Monday, September 16, 2013

Best and Worst Writing Sites

Things have changed so much on the major internet publishing sites during the last three years that many writers are dizzy and stressed-out from the changes that have been forced upon them by the shifting landscape for writing of all kinds. Some of the internet publishers pay writers to place content on their sites and some do not.

Even if you do not care about making money (or it is not a high priority) with your writing, it is highly recommended that you choose a site based on how they handle revenues for their writers anyway. If you are on a site such as InfoBarrel that was using AdSense to pay their writers and then Google pulls the plug on their advertising program for that website, you have just received the best possible signal that something is going on with a site that merits your serious concern and attention. When Bukisa lost their AdSense partnership, that was also a sign of troubles to come as that site recently announced that they were no longer paying their members anything at all.

For those that have missed all the warning signs, Google is on a serious mission to clean up a diverse collection of internet messes. While there are those that think what AdSense does is not related to this, I strongly disagree and use what they do as a very important data point in decisions about what constitutes the best writing sites and the worst internet publishing websites.

best and worst websites for writing and publishing

While they have had a good run, non-paying article directories such as EzineArticles are now nothing more than a waste of time for most writers at all levels. These sites unfortunately provide almost unlimited raw material for unscrupulous internet publishers to steal material from on a daily basis. Because they have been the largest article directory, EzineArticles has regularly been a favorite source for internet publishing thieves. Over the years I have published about 100 articles at EzineArticles, but I stopped submitting new articles earlier this year when it became obvious that duplicate content is published based on their articles almost as soon as they are live on the internet. Google has rightfully included the elimination of duplicate content when they are indexing articles based on their current search engine algorithm. This problem cannot be ignored any longer for those writers who either want to have their content rank highly in search engine results or produce maximum revenues (or both in many cases).

Some article directories have already disappeared entirely, and ArticleBlast is just one example. In this case, it was possibly due to a combination of inadequate revenues to keep the lights on as well as having spammy articles de-indexed by Google. While Bukisa has stopped paying their members a share of any revenues, it is not yet clear whether they will keep their doors open for free publishing for very long. After all, who would really want to publish anything at all there after the recent inept treatment by Bukisa of their loyal writers?

Squidoo is among the publishing websites that have gone from best to worst in a period of two years or less. While some of their quirks were tolerated by many writers because of revenues, the recent travails have made a number of weaknesses more obvious. A secretive approach to how advertising revenues are shared (or not shared as the case may be) is still in place at Squidoo, and this total lack of transparency is all that most prospective writers should need to know when scratching Squidoo off their list for the final time. (Update: Squidoo finally threw in the towel during the summer of 2014 and sold their content to HubPages. During June 2015, Zujava also stopped publishing articles and disappeared entirely.)

HubPages is treading water currently, and it is too early to tell which end of the best-or-worst spectrum they will be at over the next year or two. InfoBarrel is also at a make-or-break point, but their recent loss of AdSense advertising places them closer to worst than best at this time.

When it comes to the best publishing websites, it is a very short list. I have been actively involved in the internet publishing world during the past eight to ten years and it has been an area that has been characterized by one train wreck after another. The winning strategy for serious internet writers at this point is primarily to focus on websites that provide a proper balance of personal control, flexibility, visibility and smart choices.

In terms of revenue possibilities, writers should insist on choices that include Google AdSense and Amazon as well as Plan B advertising programs such as Chitika for those individuals who are unable to qualify for AdSense. The most viable alternatives that include the smartest choices are your own websites.

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