Friday, October 31, 2008

Associated Content Facebook Portal Coming Soon

I hinted last week at a Facebook app from Associated Content and am happy to announce that it will be ready next week! Happy Halloween Friday, Facebook friendly Content Producers. Our new Facebook application, called the AC Portal, will be available soon.

The portal is really neat. It's fully interactive and will allow you to discover content from all over AC and share it with your Facebook friends. You'll also be able to create a profile widget to promote your recently published text, video, audio and slideshows. Think of how this will benefit your page views! Finally, the AC Portal will enable you to invite your friends to join AC and will keep you updated on the latest AC news, Calls for Content and Performance Bonus details.

All of that, in a single app! There will be plenty more next week when it is released. Have a safe and happy weekend.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Associated Content's Political Haiku Idea Catches on

This may be a little far-fetched, but the political haiku meme has caught on and I'd like to think that Associated Content was right at the forefront of this particular trend. Content Producers will recall our haiku contest held at the end of September. Since the end of last month several more haiku collections have emerged online with mixed politics and mixed results.

Mark Ambinder wrote a few "mildly tasteless" poems on his blog on The Atlantic on October 29th.

People for the American Way had their own "McPalin Haiku Hysteria" contest and their winners don't hold a candle to ours.

Even the Sacramento Bee in California issued a call for political poetry. They posted their favorites on October 27th.

I think ours hold up well against all of these!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thanks to The Body Shop for The Link

The Body Shop's official blog linked to Content Producer Tracey Pawlukovich's article "Skin Care Tips for Halloween Make-up and Appliances" today. Congrats, Tracey.

According to Tracey, things you should keep in mind while preparing for Halloween festivities include "use a primer on your skin before applying make-up or latex appliances" and "if your costume includes latex foam make-up appliances, use spirit gum for your adhesive."

People who find themselves in need of this type of advice are probably wearing awesome costumes and should consider posting pictures of themselves in a Halloween slide show on Associated Content. We have a nifty new Slide Show Library that will make sharing those pictures easy. If you do post one, send me a link and I'll put it up here on the AC Blog for your fellow CPs to admire your costuming creativity.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Two Content Producers Worth Noting

Sometimes Content Producers contact me directly to tell me about something exceptional that is happening with them in regards to Associated Content. There are two such gentlemen who have been in touch with me recently and I thought I'd share their work with the larger AC world today.

But before I get to them, please take this post as an open invitation to contact me whenever you have something going on that you think your fellow Content Producers will be interested in. If you're publishing a book or writing to raise awareness of a cause or even just submitting some really cool content I'd always like to know about it. Now, on to our CPs:

First is CP Robert Dougherty. He joined AC in January of this year, is already at Clout 10 and won a Best of AC Award for Entertainment in August. He is also a newly published author! Robert has written a guide to the first three seasons of the television show Lost. A prolific writer about all things film and television for Associated Content, The Lost Episode Guide for Others: An Unofficial Anthology is self-published through iUniverse and is also available as an E-Book. If you've ever dabbled with Lost or need a refresher before the new season starts, consider The Lost Episode Guide for Others by your fellow Content Producer Robert D.

Second CP in the spotlight tonight is CP Steve Strangio. Steve is a professional writer and funny-man-about-town who told me he intends to upload more editions of his group podcast "The After Party" on Associated Content. You can listen to Steve and his co-hosts humorously (and good-naturedly) discuss disastrous weddings, dating and life as they savor some wine and one another's company. Here's to hoping that we hear more of "The After Party" on Associated Content soon!

Check out their stuff and be sure to drop me a line if you've got something you'd like to share on the AC Blog.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Straight From Associated Content: This Is Why We’re No Scam

Yes, you’ve heard it before. “Associated Content is unethical! It’s a scam!” This unfounded smear occasionally rears its ugly head around the blogosphere, and I feel the need to directly correct these misconceptions and rumors about Associated Content. Despite the fact that AC is NOT unethical and NOT a scam, there are, unfortunately, inflammatory posts out there claiming it is. I contact their authors directly when possible in an effort to open a dialogue with them. Amazingly, many of them have never published with Associated Content, so they don’t understand the way our publishing process works. I explain it to them, we have a nice conversation and often the issue is settled. On a few occasions I’ve come across posts written by disgruntled individuals we’ve had to ban from AC for trying to scam us. Below are my answers to the Associated Content scam accusations.

