Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Writing for Virily - First Impressions

My latest discovery in a long line of Bubblews-type sites is Virily. The format is slightly different though as there are several different categories in which one can post:
  • Story - mix of text, images and embeds
  • Personality quiz
  • Trivia quiz
  • Open list - others can add items and vote for their favourites
  • Ranked list - others can vote for their favourites
  • List - a list-based article
  • Gallery - a collection of images
  • Embed content - YouTube videos, Instagram photos, Twitter statuses etc
  • Image - photo or GIF.

Virils (points) are earned in a variety of ways, starting with 10 virils for creating an account and a further 10 for logging in each day. In addition you will be rewarded for each item you publish (rates vary by submission type), views and comments your post receives, reading and commenting on other members' posts and referring visitors and new members.

Until recently Virily was also paying members to follow each other but this method of earning has been stopped, apparently temporarily. I believe it should be abandoned permanently as it's open to abuse. Many members will simply follow everyone they encounter on the site regardless of whether their work interests them. A lot won't ever bother to read even one post by most of the people they follow.

The Viril doesn't have a fixed value. The value is calculated on a daily basis based on the previous day's income. At time of writing I have earned 857 virils which converts to $0.74, meaning that I need approximately 12 virils to earn one cent. Some days are better than others though.

Everything you submit to Virily has to be approved before it is published on the site. Once it has been published a post can't be edited unless you ask support to correct it for you or have them return the post to draft. This should prevent plagiarised content and "junk" posts from being published but, as has been the case with many similar sites, I'm a bit concerned about the possible unauthorised use of copyrighted photos. For my first post I used a photo from Wikimedia commons, being careful to include the required attribution, but when my post was published the attribution had been removed. Under the circumstances I will only be using my own photos for the foreseeable future.

Virily uses two methods of payment, PayPal ($10 minimum) and bank transfers ($100 minimum). I haven't yet heard of anyone being paid but will post an update when I hear any news, positive or negative.

Right now I'm finding I spend a lot of time at Virily for very meagre reward but that may change as the site gets busier.

Will I continue posting there for long enough to get paid? I don't know. I can't help feeling that my time is better spent at sites like Postloop and ForumCoin.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

At Postloop you can earn money posting in forums

Postloop is back

In years gone by, working at Postloop was one of my favourite ways of earning money online. Then in November 2016 the site closed down. Thankfully, unlike some other sites, Postloop's owners treated their members fairly, giving them several weeks notice, and thus affording more active members the opportunity to reach the minimum balance required to cash out. Unfortunately I was lazy and when the site closed I still had a small balance in my account.

After an absence of approximately six months, Postloop is back in business. Ionicware, Inc recently purchased the site from its previous owners, Royal Media, LLC. The good news is that old accounts are still there along with any points members were unable to redeem before the previous owner closed the site.

For those who are new to Postloop

If you enjoy interacting in online forums, Postloop offers you the opportunity to get paid for doing just that.

I'm not saying you'll grow rich from forum posting, but if you follow the rules it's a nice way to earn a little extra money while doing something you enjoy; something you're probably already doing in your spare time without being rewarded for your efforts. And if you choose your forums wisely, you may even learn something at the same time.

Unlike a lot of other online earning opportunities, Postloop is available worldwide, with the only restrictions being that you must be able to write good English and that you are able to receive payment through PayPal.

Before you get started you'll have to go through an application process. This involves writing ten posts in The Postloop Portal. The site's staff will then evaluate those posts to see if you meet their quality requirements. Approval can take up to 24 hours.

Once you've been approved, you can visit the list of available forums and choose the ones that interest you. It's at this stage that things can get tricky for a Postloop newbie.

The first thing you need to do when you see a forum of interest is click on the button marked "i" to find out what that forum's requirements are. Each has its own rules that must be followed to avoid being banned. One of the requirements you'll usually encounter is that you must NOT refer to Postloop anywhere on that forum. Most don't want short comments either. Even if they don't specifically state that, it's always advisable to write a few lines as the forum owners will rate the quality of your posts and the higher your rating, the more you'll be able to earn. Some forums won't even accept members whose rating is too low.

Once you've found a forum you want to subscribe to, you need to visit that forum and create an account there. Once you've done so, go back to the Postloop forum list and click on the subscribe button (the one with a picture of a man). You'll be required to accept their terms before being taken to a page where you must fill in your username and email address. These must be the same as you used at the forum and need not be the same as the username and email address you use at Postloop.

