By in Writing

Unrealistic Expectations

VinceSummers comment on elitecodex 's post End of the Month Report - We need to make more changes that 'the online writer's world is in decline' is telling. My immediate reaction was to think:

  • Very few people click on adverts these days, because so many of them on certain sites are malware infected
  • The rise of adblockers doesn't help advertisers or revenue
  • Social media and Facebook have taken away much of the advertisers' former power
  • Broadband in many areas (at least in the UK) is just not up to snuff for dealing with advertisements, never mind streaming
  • Many readers are from countries which do not recognise Adsense or online revenue for any number of reasons
  • The payment levels for online writing have dropped as countries with lower costs of living have cottoned on to the money to be made
  • Incidents such as the spam attacks on the other site don't help revenue either
  • It appears that some people consider copying and plagiarism to be a form of respect for the quality of the original content
  • People no longer have any patience for starting at the bottom and working up the ladder (I refer you to valmnz 's post titled Oh Why Do People Give Up So Easily? )
  • Depending on 'online writing' for an income when that 'online writing' only encompasses revshare sites is short sighted and as madcanman says, 'foolish' ( On Transparency at Persona Paper )

Personally, I believe that there is still money to be made in online writing, but there is the possibility that revshare sites are not that way. Some people may find that blogs work for them, others may find taking private clients for content creation or writing for sites such as HubPages or Demand Media might work. Others may be able to move into website management and blogging for others as a result. I would never give up a dayjob for pure online writing income, but it might prove to be a neat second income for some, so long as the costs of living were otherwise covered.

I am a compulsive writer. I will write no matter what. If someone pays me, that's great, even if it is only cents. As I have said before, I write for a quiet soul and a calm mind. Otherwise I am like a box of ferrets all fighting to get out. And that isn't pretty!

What do you think? Is online writing in decline? Everyone's opinion on this seems to be different; I'd be interested to hear yours.

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melody23 wrote on March 8, 2015, 4:43 PM

Revenue share sites are definitely in decline, as is earning from ads on blogs etc. In most part its because of facebook which can deliver completely targeted ads whereas a blog (for example) cant. Using myself as an example: I am an engaged 20 something woman who lives in Glasgow, when I log on to my facebook the adverts are almost always for things like wedding dresses or fayres that are being held in Glasgow, or for wedding planners based here or whatever. The point is that these ads are specifically targeted to me using the information facebook has on me, and that's just looking at the basic info, facebook also tracks your activity off their site and uses it to serve ads based on websites you visit (don't believe me, visit a random website for some product or other then come back to facebook, I promise you will have an advert for that company or for something similar on your news feed).

A writing site has no access to that type of information about its visitors, the only thing it has to go on is the content. So if you write an article about computers, the ad company assumes that your readers are interested in computers and displays computer related adverts. This is the only info they have, and because of this the companies pay way less for the ads and in return the site that displays the ads is paid less and the writers are paid a share of that amount. Non-targeted ads just don't pay as much, that's the bottom line.

AliCanary wrote on March 8, 2015, 5:19 PM

I'm laughing over the "box of ferrets" thing, but I am agreeing with you. Of my three vocations--teacher, online writer, and portrait artist--being a teacher pays best, but I love the other two, and I can write every day. I rarely do artwork without a commission, so that happens only sporadically.

AliCanary wrote on March 8, 2015, 5:22 PM

It's true. I sometimes have to look at ads or websites for writing assignments that I take, and then those ads show up on Facebook, even though they are completely irrelevant to me, personally.

WordChazer wrote on March 8, 2015, 5:27 PM

Google does the same as Facebook. Look at a site for some product or other and you will see that product in ads from here to eternity, or at least as long as you choose not to clear your Google browsing history. Even clearing your computer cache won't clear the ads, as Google maintains its own database.

I don't have a Facebook account, as I don't agree with their real-name-only policy. I have my reasons for NOT wanting to use my real name online, which they choose not to recognise. So I choose not to use their services. I am, however, happy to visit revshare sites, because not all the ads are creepily targeted to what I happen to have been looking at in the last few hours online.

BTW, where is the difference between personal ads, served by FB or Google, and what loyalty cards do for supermarkets in terms of sending out vouchers for things you buy the most?

WordChazer wrote on March 8, 2015, 5:29 PM

I forget who first used the 'box of ferrets' phrase in my hearing/reading but it seems to have stuck!

