Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Helium is improving

For the past few months I have noticed more and more Helium ads around the net (especially on small blogs). The idea and market position is relatively simple, pay users for content they produce. If it gets pageviews and clicks on adverts the article has value(I am sure a healthy portion of it goes to Helium), but not much if any different than the blogging phenomenon.

Make content
get views
get click throughs

Relatively straight forward, and in theory with a large content trove, and high CPM (because of high traffic) content on Helium has the potential to make the authors a little money. The benefit to authors is they don't have to wait the obligatory 6mos to get picked up by Google's spiders, and the work to get started creating content is much lower than getting hosting, installing blogging engine, registering domain names, and then producing content (or using blogger what ever floats your boat).

The problem with the business model is the same as Squidoo's model, spam. Last time that I looked over at Helium, the content was mostly mediocre. It seems that time (and maybe some editors?) has turned that around, at least on the section front pages. From the 30 or so articles that I browsed on the sections main pages there where some thoughtful and well written articles. Almost all written in the casual voice, readable, and telling personal stories, or offering advice.

None of what I found was so compelling I might have paid for it, even if it only cost as much as a newspaper, but the opinion section for topical items in the news was as interesting to me as most letters to the editor in the Seattle Times so they where at least coherent, and not vile. I plan on writing something, just to see if it sticks and will report back with experiences.

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