Hundreds of active Helium.com writers received this news in their e-mail in-boxes recently:
After eight years and well over one million articles, we regret to announce that Helium Publishing will be closing.
Here’s their timetable of demise:
On May 21, 2014, Helium Publishing sites morphed to “read-only,” and writers can no longer submit new work or change what they previously posted. Obviously, they will accept no new member registrations.
On December 15, 2014, The company will cease sharing advertising revenue with their writers, who will no longer be able to access their accounts. All of the 27 Helium Publishing 360 sites will go ooffline whereupon the lights will be out, with nobody home.
According to one of the company’s forum moderators:
Changing market conditions and the proliferation of competitive publishing outlets and free blogging tools, as well as declining usage and revenue, were all contributing factors. After careful consideration it was determined that the existing business model cannot be sustained.
A New Path for Helium
Unfortunately for Helium’s new owners, who bought the site for a rumored $40-$70 million, their new business model was a prime example of the old adage that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In its original form, the company was one single site until the new owners decided to gussy up everything up and go with a multi-site approach.
Originally, writers could post to Helium under their by-line, and articles remained their property. Helium shared ad revenue and helped to sell publishing rights to customers seeking content writing services. From time to time a writer might receive a $5 bonus when someone published the writer’s article elsewhere.
When the new site was launched, writers could earn a nominal upfront payment ($2) for competitive articles — that is if they could learn the new and confusing user interface. The new site also got more deeply into marketing their writers, but apparently without significant traction.
One writer on the Questions For Staff Forum observed wryly:
Well, it’s fairly clear now that Helium’s switch to multiple sites was a mistake. Helium should have instead stuck with the single site platform, reformed the article rankings and considered alternative SEO strategies. Had they done so they might still be in business.
So if you’re looking for great web content that isn’t buried among millions of articles on a website with a failed business model, you need to come to Verblio (formerly BlogMutt). Contact us. We’re an on-demand service. You give us the keyword, tell us what you want, and one of our writers will do a great job for you.
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. Click here for more explanation of this series of posts.
Curt Smothers has written tons of articles for Helium on subjects from U.S. History to home computing. He is currently scrambling to retrieve his over-1300 articles before the Helium balloon goes up. — Scott