  18. Guymclaren,
    I have no problem imparting link juice to my readers. But when my blog was dofollow, I got too many spam comments that I was forced to make this nofollow. If you wish to submit any relevant links, you can use the contact form to do so. I will consider it without any reciprocal linking.

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  19. Great conversation here. Though I'd love to get a dofollow link from this I have to say I learned a lot from that article aswell. I must return to it one day... hopefully really soon.

    About how much people can make online... and how much AC is making with the impressions... I talk as a Finnish non-professional writer. I have a blog. I have gotten over 6000 views so far, it's been up over two months. Clicks was last time I checked 7 and for a long time it was 4, meaning I was getting less than 1 click for thousand views. The fact that your site can get many clicks per view doesn't mean AC is. Considering the neture of the site I believe the ads are not that well focused and people who are reading there are browsing on...

    Just my thoughts. BTW I'm a member of AC, made ten bucks, got 100 views. The site does look good, but it is bit heavy to load due to all the clutter and ads and stuff...

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  20. A great deal of what you write here is inaccurate.

    For one thing, you insist that you can't make much money from AC's pageview payments, yet I consistently make $350 per month just from that. I don't promote my content and I don't read and comment on other articles unless I actually find them interesting. My pageview income is completely passive.

    I also make a fairly consistent income from upfront payments. When I first started, I submitted all of my articles directly to AC, but I now write primarily for AC partners. They supply content to other companies, and they outsource that work to me (and other CPs). Those articles make between $15 and $30 apiece, depending on wordcount, and I never make less than $25 per piece for articles over 400 words. Since it takes me about half an hour to write an article, I make $50 per hour on average, not including monthly bonuses.

    I'm not saying that AC is for everyone, and if you aren't skilled at writing grammatically-correct, engaging, SEO-friendly content, you probably won't make much from AC. But they have been honest with me every step of the way and have always responded to questions and/or problems.

    It sounds to me as though you begrudge AC a profit. How on earth could they hire staff, pay Content Producers and maintain their overhead without a profit? That would be like Ford Motor Company setting the prices for their vehicles and giving their dealerships and/or sales personnel 100 percent of every sale.

    You might not like AC, but I benefit enormously from my relationship with them. In fact, they have paid my bills on more than one occasion. And as for exposure? Not a week goes by that I don't receive another private message from someone who wants to hire me to generate content. I have no web site, yet I never suffer from a shortage of freelance projects. It all comes from AC.

    Thanks,
    Steve

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  21. Thanks for the comment, Steve. Please don't feel that I begrudge AC. Opinions always differ. For instance, please see the comment by Maggie. She feels that I work for CC and I badmouth AC. It's not the case as I already clarified. CC is not at all a competitor to AC; they are not even in the same or even similar business.

    Happy to see you got good results from AC, but that's not the case with many writers.

    [One more important thing: I have been seeing quite a bit of anonymous comments in this thread and some impersonations. I have removed some of those anonymouses. And I will not be letting any more anonymous posters. Have your website URL and email address ready before commenting.]

    Lenin

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  22. yes, in the rarified instance a small percentage of the overall writers at AC have it like the commenter ST or Steve Thompson explains. However, most every contributor to AC isn't in that situation and doesn't make very much on AC

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  23. I write for AC and enjoy doing so. Associated Content is what it is, a place for anybody to make a little extra money writing. I don’t think the majority of Content Producers there are “Real Writers” who make a living with their talent. Although some are and use AC to supplement their income.

    I mostly write articles about football or tourist type stuff about different cities. I am perfectly happy with Associated Content, they were the first to pay me for something I enjoy doing. And it helped me get some exposure and I do now have a sports column in a local paper. I won’t get rich at AC but I am not really trying to. They pay on time and I think fairly for what I put into it.

    I have a football blog that gets a lot of time put into it and I think it has made $5 or so in 3 months. I make more than that for one article on AC, blogging for pay is much harder to make money at than some people want you to think.

    For the last two years I paid for my Christmas Shopping (and I have 4 kids) with money from AC, leaving my full time job pay for other things. People may attack AC Content Producers for being dumb and getting taken advantage of. But heck show me somebody else who will pay more and I will work for them as well.

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  24. Also I do very little promotion and have several articles with over 40,000 hits. Of course I also have many with less than 100. But keywording can get you hits from searches.

