Monday, December 28, 2009

PMA Nominations & Holiday Sweeps: Final Week!

With 2009 drawing to a close, there are only a few days remaining to log your nominations for the 4th Annual People's Media Awards. Be sure to take the time to give a shout out to AC's most talented Contributors, and the best pieces of content you read, watched, listened to or created in 2009!

Any piece of content published in 2009 can be nominated for a Content of the Year PMA, and five winning pieces will each receive a $500 prize. Help us find the most most insightful, inspiring, unique, useful, powerful and/or poignant pieces in the AC library!

Contributors can win one of the following awards: Contributor of the Year ($1500), The Community Spirit Award ($1500), News Contributor of the Year ($500), A/V Contributor of the Year ($500) or Rookie of the Year ($500). Click here to read descriptions of each of these award categories, and here to read the official rules.

To log a nomination, simply click the PMA graphic on the top-left corner of any Contributor profile or content page. You can also email your picks directly to community@associatedcontent.com. Nominations officially close at 11:59PM Eastern on New Year's Eve, so be sure to get yours in before 2010 is upon us!

Don't forget! You also have 4 more days to enter to win a $100 Amazon.com giftcard in AC's Oral-B Triumph Holiday Sweepstakes! Click here for more information.

Good luck, happy nominating and all the best in these final days of 2009!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Tunes from the AC Library

Looking for new tunes to add to your Christmas playlist this year? Don't miss the latest hip-hop hits from AC superstar Greg Reese from Cincinatti:

> Christmas Rap
"Give me the mic and I'm giving you rhymes, my mind is feelin' this flow, it's Christmas time!"

> The Christmas Shake

"
Tis the Season for big fun, I wish I had a gift to give everyone, but here's a song to keep it hot, you know I let the jingle bells Rock, Rock, Rock!"

And don't forget about these other Christmas classics from the AC archive:

Barth Wooster takes us on a "warm and nostalgiac trip through the paths of our Christmas past," in his beatiful acoustic tune, A Christmas Sort of Dream.

Trent Sandusky
spreads holiday cheer Who's the Boss? style in A Very Tony Danza Christmas.

D-Town Records put an R&B spin on a Christmas classic in Deck the Hallz.

SongLadyBlue
pays tribute to his mother in heart-wrenching country tune, Merry Christmas Mama.

Juan Loren Zerimar
calls out to a far away loved on in Wish You Were Here for the Holidays.

And Lynn Casper gives us space to reflect in his quiet holiday melody, Seasons Greetings.

What's on your holiday playlist? Tell us in the comments, and post a link to your own holiday music roundup if you published one.

Safe, peaceful and happy holidays from Associated Content!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Guide & Sweepstakes

Need some last minute Christmas gift ideas or inspiration for your upcoming holiday party? Tap into the collective wisdom of the AC community with the 2009 Holiday Guide!

Dive even deeper with this year's other holiday features: The Holiday Gift Guide (presented by Oral-B) and Home for the Holidays (presented by Folgers).

We also invite you to take part our Oral-B Triumph Holiday Sweepstakes, and enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card you can use to clean up on the post-holiday sales!

To enter, all you have to do is read and comment on one of the first-hand reviews of the Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 5000 Power Toothbrush, published by the doctors, moms, dads and other oral health experts of Associated Content.

Click here to read some of the buzz on this new product, and leave your comment by December 31st to enter the sweeps!

Note: Each of the participating Contributors received a free Oral-B Power toothbrush before submitting their review. Sweepstakes winners will be chosen in early January 2010. Click here for full sweepstakes rules.

Good luck, and happy holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2009

November Best of AC Awards

We're excited to announce the winners of the November 2009 Best of AC Awards for Fiction, Shopping Guides and Winter Holidays!

Best of AC: Fiction – Khara House
Khara House has tackled many topics in her 3+ years as an AC Contributor, but it's clear that her passion lies in creative writing. She has published close to 150 stories and poems on AC, including November's excellent "California British Tea" and her Chirstmas story for children, "The Star of Creation."

Best of AC: Shopping Guides – Missy Jess
Missy Jess joined AC in June 2009. In the 6 months since, she has won a Rising Star Award, published 150 pieces of content and climbed to Clout 9. Her top notch, writing, researching and formatting skills come to the fore in all 20 Shopping Guides she published in November. Check out her comprehensive guide to finding the perfect eco-friendly water bottle.

Best of AC: Winter Holidays – Anne Wright
Anne Wright also joined AC in June 2009 and won a Rising Star Award soon thereafter. She has already published more than 100 pieces of holiday content (and 350 overall), including a slew of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's and Winter Solstice pieces published in November. Check out her guide to making an personalized Christmas ornament on any budget.

Be sure to stop by each of these talented Contributors' profiles to congratulation them!

Looking ahead...

There won't be any Best of AC Awards for the month of December, but be sure to take the time to nominate your favorite Contributors and pieces of content for this year's People's Media Awards!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

November's Rising Star Award Winners

We'd like to congratulate the five promising new Contributors who won Associated Content's Rising Star Awards for November!

Ramona Taylor joined in mid-October, and she's already on a roll with 135 pieces of published content and over 11,000 page views. She writes on everything from the upcoming winter Olympics to parenting, and her Hanukkah content is fantastic. Check out her piece on what to write in Hanukkah cards.

It's obvious that UC Irvine student Neil Takore knows his school's water polo program front and back. His informative, smart coverage makes him a sportswriter to watch. His other content includes well-researched political pieces, music reviews, tech advice and this helpful piece on the new FTC guidelines.

