Product Sources: Where to Find Things to Sell on eBay and Amazon

Where to find things to sell on ebay and Amazon

 

The smartest thing you can do as a beginning seller on eBay or Amazon is to start off small and work your way up as you learn.  Begin with things laying around your home and then build up the volume of your inventory and momentum. Remember to keep an open mind and think outside of the box.  Otherwise, you may miss out on some opportunities. Here are some ideas of where you can source products once you’ve found your niche and you’re ready to step it up a notch or two:

 

  • Auctions (storage auctions, auctions houses, internet auctions): There are several auctions occurring in your local area.  They may be advertised in the city newspapers or in business newspapers.  Sometimes, you can discover scheduled auctions by visiting the websites of the local auction houses and joining their e-mail list.  Commercial storage facilities conduct auctions on the contents of storage units, when tenants become delinquent on rent.  Call up storage facilities to gather more information about scheduled auctions.

 

  • Estate sales– A family or organization may conduct an estate sale in order to clear away the belongings and property of someone who is deceased. The sales usually occur right at the home of the deceased person.  All sorts of stuff is up for grabs at these sales from artwork and collectibles to clothing.

 

  • Liquidations sales/ closeouts– Companies that are going out of business will have massive sales where they get rid of their inventory at cost or very close to it. Some companies will have sales throughout the year on merchandise that is out of season or stuff that’s not selling quick enough for them to continue storing.  It costs money to store things that aren’t bringing in revenue.

 

  • Thrift shops– Most people call this “thrifting”. The process is just like the name implies.  You shop at second-hand stores, like Goodwill for items that you can buy cheap and resell.  This is a really good way to find used books that will quickly sell on Amazon.  It’s also a great place to find vintage clothing, housewares, collectible items and new items, still in the original packaging.

 

  • Craigslist and other classified ads- Check through the ads listed by people wanting to sell stuff at low prices. A lot of these people are really desperate for cash or they are planning to move, so they are in a rush to unload stuff. Once in a while you might stumble upon people who want to give things away for free, also.  There are people who make a great living purchasing broken appliances and electronics, fixing them and then flipping them for a profit.

 

  • Retail arbitrage– Buying deeply discounted at retail stores like Walmart, Target, or Big Lots and then flipping them on eBay and Amazon. The trick is to buy as low as possible and later sell at higher prices.  There are a few mobile apps, like Profit Bandit that make the process of scouting for merchandise easier.  Using price checker apps help you make the decision whether it’s worth it to by an item to make a profit.

 

  • Garage sales – You can find these by searching for upcoming sales online via Craigslist, apps or the local newspaper. There are also a few groups of people on Facebook who advertise sales. The people holding garage sales will usually accept reasonable offers from buyers who haggle and bargain.  Try to arrive early to get first dibs on the good stuff. Bring plenty of change.

 

  • Flea markets and church sales– These are basically the same as garage sales, only the venues are different. Like garage sales, there are opportunities to find high-quality goods.  Some people who hold these sales aren’t aware of the true value of what they are selling.  Others just want to get rid of clutter and free up space and will practically give stuff away.

 

  • Book sales– There are a lot of good deals to be had on obscure books at “Friends of the Library” type book sales. It will take some experience and the help of an app like Profit Bandit to uncover the books that are worth buying.

 

  • Wholesale sources– You need to have a business entity in order to purchase products from legit wholesale sources. This requires a lot of research to target the right market and find the right products. Alibaba is a very well-known wholesale directory resource of products which can be imported from Asia.  But, be careful:  scams exist everywhere.  Including, at reputable websites. There’s no need to waste your money on wholesale directories like World Wide Brands.

 

  • Drop shipping– These are manufacturers and wholesalers which will actually pack and ship the products out to the retailer’s customers.  The major advantage is that the retailer doesn’t need to worry about storing any of the inventory.  I personally do not recommend it as way to source products.  There are many scams and companies that pose as drop shippers but are merely middle-men that charge expensive membership fees for their services.  A seller can run into some serious problems when a manufacturer or wholesaler runs out of a product and puts it on back order. I mention drop shipping here because it still continues to be a popular method of sourcing products, within reselling circles.

