When I came to the Netherlands with no work permit and no Dutch language skills, I realized I'd have to be creative in finding ways to earn money. Not long after the residence permit was thrust into my eager little paws, I started my own company and, to make a little extra money on the side, I began freelancing as a writer.
As with all things, when you first start out, you make some stupid mistakes that you learn from and move on and they help you grow. Well, I've made some mistakes in my writing career -- one of those being writing for content mills like Demand Studios and Examiner.com.
This post has to do with the latter of the two.
Several expat bloggers I knew were writing for Examiner.com and I thought it might be a nice way to add to my writing income and get myself some exposure. So I applied and got a position as the Netherlands Travel Examiner. I was elated and began punching out articles and sharing them on the blog and with followers on Twitter and Facebook. And, I'll admit, I put far too much time and effort into the job than it was worth.
You see, here's how Examiner.com works... They "hire" writers to come up with content on various topics. These writers share their articles and people click on them, comment on them, share them, and, sometimes, click on the advertisement links. Writers are "rewarded" with a very small percentage based on advertisements clicked within their articles, the number of times the article is shared, how many visitors come to each article, comments they leave, and how long they stay on each page.
This amounts to about $0.01 cents per click/comment/ad/minute spent on the page (if that). If my articles made $0.05-0.10, it was a good day. But as time went on, my articles accumulated more and more money. Almost two years and 24 articles later, and I've earned about $30.
When I first started out, the payment policy was that once you built up $20, you would receive a PayPal payment. Well it took me about a year and a half to earn $20. And, just as I hit that $20 bar, Examiner.com changed their payment policy.
Now you can't get paid unless your articles earn $10 per month. My articles earn, on average, $1-2 per month. An ice cube in the oven has a better chance of survival than I do of getting paid the money I've earned in the last 2 years and 24 articles.
Of course there are ways to ensure payment. Just write hundreds of articles and make sure you Tweet them, comment on them, and share them on Twitter and LinkedIn each week. But if you add up the hours needed to write all the content, post it on the site, and share it with your network, you're earning about $0.01 per hour. In my opinion, that's ridiculous.
My plan? I'm giving up Examiner.com. Deleting all of my articles and resigning as a writer. And then letting everyone and their uncle know that Examiner.com is a scam. But first, I want to get what little money I earned. To do that though, I need your help...
Here's what you can do:
- Follow the links below to my Examiner.com articles. Feel free to read them if you like, but you certainly don't have to. Just open a window and leave it up while you take a nap, do the laundry, make yourself a cup of tea, take a potty break, walk the dog... you get the idea.
- Leave comments. You can do this either via Facebook or the Examiner.com comment field (I think I actually get more points if you use the Examiner.com comment box, but I don't have any scientific evidence to prove that).
- Share it with your social networks: blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, whatever networks you happen to belong to.
- Click on some of the advertisements on my article pages. You don't actually have to buy anything, they just want to see that the ads are being clicked on. Of course, if there is something you are actually interested in, I won't stop you from making a purchase if you want. Just know that I'm not asking you to and I don't necessarily encourage it.
As of this posting, I've made $3.01 for the month of October. I'm getting there thanks to the help of some amazing people who I simply cannot thank enough. However, I need to reach the $10 maker by October 20th, so there's still lots of clicking, commenting and sharing to be done.
(Update: as of Oct. 11, it's up to $3.57. Gotta really pump it up!)
I'll try to come back each day with an update so you can follow our progress.
Thank you so much in advance for all your help and support. You've been an amazing community of expats, readers, innovators and friends. I just hope that some day I can return the favor.
So, help me stick it to The Man!
Examiner.com, SHOW ME THE MONEY!!
I will probably also be reposting some of my Clogs and Tulips blog posts on the site in order to earn some extra dough for "creating" more content. If you're bored and want to check back for those artciles, head to my Examiner.com Netherlands Travel Examiner page
where you can check out new articles as they appear.