After joining AC in October, Britney Hornaday Boroughs immediately started building her library (she's already up to 40 pieces) and racking up fans. She was nominated many times in the Forum this month and won AC staff over with her gift guides, arts & entertainment content and exclusive interviews. Check out her Home for the Holidays: AC Exclusive Interview with Congressman Mike Ross.

Gavin Matthews has pinned down in mere months something that takes many Contributors years to develop—a keen insight into what kinds of content perform best. Three months after joining AC, he's earned over 97,000 page views with just 28 pieces of content! Be sure to read 2009 NFL Week 10 Predictions.

New Contributor Catherine Spencer has found a unique voice on AC. While she focuses on content areas covered by many other Contributors (such holidays, local and pets), she always finds an interesting angle (see Decorate a Western Theme Christmas Tree and Book Club Party Just in Time for Halloween; and don't miss her amusing Conical Bra Resurgence).

Be sure to visit these Contributors profiles to welcome them into the AC Community!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

AC Labs

We’re excited to roll out AC Labs – a testing environment for new Associated Content features – to all AC Contributors! To access AC Labs, all you have to do is log in and click the pink graphic on the upper-right corner of your Account page:

From there, you’ll be able to access brand new interface under your Account and Content tabs. We’ve been working on a new stats-rich Account page, an improved Content queue and new ways to organize and share your library of images.

We can’t wait to hear what you think! The new pages you'll see in AC Labs are still works in progress, so take some time to experiment. Once you’ve had a chance to explore the new features, please take a few moments to fill out this brief survey. If you prefer, you can also send feedback directly to community@associatedcontent.com – or leave a comment on this blog post.

We’ll continue working on these new features based on your input. If possible, please fill out our survey or send your feedback by 12/20.

Thanks for helping us make AC an even better place to publish!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The 2009 People's Media Awards

We are now accepting nominations for the 2009 People's Media Awards -- Associated Content's 4th annual awards program, which recognizes the achievements of some AC's most exceptional Contributors!

We'll be collecting PMA nominations throughout the month of December, and we're inviting the entire AC Community to get involved! On every Contributor profile and content page, you'll find a PMA graphic that allows you to log a nomination for one of the awards:

Click the graphic on the top-left corner of any Contributor profile
or content page to nominate a Contributor for one of the PMAs.


Any piece of content can be nominated for one of five Content of the Year awards. The author of each winning piece will receive $500. Please help us by finding and nominating the most insightful, inspiring, unique, useful, powerful and poignant pieces of content published on Associated Content in 2009. Winners can be in any format (text, audio, video, slideshows) and come from any category of the AC library.

Contributors can be nominated for one of the following awards:

Contributor of the Year:
A prolific and gifted Contributor who reached a large audience in 2009, and built up an outstanding library of useful content that will continue to perform over time. Prize: $1500

Community Spirit Award: Someone who creates lots of valuable content, and gives back to the AC Community by guiding others along the path to success. This is the first year we're offering this award! Prize: $1500

News Contributor of the Year: A prolific and plugged-in Contributor who supplied AC readers with a year's worth of professional and topical news content. Prize: $500

Audio / Video Contributor of the Year: A Contributor who published striking, original audio and/or video content in 2009. Prize: $500

Rookie of the Year: A Contributor who joined AC between August 2008 and August 2009, and quickly discovered the path to success. This is the first year we're offering this award! Prize: $500

Please help us by nominating the most worthy individuals for each category!

All nominees will be reviewed, and final winners will be chosen by a panel of Associated Content staff members. Nominations will be accepted through December 31, 2009, and winners will be announced in January 2010. Read the Official Rules here.

Happy nominating!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What AC Contributors are Thankful for in 2009

We asked contributors to tell us what they'll give thanks for this Thanksgiving. We received hundreds of great articles. After reading these submissions, all I can say is, "What a great bunch of grounded, happy people write for AC." The overwhelming themes found in these assignments included gratitude for family, health, jobs, happiness and even for Associated Content. Some of you made us blush with your kind words!

Photo from Flickr

Kevin Flotte touched us by giving thanks for New Orleans and its rebirth following Hurricane Katrina. He's also thankful for the recent successes of the New Orleans Saints.

Mary Rose-Sellers is thankful to be a breast cancer survivor celebrating both Thanksgiving and the six-month anniversary of her last chemotherapy treatment. Mary's recovery from cancer changed her world view and turned Thanksgiving in the Rose-Sellers household from "a few extra days trying to catch up on things" to a treasured holiday. We're thankful for your good health, too, Mary!

Injecting some mirth into our conversation about Thanksgiving is Mark Whittington, who shared a tall tale told in his family about the creation of spaghetti sauce at the first Thanksgiving. Besides familial fables, Mark is thankful for his family, good health and that this is the first decade of the 21st century.

If you like your holidays with an irreverent, political bent, you'll either love or hate this Thanksgiving gratitude list by Dr. Stoos. Among other things, he's, "Thankful that no one shot back when NASA shot at the moon last month."

Martha Munro gave thanks for small pleasures, including her first vine-ripened tomato straight from the garden in years. She's also making an early New Year's resolution to make daily notes about wonderful things she observes as she interacts with the world in 2010.

Mike Gordon took time to reflect on parts of his life that he sometimes takes for granted, from his home of 25 years to the 1945 surgery that enabled him to live a long and fulfilling life. Mike has been retired for four years and is thankful for the security provided by retirement and the good fortune to have experienced the year 2009.

New contributor Nicholas Palm made us a little misty-eyed with very first article, a fond tribute to 11 years of love and happiness with his wife, to whom he first said "I love you" on Thanksgiving in 1998. They'll celebrate seven years of marriage this year and have adopted a son together.