 

  • Product creation/Private label products– It requires a large sum investment of money and time upfront, developing your own brand and working directly with manufacturers. It can be beneficial because you can have the same product created in bulk and can make sales of the same product in volume.  This can be risky if you don’t do proper research and don’t know what the hell you are doing.  The last thing that any seller wants, is to accumulate thousands of dollar worth of inventory that doesn’t sell. Private label creation should be left to experienced resellers, with lots of capital to risk.

 

  • eBay– Yes, you’ve read this correctly. You can find sellers offering merchandise at wholesale on eBay.  There are also sellers who auction merchandise there in lots at very cheap rates.  These items can be resold on Amazon or eBay, provided that they are in demand and purchased at a low enough price.

 

© Copyright 2014  Susan Broadbelt

 

Can You Make Money Investing in The Financial Markets?

Disclaimer:  I am neither a financial planner, nor an investment guru.  So, don’t take anything that you read here as professional advice on investing.  As always, do your own research!!!

Although it is much more expansive, I use the term financial markets here to refer collectively to equities (stocks and mutual funds), futures market, Forex and bonds trading. The simple answer to this question is “yes”. However, the ability to make money through these avenues comes with many risks. If you don’t know what you are doing, then you open yourself up to more risks and the probability of losing money increases exponentially. Therefore, I highly encourage new investors to get a solid financial education and a thorough understanding of investing before taking risks with real money.

I’m very much like most people who grew up in the United States. There were periods when my family fluctuated between poor/working-class and lower middle-class. While I was growing up, I didn’t get the benefit of a firm foundation in financial education.

My parents don’t have much formal education. In their younger years, my father was a self-taught, skilled tradesman/construction contractor, who owned a small business. My mother worked mainly in retail, domestic housekeeping and care-taking.

They definitely knew how to hustle and make money. They taught us all a good work ethic by example. The problem is that they didn’t understand how to manage the money they earned and grow it. So, this knowledge (or lack thereof) was passed down to their children like genetic material.

I had to teach myself how to balance a check book and set up a budget in my late teens. Personal finances and retirement were rarely, if ever discussed in my family.

So, my financial markets education began in the mid-1990s. This was at a time when mail-order catalogs and brochures were extremely popular and before the internet blew up. I received a pamphlet in the mail from The Ken Roberts Company in Oregon. The pamphlet was a story about how Ken Roberts became a millionaire in real estate and later through trading in the commodity futures and options.

I was so intrigued by the brochures that I decided to take a chance and order a course which he offered for $195. It was called TWMPMM (The World’s Most Powerful Money Manual & Course) which was a futures trading course from the Ken Roberts company. Futures markets deal mostly with the purchase and sale of contracts on underlying commodity assets. Commodities are basically raw materials and things that people need in order to subsist such as oil, natural gas, metals, sugar, corn, wheat and pork bellies.

There are also futures markets for currencies like Eurodollars. Futures trading takes place at exchanges around the world. The most well-known exchange for commodity futures and options trading in the U.S. is the Chicago Board of Trade. The market is so much more diverse now than when it was back then. Now, people are trading derivatives on real estate, stocks and bonds.

The traders who invest in futures are speculating on whether the prices of a commodity will either go up or down at a point in the future. Traders who buy a futures contract (go long) are expecting to profit off an increase in price on the commodity. Traders who sell (go short) a futures contract are expecting to profit off of a decrease in the price on a commodity. Farmers use commodity futures and options investing as a hedge (or insurance) against loss in the agriculture industry.

Obviously, the futures market is more complex than what I discuss here. I say all of this to explain a bit about what the TWMPMM & Course taught. The box set included a VHS tape, a manual and a hardback copy of The Richest Man in Babylon, the classic by George S. Clason.

