Thursday, April 30, 2009

Q&A with Michelle L. Devon

Michelle L. Devon, aka Michy, hardly needs an introduction. A familiar face and a font of AC knowledge, she recently wrapped up a month-long experiment comparing Associated Content with Helium. Since she wanted to conduct it from the perspective of a new user, she created an AC alias who is now known as Michy, Jr. The alias ensured her anonymity and became a guessing game to figure out which new Source was actually Michy.

Michy agreed to answer a few questions about her experience here on the AC blog, and you can read her full account on her personal blog, Freelancing & Fiction with Michelle L. Devon. She'll be conducting a similar comparison with Suite 101 in May.

AC: How long have you been writing for AC?
Michy: In May, I'll have been registered with AC for three years. I started writing for them in June of 2006.

AC: What inspired your comparison of AC to Helium?
Michy: I regularly talk to aspiring and accomplished freelance writers about looking at web content sites differently. At one time, web content sites were the bad stepchildren of the writing world, but with more newspapers and magazines offering either print and online versions or just print versions, the face of freelance writing is changing. The newer freelancers who are already skilled in writing for the web will have a leg up on those seasoned freelancing veterans who are die-hard print writers.

With this and the economy being the way it is, I knew more people were going to explore their options for making alternate income. The CEO of Helium had been asking me to really give Helium an honest go, and I was surprised and slightly disappointed with the results. This got me to thinking about Associated Content and how it's changed in the three years since I've been with the site. I've heard plenty of folks on the AC forum say that us veteran ACers don't understand what it's like for a newbie to break into AC. In the midst of the Helium challenge, I asked myself, "Humm, might be interesting to see how a relative newbie could do on the site, assuming they knew how to write for the web." I figure if I was going to try it, might as well compare it to the other site I was challenging on and see how they stack up.

As my blog showed, AC smoked Helium in overall money, payment per article, and hourly wage. What's more, AC did this 'blind' whereas I was myself on Helium and people were able to view my articles throughout. I think that shows AC has the potential for any new writing coming to the site. Plus, it was fun!

AC: What were the high points of the month?
Michy: I was very impressed to note that out of the 51 articles I wrote in a one-month period, four of those articles, as a brand new AC writer, were featured on the front page. I was also found by a few people I know on AC who didn't know the challenge account was me, and they recommended me for the "Best New Source" prize, which was very flattering. I also learned I really like comments...a lot!

AC: In 3 sentences, what were your conclusions?
Michy: With AC, you get out of it almost exactly what you put into it. I think it's important to look at AC as a long-term investment and not a 'get rich quick plan'. However, even with that said, if someone really invested full-time hours into AC, I am absolutely convinced anyone who properly wrote for AC could make full-time income, as well as a residual passive income in the Performance Bonus.

AC: Will you break down the numbers for us? Hours writing, pieces published, money made, etc?
Michy: During the challenge, I had launched my Unsent Letters projects, and it took off so much faster and better than I ever could have imagined. Because of that, I spent time writing for the challenge than I had expected. Still, I managed to write a comparable number of articles to the Helium challenge.

In all, I wrote 51 articles in the month, and 50 of them were approved during the challenge time frame. All said and done, including commenting on a few articles other than my own, writing the articles, finding pictures, entering them into the site, and submitting them, I spent approximately 21 1/2 hours working on the 51 articles I wrote. That's between 15-25 minutes per article on average.

For all 51 articles plus the Performance Bonus for the first month, I earned a little under $200. When calculated for pay for number of hours worked, it comes up to $9.10 per hour during the challenge. Keeping in mind that a few of my articles on the challenge were submitted as Display Only (when I probably could have earned a little upfront on them), I know if I'd pushed it, that hourly rate might have been even higher.

If I were able to keep up that pace for full-time hours on AC, truly being dedicated to writing as a profession, I could earn, as a brand new writer, $1500 per month without too much effort, from the comfort of my home. That's not including what I could earn as the Performance Bonus accrued. In fact, looking at that profile, the Performance Bonus that's accrued this month is already close to double what it was last month!

I'll be honest... I was surprised! I had always known in the back of my head that AC had potential for folks who wanted to turn it into a full-time job. In fact, I'd watched Pam Gaulin pretty much do that very thing and work her Performance Bonus up to four digits at one point. I guess I just never realized how much potential AC had for me personally, and especially on my 'real' profile where I have already established myself.

