Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Wrapping Up 2008 With Associated Content

As the year draws to a close, we here at Associated Content would like to take a minute to review the highlights of 2008. It's been a year of tremendous growth and change for us and we are primed to make 2009 even better.

The AC Blog was revived.
Our CPs produced stellar coverage of the Presidential election and the political frenzy that stretched from early '08 through November.
We expanded into other social networks like Twitter, Ning, Facebook and Linkedin. Look for more developments in 2009.
AC launched a really cool Facebook Portal.
We hit an all-time high of 8.2 million uniques in October.
We topped 200,000 registered Content Producers.
Associated Content paid out $1 million to our CPs this year.
We previewed a redesign in early December that goes live today!

This has been an exciting year, but also one of great turmoil in the U.S. and world financial systems. Traditional media organizations are struggling, and layoff numbers are still rising, but Associated Content is still providing an opportunity for anyone to earn money when they publish with us. We're confident that we have a chance to thrive as more and more people discover what they can do with us.

We're especially grateful for you, our Content Producers. We're glad that you're here, showcasing your talents on our site, and we're working hard to make it the best place for you to publish and spend your time.

Cheers to a whole new year together!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Associated Content's Redesign Goes Live on Tuesday

Associated Content's new look, which has been in previews for most of the month of December, will launch in full on Tuesday, December 30th. After tomorrow, all site visitors will experience in full the new look of AC.

We received tons of feedback during the previews and we truly appreciate your ideas and insights. Keep in mind that we designed the new Associated Content with the goal of making it more dynamic, professional, easier to use and more attractive to visitors and advertisers. The advertiser part is especially important, since ads on the site are how we are able to pay you for your articles, photos and video.

After the redesign launches we will continue to monitor site traffic closely, and make gradual refinements in order to maximize the exposure and earning potential for your content. Associated Content's success is directly related to that of our awesome Content Producers, so we are pursuing the best results for everyone.

If you notice any new issues moving forward, please report them by sending a message to admin[at] associatedcontent.com directly. We'll be fixing them as quickly as possible.

Finally, a sincere thanks for everything you’ve done to make 2008 a year of unprecedented growth for Associated Content. It's been exciting, and everyone here at AC is looking forward to an even more productive and successful 2009.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Previews of AC's New Look

Merry Christmas! Last night we unveiled another round of previews for the remainder of the site. Associated Content's new look is nearing completion, and now logged in CPs are able to see the publish pages and the Community section (including the ever-active Forum) in the swanky new gray and blue color theme. Every page of the site is now available to be previewed with the toggle feature.

There is new navigation and other things to explore, so click on that blue bar at the top of yourscreen to toggle to AC's new look and let us know what you think! There's a thread in the Forum here and you should email admin at associatedcontent.com if you come across any issues that we need to be notified about.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Associated Content on Dataopedia.com

Dataopedia is a new web service that provides comprehensive information about "websites available on the Internet."

Wishy washy name notwithstanding, this KillerStartups-owned site is pretty neat. They aggregate information about websites from several sources on the web and would like to be a one stop shop for web company data (profiles, traffic, boards of directors, the works). There is an article on them at Techcrunch right now.

Associated Content is on there. You should go check out our profile here: http://dataopedia.com/associatedcontent-com. They've captured the old AC look (before the redesign) so I'm looking into having it updated to reflect the new look (like the blog!) but it's otherwise a really cool site.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Associated Content Miscellany

There's a December sweepstakes running at Associated Content. You've probably seen a message about it but as a reminder, AC is giving away 2 ipods per week just for publishing content for upfront payment. If you've already done that this month, you've been automatically entered to win. If you haven't, you've still got time. Full contest rules available here. Winners of the first two ipods will be announced shortly.

This article was linked to from the December Geico Connection newsletter. This goes out to all Geico subscribers, so kudos on all of those pageviews, Alicia Bodine!

Our sweet, successful and funny CP Kelly S. has an interview with me on her blog, the AC Content Producers spotlight right now.

Do you follow AC on Twitter? You should! We're http://twitter.com/acnews and we'd love to follow you, too. Hit us up.

What else would you like to see here on the AC Blog in the new year? More AC employees? Content Producer guest bloggers? More featured CPs? Comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Falling Into the Holidays with Associated Content

The middle of December feels like it came really fast, but here we are, 5 days before the start of Hanukkah and 10 days before Christmas. Ready yet? AC can help.

As with many holidays, there is a plethora of great stuff about the season on Associated Content. From decorating to shopping to cooking, our CPs have it all covered. "Green" Christmas decorations? Check. Shopping on a budget? Check. Eggnog recipe? Check. We're got everything!

I asked the Content Team for some highlights to share with AC blog readers. With so much to choose from it was tough for them to narrow it down, but they came through with some useful and entertaining selections:

Survive Celebrating Both Christmas and Hanukkah in One Season by Jennifer Claerr.

White Elephant Gift Ideas to Make You a Christmas Party Hit by Mike DeNicola.

Add a Charity to Your Christmas List
by PennyB.

Five Kwanzaa Gifts for Your Parents Under $50 by Nannette Campbell.

How to Make Your Own Kwanzaa Mkeka by Emma Gin

Cheap Christmas Gifts During an Economic Recession by Sherry W.

