In response to reader questions during the past few weeks about the viability of InfoBarrel as a long-term online money-making opportunity, I posed your questions–and mine–to one of InfoBarrel’s owners, Ryan McKenzie. Here are the questions I asked Ryan, and his responses:
Savage Sites: The primary reason that my friends and readers ask about InfoBarrel is that it’s one of the more similar models to eHow and as you know, eHow has broken trust with its members in a big way. Writers are wary of investing months of their time in yet another online bait-and-switch scheme.
With that in mind, the most common questions that I see people ask about InfoBarrel are these, Ryan:
Will you reduce the revenue share for writers when your site becomes more profitable?
Ryan: We have no plans on changing our revenue share model. We feel the current model works and has allowed us the ability to grow at a comfortable rate. Our goal is to be one of the top places for writers to create content online; in order to accomplish this I think it is imperative we have a very competitive, transparent revenue share model.
Savage Sites: Will you ever use writers’ profiles and articles without permission and/or without compensating with at least the same revenue share that all writers earn, for anything other than advertising InfoBarrel? (like eHow did with the non-earning site mirror.)
Ryan: I was actually pretty baffled from both an SEO and moral standpoint when eHow created a mirrored site. First of all, it creates tons of duplicate content across their two sites, and second of all it is essentially hurting the people who helped create your brand in the first place.
If you take away the thousands of writers who built your site, you more or less have nothing. With that said, we love our contributors and will not be publishing their content in any malicious manner.
Savage Sites: Can IB members add Statcounter’s HTML code to their articles as an additional way to track views?
Ryan: No, a lot of code is stripped when users publish on Infobarrel. We offer users the ability to use Google Analytics once they’ve published ten articles*. As far as I am aware Google Analytics is an industry leader that provides very accurate statistics.
Savage Sites: Do you have any documented earnings to show that IB writers can earn, on average, between $2 and $5 or more per article, per month? Can you give us any examples of high-earning members or articles?
Ryan: A number of users are vocal about their earnings, others are more private to prevent people trying to hijack their keywords. One member who is pretty vocal about his earnings is JCMayer777. He was earning over $700 per month when we did this interview. Howie also makes a few hundred a month, and I know of someone else who makes roughly $50 a month.
The earnings per thousand are really dependent on what topics you write about. Somebody who writes recipes is going to earn substantially less per thousand visitors than somebody who is writing about lawyers and lawsuits. On the flip side, the recipes articles will probably be easier to rank for due to the fact that there is less money in the niche.
From my experience, and the accounts I’ve looked at, I’m seeing people’s eCPM range from $5-$20 depending on the topics they write about and how much keyword research they apply. Promoting your articles can also impact your earnings, probably more than most people realize.
Savage Sites: What can you tell people to reassure them that InfoBarrel is going to be around for several years to come?
Ryan: While I’ve been working in the online space for over a decade, I can tell you that I’ve never had a project that I held so closely to my heart as InfoBarrel. I struggle to fall asleep every night because I have ideas bouncing around in my head for the site.
Our team has big goals for InfoBarrel, and we take baby steps every day pushing it towards becoming a large player in the space. I spend more time thinking about this web site than is probably healthy, and have some pretty big long term goals for it.
Our passion for this site flows into our customer service, and I think quality customer service is the basis for all successful businesses. I’m a very ambitious person, and will not settle for anything less than success with InfoBarrel.
Savage Sites: What is your best advice for people who want to earn a long-term, residual income on InfoBarrel?
Ryan: Set goals, and do something every day, even if it is small, it will help you get closer to reaching them. Generating income online isn’t as simple as posting an article and forgetting about it. If you can learn to be proficient with the following things, your earnings potential are limitless.
- Learn how to do keyword research properly
- Learn to format your content for the web (for viral purposes)
- Interlink your content
- Create at LEAST 1 back link for every article you publish
If you go after low hanging fruit (low competition, high value long tail keywords) and build at least one to two quality backlinks per article it should be a breeze to make at least $1 per article per month. I’ve tested this strategy time and time again and as a result have created at least a couple Infobarrel test articles that generate over $50/month. It is just a matter of honing your craft.
