The Evils of Revenue Share

Make sure that train isn't running out of steam...
Revenue Sharing Sites:
Should You Do It?

I always tell people to write wherever they want to write - it doesn't matter where, as long as you are happy.

But... if your happiness springs from delusion, then maybe it's not such a great idea.

I read a forum post on a forum specifically for content writers about four seconds ago that makes absolutely no sense to a sane person.  Some woman wrote something to the effect of:

"I write for revenue share sites to build up my retirement."

STOP.

No.  Uh-uh, no way.

I can not believe it (still, even though it's been 27 seconds since I saw it!) - there are so many things wrong with that statement.  Unless, of course, she's taking that money right now and putting it into an IRA; in that case, sure, I guess revenue share can build up your retirement portfolio.  But if she's counting on that money streaming in when retirement rolls around, she's going to need a job.

First, what is revenue share?

Sites (like Helium, Suite 101 and the like) ask writers to give them an article.  Writers do.  When a Web surfer views that article, the writer gets a small fraction of the money the website made.  Some are based on page views and some are based on ad clicks - but the idea is the same: someone sees the piece, clicking or not, and the site hosting the piece makes money.  They let a little of it trickle to the writer.

That said, some pieces will never make a dime.  Some might make a few bucks - but generally, the amount of money the piece makes isn't what you'd call "fair market value."

Why is depending on revenue share a bad idea?

Note that I said depending.  If you are so inclined to write for revenue share, please do it... if it makes you happy.  But keep in mind:
  • Depending on revenue share assumes that the site will be around for the long haul.  There are a lot of experts that are sure Google is about to change its algorhythms to reflect the fact that content mills are filling up the first several pages of results with useless drivel.  (If you happen to be on that money train, ride it while you still can!)
  • Depending on revenue share assumes that you will make money on each and every piece you write.  That's not always the case.  If your piece doesn't make money for the hosting site, you wrote it for free.
  • Depending on revenue share assumes that each piece will continue to make money if the site does stick around for the long haul.  Sure, it's great if you've made $15 in the two years that piece has been online - but what happens when it's no longer interesting or it's been replaced with fresher, more accurate content elsewhere?  No clicks.  No clicks means no money.
There are a lot of assumptions if you're depending on revenue share, and you know what happens when you make an assumption.  You make an ass out of U and Mption.

Still, if you want to write revenue share articles now and cash in while you can - nothing wrong with that.  Some money is better than no money, and being happy beats the crap out of being unhappy.

What's your take on revenue-sharing sites?

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© Angie Papple Johnston 2010. Don't steal from me or I'll come getcha. Really... I've got that kind of time.