Someone new to AC could really set themselves up quite nicely and within a year be pulling in enough income to replace their full-time job. I believe that wholly, but it would take some dedication! At the very least, AC is a truly viable option for part-time income, and a place where professional freelancers can experiment, earn long-tail residual passive income, and sell articles they want to write, without the same constraints print venues often put upon writers.

AC: What are the important takeaways that you'd like to offer newbies on AC?
Michy: I think the most important thing for a new writer on AC to learn is to step back and learn HOW to write for the web first, before you start throwing up a bunch of articles. Read all the FAQs. I know they're time consuming, but they are so worth it, and then, hit the AC forums and read and read and read. It seems really boring and it's hard when you want to just get started making money and publishing, but if you really want to make a good income from this, do the research first and then write. It will be worth it down the road!

Another thing I think is important is the social aspect of AC as well. Particularly for a new writer, getting some followers and some people you can learn from and share with by reading their writing, are essential to really breaking out on AC. Usually, if you comment on someone's work, they'll come visit yours and might comment too, and if they like what they see, they'll come back. You can learn a lot this way, and gain a nice readership base too.

Lastly, know your market. AC is not for all types of writing and also what works on other content sites might not work as well on AC. That's another reason why learning the ropes and reading first is so important. Some really successful writers have come to AC without seeing any success and others who had no experience at all but learned from the forums and other writers on AC who are successful here have become successful.

To sum it up, again, AC is pretty much whatever you make it to be, and it's many things to many different people. You do get out of AC exactly what you choose to put into it, so keep writing!

AC: Thanks, Michy, for undertaking this project and for sharing your results with us!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Associated Content Raises $6 Million in Series C Funding

Big news at AC today! We just announced a new round of funding, full press release with details below.

Investment Round Led by Canaan Partners and SoftBank Capital will Drive Company’s Future Growth and Expansion

Associated Content, the Web's leading online publishing platform, announced today it has closed a $6 million, Series C financing round. The round was funded with full participation from the B round investors: SoftBank Capital, Canaan Partners and Tim Armstrong. Associated Content is one of the fastest-growing, ad-supported properties on the Web and the company will use the funds for consumer, platform, publisher, and advertiser growth.

Patrick Keane, recently appointed CEO of Associated Content, said, “The new investment in AC is a testament to the market opportunity and the commitment of our investors. We plan to complement our explosive contributor and advertiser growth with an increasing partner and consumer focus.”

Associated Content has built one of the most expansive consumer-facing, multimedia content libraries online today. With an archive of more than one million pieces of unique content, Associated Content is rapidly expanding its network of 250,000 professional and amateur site contributors and has developed a proprietary platform that enables highly efficient personal and automated curation, payment and editing.

“Associated Content is redefining publishing on the web,” said Mike Perlis, Partner at SoftBank Capital. “Huge participation from contributors and the resulting traffic metrics are off the charts. Patrick Keane joining the team, with his extraordinary experience and market presence, is powerful testimony to AC's leadership position and bright future.”

“Since our initial investment in Associated Content in 2007, the company has exceeded our expectations and represents one of our most promising and unique investments,” said Warren Lee, Venture Partner at Canaan Partners. “We are excited to continue our support of the company as it strengthens its leadership position in the web content space, builds a talented management team, and further scales its innovative technology platform.”

About Associated Content:
Associated Content, Inc. is an open content network. Founded by Luke Beatty and originally funded by Tim Armstrong in 2005, the Company operates a proprietary content publishing platform that enables individuals and media companies to publish content on any topic, in any format. Associated Content distributes that content to consumers through its site,, and through its network of partners. Learn more at

About Canaan Partners:
Canaan Partners invests in visionary entrepreneurs and provides them the networks, insights and operational guidance required to build high-performance technology and healthcare companies. For 20 years, they have taken an active and committed role in the companies in which they invest, and have completed more than 72 mergers and acquisitions and 53 IPOs. With $3 billion under management and a worldwide footprint, the firm’s technology team is committed to catalyzing the growth of innovative companies in the digital media, communications & mobility, enterprise and clean tech industries. Among its successes are Acme Packet, Amicus Therapeutics, Cerexa Inc., CommerceOne, DexCom Inc., DoubleClick, Intralinks,, SuccessFactors and WebLoyalty. Other Canaan investments include Active Networks, AdvancedBioHealing, BharatMatrimony, BiPar Sciences, Blurb, Chimerix, Inc., N-trig, Prime Sense, ReVision Optics, Inc., Transoma Medical, Inc, Tremor Media and Xirrus. Canaan has offices in California, Connecticut, India and Israel. For more information, visit