Savage Sites: Would you ever use inside information (i.e. Google Analytics) about which articles do well, to write your own competing articles, or to help other members write articles that compete against general members’ articles?
Ryan: Morally, I think this is pretty low. Trying to compete with your members more or less defeats the purpose of crowdsourcing. Without success people become discouraged, and if somebody has hit the jackpot on a series of articles, creating competing articles is going to reduce their success and potentially stop them from creating future content. If people stop creating content, then the site is a failure. This business is built on people, and we would never do anything to hurt our members.
Savage Sites: One eHow member/insider recently claimed to have obtained another member’s IP address, which would be impossible without that person having been granted some level of admin access. Who sees users’ private information on InfoBarrel, and how do you protect personally identifying information?
Ryan: The only people who have access to information like that is myself and Kevin. We don’t even have a control panel available where people can access that information. If we need to compare IPs, we do manual database calls. Outside of the two of us there is NOBODY with access to the InfoBarrel databases.
Savage Sites: Any plans for member-moderators on your forum, and if you ever go in that direction, would you be transparent about their roles?
Ryan: We will most likely eventually have member moderators. With the amount of people currently contributing on the forums, we don’t think we need additional moderators. When things get a bit busier, we will definitely be considering member moderators and like just about every other aspect of the site, we will definitely employ full transparency.
If you have any other questions, feel free to let me know!
Savage Sites: Thank you, Ryan!
InfoBarrel is one of the sites that I have examined closely, and based on its traffic trends, transparent communications, generous revenue-sharing with writers, and quality control policies, I believe that InfoBarrel is one of but a small handful of sites that writers can invest in with confidence.
Writers, you are not likely to make thousands on InfoBarrel overnight, or even in three months. But based on what I have seen, and on Ryan McKenzie’s answers to our questions, I believe it is possible to slowly and steadily build a passive residual income stream on InfoBarrel that will reap consistent dividends for the next three to five years or more.
InfoBarrel has not inflated initial earnings to lure writers in, as at least one site seems to have done in the past. The InfoBarrel site and its management are as candid and transparent as they appear to be. This is how InfoBarrel works, and it’s good news for writers in the long run, which is what writing online for residual income is all about.
*Note: IB members no longer need to be pre-approved to have access to Google Analytics. Once you have published ten articles, you will be able to use this feature to learn more about traffic to your articles. Ten bonus stars for InfoBarrel!
The long awaited interview, with Ryan, has arrived! lol…..I think it turned out great….well done and professional…..
There’s no doubt that there’s been quite a bit of controversy surrounding what many perceive (and many KNOW) to be seriously morally and ethically bad behavior…..I think one reason some people hate eHow (yes, I’ve seen the word “hate” thrown around) is because it really is, in my own opinion and experience, polar opposites of Info Barrel. Of course, Info Barrel could one day succumb to what eHow did, however, what I see right now is certainly promising.
I’ve, personally fanned the fire a bit when it comes to recent eHow occurrences…..I think it’s absolutely necessary that:
1) A precedent NOT be set with regards to how writers are treated, industry-wide, and as to how little transparency they accept.
2) I don’t care if a website shares 20% of revenue, just so long as they are transparent about it. There is nothing in Google’s Adsense TOS that says that revenue sharing communities CAN’T share the % of revenue distribution.
….I don’t think writers should value their writing so little that they openly and willfully accept these things, especially when they have the voice to change them and/or request that they be addressed. To me, the emergence of Info Barrel is a bit more a much-needed “statement” to the entire industry…..that’s how I see it any ways.
Kudos to Ryan for some great responses, and Kudos to you for wording the interview very professionally, and, in a manner that immediately sets Info Barrel apart. I think doing that is necessary, especially with Info Barrel experiences great growth recently. Because of occurrences on eHow, people may have the tendency just to throw every single other website into the same category in accordance with the precedent eHow is setting as a “leader” in this industry.
I think it is appropriate to let Info Barrel grow, and attract members, based on its own merits.
P.s. Ryan just addressed in this one interview, what an 80+ page thread, on eHow, with legitimate user question and concerns, has failed to address over the span of several months.
You said it, Howie. When I read Ryan’s responses, I was impressed. He is as candid as I had heard he is. Very refreshing. This type of transparency is what writers should expect. Plain and simple.
