Saturday, July 18, 2009

For Me, is So Yesterday...

I am now one of the latest exiles. My Today blogs were Caregiving Daughter and Taking Care of Me. I've known that I wanted to leave since April, but I wanted to hit the $50 payout first. I finally hit it in June, and I received my check this week. Now I can speak freely and move on.

Last December, I applied with to be a paid blogger. I had never blogged before, but I thought I could write about my experiences caring for my mother. It thought it would be a healthy way for me to talk about my feelings and struggles, and hopefully help others going through the same thing.

I was accepted into the pay per post program, and I delved into this new world of blogging. It was so fun and I learned a lot. Most of what I learned was from the other bloggers. The community was very supportive and helpful.

From the beginning, I understood that reviews each blog and may adjust pay up or down based on the performance of the blog. I was a bit worried that I was lured in with the $1 per post, then I could soon be dropped to .002 per unique visit. I worked hard on my blog and tried to increase my traffic. I used a lot of methods recommended by the administrators including Entrecard and Reddit. I began to feel more secure because many of the bloggers I had gotten to know were doing very well and being paid month after month.

From time to time, I would read some comments on the forum from bloggers who had been dropped from the pay per post program. They would often ask why they had been dropped and what they could do to return to being paid per post. The answers were vague and unclear. I thought maybe they were dropped because their traffic was low or their topic was not easy to monetize. I couldn't understand why the administrators wouldn't share the results of their "blog review" so the bloggers would know where they stood.

The only real feedback that Today seemed to give was through their monthly awards. They would recognize the months Most Popular Blog and the Editor's Choice. Sometimes they would give a special mention to other blogs. Each award came with a cash prize of up to $250.

I felt quite content with, but gradually little things started to annoy me. They started paying less for traffic from social networks. This was not announced, they just did it. They fessed up when some of the bloggers noticed and asked about it in the forums. Then, there was the whole Entrecard fiasco. When Entrecard changed to having paid ads, didn't want it on the blogs. Enough bloggers complained that they agreed we could keep the widgets if the ads were unpaid, but we would not be paid for the traffic at all. They also had it set up so we could use Google Analytics on our blogs, but it suddenly stopped working after a few weeks. Some bloggers began to wonder if Today didn't want us to see our true numbers. Bloggers were also pressured to sell products with their blogs using Today's affiliate program.

For me, the final straw came in April when a massive number of blogs lost their pay per post status. A couple of threads started up in the forums asking why they were dropped. I was shocked that some of the names were some of the top bloggers! Blogs that had recently won awards were now being demoted. It didn't make sense. They also dropped the pay per post from some of the bloggers who tried to mentor and help newer bloggers with SEO techniques. Some of the forum posts got rather heated. Instead of providing answers, accounts were closed and posts were deleted. This went on for a couple of days. I soon received my notice that I was dropped, too. It seemed like they removed the pay per post from just about everyone.

After all of this happened, I started to research other ways to blog. I realized that even though it's more work to set up, having a self-hosted blog would give me more control. Any money that I earn with it would be all mine, not shared with a shady company. More importantly, my content is 100% mine, not sold for pennies to someone else. My new blog is Alzheimer's Disease Caregiver. I've added all of the Today exiles to my blogroll, and I would be honored if fellow exiles should choose to add my blog as well.

So, here I am. Saying goodbye to Today, and looking forward to tomorrow.


flit July 18, 2009 at 11:16 AM  

Welcome to the Exiles - will add your link to the blogroll here and on just flitting

Sherri July 18, 2009 at 12:20 PM  

Thanks, Flit. It's so nice to belong to a great community of bloggers again!

Anonymous,  July 19, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

Sherri - I will definitely add your blog to my today exiles blogroll.

Poetic Shutterbug July 19, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

Sherri, I am glad you now have total freedom over your own blog. I will add you to my blogroll as well.

Ms Terri July 19, 2009 at 8:28 PM  

Hi, Sherri. Welcome to the world of the Today Exiles! It's much nicer on this side of the fence.

I recently put a Today Exiles blogroll on a new blog I just started (Content-o-Rama) and I've added you there. I'll also add you in to the list of people with Exile blogrolls on the "I've been kicked off" post on my LOST blog.

Sherri July 19, 2009 at 10:46 PM  

Thanks so much everyone! Yes, it's nice to be on this side of the fence with great company.

I've got family visiting with us this week, so my blogging time will be limited while they are here. When things calm down, I'm looking forward to doing more writing and visiting everyone's blogs more.

Rob July 20, 2009 at 4:07 AM  

I never thought that many bloggers especially those on the top left I never waited for any paycheck to leave the site. I was just starting back then, around March i guess, but I realized that they're not really committed to their promises. I tried to post some, thinking that I may have failed their expectations but I think mine was also of quality and pure thoughts, and original. Those posts never got anything except for my unique visits.

Since then I stopped writing there and not long after, they sent an email that my account would be closed. I didn't care though.

Anonymous,  July 21, 2009 at 9:04 AM  

I'm glad you've waited out and get paid for your hard work! They blocked me out, and deleted my post on saying good-bye to fellow bloggers all in one night!

Dr. Lauren August 10, 2009 at 11:48 PM  

I am an exception actually. When I found out that the whole 1.00 a post thing went out the window I said to heck with today and stopped writing in April.

However, I made the choice to go back and see if it really was possible to make money with hits. At the time, I was only getting about 96 hits a day, which was horrible. Then I found some sites, Spanish sites equivalent to Yahoo or msn, that liked my content.

I wrote some really crazy food article and was getting thousands of hits a day. I now maintain that. I don't really market it and I only write one post every 7-10 days. I have to agree that there really is no longer a community. I think I'm the only one that comments on other food blogs.

DD September 26, 2009 at 5:49 AM  

Today is scam, they stopped everyone's direct blog payments. I was also listed on front page, although at the time, they'd blocked me and I had to reinstate my account with them.

The worst is not being able to get your articles back. I did on one account, and the next day, it was impossible to do it on my 2nd blog. This is not right when they haven't paid me any direct payments for those articles, to keep them...

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