About SoftBank Capital:
SoftBank Capital is an independent venture capital firm focused on high-growth, technology-based businesses benefiting from the rapid deployment and adoption of broadband and mobile technologies. Through its current fund, SoftBank Capital Technology Fund III L.P., the firm has invested in numerous successful companies. For more about SoftBank Capital see

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Associated Content Launches "Green" Channel, Sponsored by SunChips

Happy Earth Day! Today, Associated Content launched an official Green subcategory under the Lifestyle section of The Green channel allows site users to visit content on all aspects of green living in a single location, all year round.
On this new Green living section, you can find practical advice on how to make your home more energy efficient, green spring cleaning on a dime, and, if you’re starting small, baby steps to a green world.

We're recommending articles by dozens of sources in the “Green: Source Spotlight.” Keep an eye out, your article might be featured!

Frito Lay’s SunChips brand is the official sponsor of the launch of this eco-fabulous new channel on AC. SunChips® believes in the power of small steps. That’s why they’ve started their journey to 100% compostable packaging by making 33% of their 10 ½ oz. size bags with renewable materials beginning this Earth Day. Now they’d like to inspire your small step.

Check out all the informative sites and content on AC’s official Green subcategory and get inspired!

Tell SunChips how you’d make your community greener, and you could receive $20,000 to make it happen. What’s your Green EffectTM?

Happy Earth Month! Remember to do your part, and if you need any tips, you know where to look!

No purchase necessary. Contest is open legal residents of any of the 50 U.S. states or D.C., 18 & older and ends 6/8/09. Void where prohibited. Subject to Official Rules available on For details on how to enter, judging criteria and prizes, see Official Rules.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Firsthand Testimony from an AC Newbie

This is the 2nd installment in our weekly series of guest bloggers here on the AC blog.
Today's guest is Radell, who joined AC on March 2, 2009.

Thank you to AC Laura for her gracious invitation to me, a mere Newbie, to write as a guest on AC’s Blog, and thank you to all the AC writers (a.k.a. Sources) who take the time to read this post, or were instrumental in helping me learn the ropes. I owe you all!

I hail from a print media writing background (newspapers and magazines), so I’m not totally new to writing for pay, but the online writing term “SEO” through me for a loop, initially. However, that was nothing compared to the difficulty I had once I learned the term’s meaning and set about actually trying to do it!

For those of you still in the dark, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization; but don’t ask me to explain that process in this short write-up, I can’t do it. I’m just not qualified. Fortunately for you I know someone who is, and she wrote two AC articles about it this month: Momie Tullottes.

Visit Momie’s articles, entitled “Tips on Writing for AC and the Web Part I: SEO Tips” and “Tips on Writing for AC and the Web Part 2,” for everything you need to know as a newbie.

If you don’t master SEO, or don’t even want to try, then you will knock yourself out of one of the big reasons to write for AC in the first place, and that is Performance Payments. What writer doesn’t want to kick back one day and rake in the dough for articles they wrote a year or so earlier (that’s what is driving Heidi Hutchinson, a new AC Source who is already an established writer elsewhere)?

From what I’ve been reading in the AC Forum’s General Discussion section, some more seasoned AC Sources are raking in page view checks over $500 a month (Pam Gaulin is a good example). Make the effort to learn SEO and you’ll start receiving those payments fairly soon after joining.

To get a more in-depth idea of all the learning curves I have experienced as a Newbie – and tips I have learned along the way – read my Newbie articles (there are 4) on my profile page.

I would be remiss if I didn’t close this post with a nod to some of the AC Sources I have met who went out of their way to make me feel welcome: Tamara Waters, AC Category Editor for Home Improvement, the “Gardening Guru” to me, has gone above and beyond on my behalf. Thanks Tamara! Do yourself a big favor and read her articles. Momie Tullottes, winner of this month’s “AC’s Best” in the Parenting Category, is willing to lend a hand when asked and, of course, the two sisters who have been amazing from from practically day one, Coral Levang and Soldierz Soul. These two are a wealth of encouragement for a Newbie, so visit their profiles, too!

New "Green" Sweepstakes on AC

We launched an April sweepstakes today! We're giving away a Dell Hybrid computer and other eco-friendly prizes. There will be a longer blog post about it tomorrow, and there are details in your AC inbox in the message called "Don’t Miss Out on AC’s Green for Good Contest."