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  25. Good to see Randy Inman commenting here. Thanks. After your comment, I went to your CP page at AC and found you got half a million pageviews in the last two years (since 2006 when you started posting). I believe it's a very good achievement. This means, it would have made 500 X 1.5= 750 + 286 (your published articles in AC) X 10 (maximum upfront payment, only if you are in the US) =2850 = 3600 in these two years of freelancing from AC.

    Clearly, if you had managed a blog and got that kind of pageviews, you would have made far more than this. Check with professional bloggers; they have many different means of making money from their articles, such as selling products for commissions and selling advertisement space. Several of them, with about 300,000 pageviews per month, make more than 10,000 dollars in a single month.

    Isn't it proof enough that publishing your content on your own blog is better than publishing it on AC?

    On the top of that, if you are residing in the US, you get the above-said sum, otherwise, you will have 750 dollars in two years of work! Any freelancer would earn several times that. And I believe with your number of pageviews, you should be a very good SEO copywriter. Your content should rank well in search engines. Why not then write for your own blog? It will be a high-page-view blog within six months, and then you can take all the Adsense and product sale revenue to yourself.

    A mere freelancer gets rise in pay as his/her experience rises, but if you write in AC, there is always a fixed sum you will earn, nothing more! But check how much AC will make from your content through Adsense program. They don't reveal to you how much your content or any other CP's content makes to them and what percentage is paid to you.

    Do you know that mere thousand views (impressions) of an ad pays a fixed sum closer to a dollar or so to publishers of Adsense? The revenue from ten or twenty clicks is on the top of that. I think AC is a premium Adsense publisher (clarify someone on this; with their pageviews of over 20 million per month, they should be). If it's so, then their content ads will pay them far more than normal publishers, as premium publishers have a lot many perks not available to normal ones.

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  26. Besides these points, Randy, don't you clearly see that your well-written articles are actually earning more visitors to associated content's website? How many people would know the name of the author? Most would feel that it's AC that gave them a valuable article and would subscribe to AC, not to you. So, you are with your work, promoting AC.

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  27. Well I wouldn't get that many hits on a blog as I write about different subjects. Though my football articles do account for over half of my hits at last count. The only thing is I can write keyword articles and get hits. But I have no real way of telling if I have any talent. On the comments section you seldom get any feedback that helps me as a writer.

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  28. You have valid points but to call AC a scam is similar to calling Walmart a scam. I know you might be disagreeing with me but think on it.

    The thing with AC is that it allows many people to write without the hundreds of restrictions other publishers have on new writers. Creative control is given to you. Yes, you will not get the most money for upfronts and page views BUT the performance payments are very the money is.

    Most CPs, such as myself, only submit Non-Exclusive or Display Only. This means we keep the rights to RE-PUBLISH our articles in other websites (our own sites, blogs, CC, etc.). AC is not good to do alone - it works incredibly well if you have other sites you write for.

    AC also gets 50 million visitors per month and based on my experience, your articles DO get more exposure. Studying abroad in India thousands of miles away from home, I made over $200 in less than two months and I never wrote online beforehand.

    The content producers vary a lot, and there are awards that go to the best. You have generalized a lot by claiming "A great exposure means thousands of visitors and press calls for me, while AC cannot guarantee you more than ten or twenty visitors to your article with no promotional job from your side."

    It's not that simple. A lot if goes into you optimizing your article with proper SEO techniques.

    My conclusion: It all depends on your skills, what you intend to write about, and how you plan to make money from AC. I highly recommend avoiding submitting for upfronts unless you just need the pocket change. What the veteran CPs do at AC is just get their stuff re-published at other places. Most of them are professional writers and AC is actually a secondary complement to their income.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Ok Vikas, now this is official. "I don't want to call AC a scam and in the entire article, I have removed any instance when I explicitly call AC scam". Because AC is not a scam but only an unethical business. In my previous comments in various places, I may have used 'scam' but this statement is to invalidate all those instances.

    If you fully read the article you will know that I have that suggestion made that publishing without giving away full rights is the best for AC. And I advise writers to do that actually. But there is a little catch. It accounts for duplicate content if the writers publish the same content on their own sites.

    About AC's payment, it is far less by any standards and there is no question about it.

    Lenin

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  30. I wouldn't say low standards. They offer high performance payments and it raises by clout level. A person with clout 10 for example (which isn't hard to get for someone wanting to do full-time)gives $2 per 1000 views. It doesn't sound like much to the general population because they don't know what the standard is - or how it pays off in the long term.

    Believe me, you are not going to find better rates anywhere else based on the required skill. Not many people have professional credentials and writing experience (and they could still be skilled writers).