TWMPMM & Course takes you by the hand and provides very basic information on how to interpret some of the patterns in price charts through technical analysis. Some patterns such as 1-2-3 tops and bottoms, are signals to help traders decide when to buy and sell futures contracts. A few months later, I decided to purchase TWMPMM II: an expensive set of options trading VHS tapes from the Ken Roberts Company.

I did learn a great deal about this subject but the funny this is, I never acted on those specific teachings. I spent several months updating the price charts and paper trading (following commodities that caught my eye without investing any money). Had I invested real money on some trades I would have made a lot of money on Gold and lost money on other commodities.

Price of Gold 1996 futures chart
Price of Gold 1996 futures chart

 

Price of Gold 2012 futures chart
Price of Gold 2012 futures chart- See how much it when up in price?

 

The end result was that I decided that this route to making money in the financial markets was too risky and volatile for me. The prices of commodities are subject to wild fluctuations, even with limit moves in place. This is when the price moves up or down substantially in a very short period of time. I didn’t feel assured in making investment decisions by relying solely on patterns in price charts. Also, futures trading is heavily leveraged through margin accounts. This is another thing that I didn’t feel comfortable with. You can actually lose more money than what is in your margin account through investing in futures.

Now don’t get me wrong: there is definitely money to be made in futures commodity investing. But, it is not for the faint of heart. This path to investing is not for people who are averse to risk. And you should never risk funds that you can’t afford to risk.

I don’t regret plunking down the money for those courses, because it was a fascinating introduction to the world of investing. In a way, I thought that the information in TWMPMM was just a good general overview, just scratching the surface of futures trading. It was not nearly enough for a student to become a professional trader. However, I consider the money that I spent on the courses as an investment on my education. It exposed me to a different way of thinking. The course material served as a springboard to furthering my studies of financial markets. It made me more aware of the opportunities that existed to make money.

I even got fancy and subscribed to the “Wall Street Journal” to keep current with the news in the financial markets. I think that I must have read about 3 or 4 books written by Suze Orman alone. I did also read some beginners books on investing, namely learning more about equities, such as stocks and mutual funds. I’ll get into this more in another post, but the first ever investment that I made entailed the purchase of stock and bond mutual funds from within my 401k retirement account.

Make Money By Answering Questions with WebAnswers

make money answering questions on WebAnswers

Do you like to write? Do you enjoy trivia? Do you consider yourself to be a fact junkie? Then you could make money by asking and answering questions at WebAnswers. This is a website very similar to Yahoo Answers.   The main difference is that WebAnswers is a revenue sharing website and their members get paid for participation. It is free to register and ask questions.

Members get paid through Google AdSense.   Members can either set up a new AdSense account through WebAnswers or link to an existing AdSense account. New members need to answer at least 50 questions before they are eligible to link their AdSense account to WebAnswers. Once there is $100 or more accumulated in the AdSense account, the member is paid by Google.

 

More detail about AdSense Earnings on WebAnswers

Quality Score

Each contributing member is given a Quality Score rating. The more thorough and accurate answers that you provide, the higher your Quality Score will be. Quality is much more important than the quantity of questions answered.   Quality Scores get a boost when answers are lengthy (not just a few sentences), logical, and written in proper English grammar and spelling.

 

WebAnswers does not reveal exactly how they determine members’ Quality Scores. They won’t divulge the intricacies of the Quality Score system, since they don’t want any members attempting to manipulate the system. It is safe to say that your Quality Score is heavily impacted by level of participation and the quality and completeness of answers.
There is a direct correlation between Quality Score rating and the amount of money you will make. WebAnswers tend to show more ads with a member’s AdSense ID when their Quality Score rating is high. This translates into more AdSense impressions compared to members who have a lower Quality Score. More page impressions increases the possibility of more AdSense clicks on a member’s AdSense ads.

 

In order to get the most out of WebAnswers, you will need to be very active and participate regularly. Successful members stick to answering questions from topics where they are knowledgeable. The members who make the most money are the ones who provide very thorough, detailed answers to several questions per day. It goes almost without saying that members who participate seldom, do not make as much money as the most active members. So, quantity, quality and consistency are very important to the Quality Score rating and earnings potential.