Kate Clifton has had an eventful life since a near-death experience two years ago. She moved home to her beloved San Diego, married her best friend in a beautiful wedding and began writing for AC. Add three children and four grandchildren to the mix, and you'll see why Kate is thankful for so many things in 2009!

Nancy Canfield shares gratitude for her family and her country in a post that is by turns quirky, self-deprecating and patriotic.

Another new contributor, Bruce A. Ritter, will give thanks this holiday despite losing his job a week before Thanksgiving. He's grateful for the opportunities available to him now and in the future, for his family's support in his new job search and more.

Barbara Hagen is thankful this year for a friend who got a second chance after attempting suicide.

Melani Presler, like Bruce, struggled this year due to the floundering economy. She's thankful that she survived and will go on to succeed and win again.

Teenage AC contributor Jesse Patterson admits that, as a college student, she's used to thinking mostly of herself. She's grateful for some unusual things, including a warm coat and a loving pet cat.

Chris Humpherys has a Thanksgiving story that will resonate with any football fan who's ever been torn between another commitment and the big game. Things worked out pretty well for Chris in the end, and he's got a lot to be thankful for this year.

Wrapping up our batch of featured articles about gratitude this Thanksgiving, Lisa Carey shares an experience she had while waiting in line at Walmart. Her generosity toward a stranger gave another family something to be thankful for and encouraged Lisa to reflect on the little things that really matter this Thanksgiving.

If you found another great Thanksgiving story on AC, share it in the comments section!t

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Business Insider Interviews AC CEO Patrick Keane

Henry Blodget, Editor-in-Chief of The Business Insider, recently sat down with Associated Content CEO Patrick Keane to discuss AC's position in the rapidly shifting online content ecosystem. You can watch all 3 parts of the interview below.

In part one, Patrick reflects on AC's biggest strengths -- the sustained, search-driven growth of our audience, and the community of Contributors who power our platform:



In part two, Henry and Patrick discuss the recent interest of large online media companies, like Yahoo! and AOL, in the open publishing model that AC has been spearheading since 2005:



In the third segment, Patrick shares his optimism on the current state and future growth of display advertising in online media, with an emphasis on AC's increasingly strong position in this space:



Thanks for tuning in!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

AC does Thanksgiving

More than 10,000 pieces of content in the AC library are looking especially festive this month. Grab a slice of pumpkin pie and take a gander at the brand new Thanksgiving article template:


It’s stuffed full of special features: we’ve made images and related links more prominent, integrated holiday fun facts, created special content hubs and made it easy to share content on Facebook and Twitter with the click of a button.

Need to find some vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, pick up tips for keeping the peace with your in-laws or find the perfect wine to pair with your holiday feast? Want to watch a video that walks you through the process of cooking a perfect Thanksgiving turkey? Look no further than Associated Content’s Thanksgiving Guide – a cornucopia of useful information, powered by the insights and creativity of hundreds of AC Contributors:


If you’re looking for more ways to get into the holiday spirit, check your AC Assignment Desk and claim the special “What are you most thankful for in 2009?” assignment. We’ll be tweeting out the best submissions every day next week (from twitter.com/acnews) and featuring them on the blog and our Facebook page.

Our thanks go out to the AC Community, who have helped us build the largest and most diverse library of useful holiday content on the Web!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thursday: AC Craig on the New FTC Guidelines

On December 1, 2009, new Federal Trade Commission guidelines regarding "The Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising" will go into effect. These guidelines specifically address online content and social media, and may affect AC Contributors who publish product and service reviews, including reviews of household products, entertainment, restaurants and hotels.

To discuss the ramifications of the FTC guidelines – and Associated Content’s plan to make it easy for Contributors to comply – AC's General Counsel Craig Abruzzo (aka AC Craig) will be hosting a "Happy Hour" discussion this Thursday evening in the AC Forum. Details:

Happy Hour with AC Craig
What:
How the FTC Guidelines Affect AC Contributors
When: Thursday, 11/19, 5-6pm Eastern
Where: The "General Discussions" section of the AC Forum

Craig will outline the most important aspects of the new guidelines, preview AC's compliance plan and take time to answer questions from the Community. If you'd like to submit advance questions, please leave a comment to this post.

See hope to see you in the Forum on Thursday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Patrick Keane: Engagement vs. Utility

Common web-logic holds user engagement as the most important indicator of the effectiveness of a website: How much time do people spend on your site, and how many pages do they click through? But in evaluating sites that are ad-supported and search-driven, like Associated Content, AC's CEO Patrick Keane believes that immediate utility is an even more important quality to measure: How often does your site provide visitors with the exact information they're seeking, and how directly does it guide their decisions?

That's the argument Patrick Keane makes in his recent AdWeek column, "The Case Against Engagement." It's an important consideration for online publishers and advertisers alike. Click here to read the column in its entirety.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Remembering Lauren Beyenhof

We're sad to announce that a talented and inspiring Associated Content Contributor, Lauren Beyenhof, has passed away from complications related to Cystic Fibrosis.

Lauren was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth, and devoted much of her adult life to supporting, educating and empowering people living with the condition. Her spirit of advocacy lives on in the written work she published across the Web, including AC articles like "A Day in the Life of an Adult with Cystic Fibrosis" and "Four Secrets to Living Well With Cystic Fibrosis," and entries on her personal blog.

That same spirit also lives on in the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (www.cff.org), an organization dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those who live with Cystic Fibrosis. If you'd like to donate to CFF in Lauren's memory, you can join Associated Content in contributing to Lauren's "Great Strides" campaign, which directly funds Cystic Fibrosis research and care. Click here to get involved.

We'd also like to thank AC Contributor S. Maven, who alerted us to Lauren's passing and published a tribute to her life and work earlier today. You can read S. Maven’s tribute to this inspiring woman here.