    Okay, so it's not a scam. But calling it unethical is still a stretch. Helium, CC, and other sites earn much more revenue from their content producers than the producers earn from the site. This is fact. That's why AC and other sites rely on your ability to bring in more views through optimization. Few sites have AC's 'popularity', so to speak.

    You are not going to earn thousands of views for the same article on a blog or a new website you designed. For people to do that, it takes experience and some knowledge on web design that isn't common to the public.

    What I'm trying to say is that if you classify AC as an unethical business, then most other content producing sites (that do not hire professionals) are also unethical because they are making a lot more money off of you and really are low-balling your payments.

    But what website is in the top 1000, is very reliable, and pretty much made the standard on freelance writing?

    I just want to say that I don't work under AC. I work 'through' AC, which is what many others have said too. I'm also a writer on Helium, been starting on CC, got a blog to promote, and I'm planning to start an actual site with a couple of people.

    It's not AC that is the problem. It's that the general public doesn't know how to maximize their money making. If you were to base all your income and write ONLY for AC, then you're going to get low-balled.

    AC is not meant for primary incomes, it's best for people starting out. But over time, it can become a full income site for you. It all depends on the person.

    There's just too many variables. You've got some good points but you can't aim the crosshairs on AC alone without considering everybody else.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lenin: I have submitted just two articles to AC and as of yet they do not show any hits. I was about to send emails to all my friends to hype the articles, but I won't after reading your article. I have 19 blogs in which I write articles and I thought--boy, wouldn't this AC be a great place to get some back link traffic to my sites. Balony. Sounds like it's a great way to build AC, at all writers' expense. I'm new to AC, but I thought I would try it though I noticed up front that getting only 1.5 per thousand hits is peanuts and hardly worth the effort. I have ads on my own sites and I know the name of the game is getting backlinks with like-minded producers, but if AC won't participate then I will not send them any more articles. I have submitted to IdeaMarketers.com to get my articles out there, but there is no payment on that site. But if AC won't aid and help me build my sites, it's a total waste of my time. here are some of the names of my sites. And I do intend to get on Twitter and see your stuff at VJ Lenin. Thanks again for a really nice article. I can see you really thought it out and you have, thus, done a service to the communicty of writers and website producers.
    Don White
    http://DonWhitePortfolio.blogspot.com
    http://YankeesWizard.blogspot.com
    http://HouseABCs.blogspot.com
    http://WOWEmployment.blogspot.com
    http://CosmicLightLogic.blogspot.com
    http://AngstBlogger.blogspot.com
    http://PoliticalDisconnect.blogspot.com
    http://WomenLoveMenAdmire.blogspot.com

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  32. Hi Don, Definitely! My success lies in making AC pay the standard freelance rates to its writers. Otherwise, as you say, the pay is not worth any effort we put in. Thanks for your comment.

    Lenin

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  33. Thank you for writing your perspective of AC. A friend of mine writes an article a day for AC and is now receiving about $70.00 a year after consistently writing for 2 years. He has been encouraging me to submit articles to them. I was hesitant before but I think what I'm doing now is better for me. This article has been very helpful in clearing any double mindedness I may have had re: AC.
    http://www.christinacolwell.blogspot.com

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  34. Christina, OMG! 70 dollars in a year is terrible. It's far from all my expectations. He/she had better discontinue.

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  35. Lenin, how about if you're a video content provider? Can u suggest the best sites for that to get paid? I thought about AC but after reading your blog I've backpedalled.

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  36. Indyfilm, good question. There are not many places where you get paid for video content. But check these two out. They are very good:
    Break.com
    Revver.com

    Hope it helped. Thanks for the comment.

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  37. Lenin,

    Great post! I like how well-researched it is and that you allow for the opposing side to have their say as well.

    I'm a newbie freelancer and recently signed up for AC and though my article qualified for upfront payment, it was nowhere near where I'd have preferred it to be. Being a how-to article, I would have made more if I'd submitted it to eHow.

    I've learned alot more about how much of the business works than I would have thought in a short time period, due to diligently looking into anything I consider getting into. Posts like yours give newbies like me a resource for learning on all sides of a subject.

    I never would have considered AC for the whole of my freelancing income anyway, and have been looking into others as well, but after reading this post (and comments), I'm going to be more careful which articles I submit. If I believeI can make more elsewhere, that's where it's going to go.

    Thanks for the heads up!