There are so many more. I'm off to search AC for advice on what to buy my brother this year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Associated Content Going Strong

Approaching the end of 2008, the news around the media industry has been uniformly dismal.

National media companies are getting the most attention. Just this week, the Tribune Co. moved into bankruptcy, the New York Times borrowed money against its new headquarters, Gannett's newspapers may be lowering their home deliveries and CBS merged CBSnews.com and CNET in a move that will be accompanied by layoffs.

Many places online aren't making out much better. Layoffs at Yahoo and ongoing cuts at Gawker Media made big waves recently. Even the dynamic Blogher organization announced that they'll be lowering their rev share program for their affiliated bloggers by 10% in the beginning of 2009.

I've got to toot Associated Content's horn for a minute here. We've made record payouts to record numbers of Content Producers for the past 3 months. We will pay out $1 million to our CPs by the end of 2009. Where other media companies are laying off workers, we're "hiring" new ones every day. The number of opportunities on AC are only increasing and we're pretty proud of that fact in a time when many media organizations are more focused on survival than growth.

Our Content Producers are a big part of that success and we're thrilled with your work so far this year. Keep it up, and 2009 should be even better than 2008.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Collected Feedback About the Associated Content Redesign Preview

The preview of AC's redesign has been up for a few days and our community has been very vocal in sharing their pleasure and their concerns, in almost equal measure.

The Forum has been buzzing. Michelle L. Devon's thread, started just moments after the preview went live, has passed 150 posts and is still going strong. Check it out here and add your two cents.

Please remember, bug reports and similar issues are best sent to community [at] associatedcontent [dot] com rather than just stated in the Forum. It's an organized and efficient way for us to process everything.

We've gotten lots of private messages and emails, too. With the authors' permission, I have put a few of the happy reactions below.

Aly Adair's
was the first and possibly the most enthusiastic response. "I LOVE THE NEW LOOK! The content pages and profile pages look SO much more professional and more like other popular media sites. WHAT A GREAT JOB you all did on this!!

CP Ashley said that she likes the way her homepage looks, and L.L. called the design "crisp and professional."

Cathy, a relatively new AC-er, said "I haven't been here very long, but I plan on becoming an up and coming Content Producer and I love the change!"
Work it, Cathy!

And, finally, Michael wrote and gave props to the design and engineering teams at AC, "Whoever did the design needs a raise for this effort." Are you listening, management?

I could go on, but you get the gist of the communication that we've had thus far regarding Associated Content's new look.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Insider's Preview of Associated Content's New Look!

The preview of Associated Content's redesign is currently available to all (but only) registered Content Producers. Have I mentioned that we're thrilled and excited?

When you land on your account page tonight you'll see a blue bar on top of the screen that says "New look for this page coming in 2009" and a blue bar below the "My Information" bucket on the right side of your account page. Click on it!

This preview will be up for the next couple of weeks and registered users be able to toggle back and forth between the classic AC and the new look.

Highlights of the redesign include:
  • Improved home page and site navigation
  • Newly designed content pages
  • Enhanced CP profiles with content filters
  • Engaging content channels with a new "CP Spotlight"
  • New custom content widgets and social bookmarking features that make it easier than ever to share AC content all over the Web
I spoke with Leonardo De La Rocha, AC's VP of Creative about the new design. He says, "I’m particularly excited with the overall look and feel of the new site! The redesign will offer a more polished, professional and inviting presentation that speaks to how Associated Content has become a “grown up” media site."

Take the next couple of weeks to play around and get familiar with the new look and navigation on AC. Provide feedback or report any problems you experience by emailing community@associatedcontent.com and, of course, post here and let me know how you feel.

Finally, please join me in thanking everyone at AC who has been (and still are) working tirelessly to make this happen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spotlight On Content Producers in Alaska

Alaska has gotten quite a bit of attention recently, what with a few Alaskan politicians making the national news on a regular basis. It got me wondering how many of Associated Content's CPs are based in our northernmost state and what they're writing about. There are currently 21 registered Content Producers who claim AK as their home. Below are 4 of the standouts.

Busy CP Clever Shopper lives in Eagle River, AK. From there, she writes lots of informative reviews of beauty products and grocery items.

Unwirklich Vin Zant, living in Soldotna, AK. I looked on a map to see where Soldotna is. Just outside of the giant Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, it looks like a beautiful place. Unwirklich writes product reviews and advice on pregnancy and motherhood. She takes many of the photos that accompany her articles herself.

Jake S is an Anchorage resident who joined AC in September. His content is largely Alaska-centric and will make you want to visit. Personally, I'll wait for spring...

Jacks Twins lives at Elemendorf AFB, AK. A mother to young twins as well as "a veteran, an athlete and a college graduate", she writes about parenting and family topics with a dash of fitness and health. Cute baby pics accompany her articles.

For more on activities in AK read Randy Godwin's "Alaska Hunting Trip Information" and Jill Veskco's "Fly Fishing in Alaska."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Best of AC Awards-November Winners

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

The winners of AC's November awards are:

Shannon Lausch for College Preparation. Shannon joined AC in October and has been writing fantastic articles since then. Stop by and welcome her to the community!

R. M. Dubuc for Shopping Guides. R.M. is a longtime CP with a ton of great content who really turned it on for the holiday shopping season. Hop over to her profile for advice that'll save you time and money this month.