Lauren Beyenhof, 1980-2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Best of AC Awards: Personal Finance, Politics and Sports

Associated Content is excited to announce the winners of the October 2009 Best of AC Awards - our monthly contest that rewards Contributors publishing extraordinary content in a wide range of topics. Be sure to stop by the winners' profiles to congratulate them!

The winners are...

Best of AC: Personal Finance - Elizabeth Valentine
Elizabeth Valentine joinied AC less than one year ago, and she's already built a strong and diverse library of nearly 250 pieces of content. She published nine Personal Finance guides in October -- each of them beautifully written and formatted, full of sharp financial advice informed by her academic background in business. If you're looking for the best tool to use for tracking your finances, check out her guide to The Best Personal Finance Software.

Best of AC: Politics - Mark Whittington
Mark Whittington has a keen eye for hot-button political issues -- inside the Beltway, in small town America and overseas. Whether or not you agree with his political views, it's clear that his frequent contributions to AC's Politics section provide analysis and opinion that go beyond the story. Check out his take on the results in this week's New York Congressional election -- and be sure to chime in with a comment.

Best of AC: Sports - Zac Wassink
Zac Wassink is a diehard sports fan and a passionate Category Editor for AC's Sports section. He's also one of AC's most prolific Sports Contributors, with more than 450 football, baseball, basketball, golf and wrestling articles under his belt (and close to 40 in October alone). Be sure to read this loyal Mets fan's letter to the New York Yankees, leading up to their recent World Series victory.

Congratulations to all three of these talented Contributors, and thanks to everyone who sent in nominations!

Looking ahead, the categories for the October 2009 Best of AC Awards are Fiction, Shopping Guides & Winter Holidays.

If you'd like to draw attention to content you're publishing in any of these fields, or if you know of any other worthy Contributors you'd like to nominate for these awards, please do so here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Congrats to October's Rising Stars!

We'd like to congratulate the five talented, new Contributors who won Associated Content's October Rising Star Awards:

Sylvia Branch has a unique, indie spin in all of her content, from pin-up girl-inspired fashion reviews to raw food recipes and unique gift guides (check out her Best Stocking Stuffers for a Roller Derby Girl). She has also climbed to a Clout 6 with over 26,000 page views in her first two months on the site.

Chiropractic doctor and practicing Kinesiologist
Nathan Schilaty, DC is a member of the Featured Health & Wellness Contributors program, and has built an impressive library of heath content since joining AC in July.

Brandon Miller was nominated by several other Contributors in the Forum for his fun, timely and helpful online gaming content. Check out his guides and tips for Farmville, Restaurant City and Mobsters 2 as well as his Southern California local content.

She may have joined AC in September, but
Kyla Matton is already a mainstay in the AC Forum and a Contributor to watch with 60 pieces of content on everything from the H1N1 virus to delicious recipes. Check out her piece: H1N1 Vaccine Available in Canada Earlier Than Expected.

Rebecca Caroll's profile says that she's "passionate about life" and it's definitely reflected in her content, which spans topics from Christianity to the holidays to living with disabilities. Her overt interest in hers topics makes her content extra engaging, and she's already raked in close to 25,000 page views.

Congratulations to this month’s winners!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Page View Millionaires

If you’ve raked in more than 1,000,000 page views with the work you’ve published on Associated Content, you’ll notice a shiny new icon on your Contributor profile. Check out the new PV Millionaire badge:

If you’re not part of the “millionaire’s club” quite yet, be sure to spend some time on our Tutorials page to pick up some tips for AC success. We’ll be awarding new badges at the beginning of each month!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

AC Twitter Challenge Winners: Congrats to Our Grand Prize Winner and Runners-Up!

Congratulations to our AC Twitter Challenge grand prize winner, JoAnn Selke, whose participation in the AC Twitter Challenge won her an ASUS Eee PC Netbook with the brand-new Windows 7 operating system!


You can find Joann on Twitter as @Jselke. Joann is a Chicago resident who published her first article on Associated Content in October, 2008. She's got three lovely children and a wonderful husband of 15 years. That's a lot of competition for the first chance to try out Windows 7 when JoAnn's netbook arrives!

Our five runners-up each won their choice of either a $100 ThinkGeek gift certificate or a Laplearner Lap Desk. In no particular order, the runners-up are:

Ari Berenstein, who discusses his experiences on Twitter here. Ari is a Brooklyn resident who writes a popular column on professional wrestling. Follow Ari as @AriBerenstein on Twitter.

Rissa Watkins
, a writer from Sunny, Arizona who is working on her first novel. Follow Rissa as @RissaWatkins on Twitter.

Viktorya Hale, who discusses her Twitter challenge experience here. Viktorya is a top 1,000 AC contributor living in Vivian, Louisiana. She can be found on Twitter as @ViktoryaHale.

Kara Andersen, a twenty-something actor/writer/student living in Chicago. Kara tweets as @KaraAnders.

Vanessa Rochea, who writes about the power of Twitter here. Vanessa is a Kentucky University student and the author of three upcoming books. She's on Twitter as @VRochea.

Congratulations to all six AC Twitter Challenge Winners!

Tricks & Treats from AC's Halloween Guide

There are more than 15,000 pieces of crafty, handy, frugal and sometimes frightening Halloween content in the Associated Content library – and they help make October one of the biggest traffic months for AC Contributors. This year we got into the spirit of the season by carving up our standard article template and dressing it up in a spooky, new disguise. Check it out:



Looking for some last minute Halloween costume ideas? Need some recipes for your Halloween party? Wanna read some bone-rattling short stories? Check out the Associated Content Halloween Guide, powered by the sharp insight and fiendish imagination the AC Community:



So, how do you like Associated Content's Halloween costume?

