Content Writing Services and the Shutdown of Yahoo! Contributor Network

By Greg Brian

Out of all the content writing services, Yahoo! Contributor Network and Yahoo! Voices gave numerously positive opportunities to professional and amateur writers for nine years before shutting down on July 2. I happened to start the online side of my freelance writing career there back in 2007 when it was called Associated Content (created in 2005 by its mastermind, Luke Beatty). It was a worthy outlet for the public at large to contribute articles on anything imaginable and get paid well for it. Those who happened to write there in the first few years of operation were getting $50 an article and making good livings. You also had the beauty of working for an indie company where corporate meddling didn’t bring misguided ideas.

Then the Yahoo! buyout occurred in 2010, and everyone thought the corporate mentality would ruin everything. In the beginning, it actually improved, ultimately giving us wider opportunities. They even had a program that allowed you to write through the Yahoo! Movies/TV banner, which I did for two years. It led to national recognition for me and a mention in The New York Times.

Those were the true glory years, though the “content mill” stigma had always been attached to Associated Content during the Yahoo! transition. Because of this problem, it led Google to essentially punish any sites that resembled a content mill, despite the majority of writers at Yahoo! Contributor Network writing at top level. Google Panda essentially massacred the company to a point where page views dropped to the bottom in the last couple of years.

I experienced that page view drop myself, though it was far different writing through the Yahoo! Movies/TV arm a couple of years ago. Regardless, when that ended and all publishing reverted back to Yahoo! Voices, the views went through periods of being abysmally low.

All of the above is quite different from the world of blogging where you’re given a keyword and assured that the blog is going to be ranked high on Google. Also, with blogs not usually punished by Google Panda, the knowledge that a blog will be found is much greater.

When I started here at Verblio (formerly BlogMutt) in May of last year, I could see that the real future of writing online was going to be blog-writing services. With most businesses realizing the value of a real person writing blogs for them, will blog writing become the primary spot for freelance writers to sustain their careers?

The Future of Blog Writing Services

Everyone who works here at Verblio already knows that it’s a top-notch company with a CEO who relates to writers and what they go through. And you can put money down that copycat services will be popping up soon once they realize how successful the business model is in comparison to the content mill structure. The good news for those who need a creative writing outlet is that many businesses want you to be as creative as possible, and even funny. Blogs don’t need to be dry, scholarly pieces that just dispense ordinary information.

I’ve found this out myself and occasionally have some fun when it’s allowable. The only difference is that this is pure ghostwriting, which is something you have to get used to if you’ve had a public writing side. Now that Yahoo! Contributor Network and Yahoo! Voices are gone, those like me who wrote there for a long time now have to be resourceful and realize the game is changing. Ghostwriting and blog-writing may be more lucrative overall, and the public writing side may be just for the lucky few who work for major media conglomerations. Ironically, that public side may also have to be reserved for our own personal blogs.

While other unique opportunities are still out there online, Verblio is the best place to work if you want timely pay and a staff that cares about the writers. It’s a business model we have to hope snowballs in all the Verblio wannabes that are sure to start up.

In the meantime, it’s back to being a ghostwriter for me, which isn’t bad when you can tell people publicly you write things they may be seeing under other names.

If you want to write for Verblio, check out the freelance writer’s page, and fill out an application.

Editor’s Note: This blog is an example of the kind of writing you can get for your blog. The only thing that’s different is that it has the name of the writer. For your blog, you can say you wrote it. That’s fine with us. We’re happy mutts. 

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We eat our own dog food. It's true. We use Verblio's service for our own blog. The same writers that write for our clients write many of our blog posts—like this one. Any posts with an author named "Verblio" were written by a writer from our talent pool of 3,000+ U.S.-based writers. We sure couldn't do it without them.

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