AngelSharum wrote on March 8, 2015, 6:20 PM

I don't know much from personal experience, but I do know a lot of my friends feel the same about revshare sites. Now, they do make money writing blogs and for private clients still though.

melody23 wrote on March 8, 2015, 6:32 PM

Oh loyalty card schemes are a total information gathering exercise. They can tell what people buy and how often, what products are selling well etc and they can tie it in with where you live since you need to give them your address etc when you register for the card. They then sell the information they gather (anonymised of course) to the companies whose products they stock telling them how many 20 somethings in Glasgow buy their brand or an equivalent other product, which allows the companies who buy the data to tailor their marketing appropriately to get more 20 somethings in Glasgow to buy their brand. All they need to give you in return for the information they sell for millions is a few loyalty points here and there which may or may not lead to you getting money off some products in their store. I have so many loyalty cards its unreal and I think only one of them has actually ever given me any money back.

valmnz wrote on March 8, 2015, 6:49 PM

I think it is in decline. I remember once I used to laughingly say I wrote for my weekly cup of espresso coffee, maybe two cups. Then it dropped to wher I was making 30 cents a day. Now even that amount seems grand. Like you, I write because it is a part of who I am.

Soonerdad3 wrote on March 8, 2015, 10:17 PM

I agree with you there are many ways to make money writing online and none of them involve revenue sharing websites. Freelance writing is lucrative way of making money with online writing.

trufflehunter wrote on March 10, 2015, 9:14 AM

I like your box of ferrets attitude. Off to check out val mill's post!

scheng1 wrote on March 14, 2015, 11:16 AM

Persona Paper does not use Adsense. Adsense will pay a higher rate for text ads.

scheng1 wrote on March 14, 2015, 11:17 AM

Just to add on. If US readers click on text ads by Adsense, the rate can be a dollar or so.

WordChazer wrote on March 14, 2015, 1:24 PM

That's interesting, AngelSharum , and ties in with the research I've been doing recently. My blog is still stalled but I am going to put some time into it within a few weeks.

WordChazer wrote on March 14, 2015, 1:25 PM

Now that I didn't know. Looks like I might be looking at Adsense for my blog then, seeing as I'm starting from scratch with it and launching with a huge amount of ready-prepped content. Thanks scheng1 .

Last Edited: March 14, 2015, 1:26 PM

WordChazer wrote on March 14, 2015, 1:27 PM

I'm finding that reiterated with my research. Doesn't stop me enjoying sites like this as well though.

Last Edited: March 14, 2015, 1:28 PM

WordChazer wrote on March 14, 2015, 1:29 PM

Yet when I was at Suite, I was happy to make $10 a month. I'd still be happy to make that, but now I have more experience and I think I should be capable of making more than that. My idea is to get my writing to become a viable second income. This year, preferably.

WordChazer wrote on March 14, 2015, 1:30 PM

Ideas are like that, all struggling to get out of my head at the same time. I can only write one word at a time though. Mind you, these days, I write them pretty fast.

Soonerdad3 wrote on March 14, 2015, 2:19 PM

You are right, I started with Bubblews and now I found Persona Paper.

trufflehunter wrote on March 14, 2015, 2:53 PM

Ferrets move pretty fast as well. I wish you all the best for your blog and more!

Kasman wrote on March 14, 2015, 7:17 PM

To be honest I have never paid much attention to what I earn through writing online. I write for my own amusement and, like you, I would write for no payment - in fact I did, on Squidoo (I earned a total of £7 in the year I was there) but the rise and fall of blogging sites recently certainly seems to indicate that the field is in decline. Perhaps our own niche website is the better way to do it if earnings are your concern. Personally, I couldn't be bothered with setting up my own site - I will just migrate to whatever site will have me!

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on March 16, 2015, 10:52 PM

This is Guiness the Cat. The past year has definitely hit online writers hard. 6 months ago, I was happily keeping myself in cat food and kitty litter. Now I'm just another pretty feline face. I need a multimillion cat food endorsement deal, people! Sponsors may feel free to contact me with your generous offers via my Facebook page.

WordChazer wrote on March 17, 2015, 6:07 PM

£7? You were wealthy by comparison to me, Kasman . I'm still working on redoing my blog and will be interested to compare it with my previous as this one will be much more outward looking.

WordChazer wrote on March 17, 2015, 6:10 PM

Shame you never knew Arthur, the Kattomeat cat. He and his successors made a really good go of feline fame in the 70s and 80s.