Monday, October 19, 2009

AC Twitter Challenge Contest Recap and Some Outstanding Content

The AC Twitter Challenge is over. A whopping 460 entrants used Twitter to enter the sweepstakes and/or accepted the AC Twitter Challenge assignment through the AC Assignment Desk, for a total of 1,056 entries!

Six winners have been randomly selected and will be announced publicly as soon as we have contacted the winners privately to share the good news. For now, let's take a look at some outstanding content published by AC contributors who took the Twitter Challenge and wrote about their experiences.

Lyn Lomasi was an active Twitter user before the Twitter Challenge and took the contest as an opportunity to increase her participation and connect with other AC contributors. Her article, "Twitter Is a Must for AC Contributors," describes her experiences with HootSuite and gives props to a few AC Twitterers who are especially good Twitter pals.

KK Thornton is a savvy Twitter user who took time to share her best tips in her Beginner's Guide to Tweeting for Fun and Profit. KK discusses privacy, the correct use of hashtags and how to get others to retweet you, among other witty and helpful nuggets of advice.

Tamara Waters didn't fall in love with Twitter at first Tweet, but as she dove further into the community she began to see the value in microblogging. She's discussed her evolution from Twitter skeptic (Tweptic?) to True Twit in her post, "Microblogging with Twitter: True Confessions of a Twit." Tamara even Tweeted to keep up with friends and family while turkey hunting recently!

Jolie Du Pre knows that Twitter is only as useful as you make it. In, "How Twitter Works for Me," she shares her favorite Twitter applications, tips for organizing your Tweets and advice on how often to Tweet for maximum efficiency.

Check these great articles out while you wait for the big results announcement. We'll feature more top content tomorrow. Look for an "awards show" post from AC Jelena shouting out some excellent AC Twitterers later this week.

Also, please be sure to read the addendum we added to the Offical Rules of the contest. Due to limitations in our ability to search Twitter's archives, we are unable to verify repeat entries by the first week's entrants. To account for this, we gave all of week one's entrants an additional content entry. Click here

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

September Award Winners

We’d like to congratulate the talented winners of Associated Content September 2009 Best of AC and Rising Star awards!

Best of AC

Christine Bude Nyholm won in the Alternative Medicine category. This is the 2nd Best of AC win for this multi-faceted, Clout 10 Contributor (she also won last year's award for Winter Travel Guides). She has written more than 150 Health & Wellness articles during her AC career, including an impeccably researched and crafted set of alternative medicine guides published in September, like this one: "Arthritis Alternative Treatment Options."

Kimberly Lawson won in the Fashion category. This Clout 10 fashion student and entertainment blogger has published close to 50 fashion guides in 2009 alone, offering a wide variety of style tips, trend alerts and well-researched shopping guides. AC fashionistas should be sure to check out her recent tips for looking hot when the weather's cold.

Victoria Leigh Miller won in the Television category. This long-time Contributor and Arts & Entertainment Category Editor has published close 100 pieces of television content this year, and more than 30 in the month of September -- mixing coverage of breaking entertainment news with retrospective roundups of great moments from TV history. Looking for something to watch with your kids this Halloween? Check out her recent roundup of the best Halloween-themed TV episodes for kids.

Note: We’re currently accepting nominations for our October Best of AC Awards in the following categories: Personal Finance, Politics and Sports. Be sure to nominate your favorite publishers in those categories by posting in this forum thread or emailing community@associatedcontent.com.

Rising Stars

Be sure to check out all five of September's "Rising Stars"...

Kimberly Sharpe
Joshua Huffman
Missy Jess
KK Thornton
Peter L. Bosch

...and welcome them into the AC Community!

Post in this forum thread if you'd like to nominate any new Contributors for October's Rising Star Awards.

Congrats to all!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Enhanced Article Previews

Starting today, Associated Content is improving the "Preview" step in the article submission process by giving Contributors a more accurate look at how their content will appear once it's published on our site.

Our old submission process presented Contributors with a rough preview of their article text after it had already been published or submitted for review. Using the new system, you will now be see a realistic preview of your article, exactly as it will appear on AC – before it gets published or submitted.

This update allows you to:
See how your article will look once it's published, including the alignment around advertisements.
Preview images, takeaways, resources and other items attached to the article.
Proofread your article before sending it to us.

Click the thumbnail below for a preview of this new feature:


Important Note: This change also creates a new step in the publishing process. In the old submission process, content was submitted or published immediately following the "Add Image" step. From now on, you will now need to preview your content and click the "Submit" or "Publish: buttons underneath the content preview. Your content will not be published or reviewed by AC unless you complete this step. As always, you will be able to go back to edit your content by clicking "Make changes now."

What do you think about this update to the submission process? Once you’ve used it a few times, leave some feedback in the comments section of this blog post.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The AC Twitter Challenge

We're very excited to announce The Associated Content Twitter Challenge -- a great opportunity for AC Contributors to learn how to build relationships using the most talked-about social media tool on the Web and get a shot at winning one of six awesome prizes. Twitter, the ultimate "micro-blogging" platform, is a great way to broadcast your thoughts and connect with other users. Once you've built up a network of contacts, it can be a great way to share the best of the content you publish on AC.

The Twitter Challenge runs from today until October 15, 2009. Everyone who participates will be entered in a sweepstakes, and six lucky prize winners will be randomly selected on October 19th.

The grand prize winner will receive a brand new ASUS Eee PC Netbook Laptop - a perfect tool for writers on the go!