Pam Gaulin for Winter Holidays. Pam needs no introduction, she's one of Associated Content's most talented and prolific writers and her Winter Holidays coverage is guaranteed to get you in a holiday mood.

Go read their work and congratulate them!

The categories for the December Best of AC Awards are Technology Reviews, Winter Travel Guides and Religion & Spirituality. 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 CPs you'd like to nominate for these awards, please do so here in the Forum.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Town Hall This Wednesday on Custom Content Opportunities

Associated Content's next Town Hall on Custom Content is tomorrow, December 3, at 8:00 pm EST.

You may know that Associated Content works with other companies to provide custom content for their websites. This content is written by Content Producers who write well and oftentimes have a background in the area that the partner has requested. These opportunities pay well, but AC also expects more from the CP in terms of writing quality, research and time.

If you are interested in learning more about custom content, attend this Town Hall for an overview and to learn how you can apply to be part of our partner-writing pool of CPs. You can sign up here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another Peek at Associated Content's New Look

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend.

The full preview of Associated Content's redesign will be available very soon. In the mean time, since everyone is eager to see more, here is a look at the Content Producer profile page. Click on the image to see a larger version.

The 2008 People's Media Awards from Associated Content

Courtesy of AC_Lisa

We are excited to announce the categories for the 2008 People's Media Awards - Associated Content's 3rd annual awards program, which recognizes and rewards the achievements of some of the most exceptional content and Content Producers on AC.

Please help us out by nominating worthy recipients in the Forum. All winners will be chosen by AC staff with input from our community of CPs. We'll be collecting nominations throughout December and announcing the winners in January 2009.

Content Producer of the Year

Prize: $2000

Criteria: A prolific and gifted Content Producer who published outstanding content and reached a wide audience in 2008.

Past winners: Pam Gaulin (2007) and Timothy Sexton (2006).

Post your nominations here.

Articles of the Year

Prize: 3 winners; $500 each

Criteria: Insightful, unique and poignant content published on AC in 2008. Display Only content is not eligible.

Last year's winners: Michelle Devon, Rosa Hayes and Jean Riva.

Post your nominations here.

News CP of the Year

Prize: $500

Criteria: A prolific and plugged-in CP who supplied AC readers with a year's worth of professional and topical news content.

Post your nominations here.

Videographer of the Year

Prize: $500

Criteria: A CP who published striking, original video content in 2008.

Post your nominations here.

Audiocaster of the Year

Prize: $500

Criteria: A CP who published striking, original audio content in 2008.

Post your nominations here.

Top Performing Content

Prize: 3 winners; $100 each

Criteria: This award provides a special bonus to the authors of three pieces of content that received large amounts of traffic in 2008. Winners will be determined based on 2008 page-view data.

We'll be collecting and reviewing nominees throughout December and announcing the winners in January 2009, so start nominating your favorites CPs and pieces of content!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Are You Ready for Thanksgiving?

Programming Director AC_TimK pulled together some pre-Turkey Day articles on Associated Content to help you save time and money this week.

Our CPs are always a fantastic source of info around the holidays, and with a couple days until Thanksgiving we've got plenty of great articles to get you through all the cooking and shopping worries popping up.

It's easy for Thanksgiving groceries to add up in a hurry--especially once you start getting everyone's favorite side dish or dessert. Suzzette Parchman, one of our newer CPs, presents her Ten Ways to Save on Thanksgiving Groceries, which is full of fantastic advice for those of us looking to keep a few extra bucks in our wallets at the grocery store.

Speaking of saving, Black Friday is up right after Thanksgiving, and it's best to be totally prepared before heading to the mall to do battle for the best bargains. Thanks to Carolyn Foster, there's a ready-made "Plan of Attack" with over 30 great tips to make sure you don't get beaten out for the best deals.

And for those who don't want to fight the crowds, Elizabeth Eng rounds up some of the best online shopping sites for this year's season to help with getting around Black Friday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sneak Peek at Associated Content's New Look

Last Friday's post announced a new look in the works for Associated Content. I'm thrilled to be able to offer AC Blog readers the first sneak peek at AC's sleek new design. Click on the image below to see a larger version of this article page in a new window.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Audio Producers You Should be Listening to

With so many talented people writing text articles for AC it is easy to get caught up in reading. But remember, there are people posting great photo slideshows and videos and, for today's feature, audio content on Associated Content. The three CPs below are posting excellent original audio work on AC, so stop by and listen to what they're talking and singing about.

On the musical front, VA resident Barth Wooster has published songs from unreleased albums by the band Benvolio. They're lovely, wistful songs that feature excellent piano work and would be a thrill to hear live.

Singer-songwriter Linda Knutson is another VA resident with great musical content on Associated Content. In addition to her poetry, she's published 6 songs where the sensitive (and sometimes funny) lyrics are accompanied by an acoustic guitar.

Dangerous Lee is the host of a humorous talk radio show based in MI. A woman of many talents, Dangerous Lee does interviews, reviews, thought pieces and on-location segments. She's also a humor advice columnist, author, actress and activist. Its a wonder she has time to sleep at night.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Associated Content's Big Announcement

There was a little tease about this posted here on the AC Blog earlier in the week, and here is the official announcement:

Everyone at Associated Content has been working hard on a major update to the look of the site. We expect the new look to do great things for usability. Highlights include a more professional appearance that will appeal to visitors, functional improvements to article pages and enhanced Content Producer profiles.