CLAIM: Associated Content is not truthful in our page view reporting or Associated Content lies to its Content Partners

RESPONSE: FALSE. Associated Content views our relationship with our Content Producers as a partnership that is critical to the success of our business. We strive to provide the best, most honest publishing experience on the Web because we want our Content Producers to be happy. We keep users apprised of their page view information frequently (numbers are updated site-wide twice a week), and we are working every day to shorten that time. CPs see the same traffic numbers that we do at the AC offices. We keep our system as transparent as possible so that Content Producers continue to place their trust in AC and publish their content with us. Some of the shady operators in the online content world do not share exact page view numbers on articles or allow you to continue to earn residual payments for content that has been paid for up front. Working with us is safe. Associated Content is not unethical because we are honest, reliable and we truly partner with our Content Producers. Are things perfect? No. But we are striving everyday to make our system quicker, more user friendly, and as transparent as possible.

CLAIM: Associated Content is a scam because it doesn’t pay enough

RESPONSE: FALSE. Associated Content offers the most versatile payment options for your content. Other sites only offer you a deferred payment based on the eventual performance of your content over time or a single, one-time upfront payment. Unlike any other site, we offer performance payments in addition to upfront payment for your content. We can do this because we have developed a sophisticated and proprietary set of algorithms that helps us to evaluate the future performance of content right when you submit it. With this system in place, CPs can get paid in a matter of hours or days, not weeks or months like the other guys. And your content keeps earning for you. If you want your content to earn more, be proactive about promoting your work and driving page views to your articles. You get out of it what you put into it. Scam sites are those that promise easy dollars, magically appearing in your bank account for little-to-no effort and we don’t make those kinds of claims. Our PPV system of Performance Payments at $1.50/1,000 page views is a higher rate of pay than most ad networks that are commonly used on blogs and personal websites (not to mention your rank in search is far higher on AC than it is on a personal blog). Additionally, our new “clout” program gives our most successful producers higher levels of compensation on the back end. If a CP is unhappy with their earnings, there are numerous ways to learn how to up earning potential outlined by tutorials and helpful articles by other Content Producers, as well as a great community of Content Producers in the Forum.

Many Content Producers have addressed these topics directly. For testimonials about how Associated Content is not unethical or a scam straight from the keyboards of actual site users, visit our Forum section to check out these threads:
Payment per article
Monthly Page View bonuses

If you want some outside analysis of our business model, read Work at Home No Scams to see what people who don’t work for Associated Content have to say.

I and everyone else at AC stand by our honesty in our relationship with our Content Producers. We truly believe that Associated Content is a great opportunity for everyone to earn money in the new content economy. Flame-war blog posts and libelous slams crying "scam" may be easy in this age of Internet anonymity, but they’re not professional or constructive.

Anyone who has experienced problems with Associated Content is welcome to contact me directly (email me through this blog!) and engage in a reasonable discussion about our business.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Are you Friends with AC on Facebook?

Social networking is not just for teenagers anymore. If you're looking for new ways to promote your work, meet fellow Content Producers, make business contacts and reconnect with old friends then look no further than the many social networking sites out there.

It may seem intimidating at first but if you tackle one site at a time the experience will be a lot less overwhelming. I recommend picking a single place to focus based on what appeals to you. Your entry into social networking society will be much smoother.

Do you like to know what many people are doing at every moment throughout the day? Try Twitter! Are you into connecting with other CPs in a cozy community? Head to Ning! Looking for a more formal feel to your networking? LinkedIn might be the best place for you to start.

Associated Content has an official Facebook page and a MySpace profile. Both sites are useful for sharing your content links with "friends."
If Ning sounded appealing above, head to the the official CP Ning Network. If you're feeling saucy, you can even set up a Ning network of your own!
Follow us on Twitter for brief, frequent updates on news and events.
AC's LinkedIn group will allow you find other professional networking-types. Come on over to one or all of these spots to keep up with your fellow CPs and make new friends!

We have some super-cool social networking applications for our CPs in the works right now. That's all I can say at the moment but we're really excited see what creative uses you make of them after they're launched!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cover the Election Locally at AC's Next Town Hall on Wednesday

This Wednesday, 10/22/08, at 8:00 pm EST, Associated Content's News Director Tim Skillern will be leading a Town Hall on "How to Cover an Election Locally."

Tim will be going over how to cover the 2008 election in your area. You'll learn tips on how to cover local and state issues as well as how to localize national campaigns. The Town Hall will cover interviews and source citation, so be sure not to miss it.

If you're interested in covering local news, but not necessarily politics, consider stopping by on Wednesday for Tim's valuable pointers on turning national news stories into engaging local ones.

Click here to sign up and learn more about Associated Content's Town Hall meetings.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday's Featured Content: A Scary Halloween Story

Today we announced the winner of Associated Content's 2008 Halloween Scary Story Contest.

There were so many good (and by good, I mean eerie and disturbing) entries, but the creepiest and most classically Halloween-feeling of them all was The Visitor, by Eloah James.

The judges felt that The Visitor was everything a scary Halloween story should be. Best told in a dark room or around a campfire, you'll have fun scaring your friends and family on Halloween night with this creepy and suspenseful tale.