 

Awarded Answers and Adsense earnings

When someone asks a question, they have the option to “award” one person who posts an answer to their question. The Awarded Answer is the answer that the asker chooses as the best answer.

A member makes a percentage on of the AdSense revenue from webpages displaying their Awarded Answers. The asker also earns a percentage of the adsense revenue until the question gets an awarded answer.

 

As mentioned before, members are paid through AdSense. The amount of money earned is based on factors such as the number of clicks to your AdSense ads, the number of page impressions, CPC (Cost per click), and eCPM. Certain advertisers are willing to pay more money per click from the ads that display on WebAnswers.   Ad categories such as Health, Legal, Finance, Beauty tend to have higher AdSense CPC (cost per click) and eCPMs.

 

Please understand that you aren’t allowed to click on your own ads or ask others to. This will get you kicked off WebAnswers and banned from the AdSense program. WebAnswers doesn’t tolerate plagiarized content on their website. Plagiarism could result in termination of a user’s account.

 

Copying and pasting is not allowed. They use a software which detects when users have copied and pasted a group of text from somewhere, even word processing software. Any posts containing copied and pasted text will be flagged and checked by moderators for plagiarism.

 

How much can you earn on WebAnswers?

Don’t expect to make big money on WebAnswers. There is no real way of knowing how much money you will make on WebAnswers, because of the unpredictability of AdSense revenue. Some members are able to earn several hundred dollars per month. What I gleaned from reading forums and responses from members, is that the average member makes about $50-$150 per month by answering a 5-10 question per day. This is just a rough estimate, because people aren’t allowed to give exact figures on their AdSense income and CTR’s.

 

Also, WebAnswers shows member’s ads on different pages through out the website- not just on Awarded Answer pages or questions asked. They don’t tell members where their ads are shown. As far as I know, you can’t track your earnings in Google Analytics. So, it is pretty difficult to tell which webpages are earning more money.

You can also make money by referring traffic to WebAnswers and others to join WebAnswers.

Cons of WebAnswers:
Some of the members who ask questions take a very long time to award answers or never award answers. Each member who participates in answering a question, will receive AdSense impressions on a rotated basis until the question is awarded. The more people who answer a question, the more dilute the earnings potential of the question. So, if 30 people answer a question the asker and all 30 of the members who’ve answered the question will have their AdSense ID rotated on that webpage until an Awarded Answer is selected.

They don’t like for people to put links in answers, especially affiliate and self-promotional links. Therefore, posts that contain links are flagged by their system and moderated. It is a measure taken to reduce spam.

Google has removed their ads from WebAnswers quite a few times. I am not sure why this happens and it could be due to many reasons. My guess is that Google may find some posts on the website that they don’t think are appropriate. When this occurs all members lose AdSense revenue until Google decides to reinstate WebAnswers‘s AdSense account. The last time that this happened the ads were gone for nearly a week.

 

Their support forum for members is not very active. It is supposed to be a place for members to voice their concerns in an organized fashion. The members seem to prefer to just post direct questions and concerns through WebAnswers. That’s okay, but I think it would be easier for members to access this type of info in the dedicated support forum. The owners of the website don’t seem to be very active over there. Since I joined, I haven’t heard any updates from them, including when problems arise.

 

One thing that should be pointed out is that WebAnswers is not open to people in all countries. Check the terms of service to find out whether you are eligible to register.

 

I am a firm believer in not putting your eggs in one basket, so I spend just a few days a week there. I do it to keep my participation levels up and my account active.  Some people complain that as their participation drops, their earning levels and AdSense impressions decline.  Another thing that I should add is that once you submit content to WebAnswers, you lose copyrights to what you publish there.   So, be sure to keep this in mind.

 

I joined WebAnswers in March 2014 and expect good things from them. I plan to experiment with it for some time and see what develops.