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  38. Ambrosia, thanks a lot for the comment.

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  39. I am not sure I would say that associated content is a scam, but they are definitely unprofessional and lack integrity. I had written a number of articles published on ac and while most of them had been previously published elsewhere, a few of them were eligible for and received upfront payment. I noticed that the first time I declined their ridiculous upfront payment offer for an excellent piece I had written on domestic violence, that things seemed to go downhill from there. I responded to a call for a "work for hire" gig which would garnish me if accepted a meager 10.00, however it was a topic I had experience with so I submitted it. I received an e-mail the following day asking me to make some additions to my piece, which I did immediately meeting the deadline. Now mind you this was a piece with a deadline that was close to a month ago and I have heard nothing. My submitted article shows up under my content with a slight name change to title of article and I am unable to edit it or delete it. My article is only available to view. I have sent several e-mails requesting that I be notified if they decided to use my article as I have not been paid. I have heard nothing from these people, so I have advised them that I will publish it elsewhere as they cannot claim ownership since I have not been paid or contacted. I have removed all of my articles on ac that were not exclusive. While I realize that takes away the views I have gained, I would rather publish them for free with a reputable company.

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  40. I, too, have become very skeptical of AC after writing for them for the past several months. I needed to contact them over an article that was auto-published before it was ready. I did not know that after my third article, my submissions would be automatically published, with no room for editing. I hit the publish key prematurely but was not worried b/c I'd been able to edit in the past. Not that time! So I emailed AC, under their own claim that you could ask for an exception, & they responded with a blanket statement that I would not be allowed to edit published comment. I replied with their own words cut & pasted from the applicable FAQ section, & I have heard nothing in return. I sent my email twice, with a week's time between each one.

    Then, upon hearing nothing, I began to dig further into the site. I learned that they hold all "discretion" at "deciding" if the hits you get are valid or not. I noticed after my re-send of the final email I wrote that my hit count did not move nearly at all, whereas it had been on a regular climb prior to my pressing the issue of being allowed to edit my piece.

    The crazy thing is I wasn't even asking for a major edit. I accidentally truncated the descriptive portion of the piece, & it looks terrible on my profile page. I wanted to be able to fix it. That's it.

    I am now incredibly leery & unsure of my next step regarding AC. Thank you for a well-written, factual article.

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  41. Thanks for the great article Lenin. Do you have any idea of another paid-for-writing site, bukisa.com? Is it worth submitting to this site. Thanks in advance for your help.

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  42. Great article Lenin. i became suspicious when they said you could not post an article if it were already published elsewhere, and it became display only. I thought oh heck no, that is totally not fair, as I KNOW I could make money on it. BTW, in my research I found Demand Studios will pay for video.
    I have written some articles on eHow and am suspicious of thier paying practices. Any thoughts on eHow ? Appreciate it. I can be found on eHow, member name, thesearcher. crafts2show@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  43. GREAT WORK DONE HERE. THANKS FOR SHARING THIS VALUABLE INFORMATION. OF COURSE AC HAVE A DIFFERENT POLICY TOWARDS THE NON-US WRITERS.
    i'll definitely check the other sites you mentioned. I am here at AC just over a year.
    Thanks. phil
    http://knol.google.com/k/p-v-ariel
    P V Ariel

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  44. As a beginning freelance writer, I fell for AC's sham. I wasted my talent on them. I even dealt with rude AC staff members a couple times. Now I have much more experience as a writer, and will never write for AC again. Of all the websites you could possibly write for online, Associated Content is definitely one of the worst.

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  45. I found this article through Monica at http://www.thewritersmanifesto.com/blog/, wherein she links to Constant Content. I did a search on CC to look further into it, and I'm glad I did. Being relatively new to the freelancing world, I've toyed with the idea of starting up at AC, but have had reservations for some of the reasons you posted above. Thank you for going into detail with this and giving me the back-story on all that is involved. The more I research the options for freelancers, the more I realize how many pitfalls there can be. There is a lot to learn, and I appreciate your guidance!

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  46. I am so glad I found this. I responded to a Yahoo ANSWER question if anyone knew of any legitimate work at home jobs. Another person posted recommending AC. Not being that trusting, I did a search on 'Associated Content, reviews, complaints '. I found the website 'workathomescams.com' where you posted a comment. You referred to look at your profile for details and I ended up here.

    Funny how one thing can lead to another. Today's internet is much more sophisticated than years ago. It is a lot easier to find out about a business, or scam, than before. Although, some big corporations have been successful in getting anything derogatory removed about by bullying it off the internet. So much for free speech.