If you're still in the mood for fright, check out the winner of an Honorable Mention, Anti-redemption by Theresa Scheiderer. You can practically see the film adaptation as you read along.

Check out all of the entries in the contest here, if you dare. And have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

We're Glad You're With Us

A few Content Producers recently posted on their blogs about being with Associated Content for a long time.

On Associated Content Producers Spotlight, Kelly Spies has generated a venerable list of longtime Content Producers and rightly says that other CPs should aspire to be like them.

Catherine at Love Filled Shoes compared her two years with Associated Content to a long term friendship and that strikes me as an apt comparison. Like any relationship, it has good times and it has frustrating times but ultimately proves to have been fruitful and rewarding for both parties.

On that note, on behalf of everyone at AC, I'd like to sincerely thank ALL of our Content Producers for their hard work and dedication. Working together makes this all possible, and we're striving to keep our relationship as healthy and positive as that of any good friendship. We appreciate you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tutorial on AC's Calls for Content ™ CP Tool

Special thanks to Tori for putting this tutorial together!

We are excited to announce the details of our newest Calls for Content™ tool for Content Producers. We recently launched a function that sends CPs an email every time an Associated Content call is targeted to them - individually or as part of a group. All CPs will receive these C4C alert emails . We also launched a similar function that will email you each time you’re targeted with an AC Partner call.

We’ve encouraged you to complete your CP profiles so that it’s easier for us to target you with calls related to your interests and expertise(s). Once your profile is complete, you will be notified immediately that you’ve been targeted, and if you are logged in, you will be able to claim the call right from the email itself. The email will provide all the details of the call, just as when you view calls when you’re logged in on the site.

This tool can be extremely valuable to you, since many calls are released throughout the day at different times. We may release contest calls or breaking local news calls that need immediate attention. We also often release calls for urgent special projects and partner needs.

Log in to your Associated Content account today to complete your profile to make sure that you get the most accurately targeted AC Calls for Content™ Alert emails.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday's Featured Content: Funny Political Videos

Happy Friday!
To whet your appetite for this weekend's Saturday Night Live, should Gov. Palin make her much-rumored appearance on the show are two videos about McCain's running mate.

The first is from funny man Matt Cohen, a new CP with a big crush on S.P. Pay close attention to the lyrics.

The second is another Greg Reese from Cincinnati installation. He's still building political bridges with this positive rap called "Sarah Palin Rap Song."

Think it'll be funny if Sarah Palin mocks Tina Fey this weekend?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Best New CP Awards: September Winners

Following the announcement earlier this week of the September Best of AC Awards is another distinguished award. Below are the winners of September's Best New CP contest. All three winners have earned rave reviews for their submitted content and their page views reflect their great potential.

The three winners of September 2008's Best New CP award are:

Dave Guiliford joined AC in August and published excellent articles about hurricane season (he lives in Louisana). His content reflects a wide variety of interests including whiskey, absinthe and sailing.

Duke Greenhill is a New York City resident and AC CP since early September. In the short time that he's been publishing on Associated content he's offered lots fitness advice, mostly about weight lifting and some travel ideas for vegetarians.

MobileMimi is already at Clout 5 since joining AC at the end of the summer, Mimi has written about Halloween, Christmas and Hannah Montana. Clever lady!

Be sure to stop by the winners' CP pages and welcome them to the AC family! Please nominate winners for October's Best New CP award here.

Tracking Trends: Reborn Dolls on Associated Content

Do you know what a reborn baby doll is? A reborn doll is a toy baby doll that has been modified so that it looks and feels like a real human infant. Although you may not be familiar with the trend, these eerily realistic-looking dolls were already popular enough this past January to merit a British documentary about the dolls and the women who collect them. See clips from the documentary called "My Fake Baby" at the British Channel 4 site here.

Creating these realistic-looking babies is a craft project that many reborn enthusiasts like to undertake themselves. The process of turning an everyday baby doll into a reborn is called reborning.

If you're charmed (rather than frightened) by these little ones, Associated Content has several very helpful how-to articles that provide a step-by-step guide to making your very own infant lookalike. Recommendations on the best type of doll, where to purchase it and other supplies you'll need are in this two-part article by Lolaness. Here are Parts One and Two.

Reborning is a long, involved process that involves changing the doll's eyes, adding hair, eyelashes and fingernails. The thorough reborn maker will even add things like a breathing apparatus or heat pack to make the living baby illusion more complete. Once you've created or purchased a reborn, you can find care instructions here in this article by dwb.

Does the "fake baby" industry strike you as creepy? You're not alone. Charlotte Piggush explores popular reactions to reborn dolls in her article here. Reborn proponents say they're comforting to mothers who have recently lost infants and to grandparents who want to recapture the feeling of cuddling a newborn child. They've even got the potential to become a popular Christmas gift this season, if buyers can afford the price tag, which can approach $1,000.