Make Money Selling Stuff on Amazon Online

I started selling on Amazon several years, ago. I always knew that Amazon was the go to place to buy low-cost, good used books and CDs. However, it didn’t dawn on me that individuals could sell there until I was looking for a way to get rid of some of my own used college textbooks, unwanted DVDs, and music CDs. For a very long time, I assumed that only larger booksellers were permitted to sell merchandise on Amazon.

Why sell on Amazon?

The biggest incentive for selling there is that Amazon.com is a huge, well-known high traffic website. Amazon takes care of their customers and have worked hard to build up a base of millions of trusting, satisfied customers. Customers know that Amazon offers an A-to-Z Guarantee Program, so that they can file a claim or get a refund if there is a problem with their purchase.

If you pick a good selling niche, there is the potential to make hella money there. I have found that certain merchandise sells rather quickly on Amazon as compared to similar ecommerce sites, like eBay. As a matter of fact, Amazon is giving eBay a serious run for their money and takes a big chomp into the ecommerce market share. Although, most merchandise doesn’t usually sell immediately after listing, books, computers, and consumer electronics seem to be the more popular and quicker selling categories.

It is very easy to get started with selling stuff on Amazon. Find something to sell by doing some research on products that sell well and how to price the product. Next, determine what type of selling plan suits your needs. You can get the registration process going in minutes by having a phone number, valid credit card and bank account.   After completing these steps, you will be ready to create product listings. As always, it is a smart idea to read the terms of service before beginning the registration process and selling anything.

 

Individual Selling Plan vs. Professional Selling Plan

Individual selling plans don’t carry any upfront or monthly fees and it is more suited for low-volume selling. A variable fee and closing cost are charged after a sale is made. Amazon places limits on how much sales can be made through an individual selling account. I think the limit is somewhere in the area less than 40 items sold per month and $600 in sales. Plus, there is a $.99 per item charge on each item sold.

The Professional selling plan costs $39.99 per month but you get so much more with this selling plan. It is a plan intended for high-volume selling (more than 40 items per month). The usual referral fees and closing fees are charged after a sale but there is no $.99 per item charge with this plan. Sellers are able to customize their shipping rates (on certain products) with a professional plan. There is also greater access to bulk listing tools and other enhanced features.

Whenever an item is sold, Amazon handles the payment processing and transaction. The seller never sees the customer credit card or banking information. Amazon deducts their fees and costs from the payment and deposits the money into the seller’s payments account.

 

What is the difference between Merchant Fulfilled and Amazon FBA?

Individual sellers can sell things on Amazon Marketplace and take care of storage, packing and shipping of orders and customer service for themselves. This is called merchant fulfilled selling. But, few people know that there is a great program called Amazon FBA, which means fulfilled by Amazon.   With FBA, Amazon takes care of customer service, storage and fulfillment of merchandise on behalf of merchants.

The merchant ships the inventory to an Amazon warehouse location. After that, Amazon pretty much handles the rest. It is beneficial to the merchant because, this frees up lots of time for the merchant to do other things, like work on marketing strategies and sourcing of products.

One advantage that an Amazon FBA seller has over a Merchant Fulfilled seller is this: All orders listed through Amazon FBA sellers are eligible for either Amazon Prime shipping and Free Supersaver shipping. Basically, when a customer purchases from an Amazon FBA seller, they can get their order shipped to them at no additional cost. Amazon Prime is a subscription service offered to customers that gives them some perks like free, unlimited 2-day shipping of orders. Free Supersaver, standard shipping is offered on orders totaling $35 or more.

Just in cases you were wondering Amazon FBA services does come with a cost. So you will need to factor in whether it is worth it for some merchandise.

 

Where do You find stuff to sell on Amazon?

Most of the merchandise categories on Amazon requires that the product be new and not used. There are some exceptions. You may sell used books, CDs, DVDs, and some electronics.

You could start off like I did by looking for stuff in your garage and closets to sell. I am talking about those things that have been taking up space and collecting dust for years. When you are ready to scale up and make more money, you can ask family members if they have any things that they don’t want. Tell them that you’d be happy to take their “trash” off their hands. You can also find things to sell on Amazon at liquidation sales, estate sales, garage sales, thrift shops, Craigslist, etc.