Before you start posting at the forum you've joined, go to your dashboard and click on subscriptions. If the forum you want to post at is listed as active, you're ready to go. However your chosen forum may be inactive for a number of reasons:
  1. You have exceeded your daily limit. This varies from forum to forum, but the majority of forum owners seem to set a limit of five posts per day.
  2. Your forum of choice is inactive. This usually happens when the site runs out of points to pay for new posts.
  3. The forum no longer wishes to pay for comments.
  4. The forum has been banned.
The points you can earn for posting vary from forum to forum, and can also differ depending on how many points a forum has available to spend at a given time. If a forum has a negative amount of points, you won't earn much but may still be paid for your post. However be cautious when you see negative points, because once they drop below -10, the forum will become inactive and you won't be paid until the owner buys more points.

You'll probably earn somewhere between 1 and 2 points per post, with a point being worth $0.05. According to the Postloop FAQ, on average members earn about $0.08 per post.

Once you have 100 points in your account, you can request payment. As long as you haven't broken any rules, you should receive your payment within 24 hours. I usually receive mine a lot quicker than that.

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that Postloop pays for commenting on blogs too.

Hopefully I've covered everything, but if you've got any questions, please leave them in the comment box below. And don't forget to the visit the Postloop FAQ.

Good luck and happy posting.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Bubblews Effect

This is an update of a post I first published on my old BlogJob domain in December 2015:

I don't know too much about the world of online writing between 2001 and 2012. Clearly there must have been some good sites out there, but I was unaware of their existence. After the failure of sites like Themestream in 2001, I moved away from online writing into the world of photography, and it was only in 2012 that I decided to give writing another try when I discovered WebAnswers, HubPages and finally Bubblews.

I started out with great enthusiasm at both WebAnswers and HubPages, but Bubblews proved to be a game-changer. It was so easy to write a 400 character post and then watch the pennies flow in while I interacted with my new friends, much less work than writing proper articles for HubPages or researching answers for WebAnswers, so why bother when I was earning so much more at Bubblews?

Unlike some members I didn't write about what I'd had for breakfast or other routine daily occurrences. However I loved to write about the sports I watched, especially the successes of the South African cricket team. It was a report about one of their matches which proved to be the highlight of my Bubblews "career". Somehow that post caught the attention of the cricket-loving world and within hours it had received over 2000 views. That's $20 for 10 minutes work! I was ecstatic and hoped for a recurrence of that success. Sadly it never came.

By mid-2013 the cracks were starting to show. I'd already heard rumours of honest members not getting paid, but I refused to believe they were blameless... until it happened to me. But this post isn't about that. If you want to read my story in all its gory details, you can read an article I wrote in January 2015 at HubPages.

Once the cracks were clearly visible, similar sites started popping up all over the web, hoping to attract the writers who had issues with Bubblews, and they came in droves. I confess that I tried a lot of those sites before I realised that I was wasting my time.

Babblelife, Teckler, Post Any Article (PAA), Persona Paper and CGP Gallery were among the sites I tried. I even got paid a couple of times by PAA and Teckler, but what I earned there wasn't enough to make it worth the effort and I gave up on both sites long before they closed down. Of the rest, only Persona Paper is still running, though they no longer offer payment for their members' activities.  

By mid-2015 I'd become much more cautious and was trying to stay away from sites that were brand new, preferring to watch them until I could establish that they were reliable. As a result, the only similar site I joined at that time was myLot, a site with a good reputation. My new approach served me well as I watched a few new sites fail fairly quickly. But nothing prepared me for the shock of seeing Beer Money Nation announce it was closing after only being online for about two weeks.

Clearly the greed for Bubblews type success was pushing site owners into starting new projects without knowing just how tough it is to succeed in that type of business.

Update 2 June 2017:

Not much has changed since I first published this post. New sites have come and gone, but I've resisted the temptation to join most of them. One exception was Niume, a site which looked more professional than most.

When I signed up for Niume I believed their payment model would be more sustainable than most if only because the rates they offered were a lot lower than what most of the failed sites had paid. However I soon became disillusioned when I realised that a post which received 500 views was only worth $0.50 to me. Although I only had to write a few lines, the need to include a photo made the creation of a new post a time consuming business. And when there was a sudden massive drop in views I stopped posting altogether.

Sadly I've been proved wrong about their model being sustainable too. Niume recently announced that their reward system has been discontinued. However the site will remain open and, according to their announcement:
In the coming months we will work on offering alternative sources of revenue to creators who join the platform.
I'm keeping my account open for now while I wait to see what the future holds for the site. Maybe they can create a model that will work better. Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, for many the search for the next Bubblews continues. A few days ago I heard of a new site running along similar lines. I have yet to have a proper look at the site but hope to do so soon. Perhaps I'll even sign up, if only so that I'm able to write an honest review in the days to come.