Logged-in CPs will get to preview all the major updates by December 1st, and the official re-launch will happen at the beginning of 2009.

We're very excited about the update and are certain that you will be, too!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Nominations, This Time the Crunchies

Good morning, AC Blog readers. It is award season in the online and tech industry (sort of like late winter for the film industry), which means more nominations.

GigaOm, TechCrunch, VentureBeat and Silicon Alley Insider are currently sponsoring The Crunchies, an annual competition to recognize and celebrate compelling internet and technology innovations in a given year.

Please show your enthusiasm for Associated Content and nominate us in both of the following categories (only one nomination per IP address per day, please):

Best Mobile (we have a great mobile platform, if you've ever browsed it from your BlackBerry or iPhone)

Best Time Sink Site (needs no explanation)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Associated Content on CWHAM.com's Radio Show

Lisa, Associated Content's VP of Community, was recently a guest on the Christian Work at Home Mom (CWHAM) Blog Talk Radio show.

CWHAM is a community that provides resources to help women find great work at home careers and to help moms market their home businesses. You can check them out here:

Lisa had a great time chatting with Diana and Jill, the two friendly hostesses, about how AC is a fantastic resource for people who work from home. They were excited about Associated Content and we hope that their listeners will share their enthusiasm.
Head over to CWHAM's site and see what they've got to offer!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Best of AC Awards October Winners and a Special Announcement

Associated Content recently announced the October winners of our Best of AC Awards - a series of monthly contests that reward CPs publishing extraordinary content in a wide range of categories across the site. This post comes a little late, but these Content Producers are too good not to be highlighted by the AC Blog for their accomplishments.

The winners of October's Best of AC Awards awards:

Sylvia Cochran won for her stellar and tireless Election Coverage. Read her "election postmortem" for what we can all expect after the marathon election process.

Lee Andrew Henderson was awarded for best Sports Coverage. Basketball fans should check out his analysis of the Alan Iverson/Chauncey Billups trade.

A. Hermitt published the best Personal Finance coverage during the month of October. Read here to learn why it is always a good idea to set aside money for emergencies, even in a time where we seemingly live on credit.

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

Finally, the announcement: AC's Design Team is very excited to share the news that a site redesign is coming soon! Within the next few weeks you'll see a launch in beta of a fantastic new look for Associated Content. We're all thrilled about it and we're sure that you'll be wowed, too. More on this soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Town Hall This Wednesday on Creative Writing

Attention, Creative Writers. This week's Town Hall is for you!

On Wednesday, November 19 at8:00 pm EST, Content Manager James Kerley will be leading a discussion of creative writing for Associated Content. If you haven't taken the time to explore the ACCW section, click through to view some featured selections.

James, a recent recipient of a Master's in Fine Art for Creative Writing and a member of the editorial staff for many literary journals, will talk about some of AC's Creative Writing contests and the opportunities for feedback on your creative writing.

This Town Hall is a must for anyone who enjoys writing creatively and wants to share their work with the AC community. Click here to sign up for Wednesday's Town Hall.

Friday, November 14, 2008

November's Best of AC Awards are Open

It's that time again! Let Associated Content know who is producing excellent content on any of the topics below. You can even nominate yourself.

For the month of November, we'll be giving out Best of AC Awards to CPs producing extraordinary content in each of these categories:

Shopping Guides
College Preparation
Winter Holidays

Full details on the Best of AC Awards can be found here. If you would like to nominate yourself or another worthy CP for consideration in any of these categories, please visit the nominations thread in the forum.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nominate Associated Content in Mashable's Open Web Awards

Like Associated Content? Think that others would be interested in learning about AC, too?
Then please take a minute and head over to Mashable to nominate us for their Open Web Awards. The whole url is here: http://mashable.com/openwebawards/home/
Please nominate us for "Social News" or "How To" categories.

In their own words, the contest is "the only multilingual international online voting competition that covers major innovations in web technology." Associated Content's proprietary technology that determines the value of your content, pays you accordingly and enables you to earn from publishing it with us is certainly innovative enough to warrant a quick nomination trip to Mashable.

Nominations will be held from November 5th till November 16th 2008 and the voting rounds will be held from November 19th till December 15th. I'll ask for your votes once nominations have ended.

Vote for AC!

More Love for the Associated Content Portal on Facebook

After Monday's announcement of the AC Portal, people have been adding it to their Facebook profiles like crazy. As of Wednesday night, 700 of AC's Friends had added the app.

We're starting to hear people talk about it outside of Facebook and official AC forums, too. Yesterday the Top Ten Tech Web Tips blog posted about the AC Portal. They said that we are, "A good example of a company that gets it, AC continues to grow, and might just one day eclipse some old world media companies if they can keep riding this wave…"

Darn right. The blog post about the Facebook app is just below or you can click here to read it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Announcing the new AC Portal on Facebook

As promised, the new Associated Content Facebook application launched last week. The Associated Content Portal is an excellent way for Content Producers who are on Facebook to promote their content within the world's most popular social network.

Below is a walk through of all of the functions of the AC Portal on Facebook. Pay attention, because this is far more useful than throwing a sheep.

If you're already on Facebook, you can add the AC Portal by following this link.

If you aren't a member of Facebook, consider joining as a way to connect with friends, family and colleagues. Your teenager might not want to "friend" you but don't let that put you off from this fun and useful tool.