I read a story about this dude who made a lot of money by dumpster diving and selling the stuff he found on eBay and Amazon. Now, I am not suggesting that you hop inside of a dumpster with all that stinking filth and risk a nasty Staph infection. I am saying that you’d be shocked at how much good stuff people set out curbside and just outside of dumpsters.

Are Writedge and DailyTwoCents Suitable Alternatives to Bubblews?

I am currently researching alternatives to writing on Bubblews.  This led me to a couple of revenue sharing websites called, DailyTwoCents and Writedge. They are jointly owned by Danielle McGaw and Michelle Harlow.  Writedge (WE) and DailyTwoCents (DTC) are partner sites. DailyTwoCents is a website similar to Bubblews and it allows people to write and publish short articles of at least 100 words.  One of the site owners is a former member of Bubblews, who didn’t get paid by Bubblews and I think they deleted her account.  She “fought back” by starting her own website.

 

Bubblews has many issues with delayed payment to its contributing members.  Bubblews have raised their cash out threshold from $25 to $50 last year.  They also increased the amount of time that it takes to be paid, from roughly a week to about 35 days now.

 

I have been checking online for what people are saying about DailyTwoCents and Writedge.  The reviews are overwhelmingly positive; Other than low traffic (compared to similar sites), I have yet to find anything that raises a red flag for me.  There haven’t been any complaints that I know of about delayed or missing payments from DTC or WE.  They have a Facebook page set up, where the owners are active.

 

They are much more responsive to the questions and concerns of their writers than Bubblews tends to be.  Some members on Bubblews report that they don’t receive good member support and very ambiguous and often rude answers from Bubblews support staff on issues. Some members had their accounts deleted without notice along with their accumulated earnings.

 

Writedge and DailyTwoCents has a PPV compensation system, which pays a little lower compared to Bubblews.  DailyTwoCents and Writedge pays ½ cent per unique view, while Bubblews pays 1 penny per view, like, share or comment.  WE and DTC doesn’t pay for likes, shares, or comments.  The payout minimum at WE and DTC is only $5, which is much lower compared to Bubblews’s $50 minimum payout threshold.

 

WE and DTC allow something that Bubblews doesn’t allow; Their contributors are permitted to insert affiliate and self-promoting links.  You are allowed to insert a few links, within reason. This offers contributors more opportunity to make more money and get increased exposure on other projects.  The  sweetest part is that the contributor gets to keep 100% of the revenue from their affiliate sales.

 

They are also accepting content that was previously published on other platforms like Squidoo or Hubpages.  The previously published content must be deleted from other places on the web and de-indexed from search engines prior to re-publishing.

 

Another thing that I like about WE and DTC is that they have standards. Bubblews doesn’t edit any post, which results in higher degree of plagiarism and low-quality garbage getting published there.  This isn’t a good practice in the long-term for search engine optimization, relevance and rankings.  I have actually seen several posts published on Bubblews with a string of incoherent nonsense, stuffed with keywords.  Not good.

 

DailyTwoCents edit posts prior to publishing them, which results in higher quality content.  You aren’t allowed to publish any and everything there.  Editors will check over the first 3- 5 submitted posts in order to ensure that they meet a certain quality level before the posts are published.  So, it is not possible to submit plagiarized, spammy content, filled with spelling and grammatical errors.

 

There is an unspoken rule that members on Bubblews are not allowed to write on subjects that entail making money.  Or, subjects that can lead the members away to competitors.  DTC and WE doesn’t seem to have any issues with publishing submissions related to these topics.

 

Though I am reluctant to call them a scam, I don’t feel 100% assured in writing for Bubblews.  They have the reputation of not paying for articles that go viral- even, when the poster follows all of their rules.  I’ve got the lingering feeling that one day I may not get paid for all my contributions or that my account may be mysteriously deleted without warning.  Diversification is important to me and I dabble in many different platforms to spread my eggs into different baskets.

