I joined Helium some time ago with mixed results. I was curious to see how satisfying it would be as a writing workshop but also attracted by the idea of being paid to write. More about earning, money and wealth later!
Helium certainly works as a platform for producing written content although it has a number of limitations as a publishing tool:
- There isn't the freedom to be creative in terms of layout, fonts, photographs or illustrations (unlike HubPages)
- The rating system is flawed
- You can't delete articles once written (ie you lose control of your own content)
- Articles are difficult to edit because a 'random' Helium user has to decide if your edited version is better than the original or not - try changing one word and getting the change accepted!
On Helium, unlike HubPages, writers are encouraged to write within a predetermined title. Helium then groups articles together with the same title. These articles are then rated by other helium users and are arranged in order of popularity. This 'popular' poll has its limitations and it can be discouraging to find articles poorly written with no punctuation moved above your own superbly crafted piece.
The way to get your own work to 'move' is to rate other people's work. If you chose to rate then you are presented with two 'random' articles in a broad category you have written for yourself. You then have to decide 'is article A 'better' than article B?'.
What Goes Up must Come Down
This is highly subjective. How much should you be influenced by content and how much by presentation, style, punctuation, grammar etc.? On the basis of having written a humourous short story, I found myself having to review some painfully bad poetry. Anyway, I would argue that it is almost impossible to 'rate' poetry unless you have some clear criteria. Poetry is more a matter of personal taste.
The results of this rating system are very mixed and often the top article is not the 'best'. My experience is that new articles tend to move rapidly to the top but then tend to slide down the order with time regardless of whether the writer takes the time to rate other people's articles. Perhaps that's why they call it Helium? Even noticed how a toy helium balloon floats skyward when you buy it and 24 hours later it's resting on the floor?
HubPages membership is totally FREE - So get writing, make friends (and if you want) Make Some Money!
The Money - Peanuts or Real Cash?
How do you earn money? Helium are a bit caggy about exactly how this works but it appears to be based on a number of hits or impressions (1/10th cent per hit?) on the article. Initially the number of hits are relatively high because:
- Helium often features new articles within the site
- The search engines find the article and initially give it greater prominence because it is new
- New articles rise in the Helium ratings initially
The good thing with Helium is you don't need to sign up with cash-earning programs such as AdSense. But there is a catch - you need to earn $25 before you can realise your earnings (via PayPal). Surprisingly, most people complain they never reach this modest figure.
Initially, I wrote 10 articles of varying quality and content. At first I was earning around 50c from my better articles per month but this rapidly fell so now my best article is earning around 7c a month and the rest 0-1c a month. This means unless I write more articles it might be another decade before I can cash in my first $25!
In practice, I suspect Helium seldom have to pay out and if they do they still make plenty of interest on their writer's earnings during the period the total takes to reach the payout value.
Two people have responded to this article pointing out that you can make more money using the Marketplace area of Helium. In this case you write articles for an external publisher who, if they decide to buy, pay an agreed amount for the article. There is still the problem that it is competitive and your articles will not necessarily be bought.
Helium is fine as a social networking site and some people find it a great place to learn writing skills. But don't go there if you want to make serious money.
Do it for Writing, not for Money
The mistake many people make with Helium projections is to assume their initial earnings on an article will be sustained over decades. The reality is most Helium articles have a short shelf life and the lack of control over your own content and the advertising plus the quirky rating system make it far less attractive than a site like HubPages.
Clearly there are good writers out there earning more than $25 a year but they are the exception and they will need a large number of articles in order to reach this level of payment.
In other words, don't join Helium purely to make money or earn a significant income!
Ella-90 on May 27, 2012:
Interesting hub, and yeah completely agree Helium is good for getting titles if your really stuck for something to write but as far as income, creativity and community is concerned hubpages and other sites are a lot better
Nare Gevorgyan on March 19, 2012:
I am very disappointed in Helium I would never advise it to anyone. You completely lose control over you work. You give it to them for nothing!
Rik Ravado (author) from England on January 22, 2012:
No. All content on HubPages must be unique - see HubPages TOS.
Oscillator on January 18, 2012:
Can't we publish the same article on both Helium and Hub?
steve on December 28, 2011:
Helium's rating system is fair. Take the time to proofread before u submit and u will not be crying about how hard it is to edit there
Jo_Goldsmith11 on May 12, 2011:
Great article and advice. I just cancelled my account with Helium. I only wrote like one article. and they didn't accept it. his was about three or four months ago. I haven't been back since. I feel lucky to come across Hub.