    I'm so glad to see people with actual experience of trying it out giving their feed back here. That helps.

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  47. After feeling 110% ripped off by Associated Content, I found your web page and agreed with your views. I sent the link as a comment to over 100 writers on AC. AC then deleted my account, and now collects the small sum I would have earned monthly - were my account still active - for its staff. Talk about ethical... and I thought the first amendment gave me freedom of speech! They refuse to remove my articles even though they kicked me off, so I can no longer enjoy part of the revenue my work is bringing in for them.

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  48. It's been more than a year that have worked for AC, and it's not surprising for me to say that, these guys are rippers.

    Besides offering low upfront payments, these guys also shave page views. I am damn sure, this company wont last too long.

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  49. Nobody WORKS FOR AC, except actual staff members of the company. We, as writers, are all independent contractors not employees. I have less than 300 articles and I have over a million page views. I have not promoted my articles for so long I can't even tell you the last time I did. I've been paid every cent they told me they would pay me. I also have a blog(s) and I am set up with google adsense and a couple of other advertisers and I can tell you that I don't make even close to the amount I make on AC. Getting paid for blogging is alot harder than submitting articles to AC and getting paid for pageviews and upfront payments. I have to say Lenin, that if you didn't succeed with AC it might have something to do with your writing. Your writing is so grammatically wrong I can hardly follow your post. You wrote, "AC demands that you put your effort to give them the best content you can come up with, without any grammatical or punctuation errors of any kind." In what language is that a sentence? You also wrote, "My heart goes out when I think of them all, who waste their time in vacant promises by companies like Associated Content or Blogit." The way this sentence is written it means you had heart failure. Had you said, "my heart goes out to those writers..." it would have been correct. Here's another error in your post, "They are telling you a fabricated story of great exposure and wonderful readership, while it’s nothing you get for the work you do." Another goody from your post, "A great exposure means thousands of visitors and press calls for me, while AC cannot guarantee you more than ten or twenty visitors to your article with no promotional job from your side." It's not A huge exposure, "A" is not needed in this sentence nor is it grammatically correct. Oh and there's even more mistakes in your post than I can shake a stick at but I'm not being paid to be your editor so I'll leave well enough alone. I'm not trying to edit your post to make you feel bad, but you do write like English is a foreign language. If the articles you wrote are anything like this post then it is blatantly apparent why you did not succeed at AC. Personal blogs have no editors therefor glaring grammatical mistakes are over looked and google adsense doesn't care how you spell words and forge sentences. AC is many things but unethical isn't one of them. If you are trying to learn to break into content writing then I suggest you try AC and learn from some of the seasoned writers there. If nothing else, use it as a learning tool, if you can succeed at AC you stand a good chance at succeeding elsewhere.

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  50. @Kelly Spies,

    Ms Spies, The mistakes you pointed out are real. However, this is just a blog post, and there are no editors here. I write a post, do some editing, and then post it directly. I don't do an extensive bit of editing here. So, it's natural that there are mistakes. But that doesn't mean that I am unable to write proper articles (without errors). I have written and sold several articles through my freelancing company, Constant Content, which is more rigorous in accepting grammatically perfect content than AC. I have had several people complain that they get rejected for an article they got published in AC, at CC. This is because they don't do extensive editing and correction, which is fine at AC, not at CC.

    I have published content at AC myself, and I can testify that what I got was mere alms. Had those content been wrought with mistakes, I wouldnt have published there, right? Please don't assess my writing with this post alone. If you check deeper, you will see this blog is actually about writing and grammar, though I have mentioned at multiple places that I am aware of mistakes in these posts, and I am not a very good editor, unless I sit hours and hours poking at each sentence.

    Thanks
    VJ

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  51. VJ, Granted mistakes are going to happen everywhere and every day. I must say though that I would love to look at your AC content myself. Is it still on AC? I was not able to find your profile.

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  52. This article at AC was written by me: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/612385/typing_your_way_to_success_qwerty_keyboard.html?cat=24

    I sold a rewrite of this article through Constant Content and got about 150 dollars for that. At AC, I am yet to make a buck.

    Thanks

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  53. Hello !!!

    Well Come to you. I am happy after reading your blog article. I can see that you are putting a lot of efforts into your blog. Keep posting the good work. Some really helpful information in there. Nice to see your site.

    Thanks,
    Christo Pher

    ReplyDelete

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