Friday, February 22, 2008

Helium Writing Stars

Today, one of the article titles on the Helium home page was about "Earning Writing Stars on Helium." It is a hot topic. When I logged in, five writers had already wrote to it. At this point, eleven articles, including one by me, are in the stack.

The reason the title is so hot is that there are a lot of people interested in gaining a writing star, thanks to the current promotion going on over at Helium. Between the beginning of the year and April 14th, Helium will pay you a dollar for every article written provided that you have at least one writing star and three rating stars at midnight April 15th.

As I said before, I am not going to hold my breath that I am going to have a writing star come the magical hour. My plan for the first part of the year is to get another fifty decent articles written before the start of summer semester. And not just any articles, I want to write articles that earn me at least a dollar a year--anything less is not worth my time.

I am not about to change my plan because of the promotion. I have never had good luck with the promotions and contests there--basically I have the same luck as a writer as I do in other areas of my life. Short run, I can't win; long term, I can't lose. Therefore, it is best that I just continue doing what I was originally planning on doing and ignore the promotion.

Other writers on Helium, especially the newer ones, are flocking all over this promotion--quick money in their eyes. So they are writing a lot of articles quickly. I have a hard enough time hanging onto my writing star as it is--writing to a lot of titles that I don't care about will only create a lot of trash that would drag my star down (if I still have one--it flickers off and on). Besides I wonder if they have figured out the opportunity costs of what they are hacking out.

Let's say that they can hack out eight articles in the space of a day compared to my one lonely article (we are talking an eight hour day here). Looking at some of the stuff being written, and having studied the earnings of my first year's worth of articles, most of them do not look like money makers.

There is a chance that they will not make more than a penny over the course of a year on some of these articles. I know because some of my articles last year did not make more than a penny; I no longer write to these channels. So the bonus money may be all that they make from their work. So a potential of eight dollars if they are focused solely on the bonus program.

On the other hand, a writer like myself doing just one article a day that has the potential to make a dollar or more a year, and estimating a shelf life of ten years, can make ten dollars. Plus, I can recycle most of my stuff on other sites like Associated Content.

(Yes, I am ignoring inflation here. I am assuming that as inflation goes up, advertising costs will go up and so will my earnings.)

So who is smarter? I am not sure. But I am hoping that my plan makes more business sense than theirs does.

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