Ibrahim Kamrul Shafin from Dhaka, Bangladesh & Washington DC, USA on May 10, 2011:
Good and useful hub. I think HubPages is better than it, anyway.
AngelaKaelin from New York on February 12, 2011:
I never tried writing for upfront payments at Helium - that might work. I wrote a couple of articles for them a long time ago, but it is not a comfortable platform and they've never paid me a cent.
For upfront payments, I've made the most with Demand Studios. But, they take full rights and you have to deal with some editors who don't understand the subject sometimes. That's frustrating.
For monthly passive revenues, so far Triond and Bukisa (they just moved to a different payment platform) are doing the best for me.
septembergray on October 18, 2010:
I make around two hundred dollars a month on Helium. Most articles earn a small upfront payment. I would not suggest attempting to earn a living at this site, but it certainly didn't take long for me to reach my first payout.
multimastery on September 01, 2010:
Hi Rick, thanks for your honest views about Helium. I have been thinking about becoming active there, and your review gives me some things to think about.
Make Extra Money At Home on July 19, 2010:
thanks for the review - this is just what I was looking for, I thought about signing up there and did a quick google search.. There are so many opportunities to make some money, it's much better to be selective.
So, no helium for me :-)
hubpageswriter on June 28, 2010:
I don't know much about Helium, but I think Hubpages gives me more freedom to create and upload pictures, articles and etc. Some Adsense clicks probably give much more. Not to mention affiliate purchases. Good hub here.
on June 06, 2010:
Some people are saying that they have made money at Helium, but what they have neglected to mention is the number of articles they have written. $100 for 10 articles is okay, but $100. for 500 articles... I suspect the latter. When I first started at Helium I had won a few contest and even sold some articles. But the amount of time I put into writing the articles made it not worth the while.
You now need 3 writing stars in order to participate in the Marketplace. Both rating and writing stars are hard to come by, because members of the "inner circle" artificially promote their articles and the articles written by friends.
If you are looking to make money writing articles, look in the opposite direction of Helium.
Dobson from Virginia on April 08, 2010:
I have realized earnings of a bit less than $400 on Helimu over 2.5 years, but it is a struggle to stay current.
Daisy Fabelo from Orlando Florida on April 03, 2010:
i haven't done so great with helium either i feel they're money is going to their head
Rik Ravado (author) from England on March 08, 2010:
Doky - From the comments here some people are making money at Helium but I think hubPages is a better bet!
Doky on March 08, 2010:
Damn great info...thanx buddy. I was just about to start writing for Helium until i came across your article...Thumbs up bro.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on February 27, 2010:
wren - hope this was helpful - I gather Helium has improved in the last year but many of the shortcomings mentioned here still remain.
wrenfrost56 from U.K. on February 27, 2010:
Good information here Rik, wondered what helium was all about.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on January 21, 2010:
Thanks for this WF. I haven't tried Helium for a long time and it has obviously improved significantly in terms of earning potential in the last 2 years.
Witless Fool on January 20, 2010:
I agree that on Helium, earning can be a bit slow initially. But with upfront payment now in place, you could potentially earn a lot. I haven't sold a single article on the marketplace or won a writing contest but I've already earned over $100 there. So it's definitely doable.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on November 23, 2009:
Thanks for this RR. My only concern is it seems pointless to have to spend time 'cheating' the system in order to improve your score - I don't know why Helium don't just bin the rating system!
Rapidrater on November 23, 2009:
How to get rid of the rating requirement rapidly: 10 seconds or so per article pair in 95% cases.
Look at what is in the display box for each article, no need to scroll down.
If one is a single block of text and the other is divided up into paragraphs, vote for the divided one and move to next pair.
If one repeats the article title, vote for the other one and move on.
If one shows headings and the other doesn't, vote for the headings and move on.
If one shows an obvious spelling/grammatical error, vote for the other one and move on.
If none of these criteria differentiates one article from the other, you have a choice. If you are interested in the topic, read on and vote according to your opinion of the content. Otherwise, press skip and start again. You've only lost a few seconds.
