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Another Reason not to Rely on Free Websites to Make Money Online

I have written quite a bit about why I don’t like to rely on free websites, especially to make money online.

When you attempt to build a business on a free platform that you do not control, you are exposing yourself and your business to SIGNIFICANT continuity risks. Not only can you not control all the decisions made on your behalf, but you don’t own anything at the end of the day.  Invaluable time and effort can be lost in just a matter of moments.

Yesterday I received an email from, a content directory which was recently impacted by Google’s Farmer update to its search algorithm. I have copied and pasted the email below for your reference. But basically in a nutshell, they are removing all previously submitted and accepted user generated content to their website.

How does that impact me?

This drastic and sudden change in ehow’s policy affects me in two ways.

1)  I have countless articles on ehow spanning various topics.  Each of these articles provide a quality back link to the relevant websites they promote.

I know that many people feel that these platforms shouldn’t be used for marketing purposes, but I agree with that statement only if the content is mediocre and solely meant to generate quality back links to the website being promoted.   I strongly believe this was not the case with my articles.  Each article provides solid, genuine value to the reader.

2) I will no longer make an additional $450-550 per month.  Ehow had a program where writers submitted keyword targeted articles that ehow would monetize through advertisement. Ehow would then share the revenues from the advertisement with the writer.

I had several of these articles that generated between $450 to $550 per month for me on a consistent basis.   Like all good things in life I suppose, these had to come to an end after all. I will no longer make money online through ehow’s advertisement sharing program, also referred to as the Writers Compensation Program (WCP) which the email talks about further.

I supposed it could have been worst.  Whereas I am crying about a mere $500 per month, there are writers out there who are loosing thousands per month.

Ehow’s Apologetic Letter to Its Users

We want to personally thank you for the time spent writing articles for and helping contribute to the growth of our site. As a valued writer who’s written articles for eHow, you know we’re a site that is focused on excellence and delivering the best possible experience to our readers. As continues to evolve and become a leading destination of trusted information, we are working hard to ensure all content is professionally created and editorially vetted.

As you might remember, we stopped accepting user-submitted articles in April 2010. At the same time, we also closed the Writers Compensation Program (WCP) to new participants and stopped accepting articles through that program as well. Though we stopped accepting user-generated articles, we kept legacy articles that had been previously submitted and published online so that readers could continue to find and enjoy that information, and participants who opted into the WCP could continue earning money for their work.

After much consideration, eHow has decided to close the WCP and remove user-generated articles from the site. We’re doing this because these articles were not vetted through our current editorial process, which includes professional fact checking and copy editing. Your article(s) will be taken down from this month. If you are opted into the WCP you will receive final payment for earnings through May 5, 2011, during the regular monthly payment schedule in early June. Even though your articles will no longer appear on, you retain all ownership of your articles for use on other websites.

We appreciate the time you’ve spent writing articles for our site and want to make it easy for you to have a record of your contributions. You’ll have an opportunity to retrieve your articles from us between May 17th and May 31st, if you wish to retain them for your records. Further details for article retrieval will be shared through your writer’s console.

We truly value your contributions to eHow and know that the site would not be what it is today without people like you. Thank you again and please feel free to contact with any questions you may have.

Kind Regards,
eHow Team

Concluding Thoughts on Free Websites

This email didn’t make me happy, and it sure reminded me why I don’t like to rely on free websites for anything I do. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, using free websites as a medium posses significant going concerns for your projects.

Have you been impacted by similar decisions out of your control? Let’s hear about your experiences.  What did you change after that experience? How did you react to it?

I wonder why I haven’t heard much action taken against such platforms.  Why is it OK for them to benefit from our work for as long as they want or can, and then kick us to the curb when fate turns its back on them? Bottom line, think twice before investing your sweat on free websites.

What are your thoughts on spending your efforts on free websites?

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8 Responses to “Another Reason not to Rely on Free Websites to Make Money Online”

  1. Romeo says:

    I’m sorry to hear such horrible news, Sunil. I’m sure with your business acumen, you’ll replace that $500 a month in no time.

    –yes, I still read your blog, just don’t come out of the reader as often :)

    • Sunil says:

      Good to hear from you man. I’m not so much concerned about the $500 as I am about the principle behind the decision. I do understand – everyone has to do what’s best for them, especially ehow after getting slapped left right and center. At the same time, $500 residual month after month from ehow had become an expectation for a very long time.

  2. Andy Hough says:

    I got this email as well. It wasn’t too big of a deal to me since I only had 4 articles there. They offered me $20 for my articles which made me $20 in the last couple of months. I declined that offer and will be taking back my articles and publishing them elsewhere.

  3. Bad news for you :(,
    I didn’t know anything about ehow, I’ve never used it before, but can I ask is this the one of the main reasons that you created this blog? Or did you have this blog even before you wrote for ehow?

    • Sunil says:

      ehow was a small experiment years back – has no correlation with this blog, except that it is one way to make extra money online passively (once the work has been put in) – hence the mention on this blog.

  4. Sha says:

    I too wrote for ehow. By no means was I making anything near what you were, but recently I was just considering pulling my articles from a different website and thinking of putting them on ehow, forgetting that I wasn’t able to write for them currently per their new program.

    They offered me 16.00 for my articles. Needless to say, I worked at making sure I had all of them saved tonight to utilize elsewhere.

    • Sunil says:

      Sha – welcome to the blog.

      I don’t think you can download and save your ehow articles until 5/17. There is a window provided for authors to retract all material. Before jumping to another platform like ehow, have you considered your own website to have full control over your articles? You can monetize your work better on your own website as you will likely be receiving much higher payouts on advertisement deals such as Google PPC.

      Hope to see you here more often.

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