How much do your favorite web sites pay you for your participation?
Each of us routinely surfs the web without ever thinking about the fact that most of the places we visit, won’t pay us for going there. When we post a question or answer on a forum, when we propose a solution on Yahoo! Answers, when we edit an article on Wikipedia, or when we submit our evaluation of an Amazon product, we don’t really give much thought to compensation for our participation.
After all, when I am looking for an answer to a question, or perusing a biography on Wikipedia or reading through the reviews on Amazon before making a purchase, I’m taking for free the information provided by others. It makes sense that I do my part in giving content back. Indeed, I find it pleasant to think that some edit I submitted to Wikipedia might survive an endless round of revisions or that anyone can go to Amazon to check out my recommended books on ListMania.
But the times are a changing. The age of revenue sharing web sites is upon us. It’s great to do stuff for free but why not also get paid? We’ve seen web site after web site rise up, attract energetic folks who foster a community, and for whatever reason, no plan is in place to share revenue with these early participants who helped to build up the site. My prediction: that’s won’t work anymore.
Why go to a web site that doesn’t pay you anything when you can have the same experience at a site that shares some of its revenue. And for that matter, if you run a popular community web site, why not offer a little back to your registered users? Especially to those responsible for driving traffic, content, and thereby revenue to your site?
Now, since I work at HubPages, I’m biased. For me, Hubpages offers one of the best revenue sharing options around. The opportunity here is pretty straight forward: after you sign up for an account on our site, you can then register your Google AdSense, Amazon, eBay, and Kontera accounts to start earning money. If you don’t have these accounts, there’s help available on setting them up. Then, with each hub you write, you get a share of the revenue that your hub brings in. How much do you get? At HubPages, we give you 60% of the impression revenue. The details are here.
You can also add Amazon and eBay affiliate links to a hub using our easy-to-use web-based tools. The idea here is that people shouldn’t have to be technical to get the benefits of revenue sharing. If you can use a browser and e-mail, then you have enough knowledge to participate in these programs.
For each article you write, you can grow traffic by appropriately tagging your content. If you have trouble coming up with tags, you can use our tag suggestion tool. Once you have 15 hubs, your personal profile page will organize your hubs using your chosen tags so that any visitor to your profile can more easily navigate through your hubs. Here’s what my profile page looks like:
Because it is a hub and not a blog, you can write a hub on any topic without worrying if it relates to anything you’ve written previously or anything that you plan to write in the future. Write just one hub or write hundreds of hubs. It’s up to you.
Once you have a registered account, every forum post, comment, and request you make adds an additional link to your personal profile page. This means that each time you participate on the site, you potentially add new web traffic to your profile page which can add up to revenue. See here for the list of discussion forums at HubPages.
Now, all these tags, forum posts, comments, and requests will only add traffic if they are relevant and add value to the HubPages community as a whole. For this reason, HubPages has policies which are designed to prevent people from creating links without creating content. You can tell how you are doing by checking your Hub Score.
These policies at HubPages have been working well. I think that spam is low and relevant content is high compared to similar revenue sharing sites. HubPages is currently one of the top 250 most visited sites on the web according to Quantcast and rising quickly.
So, how much money will you make on a revenue sharing site? At first, you probably won’t make very much and this is fine. It takes time to build up a reputation and to attract large amounts of traffic that start bringing in revenue. If the money comes, great, but that shouldn’t be your focus.
The idea is not that you should be paid to participate but rather that if you happen to contribute high traffic content, you should get a share. In my view, “sharing” is the most important part of Revenue Sharing. As anyone who’s blogged or worked with Google Adsense can tell you, small traffic brings a very small return and large traffic depends on whether its the right kind of traffic.
Like the credit cards that return 1% of your spending back, you can get a return on your content creation on the web. It’s early but the rise of HubPages and other revenue sharing sites show that the web community model is a changing.