I've been applying this method over the past couple of days. It increased my rating score by over 10% to well above 80%.
debugs from Odessey777, Umbris on November 12, 2009:
Helium's marketplace is the only thing good about it. Today, however, some people say you have to be a "professional" writer or have some specific "badge". Now, I will guess that those who have badges are the Helium stewards themselves.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on October 12, 2009:
April - thanks for reading this Hub!
April Ryan from Florida on October 11, 2009:
Thanks for the info.I guess I'll skip Helium.
kuirq on September 12, 2009:
For me, the rating system wasn't very discouraging though, I kind of liked being able to read random things. HubPages is very appealing, I especially like that we have control of our hubs and I like the idea of capsules.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on September 12, 2009:
Kuirq - thanks for your thoughts. Yes it was the Helium rating system that I really didn't like. Here at Hubpages there is no pressure to rate at all and if you don't feel like making a comment you can just click the 'up' or 'down' buttons.
kuirq on September 12, 2009:
I was a contributor to Helium since its beta stage but unfortunately, they had this change where writers that aren't from English-speaking countries aren't allowed to contribute. I was able to reach $25 fairly fast because I won the contests and a number of my articles were in the top 25%...and earned more after that. I think Helium helped me develop my writing skills (and reading skills as well because of all the rating I had to do!). I have to admit I still feel bad that I got sort of booted out just because of the circumstance that I'm not a native English speaker.
Anyway, I agree that Helium won't work for you when it comes to earning a lot if you don't have enough time to invest writing good quality articles and rating other articles at the same time.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on September 08, 2009:
m2mboyz - I agree Helium just doesn't work for me because of the rating star thing ..
Kimberly - Thanks for stopping by
mom2manyboyz on September 08, 2009:
I loved the Helium Marketplace until they started requiring you to qualify to write for the marketplace. To be qualified you have to maintain writing and rating stars.
Kimberly Bunch from EAST WENATCHEE on September 02, 2009:
Great article! Here's one of mine: https://hubpages.com/community/WritingContest
Rik Ravado (author) from England on June 22, 2009:
rallenbrewster - Yes I look at Helium occasionally but HubPages is my writing home now. Thanks for stopping by to read and Welcome to hubPages!
rallenbrewster from USA on June 21, 2009:
I had the same issues when I was over at Helium. Already I enjoy Hubpages style much more. Nice hub
Rik Ravado (author) from England on May 15, 2009:
Cashmere I agree. I find there is a compromise between writing what I enjoy and making money so I try to do a bit of both!
cashmere from India on May 15, 2009:
Triond is the same story. I wish it was as simple as write what you want and earn money, but that seldom happens.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on March 02, 2009:
Marisa - thanks for your update. I must try and find the time to 'revitalise' my account by rating and see if I can earn again.
Tom - Yes Helium certainly isn't a get rich quick scheme!
Tom Cornett from Ohio on March 01, 2009:
I was on Helium for many months. Earned$!1.42 Hubba Hubba Yeah!
Kate Swanson from Sydney on March 01, 2009:
Rik - one positive out of all Helium's changes is that my earnings have gone up (I assume because there's a lot less authors eligible to earn these days).
So now I'm taking the trouble to maintain that rating star so I can continue to earn on the articles I've got (though I'm not going to add any more). You only need ten "quality" rates per month to earn a star. It's long been rumoured that time is part of the algorithm, so I rate slowly - I open Helium in a separate window and leave each pair of articles up for several minutes before I go back and rate them. It seems to work!
Rik Ravado (author) from England on March 01, 2009:
Trsmd - so right - good content is the key!
Trsmd from India on March 01, 2009:
Well said RikRavodo,
You can eanr only if you are interested to write, if you are interested to earn you will write only useless artciles..
Rik Ravado (author) from England on February 18, 2009:
Thanks Marisa for this - Yes its the rating thing I really object to - I spent hours having to compare two bits of (bad) poetry or even worse comparing 2 apparently identical articles and guessing which one had been edited. I've lost my star so no more Helium cash for me!
On the other hand, here at Hubpages, we can rate an article up or down or add a constructive comment, as you have done here, regardless of Hub Score and totally independent of what we earn!
Kate Swanson from Sydney on February 17, 2009:
Rik, Helium has made several changes recently - I've updated my Helium Hub if you want to check it out (won't link here - don't want to spam!). Income is no longer truly passive - you have to maintain at least one rating star at all times, otherwise you earn nothing.