5 runners-up will get to choose between a $100 gift card to ThinkGeek.com (good for a whole bunch of geeky gear) or a "Laplearner" Lap Desk (another great tool for work-at-home writers).

You can enter the sweeps multiple times, by doing any of the following:

(1) Join Twitter.com (if you haven't already), follow the official Associated Content account (www.twitter.com/acnews) and "retweet" any of our AC Twitter Challenge contest announcements with this hashtag: #acsweeps. You can do this once a week for the duration of the contest for an additional entry.

(2) Join Twitter, follow Associated Content, and tweet a link to your favorite piece of your own AC content with this hashtag: #bestofac. You can do this once a week for the duration of the contest for an additional entry, choosing a different piece of favored content each time for an additional entry.

(3) Claim the “AC Twitter Challenge” assignment from your AC Assignment Desk before October 1, use Twitter for two weeks to build out a network and promote your content. Then, publish a summary of your experience.

By doing all of the above, you'll maximize your chances of winning and get a better sense of Twitter’s potential as a networking and promotional tool.

In the coming week, AC's content promoter and social media expert AC Jelena will be publishing guides to getting started on Twitter, building up your network and promoting your content in an authentic, ethical and engaging manner. Be sure to follow Jelena's AC profile so you'll be notified each time she publishes a new social media tutorial.

Click here to read the official rules for this contest. If you have any questions about the contest, include them in a comment to this post and we'll answer them.

Happy tweeting!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Hour with Content Promoter
AC Jelena

Next week, we’ll be hosting another Associated Content Happy Hour to introduce Jelena Woehr (aka AC Jelena), AC’s content promoter and social media expert. Jelena will be sharing her philosophy about social media participation, discussing its relevance to AC Contributors and answering social media questions from the community.

When:
Tuesday, 9/15
3pm - 4pm PDT / 6pm - 7pm EDT

Where:
We’ll be webcasting the live event via Ustream.tv. Simply log onto www.ustream.tv/channel/ac-happy-hour next Tuesday to join in (and be sure to RSVP in advance so you'll be notified when the webcast begins).

If there are social media topics you'd like to ask Jelena about during the Happy Hour, you can submit advance questions by commenting on this blog post. You'll also be able to ask questions during the event via Twitter (by tweeting to #achappyhour) or the AC Forum (by posting under General Discussions).

In the meantime, you might want to Follow Jelena on AC so that you’ll be notified each time she publishes a new promotion tutorial. The tips she shares will help you maximize the exposure, earnings and effectiveness of the content you publish.

RSVP for the Happy Hour

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

August Rising Star Award Winners

Our monthly Rising Star Awards recognize some of Associated Content's most promising new Contributors. Please help us in congratulating these five talented individuals, and welcoming them to the AC Community:

Jolynne M Hudnell writes about what she knows—and that's a lot. Her article topics range from parenting and health tips to crafting guides, all written from personal experience. She has earned over 20,000 page views in just over 3 months of publishing on AC.

Rachel de Carlos has lived all over Europe but now resides in California. Her content focuses mainly on life in Greece, Israel, London and Santa Barbara - a truly unique and worldly perspective on "local" content.

In just over two months, Roz Zurko has published 133 pieces of content, racked up nearly 60,000 page views and climbed to a Clout 8. Her content spans her many areas of interest, from arts & entertainment to health & wellness.

As a jewelry designer, Lorraine Yapps Cohen is able to provide readers a unique insight into gemstones, precious metals, jewelry settings and jewelry shopping. Her expertise over her subject matter is readily apparent in the content she publishes.

Drew Bush recently graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree. His content is informed by his studies, as well as his intimate knowledge of Nevada and interest in arts and entertainment. He has published over 130 pieces since joining AC in early June.

Congrats to all! Be sure to visit our Forum to start nominating your favorite AC up-and-comers for next month's awards!

Friday, September 4, 2009

August Best of AC Award Winners

We're very excited to announce the winners of Associated Content's August 2009 Best of AC Awards!

Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben is the winner of the award for Back to School Guides. This Clout 10, Top 100 Contributor has published nearly 1,000 pieces of content, including more than 300 in the Parenting & Education categories (where her experience as a mother and teacher really shines through). Check out her recent take on the importance of back to school eye exams.

Amy Brantley is the winner of our award for Food & Wine. Another prolific Clout 10, Top 100 Contributor, Amy has published more than 600 pieces of Food & Wine content in her 3 years on AC, including a handful of foodie reviews and how-to's in August. Be sure to check out her gourmet Halloween treat recipes.

Eric Brennan is the winner of our award for Home Improvement. After 15 years of working in the construction industry, this master craftsman has lots of DIY expertise to share with AC's visitors. He has climbed to Clout 10 on AC with over 300 published pieces, including lots of unique & highly-detailed Home Improvement guides. Check out his recent guide to building a simple birdhouse.

Congratulations to all three of these prolific and talented Contributors, and thanks to everyone who sent in nominations!

Looking ahead...

The categories for the September 2009 Best of AC Awards are Alternative Medicine, Fashion and Television.

If you'd like to draw attention to content you're publishing in any of these fields, or if you know of any other worthy Contributors you'd like to nominate for these awards, please do so here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Hour with AC's SEO Expert

Tomorrow evening, Associated Content will be hosting another "Happy Hour" discussion in the Forum, this time with our Director of Analytics & SEO, AC Miguel.

When: Wednesday, 8/26, 5pm EDT
Where: In the "General Discussions" section of the AC Forum

Miguel is AC's in-house SEO expert, and he'll be sharing some of his tips for creating highly-discoverable, search-friendly content for the Web. He'll also be responding to questions from the community.