Once you've installed the application, go to this article by AC_Darnell for instructions on getting started. Make sure that you complete all of the steps.

What does the Associated Content Portal on Facebook do? I'm so glad that you asked.
  • It enables you to share content with your Facebook friends. Think of how this will help your page views!
  • It allows you to generate a content widget. The widget will appear in your Facebook profile. You control what content you share with the world. This widget shows your Associated Content byline and links to your profile page back on AC.
  • The AC Portal displays a feed featuring up to 200 pieces of your published content including the publish date, links to the articles and the estimated page views for each piece.
  • Privately, the Portal displays relevant information (only visible to you) about your Associated Content account. You can see how many messages you have in your inbox, your Clout Level, estimated performance payments, the full list of new Calls for Content™ and what's happening in the forum.
  • Finally, you can invite your Facebook friends to join Associated Content and increase your number of referrals.

The AC Portal is very easy to install and will be a great promotional tool for Content Producers. If you're not already a member of the AC Facebook group click here to join. Looking forward to seeing you on there.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thank you for the Super Political Coverage

If you visited Associated Content on Election Day, you probably noticed that the home was page lit up with original political coverage from our Content Producers.

We had up-to-the minute coverage from many talented CPs who were filing updates throughout the day and evening of the election. It was an excellent showcase for Associated Content's depth, timeliness and commitment to providing a platform of unique perspective. And of course for the talents of our contributors!

Tim Skillern, AC's intrepid News Director, was responsible for much of the programming. Yesterday he published an article called "AC's 2008 Homepage Election Coverage: 36 Hours of Analysis, Reports, Predictions and Fun" to showcase the 9 Content Producers who made up Associated Content's homepage election coverage team. These folks wrote in 10 shifts starting early on Tuesday and wrapped up late on Wednesday. They covered all types of news, both national and local, and did a stellar job with the breadth and quality of their reporting.

Thank you CPs who contributed to AC's election coverage and thank you Tim for your tireless efforts! Get ready for the inauguration in January.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Town Hall Tonight and October's Best New Content Producers

Welcome to a post-election world, Associated Content blog followers. Now that most of the results are in, there will be more time to focus on other things, like getting page view numbers up and earning extra $$ before the holidays! There are a few news items on tap tonight.

First is a Town Hall. Tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 5th at 8:00 pm ET, Content Manager Gina Foianini is leading a session on Tips for New Content Producers. Gina will cover tips and tricks on Associated Content that all new Content Producers should be aware of. She will also discuss topics like citing sources, what qualifies for Upfront Payment and how to find good topics as a beginner with Associated Content.

If you're a new CP this is a must-attend event and if you're a more experienced CP this is a great refresher course. Click here to sign up.

Next order of business are October's Best New Content Producers! Please join me in congratulating the following people on their exemplary start at Associated Content.

T. S. Aschenge
is a freelance writer in Atlanta, GA who writes fascinating articles on food, cooking and the life of a chef. Check out the intriguingly titled "Secret Life of Vinaigrettes."

Next is Texan Heather Belle, who is a font of wedding planning advice. She also publishes informative restaurant and product reviews. Read "Surviving a Difficult Economy as Newlyweds" for some indispensable wisdom.

Last but not least is Jennifer Wagner. A resident of Jacksonville, NC, Jennifer is already a Clout 4 after a month of writing articles on parenting, pets and even a few recipes. Get inspired to bake a seasonal treat when you read her pumpkin roll recipe.

Well done, Best New CPs! Welcome to Associated Content and keep up the good work.

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 TeethRemoval.com, 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 TheUnJob.com 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!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Learn to Write Better Titles at Associated Content's Town Hall on Wednesday

(Hint #1: Don't make them as long as that title. I definitely need attend this Town Hall)

The next AC Town Hall: "Title Writing for Associated Content" Register here.

Wednesday October 1 at 6:00 pm EST, join Join AC's Lead Content Manager, Valerie Singleton, as she gives tips and tricks for writing solid, informative titles that will help your content perform on Associated Content. Valerie will teach you to properly use keywords and search terms within your titles to increase exposure of your content.

Attending the Town Hall and following Valerie's wise advice will help draw more readers to your content, thereby upping your page views and making you a happy CP. We like happy CPs.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Winners of the Obama-McCain Political Haiku Contest

Thank you to everyone who participated in the political haiku writing contest that AC ran recently. We had a huge number of submissions, and so many were so good that it was tough to settle on the winners.

Should these inspire you, a political limerick contest will be announced in October and we'll be looking for Halloween-related creative writing as well. Please send your congratulations to the Content Producers below!

Lenora Murdock is the creator of the winning Pro-McCain haikus:
Oh say, can you see
Bright futures for you and me?
Truth. Pride. Liberty.

These perilous times:
War, hate, economy, crime,
Young troops on the line.

Victory, valor,
Pride, strength, peace, justice, honor
We need this hour.

Raise star-spangled squall.
McCain and Palin for all!
We, the people, call.

Shawn Struck is the Pro-Obama haiku winner (he wrote about Sarah Palin):
Moose feast happily
On Alaskan tundra moss.
Bang! Goes Palin's gun.

On-the-job training
is best for learning new things.
At least, we hope so.

She compared herself
to dumb dog, takes offense when
compared to bright pig?