Marketplace is still the only worthwhile part of the site - but as someone pointed out to me, if you're good enough to compete against 300 or 400 other writers to sell a Marketplace article, you could sell it for the same money on a freelance writing site or on Constant Content.
As far as the passive income is concerned - yes, I agree that if you write good articles you'll get paid, but my Hubs earn more per month than my Helium articles on similar subjects.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on February 06, 2009:
Luigino - Couldn't agree more - I found leapfrogs infuriating - I want to edit my own work when I want and delete it if I want too or move it somewhere else. With Helium you effectively loose the copyright to your own work!
luigino0911 on January 25, 2009:
hubpages is better. I have tried Helium. In Helium you can't do any editing like you can do on Hubpages. Well, there are leapfrogs but this obviously reduces a writers potential. You'll have to wait until you get a leapfrog just to make a few changes?!....No, Hubpages is much better, if you take editing into consideration. Now, you can also make money with Kontera on hubpages. It's good enough and I guess much faster than Helium where the earnings are really slow.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on January 21, 2009:
Thanks for this - I accept Helium has improved since this hub was written.
beatlefan on January 21, 2009:
I also write for Helium. I joined in June 2008 and have written 42 articles. I am currently making about 30 cents per day on my articles and have not yet written one this year. I received 2 checks in 2008 and am about to receive another. I only sold 1 article last year.
The keys to success on Helium are writing articles that people will be interested in and linking to other sources. You can make a little money there.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on December 14, 2008:
Tnanks for that Health Care - that sounds a reasonable amount - how many articles?
Health care on December 14, 2008:
I am also a helium writer and in the past year made almost 27 dollars.
nancydodds1 from Houston, Texas on October 22, 2008:
Good experience you had about making money. Its very nice and informative hub.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on September 19, 2008:
The money does improve with time. One of the good things with HubPages s you get 10% of the earnings from people who sign up via your hub. I have 27 of these with 260 hubs so far so I earn far more from referrals than from my own Hubs.
momonline on September 17, 2008:
Thanks for sharing. I've written about 8 articles for Hubpages and earned a grand total of 0.04c.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on July 05, 2008:
Wendy - HubPages is good - you won't get rich overnight but I like being able to add visuals to my writing and editing my Hubs whenever I like.
HC - Yes i keep meaning to try Helium marketplace but never get round to it.
02SmithA - Must check out Ehow as Wendy has also mentioned it - Thanks!
02SmithA from Ohio on July 04, 2008:
I think EHow is better than Helium, as you said Helium is so hard to edit and I don't care for that!
Hill Country from San Antonio on July 04, 2008:
Thank you for this article. I am new to both HubPages and Helium. I joined HubPages first. I love writing, been doing it all my life. New to this Interweb thing, though. What I got from your article and some of the comments is that on Helium I should devote most of my time to the Marketplace section. I'm gonna keep at it. Thanks again.
WendyRenee from Pittsburgh, PA on June 19, 2008:
I am new to Helium and just wrote my first article. I was thinking about trying Helium too, but it doesn't sound like it would be worthwhile. I'll stay here with HubPages and see if it is profitable. Another decent site is Ehow.com. Thanks for your input. Please check out my article when you get a chance.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on June 04, 2008:
Thanks for the feedback Don!
doncarlin from Tempe Arizona on June 03, 2008:
I tried helium, and got frustrated for the same reasons you did. Great hub, and hubs are better!
Rik Ravado (author) from England on May 29, 2008:
SirDent - Yes totally agree. Feedback is great from Hubbers and I like the freedom to edit when I want, adding pictures, graphics etc.
Fianita - Glad you found it useful Welcome to HubPages!
fianita from Jakarta-Indonesia on May 29, 2008:
thanks for the advice. Really helpful
SirDent on May 28, 2008:
I have been at helium for months now. It isn't worth the time and effort. In order to grow as a writer one needs feedback not just a thumbs up or thumbs down vote. This is another great thing about Hubpages.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on May 27, 2008:
Thanks for stopping by - I see you are on blogatiser (like me). I know exactly what you mean. Quite a bit of my day job involves writing but most of it is so dull! The great thing about HubPages is the freedom to write what you like, when you like. I'm not going to get rich here but it is a great place to be.