If there are any particular topics you'd like for him to address tomorrow, leave a comment on this post. See you tomorrow in the Forum!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Category Pages

Later this week, Associated Content will be rolling out updated category pages with a sharp new design. Click the thumbnail below for a preview:


The new category design includes four automatically-rotating featured content slots, each with its own high-quality image. There's also a new spot that calls out some of the great Contributors from each section, including AC's Category Editors, topic experts and past award winners.

We hope these pages will draw even more attention to the highlights of the AC library and stand-out Contributors from the AC community!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Hour with AC's Legal Expert

Associated Content is hosting another "Happy Hour" discussion tomorrow evening in the AC Forum, and our General Counsel (AC Craig) will be showing up to answer legal questions from the community.

When: Tuesday, 8/11, 5pm EDT
Where: In the "General Discussions" section of the AC Forum

Craig oversees all AC legal matters, including our Terms of Use and our license agreements, as well as privacy and intellectual property issues. You can let us know in advance what topics you'd like for him to address by responding to this post.

We hope to see you at the Happy Hour!

July Best of AC Award Winners

Each month, Associated Content gives out three Best of AC Awards to Contributors publishing outstanding content in a diverse set of topics across the site.

We'd like to congratulate the talented winners of July's awards:

C. Chaning is the winner of the award for Music Reviews. He's a Clout 10, Top 100 Contributor as well as a Category Editor in Arts & Entertainment with hundreds of empassioned entertainment reviews under his belt.

Donna Daniels is the winner of our award for Pet Care.
In close to 3 years on AC, Donna has racked up more than a million page views by publishing over 1,600 pieces of content, including more than 75 pieces of pet and animal content in 2009 alone.

Simon Volkov is the winner of our award for Real Estate. Simon is a private investor and foreclosure specialist who has published nearly 100 AC articles about Real Estate, full of timely, expert advice for current and prospective homeowners.

Congratulations to all three of these prolific and talented Contributors, and thanks to the hundreds of the people who sent in nominations!

Looking ahead...

The categories for the August 2009 Best of AC Awards are Back to School Guides, Food & Wine and Home Improvement.

If you'd like to draw attention to content you're publishing in any of these fields, or if you know of any other worthy Sources you'd like to nominate for these awards, please email community@associatedcontent.com or post a reply in this forum thread.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pam Gaulin in First for Women magazine

It’s been a week full of press for some of Associated Content’s top Contributors. In addition to Christine Bude Nyholm and Robert Dougherty’s recent TV appearances (see below), AC superstar Pam Gaulin was recently interviewed by and featured in women’s lifestyle magazine First for Women.

Click the thumbnail below to enlarge:


The First for Women feature focuses on three tried-and-true methods that many work-at-home women have discovered for earning some extra cash online. It also highlights Pam’s remarkable success as an AC Contributor. Click here to view the article in its entirety.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Robert Dougherty on The Situation Room

News and commentary about the controversial “Obama Joker” posters are taking the Web by storm, and a diverse set of perspectives published on AC have been gaining traction. An Op-Ed by one of AC’s top News Contributors, Robert Dougherty, has been picked up by many sites, quoted extensively (see this instance by The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan) and it even captured the attention of producers from CNN’s The Situation Room.

Watch CNN’s coverage of the Obama Joker posters below, and look for Robert Dougherty’s contribution at the 1:25 mark:


Click here to read the article that sparked so much discussion. Click here to check out alternative perspectives from some of AC’s other top News Contributors, including Saul Relative and Mark Whittington.

All in all, it’s been a great week of press for AC Contributors. Check the AC Blog again tomorrow for more news on that front.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

July Rising Star Award Winners

This month we selected 5 great new Contributors who have shown potential to become AC superstars. Their well-written and researched content, dedication to the site, enthusiasm and ability to promote their content earned them this distinguished award.

July 2009’s winners are:

Shelly Barclay
Jeffrey Weeks
Tamara McRill
M.G. Hardiman
Anne Wright

Congratulations to the winners! You can read more about why these winners were chosen here.

Christine Bude Nyholm on the CBS Early Show

This morning, Associated Content Contributor Christine Bude Nyholm was featured on the CBS Early Show.

The show producers found Christine after reading her AC article, "Shop Around for Prescription Drugs: It Pays to Compare." The article is based on her personal experiences, and imparts crucial advice for prescription drug users who aren't fully covered by insurance.

Watch the CBS Early Show clip here:


Christine is one of AC's most successful Contributors, with more than 2,000 useful pieces of content, nearly 2.5 million page views and a Best of AC Award under her belt. We couldn't be more thrilled to see this stellar Contributor, and her sound advice, connecting with a new audience. You can read more of Christine's work here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy Hour with AC's CEO & President

Later today, Associated Content's CEO Patrick Keane and Founder/President Luke Beatty will appear in a live video address to the AC Community. They'll talk about their vision for the company, and answer questions from AC Contributors.

When:
Wednesday, 7/28
2pm - 3pm PDT / 5pm - 6pm EDT

Where:
We'll be hosting the event live via webcasting website Ustream.tv. Simply log onto www.ustream.tv/channel/ac-happy-hour to join in (and be sure to RSVP in advance so you'll be notified when the webcast begins).

Do you have questions for Patrick & Luke?

During the event, Twitter users can tweet questions with the hashtag #achappyhour. There will also be a thread in the AC Forum where you can post questions. We'll take the questions Patrick & Luke are best suited to answer and they'll address as many as they can before the hour is up.

We hope to see you there later today!

RSVP now

Monday, July 27, 2009

AC's New Contributor Banners

Associated Content is launching a new marketing campaign that highlights some of our expert Contributors and promising newcomers. We'll be running the ads pictured below, both on and off AC, to spread the word about the exposure and earning potential our platform affords.