Mommy! Hunts a moose!:
When I think of leadership,
those two top my list.

Bridges to nowhere
Ain't really that ambitious:
How 'bout hockey rinks?

Cops over budget?
Just use Palin's solution:
Rape kits now cost you!

Finally, the independent or third party winner is Justice Lives Not with "Obama McCain's Crazy Train":
Obama McCain
Just like Pinky and the Brain
They want to RULE us

Ain't it such a shame?
Are they evil or insane?
Trying to FOOL us

To them it's a game
Both guys claim to feel our pain
Attempt to COOL us

Feel the budget strain
Flush more money down the drain
Fleece and DE-WOOL us

Obama McCain
The destination's the same
Downward they'll PULL us!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday's Featured Content: McCain Has a Goldfish

Looks like the debate is on for tonight! As an appetizer, I thought you might enjoy this funny bit from wbva3fan (aka Gustevson Gornadi), resident of Harrisburg, PA, called "McCain Has a Goldfish."

In a style similar to George Saunders's humor for the New Yorker, wbva3fan writes facts about Senator McCain that you probably already know, like how he is "part of the government" and "wears a suit."But he adds details that you may not be so well acquainted with, such as how McCain has three pet goldfish that he sings to but has not named. Head to wbva3fan's CP page for other articles including "Hillary Clinton is Nice" and "Bush and Cheney are Nice."

It wouldn't be fair to laugh at only one presidential candidate so check out Angela Coleman's roundup of "Best Video Political Parodies of Barack Obama."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Associated Content and Your Office Fitness

Quite a few employees in AC's Denver and NYC offices sit on big exercise balls instead of desk chairs for at least part of their day. Its a small but effective change that makes the ball-sitters less passive as they inhabit their desk and stare at a computer screen for long periods of time. Its also highly entertaining to watch your colleagues bounce up and down slightly as they furiously type away.

Office fitness (or "home office fitness", or simply "desk fitness") is an important issue for Content Producers. Many of you use computers fairly constantly, and as a result are susceptible to all of the afflictions that the lifestyle is accompanied by. I've cribbed a few suggestions from AC articles (with links to the originals) in the hopes of inspiring you (and myself) to be more active in your daily office routine.

The first and easiest is to simply make sure that you get up and move around frequently. A general rule of thumb is to get up at least once every 30 min and move around. Instead of emailing a coworker, go and have a conversation in person. Make a coffee run for your office mates. Simply stand up and stretch--you'll get used to the odd looks from cube mates soon enough.

While you're sitting, clench different muscle groups for 10 seconds at a time. Start with your abs, then move to your glutes and finally your thighs. Repeat 3 times each. This is good for airplanes, too. Sometimes they're called Deskercises, which is just so cute.

Rest your eyes. Your eyes tire out while you stare a computer screen for long periods of time and deserve some attention, too. Close your eyes for 1 minute every half hour and use it as a time to mentally regroup. Or just count that stroll around the office every 30 min as your eye break.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What has Associated Content Led to for You?

Every so often we hear stories from Content Producers who have connected with other opportunities because of their work on AC. Freelance writers find gigs when editors read their articles, news outlets pick up their stories, or, in some exceptional cases, get called to appear on national television.

Kelly Spies asked in a forum thread for stories like these in early August and has gotten some excellent examples of AC success stories in the past weeks. Head over to read inspiring posts about pieces getting picked up by CNN, ESPN, the Washington Post and more.

We know that there are more out there! Come on, reluctant sharers, I can think of many CPs who have gotten hooked up with freelance work or have been highlighted by outside media because of their work that originated on AC.

We're gathering your AC success stories on a single page. I'll link from the blog once it has been assembled.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How to Write Code Tutorials on Associated Content

Today's guest post is from our Tech team. The plan was to post an abbreviated version of Sr. Software Engineer Mike S's article on "Demonstrating HTML and Other Code Samples on AC and Elsewhere" but, funnily enough, I ran into some HTML issues with Blogger (it wasn't crazy about the HTML examples that were in the article) so I've created a condensed version and encourage you to go to the main article if you're interested in learning more.

Writing coding tutorials on AC is pretty simple, once you understand a of HTML basics such as the "pre"(in this article, " equals < for display purposes) HTML tag and ASCII encoding. These concepts apply to writing code tutorials outside of AC, if you are able to publish bare HTML. You can use this tutorial to publish help tips on any language, from HTML and JavaScript to PHP, Peri or Python.

Mike explains the HTML "pre" tag and its significance and takes a brief look at ASCII Encoding. He wraps up with a few samples of how to write code samples on AC and provides some simple examples to go along with his instruction. It's a useful article for anyone who has run into difficulty while writing code tutorials on Associated Content.

If you'd like to read the full article on Associated Content and get the unadulterated benefit of Mike's coding knowledge, click here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday's Featured Content: Pirate Mania!

It was too hard to resist, what with it being Talk Like A Pirate Day and a beautiful, sunny Friday. Pirates became all the rage a few years ago following Johnny Depp's charismatic turn as Capt. Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean and with Halloween approaching the pirate trend is picking up again.