Head to AC at this link to see all of our reborn doll-related content. Share your opinions on this trend in the comments!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Best of AC Awards: September Winners

Associated Content is excited to announce the winners of our September Best of AC Awards - a new series of monthly contests that reward CPs who are publishing extraordinary content in a wide range of categories across the site.

The winners of our September awards are...

Pam Gaulin for Home Improvement

Hally Z for Restaurant Reviews

Sabah Karimi
for Focus on Fashion

Be sure to stop by the winners' CP profiles and congratulate them!

Again, categories for October's Best of AC Awards are Election Coverage, Sports Coverage and Personal Finance. If you'd like to draw attention to content that you're publishing in any of these fields or if you know of any other worthy CPs you'd like to nominate for these awards, please do so here. Or leave your comments on the blog and I'll pass them along.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday's Featured Content: You'll Wish You Were There

You might be envious of today's Featured Content creator. James Johnson is a new Content Producer at AC. He has three degrees from Clemson and worked as a vaccine researcher until he joined the Peace Corps. In what has to be one of the most blessed Peace Corps assignments I've ever heard of, James was sent to Nevis.

Nevis is a tiny little Caribbean island next to St. Kitts, just slightly to the northwest of Antigua. View a map of Nevis here. On Nevis, James works as a nature guide and an environmental consultant and he takes beautiful photos to accompany articles about the history, industry, and ecosystems of island life in the Caribbean.

Read about Caribbean gardens and view his gorgeous photos of lush local plant life. Be seduced by the sexy nighttime sounds of the islands while you check out images of local wildlife. Finally, and this is important for travelers, familiarize yourself with the difference between "Business Time" and "Social Time" in the Caribbean.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Outside Recommendations for Associated Content

People love to share their good news. Every week, Content Producers recommend us to their friends and loyal readers as a legitimate place to earn money and get experience producing content for the Web.

Thank you to the evangelists who spread the good word about Associated Content over the past week. You are our sunshine!

  • Wisdom at, who calls us a "great way to earn extra money while writing articles."
  • David at Make Cash Online Today includes AC in a handy guide to internet-based earning.
  • Mr.Dave has made the jump from a RuneScape blog to AC only. Check out his AC content!
  • Joey, in part II of an article at explains publishing and article promotion at AC as a long-term investment. He says, "by maximizing the opportunities for your articles to be viewed, you minimize the chances of dry-spell days that net you absolutely nothing."
  • Keith Steinke recommends us in his article "How to Make Money Producing Content for Websites."
  • LaurieHomeBusiness calls us "one of the most wonderful places to publish your own articles" here.
  • Finally, Mike's Money Making Rants & Raves, in a regular feature, updates readers on how much he's earned at his various online pursuits.
Friday's Featured content is coming soon.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Getting Through Tonight's Debate

If you're looking to make your viewing of tonight's debate a more interactive (and boozy) experience, CP Nancy Tracy created a "Sarah Palin Vice Presidential Debate Drinking Game."

Naturally, Associated Content and Nancy Tracy do not encourage excessive consumption of alcohol, this piece is satirical, but if you can get your hands on some Moosehead beer and want to give it a shot I'd love to hear how it goes.

No Biden version of this game exists on AC yet, can you get one written before tonight? Send it my way here on the AC Blog if you do.

Washington DC Metblogs also picked up on Nancy Tracy's AC article.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Best of AC Awards: October Categories

Each month, Associated Content recognizes the achievements of Content Producers publishing extraordinary content in a wide range of categories. We select three topics per month, and keep our eyes open for CPs with especially strong output in each of those areas. One winner in each category receives $100, and gets exposure on the Community tab and in the AC Insider newsletter. Contest details here.

October categories: Election Coverage, Sports Coverage and Personal Finance. If you’d like to nominate yourself or another worthy CP for consideration by our team in any of those three categories, post a message in our Best of AC October Forum thread.

Selection Criteria

We're on the lookout for...
  • Prolific Contributors: CPs with strong, sustained output within a particular category.
  • Unique Perspectives: Creative writers producing content that stands apart from the everyday and offers a fresh take on popular subjects.
  • Expertise: Experience in the field you're writing about adds credibility your articles and increases your chance of being designated a winner in your category of expertise.
  • Popularity: Content that speaks to its audience, captures attention, inspires discussion and drives traffic will have the best shot at getting noticed.
  • Quality: As always, we'll be rewarding well-written, thoughtfully produced content.
Please note that, while a CP's entire history of contributing content within a particular category will be taken into account, AC's judges will be focusing primarily on the content submitted during the month in which in the contest is running.

We'll announce last month's winners in a few weeks. In the mean time, think about those categories above and start pointing us towards deserving content!