Helium's Reward-A-Thon (Occasionally) Leads to Big Paydays

The online writing community Helium recently ended its 100 day reward-a-thon, during which contributors were rewarded with small bonuses for each article they submitted.

Helium serves as both a directory and marketplace for user generated articles. Writers can earn revenue based on the quality and popularity of each article they submit, though typical payouts tend to be quite small. The reward-a-thon augmented each writer’s pay by $1-3 per article, depending on the quality of the author. In the end, the site says that over 1,000 Helium members earned rewards during the period (only a couple dozen made over $600).

The reward-a-thon was not without some controversy, however. The site employs a complex rating system for each writer, and those that weren’t ranked highly enough were knocked into a lower paybracket or out of the reward-a-thon altogether. An author’s “quality” is determined both by how well their articles are judged, and by how good they are at rating articles written by other contributors. Much of this system relies on the opinions of others, making it difficult for a contributor to maintain a high ranking.