Anyone still writing for eHow and/or waiting for answers from their staff would do well to compare Ryan’s answers with the few responses from eHow staff. When people are telling the truth, THIS is what their answers look like.
I’m sure someone will blame me for copyright infringement, or something like that, for posting a post that was made in eHow’s forum here, without their expressed written consent prior, however, I think it’s necessary:
A recent post by “Julie” the “Community Manager”:
They are still holding fast to their guns as far as refusing to disclose how much revenue they share with writers….in the meantime, many writers earning’s only seem to be taking a nosediving. I completely rid myself of eHow, when I saw these signs way back in August. My earnings have only gone up at Info Barrel.
“Your earnings are based on an algorithm that calculates a variety of factors:
1. quality of text
3. topic – is it s hot topic or seasonal
This is a residual income module rather than a flat fee module. If you give you articles some time, you will start seeing an increase.
………..sadly, many members are claiming that their ‘photos’ won’t even upload properly, however, eHow claims that it is a major contributor to earnings. If it had this kind of impact on earnings, don’t you think this should be on their priority list of getting fixed?…..
(Hey Julie, how about you try something groundbreaking….and, just be honest with people? There is no way that you formulated a “secret algorithm”…..it is SOLELY based on Ad clicks. Of course, the text and photos definitely have a search engine visibility role, however, you need to seriously separate the idea that what attracts people to an article makes those same articles automatically earn. You can do EVERYTHING right from an SEO standpoint, and the point of the matter is that it’s everyone’s God given right to just ignore advertisements, if they so choose. If I don’t want to click your ads, I won’t….and, you won’t make money. That’s how the game is played. Stop trying to deceive innocent writers.)
“If you give you articles some time, you will start seeing an increase.”
This is NOT something you can guarantee. It’s wishful thinking, however, 90% of the people who write for eHow don’t take into consideration SEO (because, a piece of your own strategy, to SELL the website to WAHMs, was to present it as being an easy site to upload short (and oftentimes) crappy articles to the website. In return, you have a database with alot of garbage articles.
…..your infamous “Article Sweeps” are an admittance that you have completely lost control of the quality of your own content.
As other websites, like Info Barrel, take away your market share, you simply CANNOT guarantee people that their earnings will go back up.
I don’t just follow a website/leadership blindly. I yanked the plug on eHow as soon as I caught hint of the whole cloned sister site fiasco. In response, now it looks like they’ve even removed the UK flag from the header of their site.
I will say this though….Info Barrel has been the best for me in terms of earnings. Yet, many who see Info Barrel as a formidable threat, have no problem throwing out words like “hate” when referencing them, only after uploading 5-6 articles (I have seen 3 cases of this, so far).
The fact of the matter is, the site is in it’s infancy, so, at least for now, if people want to earn they HAVE to know SEO….and, they have to be good at using Social Media Tools to promote their articles. Right now, a VERY strong base of dedicated writers are building the foundation of Info Barrel.
With current growth trends as an indicator, it WILL become an authority website….and, based on what I’ve seen, I have STRONG reason to believe that, when IB is a PR7 or PR8 website, it’s highest earners will be earning significantly higher than the highest earners on eHow. So, now, people have to ask themselves if they would like to make a quick buck uploading content to a website that could ‘sweep’ their articles right from under their feet, or if they want to begin building their own database over at Info Barrel.
It’s like a killer stock….those who get in early will benefit significantly from the work they have invested.
By the time Info Barrel is a PR7-PR8 website, with my current earnings, I FULLY expect to be earning $3,000-$5,000 a month on my articles…..
Will IB allow users to delete their content in the future? I wanted to remove one of my articles, but was not able to do so with the tools on the publishing page. Thanks
Great question, Tina. I asked Ryan McKenzie about this directly, and he responded within minutes. Ryan says that all you need to do to delete your article is to email InfoBarrel with your article title and user ID with your request to delete, and your article will be deleted.
InfoBarrel runs monthly contests that allow members to earn up to 90% of revenue share on their articles by meeting contest quotas, so they need to be able to keep an accurate article count to ensure that revenue share matches those quotas, hence the request procedure.