What is REALLY happening on Associated Content (AC)?

Scott, I saw your article about relaxation on Associated Content (AC) and I read a little about writing for AC.  It looks like a fair opportunity to make money working at home.  What kind of money do you think I could make writing a few good articles a week?

Thanks,
Paul B., Minn.

Thanks for writing Paul.  I have written a few articles for AC and found them to be prompt in paying.  If you submit your content requesting an up-front payment, they review your piece and make you an offer within a week or so.  I haven’t been offered anything staggering for any piece, about $3 per article.  I made more money selling one item from the last storage unit auction I bought at but hey, it’s all about multiple streams of income, right?  One of the things I occasionally do to put things in perspective is to ask myself, what is really going on here.  It forces you to peel through multiple layers of reality.  To answer your question, I asked myself, “What is REALLY going on at Associated Content?”  Let’s look at it together.

Here’s Associated Content‘s vital statistics:

Associated Content, Inc. is a privately held Delaware Corporation.  This is only significant in that AC does not have any public reporting requirements as publicly traded corporations do.  Read – they do not have to publicly state their income – no biggie, right?  What they earn is their business.   According to Silicone Alley Insider, it is estimated at a value of $65 million.   The Associated Content site has a traffic ranking of 773 according to Alexa – compare eHow at 476.

According to AC,

  • Associated Content publishes authentic, useful and informative content on nearly every conceivable topic, produced by real people sharing real-world expertise from diverse perspectives.

Anyone who knows anything about the internet knows that “Content is King,” and AC has an army of Content Producers (CPs) constantly churning out articles on just about any subject or topic imaginable.  The site is covered in advertising links which generate impressions and clicks leading to advertising revenue.  I suppose it is remarkable that they pay writers anything since it seems people will submit content to many popular websites that don’t pay anything.  And this formula works – the payments keep many people actively creating content which draws search engine, direct and organic traffic to the site.

I didn’t start writing on AC to make money – I can make more money in a weekend selling goods than in a whole year of writing for AC – I wanted to promote my website.   AC allows you to put your website after the article, which I thought was great as I would be in essence, backlinking from AC to scottrasher.com – which could only improve my website’s search engine ranking.  I discovered today that this is not the case.

I went straight to the source code of one of my article pages.  Here is a snipet of code relating to my website:

[<li><a rel=“nofollow” href=“http://scottrasher.com” class=“link_383838”>scottrasher.com</a></li>]

No follow?  Apparently, AC does not want search engine robots to not follow the link.  So the only benefit of having the link is if someone reads the article and follows it – which is a potential although my stats don’t show any referrals from AC.  My website isn’t getting any search engine benefit from AC links.

Another thing I realized today is that I’m on my own promoting this content.  I’ve never seen it show up anywhere on the site. A google search of Associated Content revealed this discussion which you might be interested in reading.

It’s interesting to read through the disclaimers/terms of use you agree to when you sign up at AC.  You get paid for the page views where an advertisement impression occurs.  Here’s what AC says about that, “*Page View. means one view of a single page of Content on the Site containing an advertising impression. AC shall in its sole discretion determine the type, frequency, and category of advertising impressions served on the Site in general and any content page in particular.” and “3. Your Acknowledgments. You acknowledge that:

a. You understand that the data presented in the Beta Program may not be accurate, and that you will not rely on those numbers in any way“(emphasis added).”

I guess the lawyer in me just can’t help but be fascinated with the disclaimers we accept without even reading.

Paul, it seems there’s a little bit of money to be made but if I were you I’d get a hundred monkeys to each type ten articles a day and submit it to AC, then you could really make some dough.   It’s all a numbers game really.

Good luck!