Can you identify the AC superstars featured in the ad spots below? Click each image to enlarge.

1. 2.

3. 4.

5. 6.

7.

If you think you can match these cartoon portraits to the real-life AC Contributors, leave a comment to this post. The first commenter to guess all 7 correctly wins an AC tote bag, an AC notebook made from recycled material and a $20 “Wild Card” Assignment to create content on a topic of their choice. Sorry, the seven campaign stars aren’t eligible. (You know who you are!)

Have fun, and keep your eyes open for these brand new banners!

UPDATE: Sabah Karimi correctly identified all 7 AC Contributors. Congrats, Sabah!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Article Page Changes

As a part of our ongoing push to improve the visitor experience of Associated Content, we’ll be testing out a new article page layout starting later this week.

Here’s a preview of what the new layout will look like (click the image to enlarge):


You’ll notice two major changes:

First, we’re moving the top set of related content links into the article body, on top of the primary ad. Why? It’s a cleaner look that provides more encouragement for site visitors to continue exploring the AC library.

Second, we’re creating a space to highlight the article author at the bottom of each piece. Why? Our Contributors want to be seen, and our visitors want to know where the information they’re reading is coming from.

We’re expecting to launch these changes by the end of the week, so stay tuned...

In the meantime, be sure to update your bio and the rest of your AC profile. Very soon, it’ll be a lot more visible!

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Page View Report - Coming Soon

Many of you have requested more information about the traffic your content is receiving, and to that end, we’re happy to announce an exciting addition to the suite of reporting tools we offer.

In May, we launched the Daily Page View Report, enabling you to track your total number of page views, day to day. Starting next week, a brand new report will enable you to track your daily views on each individual piece of content. You’ll also see a graph for each piece, so that you can easily monitor its popularity over the previous two months.

Click on the thumbnail below for a sneak preview of this new report:


With more granular information about the traffic you’re receiving, you’ll be better able to observe trends and draw meaningful conclusions about the popularity of the topics you’re choosing. We hope this information will help you to become a better informed and more successful AC Contributor!

What other stats do you wish you had access to? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Monday, July 13, 2009

June Award Winners

We'd like to congratulate the winners of Associated Content's June awards.

Last month, our Best of AC Awards went to three relative newcomers, who have quickly distinguished themselves as experts in their respective fields by publishing lots of insightful content. Please join us in congratulating Nina Rotz (Web Technology), Rick Blaine (Summer Travel Guides) and James Hamel (Automotive)!

We'd also like your help in welcoming five awesome new publishers to the Associated Content community: prolific student writer Josh Tuilano, automotive enthusiat Serge Pupko, expert researcher Eleanthe Anderson, and two writers that have already become prominent members of the community, Jan Peterson and Han van Meegerin! Each of these talented individuals was honored with one of June's Best New Source awards.

Note: The Best New Source awards will be known as "Rising Stars" moving forward, and we'll be giving out five every month, rather than three!

Now it's time to start nominating some of your favorite new and veteran AC publishers for July's awards. The Best of AC categories are Music Reviews, Pet Care and Real Estate. Send us your Best of AC and Rising Star nominations by email to community@associatedcontent.com or post them in the AC Forum.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Health & Wellness Content Drive

Associated Content is hosting a Health & Wellness content drive!

Health & Wellness content has always performed well on AC – there are lots of people searching for health tips and most health advice is evergreen. From now until the end of July, each Health & Wellness article published on AC enters its author in sweepstakes, with a chance to win a Nintendo Wii Fit or one of two Fitbit Trackers. We hope that you’ll use this opportunity to build your own library of useful, search engine-optimized Health & Wellness content.

Here are the details of the sweepstakes:

-The contest runs today through July 31.
-Every article you publish in the Health and Wellness category counts as an entry (limit 12 entries per person).
-On August 11, one grand prize winner will be selected to receive a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit package, including balance board. Two runners up will each receive a Fitbit Tracker.
-Read the official rules here.

Need some ideas to get started? Try publishing:

-Guides to shaping up for summer
-Your personal experience dealing with illness
-Coverage of hot topics in the health world
-Reviews of weight loss products
-Tips for keeping your kids happy & healthy

Good luck and happy publishing!

Monday, July 6, 2009

AC is Evolving

Earlier this year, we introduced the term Source into the Associated Content vocabulary as a new way to describe the individuals who publish content on AC. Since then, feedback we've collected from our visitors and community has indicated that our use of the term is confusing. So, we gathered suggestions for alternative names and now we're going to make another change.

From now on, AC will proudly refer to our publishers as Contributors. It’s a simple change, but one that we hope will give each individual a better sense of ownership over the content they create, and give our visitors a clear sense of what AC is all about. In the weeks ahead, you can expect to see us phasing out Source while we bring Contributor to the fore.

But that’s not the only way in which AC is evolving.

In May, we made some significant changes to our home page. Now we’re going to start experimenting with alternative home page layouts to determine how best to encourage visitors to explore the AC library. You should know that this is a process we take seriously. All of our decisions are guided by the data we collect from visitor interactions with the site, and we’ll continue to tweak things as we analyze the results of each change.

Click on the thumbnails below to see previews of just two of many possible arrangements.



This is only the beginning. In the weeks and months ahead, you’ll be seeing even more changes, some minor and some major, in other areas of the site. Why are we doing this? To improve the visitor experience. The library that you’ve created is wealth of useful information. We want to present it in the best possible way, while encouraging visitors to dive deeper and come back for more – increasing page views and putting extra money in your pocket!

Thanks to AC’s many talented Contributors! Stay tuned for exciting new experiments!