We announce the winners of all of our sweepstakes and contests in the Community section on the Contest page. March's winner will be announced soon, so check back there every month!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Help a Source Become Miss Wyoming

Associated Content is an awesome place because of the variety of people who contribute to the site. Every day, we hear or read a new, cool story about our Sources.

This week's story is about Becca M. Becca is a college student in Wyoming who has been writing for AC for a little over a year. She reached out to us because she's currently competing for the title of Miss Wyoming and, if she's successful, Miss America. Her pageant experience informs some of the articles that she's written on AC, and she covers lots of other topics of interest to college students.

We asked Becca to talk a little bit about AC and her quest to become Miss Wyoming. Please join us in wishing her the best of luck!

AC:Why did you enter the Miss Wyoming pageant?

BM:I entered Miss Wyoming because I feel that it is an opportunity to learn skills and have amazing experiences that I would not be able to have or gain by any other means.

AC: Have you used Associated Content, or do you plan to, in your quest to become Miss America?

BM: I have used Associated Content as a general information resource when writing papers, studying and as a source to cure my curiosity about random topics. I plan to use Associated Content as a resource to gain knowledge about numerous topics to prepare for my Miss America interview and for appearances.

AC: You do a lot of charity outreach in the course of your pageants. Which charities do you sponsor and why?

BM: My platform in Focused on the Future: Mathematics and Science Education, which I chose because of my involvement with the Society of Women Engineers and because I am a Petroleum Engineering major, so I am exposed to the importance of these subjects everyday.
I am also involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, I love this organization and what it does for children with life-threatening illness and their families.
Lastly, I am involved with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, which is an organization that is very dear to me because I have Celiac disease.

AC: How can your fellow AC Sources help you to achieve your goal?

BM: There are a couple of ways that other AC Sources can help me achieve my goal to become Miss Wyoming. First, I am currently raising money for the Children's Miracle Network through their online email donation program. Donations are completely tax deductible and go to an amazing cause. In order for the donation to support both me and the Miss Wyoming pageants efforts to raise money for CMN, you have to follow a link from an email that I can send you. Visit my profile and send me a message if you're interested.
Second, as a means of supporting the pageant, all contestants are required to sell ads in the program book, these ads are also a tax deductible donation. Again, you can contact me at any time about supporting Children's Miracle Network or the Miss Wyoming Scholarship Foundation. And thank you for your help!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

AC on the Dr. Phil Show

As we mentioned yesterday, Aly Adair's article, "Two Million Teens Suffer From Depression; How to Tell and What to do" was shown on the Dr. Phil show today.

It's an excellently researched article on a serious subject, and Dr. Phil endorsed Aly's recommendations on how to recognize signs of depressions in teens.

Watch the video clip here. Congratulations, Aly, for this recognition!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Associated Content on The View

Associated Content was on The View!

We were recommended in their special segment about work and money called "Bank on The View" on Tuesday, April 14th. Women's for Hire's Tory Johnson enthusiastically endorsed Associated Content as an opportunity for people interested in working from home. Read a text recap of the segment here.

Women for Hire is an amazing resource for female-oriented career advice. Tory has been a longtime advocate of the opportunities at Associated Content.

As AC Sources, you are already aware of what AC has to offer its members. You'll be able to tell all of the new, View-watching signups about the value of publishing frequently in order to build a strong library of content that will earn you Performance Payments in addition to upfront payments publishing your original content with us.

If you'd like to watch the segment, visit the full 4/14 episode of The View on the ABC website. To skip directly to the Work from Home segment, fast-forward to Chapter 5, minute 36:30.

And, to top off Colbert and the View, the Dr.Phil show will be mentioning an article by Aly Adair on their show on Thursday, 4/16.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guest Blogger: Mr. Dave on Gardening

Today kicks off the first in a weekly series of guest bloggers here on the AC blog.
Today's guest is Mr.Dave, an accomplished gardener who is approaching his one year anniversary on Associated Content.

It is my pleasure to be a guest blogger here, and today's topic will be gardening. Gardening has always been my main interest and I can remember growing vegetables as a child. Currently, I am looking to start growing perennials on a wholesale basis while juggling a job in a local garden center and the UConn Master Gardener certificate. Associated Content features work by many plant enthusiasts. Without further ado, here are a few articles I feel are timely for this spring.

Daffodils are a popular spring flower. Chances are either you bought some in bloom this year or are considering buying some for your garden. I wrote a piece, "How to Grow Better Daffodils and Narcissus Successfully," which you should find helpful if you are interested in growing these beautiful flowers yourself.