There is a treasure chest full of pirate-related content on Associated Content. Below are a few articles that are noteworthy for their creative takes on the pirate phenomenon:
  • Mary Lewis recently published an article about throwing a pirate-themed party for Seniors in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Her suggestions could easily translate to a party in a school or at home.
  • JA Huber briefs readers on the origins of Talk Like a Pirate Day. We have humorist Dave Barry to thank.
  • Finally, for those who like a little history with their silly holidays, Mike A published a lengthy comparison of Sir Francis Drake and Blackbeard that highlights, among other things, religion, seafaring techniques and drinking on the high seas.
I'd like to close out with a joke from piratejokes.net:
What is a pirate's favorite type of music?
Arrr & B

Ease the Pain of the Current Financial Crisis

Things are bad. Probably even worse than I can wrap my head around since nothing but bad news has been coming from Wall Street this week. The economy is in a slump, gas prices are high, the job market is shrinking...the list goes on.

But not everything is terrible! Things are still moving right along at Associated Content. Our CPs are working hard to supplement their incomes on AC. By answering calls for content and frequently submitting new video, text, and audio recordings, our busiest CPs are easing the strain on their bank accounts. If you're looking to up your earning, now is the time to join the ranks of our especially savvy CPs by taking extra steps to ensure that your content is optimized for search (SEO) so that your articles gather a lot of page views. Promote your content! Put links to your AC profile on your Facebook, Squidoo, Myspace, Twitter and other social network sites.

We have lots of lessons on how to optimize your earning potential in the Tutorials section of the Forum. If you have specific questions please post them in there, your fellow CPs are full of great advice and are always happy to help out. Hang tough through the bad news this week and keep working hard.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Guest Post: AC's Operations Dept

Occasionally you'll see posts on here from different departments at AC. This one is from Reagan in Associated Content HR:

AC is growing
'08 has brought many more
AC rocks and rolls

Inundated with
Resumes and interviews
Yeah - keep 'em coming

Denver was our start
AC New York leads our growth
Must be the water

Content Producers
Are the reasons we are here
Oh, and Luke Beatty

(How do you like my first shot at writing Haiku? I think I could use some practice. Why don't you try your hand at Political Haiku? The contest runs through 9/19, check your Calls for Content for more details.)

It's an exciting time at Associated Content--the growth of our company, the increasing number of CPs and the amazing content library that we have built up over the years are just a few of the things I'm excited about. Working in HR has opened my eyes to so many different things, and I have learned a ton from articles posted on AC. If you are job-hunting, please read the following articles on resume writing, interviewing skills, cover letters, etc. They're some basic, easy tips but you'd be surprised at how the little things can make a difference.

To see about job opportunities at AC in the Denver and New York City areas, visit our Careers page.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Follow AC on Twitter

Associated Content is Twittering! Tweeting? Anyway, we are on Twitter and you should follow us by adding acnews. Click here for a link.

We're updating daily with fun links and brief AC updates. That character limit on Twitter really does go a long way in teaching us to economize our thoughts. It will force us to be pithy and get straight to the point.

If you don't Twitter yet you should sign up and follow us! If you're already on please add acnews so that we can follow you, too!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Associated Content on the 7th Anniversary of 9/11

Today we remember 9/11/2001, in our New York offices (where a few of us experienced the events downtown) and around the country. It's amazing that it has been 7 years since the attacks, and time has not made the events of that day less shocking or painful.

The Associated Content home page featured several articles from our large collection 9/11-related content. Please take a minute to read the following:
There are so many excellent pieces on AC about 9/11 that it was impossible to find all of them. If I missed something that you particularly like please send me a link in a comment and I'll update the post tomorrow.

Friday's Featured Content: Palin Mania on Associated Content

Last night, ABC broadcast Sarah Palin's first post-VP nomination interview with Charlie Gibson. The Alaska governor has been at the center of a media frenzy since McCain selected her as his running mate and public interest shows no signs of waning.

In the two weeks the national spotlight focused on Palin at the RNC, at least 371 pieces of content have been published about her on Associated Content.

A wide range of topics are addressed: Saul Relative explores the phenomenon of Palintology and his editorial on hypothetical scandalous photos has been racking up page views. Jeffrey Moats discusses her looks; Nancy Tracy rounds up her many nicknames; Steven West penned a satirical poem about her; and Norm Schneider critiques her eyeglasses.

Serious pieces about Palin's candidacy from every side of the political spectrum abound. Check out "How Sarah Palin Saved the Republican Party" by Bruno Somerset, "The Business and Celebrity of American Politics" by Charles Dickey and Jon Hopwood's summary of her background in "What College Did Sarah Palin Graduate From...."

Several CPs with a taste for intrigue have outlined their conspiracy theories for AC readers. AC_Darnell, Shonda Delmage and Timothy Sexton think there's more to Palin's nomination than appears on the surface.

A few especially prescient CPs wrote about Sarah Palin days (or months) before the nomination, when she appeared to be little more than a long shot for VP. Sophia Levis wrote "Sarah Palin and John McCain?" in February. Darvio Morrow recommended her for the spot in May and Mark Whittington echoed those sentiments a mere 10 days before it became official.

Sarah Palin will undoubtedly continue to be a hot topic on AC for a while. The only question is whether it'll last for months or years.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Best of AC & Best New CP Awards: August Winners

It's like Christmas in September around here as we continue to reward our CPs for exercising their talents at Associated Content. What can we say? You deserve it!

