Views are pretty pathetic today, things usually slow down on weekends, but the weekend seems to be starting early. However, I did have two pieces of news that have cheered me up. Not of the order of, ‘hey you are actually making some money and you will be able to survive blogging and writing online’, nothing like that of course. But nonetheless in my dreary, about-to-be-made-redundant life, any news is good. Continue reading
I have been writing articles on HubPages and Squidoo, some of the numerous revenue sharing sites in cyberspace, for a month now. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the most popular content for making money online, is advice on how to make money online. Strictly speaking the most popular content is porn, but you can’t monetize it with adsense, which leaves ‘how to make money online’. Hubapges and Squidoo are revenue sharing sites, you write stuff and they give you 50% or 60% of the revenue. I have not been getting much traffic to my articles and have been making negligible money, so far. Then I wrote a hub about which site gave you better visibility in search engine results, and I had the most traffic ever (50 visitors/day, nothing to be proud of).
I went back to writing about all the things that I love and know about, geckos, tree frogs, Game of Thrones, interesting bits of scientific facts, almost nobody reads that. Yesterday I saw a question on HubPages about driving traffic to a website. My knowledge on that is similar to my knowledge about losing weight, lots of theory, complete failure in practice, but I wrote a hub about needing Google traffic, keyword research, backlinks, that sort of stuff; again masses of views and comments on that hub!
Basically the internet has become a network, in which people making money online publish articles on that topic, which are read about other people trying to make money online. There is something very sad about that.
By now I’ve produced 22 articles on Hubpages and 8 lenses, earnings are negligible. I have heard that things get better once you’ve reached 100 hubs. I’ve started doing keyword research, hoping to win the google battle, there is some small amount of success, my pageon tree frogs is no.9 in google searches, generating a small amount of traffic. My pages on Game of Thrones, are on the 2nd page of Google and if they could jump over a few sites, they would be slightly successful as well.
I know its stupid to expect success immediately, a lot of people have said that it took them a few months before they saw any significant money. There are two possibilities, I just keep doing what I’m doing and eventually it all comes together, or I am deluding myself and it will never get significantly better. I wish I knew which one was true.
Back to life in the lab, I had a rather unsatisfactory exit interview with The Lesser HR Woman (or HR business partner, to give her her official name). I was really looking forward to this, I was going to explain, in great detail, all the immense injustices inflicted upon me during my 9 years at That Place. Carefully outline their complete incompetence/ cynical obstructionsim in the way my grievance was handled (It took 16 months, I appealed twice and the appeals were upheld on both occasions). Obviously the exit interview was not going to accomplish anything, it was just to give me the satisfaction of letting them know what I thought about them.
Well, the HR person appeared to agree with me about everything. She was sympathetic, pointed out herself the places in the various letters I showed her that were particularly enraging, agreed that comparing That Place to a Socialist country, was not an exaggeration, etc. I was expecting her to try to argue that the place was actually ok, and I would show her the error of her ways with solid facts. Without any arguments to make, the whole experience was quite disappointing.
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While typing away answers on WebAnswers, sometimes I come across discussions about how the site works. Usually these are discussions about which questions it is best to answer and why are so many of the questions so stupid; “Am I pregnant”, “Who’s the Daddy” seem to be particularly popular. I have been avoiding them with disgust, but apparently they are the really good payers. There are people on WebAnswers who specialise in determining the parentage of various babies of promiscuous mothers. Perhaps I should look into this.
Anyway some of the discussion made me think whether the best way to make money online isn’t just to generate random content, perhaps with a primary keyword being repeated throughout the page.
The way WebAnswers earns money, is not through the people who use it, since we don’t click on the Adsense, but through normal internet punters who type a question into google (who’s the Daddy?) and come up with a WebAnswers page on it. Apparently you never know what question is going to rank in google, so although all the stuff that we type in might not be very useful, if there is a big enough volume of it, there is always a chance somebody will click, increasing the earnings. Which makes me wonder whether a random word generator wouldn’t be best for google.
The problem of course would be that you don’t just need to bring people to a site, you need them to stay there and click ads. But I think my idea would work quite well, the only text that would make any sense, on the page, would be the advertisements, almost forcing people to click on them. It is very fortunate that there are nobody is reading this blog. My brilliant idea will remain secret until implementation.
If you are still interested in WebAnswers, here’s a link to a question I enjoyed, the task was to write a short poem about WebAnswers.
Two more weeks of my wonderful career as postdoc left. I feel quite a lot like these frogs. Spent last week procrastinating like crazy about writing the results for the Yet Another Mediocre Paper, there was as deadline for Wednesday, which didn’t turn out to be a real deadline anyway. Can’t really imagine it happening but must keep pretending, at least until I am officially not working.
The general advice for newbie bloggers is to submit their blog to as many social bookmarking sites as possible. I have so far limited myself to facebook but have decided to expand to the technocrati due to the coolness of their name (oh and they are the uber site of blogs as well). I have also subscribed to my own rss feed, how sad is that?
I think I stumbled on the ghostly cyberspace footprint of my PhD supervisor yesterday. Of course it might be a figment of my imaginationn, but it left a most unpleasant feeling. I decided to start another blog about food and recipes, I was going to call it ‘Special Circumstance’ in honour of Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels, as in food recipes for special circumstance of being redundant and not having any money. I decided to do this one on blogger, since I’m trying to get Google to like me, but it would not allow me to call it that, apparently the URL had been taken. I checked out the site, and I found PhD Supervisor’s attempt at blogging (only two entries, from 2002)! I admit the evidence that it was him might appear flimsy, the first name (that’s all that was there to identify the blogger) fit, and the topic, Church of England politics, was something that he had strong opinions on, but that is not much to go on.