Growing vegetables will likely be an important topic this year as homeowners look for ways to save money during this economic downturn. Other benefits of vegetable gardening are how fresh your produce tastes, your children can learn a lot from the project, and you will feel you that have accomplished something. Julia Williams, in her article "How to Plant a Vegetable Garden," does a good job explaining how to get started.

Another option for the home gardener is an herb garden. In her article, "10 Popular Herbs to Grow For the Kitchen," Cheryl Dennett highlights ten popular herbs, and gives a brief description of each variety. Some herbs are annual while others are perennial. There is abundant information available on each herb.

A third option for the home gardener is to grow small fruits. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are very popular among gardeners. In my article, "How to Grow and Cultivate Wild Raspberries in Your Backyard," I explain from my own experience how to successfully raise a crop of fruit from raspberries that naturally occur growing in the wild.

I hope you all have a great spring, and have fun gardening!
Mr. Dave

Want to be a guest blogger? Know someone who would be good? Please contact me!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Town Hall Tonight on Audio/Video Content

Do you submit audio or video content on AC? If not, you should consider adding some multi-media content to your personal library of published material. Show the world how versatile you are!

R. Ann Sipper told me once that the most comments she's ever gotten on AC were on her video called "How to Cook the Perfect Bacon in Your Oven." Why not give it a try?

In tonight's Town Hall, you will join AC's Audio/Video Content Manager Ashley as she walks you through the process of submitting A/V content to AC.

When: 8:00 pm EST
Where: Online! Click here to sign up.

If you wanted to come to the Town Hall about A/C content but couldn't make it, you can see the slideshow here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Associated Content Invites Stephen Colbert to Test the Power of the Colbert Nation

The Colbert Nation was powerful enough to name part of a NASA space station after its leader, Stephen Colbert – but is it powerful enough to earn him a big payday?

On Monday night, Stephen Colbert featured a news story from Associated Content by L. Vincent Poupard on “The Colbert Report."

This is Associated Content’s official invitation to Mr. Colbert and his followers to submit original articles or videos – on the topics of their choosing – for publication on Associated Content. AC will treat Mr. Colbert just like anyone else. His submission will be will be reviewed by an editor, given an upfront payment offer, and, upon accepting the offer, Colbert’s contribution will be published on and earn him $1.50 for every 1,000 page views his content generates. And that goes for each of his followers too.

Imagine what Colbert and his multitude of followers could achieve, given the chance to earn endless revenue by submitting content on topics of their choice.

They might consider starting by tackling the unfortunate glut of Colbert-centric content in the massive Associated Content library. There are 565 articles about Colbert’s main competition, Bill “Papa Bear” O’Reilly, and 431 about his comedic counterpoint Jon Stewart. By contrast, there is a sad 228 pieces about Colbert.

We’ll give the Colbert Nation two weeks to produce as much content as they can, to see if their output can hold a candle to an established Source like L. Vincent Poupard.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Best of AC & Best New Source Awards: March Winners

Congratulations to Associated Content's Best of AC and Best New Source winners for March!

We are excited to announce the winners of our February 2009 Best of AC Awards - our monthly contest that rewards Sources publishing extraordinary content in a wide range of topics across the site. Be sure to stop by the winners' profiles to congratulate them!

The winners of our March awards are:

Kevin Hagen for Business & Finance
Crystal Ray for Gardening
Momie Tullottes for Parenting

Best New Sources:

All three winners have earned rave reviews for their submitted content by our staff and fellow Sources, and have been selected from many nominations.

Carly Lejnieks
Kristy Martz-Burmeister
Andrew Mindzak

Be sure to stop by the winners' profile pages and welcome them to the AC family!

The categories for the April 2009 Best of AC Awards are Book Reviews, Crafting and Green Living. 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 do so here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Celebrating National Poetry Month with AC

(Thank you, AC James, for writing this post)

Happy National Poetry Month!

Associated Content’s Sources come from a wide range of writing backgrounds, and National Poetry Month gives us a great excuse to showcase our many talented creative writers.

Help AC celebrate by participating in a series of fun poetry challenges all month long. Sources that fulfill any of the challenges will automatically be eligible to receive a $10 bonus at the end of the month.

Check the Assignment Desk every day in the month of April for new poetry challenges, visit the Poetry Lover's Thread in the Forum, and have a very happy National Poetry Month!