In August we ran the first-ever Best of AC Awards contest. These are designed to reward CPs who are publishing extraordinary content in a variety of categories across the site.

August's winners were:
Robert Dougherty for Entertainment Reviews
Ryan Christopher DeVault for Summer Olympics Coverage
Kristin Ketteringham for Back to School Guides

We'll be doing this feature every month. The blog entry from August 26 reveals the categories for September's Best of AC Awards. Nominate worthy CPs in the forum here. Winners receive $100, so get cracking!

We also announced the winners for August's Best New CP Award. All three of these talented writers have received high praise from AC staff and their fellow CPs, so be sure to read visit their pages and congratulate them!
Lindsay Woodland
Greg Reese from Cincinnati (you've seen one of his videos here recently as Friday's Featured Content)
Christopher Clark

Please nominate new CPs for September's award here. New CPs, don't hesitate to nominate yourselves (get a friend to do it if you're shy)--we want to know that you're out there working hard.

Six talented people highlighted in a single post, not bad for a rainy Tuesday evening.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday's Featured Content

Happy Fall Friday! School has started, political conferences have ended (though pre-election madness is only heating up), fall television shows have resumed and things here at Associated Content are moving along at a steady clip.

This week's featured content is an interview that CP Dr. Jamie Y Marable recently conducted with CP Valerie Michele Oliver. Click here for the full interview.

This year Valerie Michele Oliver won a "Superior Scribing Silver Medal" in web magazine PopMatters for her January 2007 AC article, "CD Sales Based on Album Artwork, Cover Design." Her article was listed alongside pieces by music legends like David Byrne and Patti Smith and venerable institutions like the LA Times, Wired and the NY Times.

You probably know that Valerie is a talented writer from the interviews, poems and song lyrics she publishes on AC. In Dr. Marable's interview you'll learn that she has also worn the hats of radio producer and host, HIV/AIDS activist, art director and educator. A creative and spiritual woman, Valerie is a to boon the AC community. Dr. Jamie Marable is also a font of productivity. She publishes many interviews with AC Content Producers as well as memoirs, inspirational articles, poems and how-to pieces.

Click here to see Valerie Oliver listed alongside the other recipients of PopMatters Superior Scribing Awards. The article, written by Jason Gross, also contains some interesting commentary on the future of published content on the internet, "With less traditional venues or less writers remaining standing, new publications and blogs will have to pick up the slack, while citizen journalism has potential even though it's in its infancy. As long as readers still care and writers are jazzed enough about their work to say something interesting, there's always hope....That means treating blogs as a boon and not a threat and taking advantage of new innovations in mobile technology and using burgeoning social networks to also spread the word."

Words to live by, CPs--Get excited and get out there to spread the word!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Learn More About Us by Perusing AC's Staff Content Page

Associated Content's staff has been busier than usual lately. Not content to simply focus on operating and improving the site while reading, watching, and listening to everything that our CPs create, we decided to get in on the action. We've been producing content!

A new page called AC Staff Content has just been created--click on the shaded words and bookmark it so that you can check back occasionally to see what is new.

You'll discover so much! What some of us did on our summer vacations, the kinds of movies we like, how to volunteer for Obama, what kind of RSS reader you should have on your iphone, which Philosophy beauty products are superior, who is among us is musically inclined, and basic file manipulation on Linux are just a few examples from the wide array of content on the staff page. In short, you'll see what a talented, diverse, funny, interesting group of people works behind the scenes in Denver and New York City at Associated Content every day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What Associated Content Saw at the DNC

This post is courtesy of News Director Tim S. and AC's Content team.

To paraphrase real estate's mantra: citizen journalism is all about local, local, local.

That's what AC saw at the Democratic National Convention last week in Denver - local writers localizing a national event. The DNC included speeches, rallies, protests, caucus meetings, art shows and more. And because many of these events were open to the public (Denver Mint levitation, anyone?) it's a great vehicle to show how CPs can shine.

Take, for example, the video reporting efforts of Dave Maddox, a Denver resident. From protests to outdoor theater, Dave caught firsthand on video what many of us could only see on the evening news.

Then there's Connie Wilson, AC's go-to CP for national politics reporting. Flying in on her own dime from Chicago, Connie covered much of the on-the-floor action at the Pepsi Center and Invesco Field. Connie is aggressive and willing to talk to anyone - and photograph them, too. Just ask the Kennedys.

Those are just a couple of examples. Many CPS, from convention aficonados to political novices, contributed their experiences.

AC's efforts last week also included camping out at Google's Big Tent (in the heart of lower downtown, just a few blocks from the main convention site) to spread the word about AC. In pairs on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, AC Content Managers talked to bloggers and other media types about what AC does - we publish what's important to you, get you exposure and pay you along the way.

Here are some numbers from AC's efforts at the DNC:
  • 50 first-person, original reporting stories
  • 6 photography slide shows
  • 7 video stories
But the numbers weren't even half the story. Most importantly, the DNC allowed AC to showcase what it can provide for readers and how it can improve the chops of citizen reporters.

We hope to have similar success this week at the RNC in Minneapolis-St. Paul. If you live in the area or know folks interested in writing about their experiences, check out your Calls for Content assignments or shoot us an email at news@associatedcontent.com.

Updated: New numbers for our DNC coverage just in on 9/4
  • 50 first-person, original reporting stories
  • 9 photography slide shows
  • 10 video stories