Saturday, December 27, 2008

Second time this month

So today is the second time this month that my rating percentage had dropped suddenly on Helium and I have lost my rating star.

To be more accurate, I did some rating and regained my star, then had it climb to two stars before it dropped to one and then none.

And this just makes me more likely to focus on Associated Content, abandoning Helium to its own graces.

It did not take a cracked crystal ball to be able to predict that a pattern like this was going to happen on Helium. Tying the earnings into the rating star system means that to get paid, you have to have a rating star. And the month-end bonus, which is not a lot to me (just three dollars) is a lot to some, ensures a frenzy of ratings at the end of every month as those people who are close to the edge rate rapidly to trying to get it.

What this means to a regular writer is that if you have work up on Helium is that you have to check in everyday to check your rating star and periodically have to rate (instead of writing) to maintain your earnings there. All this has done (ignoring the fact that those who are earning are earning more pennies than before) is to make the other writing sites, such as Associated Content look better than before.

I guess my biggest problem is that rates that were worth a rating star earlier this week, then two stars, are worth nothing today. It is like playing the stock market in terms of frustration.

Before you ask: no, I did not drop in the number of rates that I have done. Quite literally, rates that I did that were good quality earlier this month are now considered bad quality rates.

Helium has always played it close to the vest when it comes to defining what is a quality rate. But I think that it is safe to say that a quality rate must somehow tie into what the average rate looks like. Either the average quality has gone up or the system is awash in poor ratings.

Those who know my opinionated personality will be able to guess what I think.

So given the fact that I keep losing rating stars, I have to decide whether I should stick around on Helium or focus my time and energy elsewhere.

I figure that I have to spend ten mintues a day rating articles to be safe. And that is everyday.

(For those of you who are curious, my wife [the elementary art school teacher] is on vacation this week and next week; she is also tying up the only computer with internet access to do reasearch on her family tree; my computer time is limited until school starts again. But then again, I am a college student, Helium should not even be able to make me think about the following.)

So we are looking at fifteen hours of rating over a ninety day period. This is fifteen hours of writing that I do not get to do.

For someone with a thousand articles on Helium, this might not be a bad deal. Or maybe it is a bad deal. Lets assume that the average article on Helium is worth fifty cents a year. Lets assume everyone needs to do the same amount of rating (ten minutes a day); converting this to an hourly wage: 2.78 an hour.

(In my case, I figure with the number of articles I have and my income that rating pays about a dollar an hour. It is just too bad that writing an article actually takes time and my potential income from writing is actually higher than that, even if I am just writing for the college newspaper.)

And this is why I and many other writers on Helium were against the idea of tying the daily revenue share (the pennies) into the maintaining a rating star in the first place. It redefined the term "active member" to mean something much different than what it originally was.

Today, the active member has to be working on the site at least ten minutes a day. Just to earn a few pennies.

I understand why Helium did it; but as a small time writer without a lot of articles on Helium, it is probably not in my best interest to remain active on Helium.

To say that I am frustrated would be an understatement.

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