But the posts had a very strong psychic signature of him. Believe me, once you’ve done a PhD in somebody’s lab, and had them correct your thesis, their mental processes are indelibly imprinted on your mind. As soon as I started reading, long dormant memories came rushing back. It was a very unpleasant experience, not because he was a terrible supervisor, but there was a very strong yuck factor. As if I had walked in on him naked! yuck!
Surfing blogger posts led to a rather positive conclusion, the blogosphere is littered with with the bodies of dead posts. This is rather reassuring, the numbers suggested for the quantity of posts are truly staggering, apparently every 6th human being is a blogger (and that includes babies). However, if these numbers include blogs that have been long abandoned, then the statistics are not as scary as they appear for a wannabe like me.
It is rather annoying that nothing is being done to tidy up the dead blogs. I really like the name ‘Special Circumstances’, and yet I can’t use it because it’s being wasted on two short posts from 2002. I think blogger should do something to retire blogs that have been abandoned that long and release the URLs. Incidentally it is rather scary that PhD supervisor and I came up with the same name. All this is very disturbing.
Apart from trying to start another blog, I have started making lenses on Squidoo. The pay system is pretty complex, I think it’s geared quite a lot to selling things from Amazon and Ebay. It has a lot of mods for putting in photos, there is even a flckr mod, and an ebay mod. I now have movies of geckos and frogs on the lenses! I wish somebody would actually come and see them! I have also been reading up on backlinks, ahh the backlinks, I have made some, why is nobody seeing them?
It is the middle of the Easter long weekend, I had not done anything or gone anywhere yesterday, and I have not done anything today, yet. I wonder if this is a dry run of what the redundancy will be like. So far it is not bad at all. I spent all morning in bed, typing away on my new, absolutely beautiful macbook air (yes I bought it, yes I can’t afford it and yes I love it!). Eventually the internet connection became too weak (I really should have bought a stronger router), so I was forced to migrate to a sleeping bag on the sofa, where I can continue to type. All in all I feel like this:
In my defence, after an excellent early summer, it has become quite cold, which makes lounging in bed, sleeping bags irresistible. Hey its better than contributing to climate change by turning the central heating on, isn’t it? Also I haven’t been quite completely unproductive. Yesterday I made a squidoo lens about tree frogs (views so far 0, but an angel-squid angel-blessed my previous post about geckos, don’t ask). I have answered 3 questions on WebAnswers, favourite question today: “is the human fetus a parasite?” I also keep periodically checking my adsense account to keep an eye on my growing fortune (views so far today:53, clicks:1).
But I do worry that this kind of existence might not be very healthy in the long term. Not to mention if the whole internet doesn’t dramatically improve I will soon become broke. It is great fun to see that I have £5 in my adsense account from not doing very much in April, but it’s not really a very practical way of living.
Anyway I am not redundant yet. I had agreed with Big Boss that I will give him the first draft of the Results section (and materials and methods) of the ‘Yet Another Mediocre Paper’ that he insists we must publish, on Wednesday. I really cannot imagine how I will motivate myself for the hundreds of re-writes necessary to produce this paper which will do absolutely nothing for me and which I don’t care about at all, but I one draft at a time. I guess I should drag myself from the sleeping bag and drag myself to the lab, so I can start procrastinating at my desk. Maybe I will answer a couple more WebAnswer questions first.
Yesterday was R-day minus one month, the fateful day is approaching with great inevitability. The exact one year anniversary of that very interesting lab meeting, where we went in, to seminar room N9, expecting to get an update from Big Boss about the conference he had just attended. To our great surprise were joined by the Head of HR, the Head of Group (HoG) and some other Human Resources woman (who had just started, we have a huge turnover of HR people, I don’t think they manage to last very long dealing with our obscure scientist problems and our far-on-the-autistic-spectrum personalities). Continue reading
How many blogs, WebAnswers, hubs must I write before I can afford to get Dave Cameron to cook me dinner at his place? Since it is the end of the month (ok that was a couple of days ago but I still do have a day job), I think it’s traditional to do a summation of earnings and activity. According to my own pitiful little corner of adsense I have made £5.32 in the month of March. Most of that came from WebAnswers, where I get most of my page views, that’s the cyan line in the graph below. So at £250,000 for kitchen sups, and assuming 100 questions answered, that’s 5 milion questions…hmmm. You can of-course try to just pay 100,000 but apparently that doesn’t get you the really gourmet Cameron cuisine.
Ok this doesn’t really represent true monthly earnings. I didn’t start with adsense till about the middle of the month, I didn’t start webanswers till a few days ago. Also even I believe that things will imporve, traffic will increase, Google might learn to hate me less (or rather ignore me less). I have actually seen some increase in my hubpages traffic in the last couple of days, some of the people even came there from google, and I will keep writing more hubpages which should increase earning. The question is whether things will improve enough to allow me to actually make a living, and I must admit that one would have to be extremely optimistic to think that would be possible. I can imagine things improving tenfold, but 400x fold?
The problem is there is only one WebAnswers. I could start another blog, make a few more static websites, but I can’t really increase my number of answered questions indefinitely. There is some risidual income, as people view old questions but I don’t think that works so well. To try and drive more traffic to my sites I joined pinterest and pinned some pictures of Zoidberg and the geckos, I am not sure if this will do anything, time will tell. I am also now considering freelance writing. E-how apparently pay $15 per article submitted, so if I could manage 5-6 articles per day that might just save me. All the freelance writing sites require you to submit a ‘sample writing’, I am suddenly very scared of applying and keep putting it off. What if I am rejected?
All these rather depressing thoughts have made me impulsively order a macbook air. I have coveted one for ages, and I am getting redundancy money, and I have savings. If I don’t start earning money I have enough to survive for X number of months. Will it really make much difference if it is X months-3 weeks?