Dorsi Diaz from The San Francisco Bay Area on May 26, 2008:
I've been on Helium for a few months but felt discouraged writing there- mainly because of the rating system and because of my fragile ego...lol....I needed more encouragement (which I get here at HubPages!)I also like the fact that I can be more creative here at hubPages, like you said with pictures, adsense, ebay and amazon capsules.At some point if I get really desperate I'll try writing for the MarketPlace but I'm trying to stay away from writing someone elses content for right now-I've done that with my art and my art passion turned commercial- and I don't want to see that happen with my writing too. Once you start writing what someone else dicates it changes the whole writing experience.
Antony on May 23, 2008:
Looks like it's better to write for the market
Rik Ravado (author) from England on May 18, 2008:
I think there have been some improvements so it may still be worth checking it out.
Glad this article was of some use.
misshardy on May 17, 2008:
Thank you for the information. Looks like I wont be wasting my time at Helium.
A.A. on February 08, 2008:
Helium is not all that bad. This is actually a very biased article based on your unsuccessful experience.
I have been with Helium for 6 months now. I started writing actively 3 months ago. I have sold one article in marketplace for $100 and I have won several contests. Also if you write articles that attract a lot of hits, you can make good money from that article. Example: working from home, computer articles, technology....
Right now Helium has a upfront payment thing going on through April. You can get up front payments per article.
Your article is good but you should mention that Helium is not totally a waste of time. It has actually helped me generate a portfolio which helped me land a blogging job where I am getting $500 per month.
Anyway good Luck
Steve Mills on February 07, 2008:
Thanks for the heads up, sounds like it would be a hard slog to make any cash from helium. Better off publishing on my own site.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on January 24, 2008:
WriterGig left this message which I accidentally deleted -
"Check out eHow. I am making way more per article with eHow than these figures for Helium articles."
Its a good article - worth reading!
Rik Ravado (author) from England on January 11, 2008:
Yes CTwritergal, what you say lines up with Marisa's comment about marketplace being where the money is. I've only being doing Hubs since christmas (6 hubs) and have made more than twice as much as I've made with Helium (10 articles) posted 6 months ago.
CTwritergal on January 10, 2008:
Helium is okay, I've only been a member for a couple of months, and I've got 70 dollars in my account. The key is to only spend time writing in the marketplace, where publishers list articles they need, then write for those and hope you get picked. Some of my articles have only made about three pennies since the beginning, and that's a waste of time. I agree the rating system is goofy. I doubt that anyone actually reads those articles before they pick their favorite. I've had really good articles end up at the bottom of the list, it's annoying.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on January 10, 2008:
The problem with writing out in the real world is finding someone to buy your stuff. I found a magazine about 10 years ago that would buy almost anything but they only paid around $50 an article. Unfortunately it doesn't exist any more. Writing for more serious magazines is more hit and miss because they don't always take what you submit - I am keen on HubPages but finding it difficult to find the time to write with my day job ...
Rik Rodriguez from Hawaii on January 07, 2008:
`Thanx Rik I am a member of Helium I am glad you did the work for me ;-)
My first real report I made I thought was not very good really. I published it myself using 7dollarsecrets script. To date I have made over $300.00 selling it for $7.00 In a year! I thought that wasn't good But if I made several more I would out do hubpages,helium, and associated content! I wrote a hub on 7dollar secrets . Again Rik Thank you !!!!!!!
Rik Ravado (author) from England on January 07, 2008:
Thanks for your input Marisa. $7 a month sounds pretty good for Helium but I agree its not a good hourly rate for the effort you've put in. You could make more money selling a single article to a magazine once a year.
Kate Swanson from Sydney on January 05, 2008:
Well explained, Rick. Recently, one or two writers have started to be very successful on Helium, but when you look into it more deeply, you'll see they're making their money by selling to publishers on the Marketplace (where ratings are irrelevant to whether yr article sells).
I have to correct you on the ratings - I've had many of my articles on the site for a year and they've moved up the ratings, not down. But with around 180 articles, I make around $7 a month. Not much when you think how many hours they took to write!
Research Analyst on January 05, 2008:
I will have to look into it, thanks for the info.
William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on December 28, 2007:
Good information. Thanks Rik.
Rik Ravado (author) from England on December 24, 2007:
Yes - early days for me but so far I find Hubs much more flexible than Helium
Rudra on December 24, 2007:
Never tried Helium. Looks like Hubs are better.