 

So, I am seriously contemplating whether I should delete all of my better quality posts which I have published there, and find other platforms to republish them.  I have about 200 posts published on Bubblews.  I will likely re-write and tweak the content before moving it.

Bubblews: They continue to have issues

Bubblews is still receiving many criticism and complaints regarding delayed or missing payments to their members. They were 3 weeks late with the payment of my latest redemption. According to their rules (at the time), members should expect to be paid around 30 days after redeeming the money in the bank. I decided to give them an extra week before contacting member support about the late payment. They seem to be very inundated with a backlog of payment processing and other issues.

 

There was no “human” response to the first message that I sent to member support about the late payment. The typical automated response to the initial inquiry was sent. Then, I waited another couple of weeks and they still didn’t pay me. So, I sent a direct e-mail to member support with a screen shot of the redemption. The following day Bubblews support sent an e-mail which stated that they were sending the payment. Shortly thereafter, I received another e-mail from Bubblews via PayPal that my e-check was on the way.

 

I am happy that they held up their end of the bargain and eventually paid me. But, the experience makes me much more reluctant to continue submitting content on Bubblews. In fact, I am slowly deleting some of my best posts published there. I will most likely find somewhere else to put them for residual earnings.

 

Bubblews have made more changes to their payout structure and website that I don’t like. They increased the redemption payout time from 30 days to 35 days. In some countries the payout time is as high as 90 days. They are saying that they made this decision because of the amount of time that it takes for them get paid by advertisers on their website.

Then, there was something else that I noticed: Bubblews no longer covers PayPal fees, and a 5% charge is passed on to the member. Basically, the PayPal fee is deducted from Bubblews e-checks deposited to PayPal.

In addition, the earnings aren’t as transparent as they used to be. Members are no longer able to see the amount of views to each post.   It is also not clear how much each member will earn per unique page view to their content.  We have to just trust that we aren’t being shafted on the unique views (uhhhhh, right).

In some countries, the pay per view is something like $.001 per unique page view. The amount of money that the advertisers pay for ad placements in certain regions comes into play. I know that Bubblews implemented this in order to prevent “gaming the system” and get rid of the cheaters but that totally sucks.
It looks like member activity has dropped significantly since the changes were implemented. Low activity= less page views= less ad revenue=money. Perhaps, people have started to bail and seek greener pastures.  Will this website last the many changes? Who knows?

 

In the past, Bubblews actually deducted all earnings on deleted posts! That was not fair because Bubblews have already earned advertising revenue on the page views from those posts. But this changed; They are now allowing members to keep the earnings from deleted posts (which is the way that it should have been in the first place).

 

I dislike the way that they handle their member support and payment processing. I don’t know whether there is a cash flow problem or if Bubblews is simply short staffed and disorganized. It doesn’t make them look good. They really need to tighten up in those areas of member support and sending out payments on time.

 

I already look at my activity there as a hobby rather than a sustainable money-making venture. I check in every few days for a few minutes. That’s just to keep connected with other members and to see what is going on there. I won’t be spending that much time there because it is not worth it in the long run.

Make Money Writing For Revenue Sharing Websites

What are revenue sharing websites?

These are third party websites, which pay for user generated content in the form of articles, video, audio and pictures.  This post refers to writing websites that have a payment scheme in place for sharing their revenue with content producers and writers.

If you observe closely, you will notice that there are always some form of advertising on these types of websites.  Revenue sharing websites generate  their income from the ads placed on the website and/or affiliate links.   This is how they keep the ship afloat, aside from providing newly published content to attract more visitors.  When someone visits the website and clicks on an ad or makes a purchase through an affiliate links, the website generates revenue.  The revenue is then split between the website owner and the content producer. Please be advised that writers who contribute to most revenue share websites are independent contractors and not employees.

There are two common compensation structures:

Pay per view  Writers receive a certain amount of money per 1- 1000 unique views to content.  For, example Bubblews pays 1 penny per unique view to a post. The amount paid varies with the platform.

Advertising/Affiliate revenue splits- Websites that pay through this method allow their members to sign up with an advertising network or affiliate programs, like AdSense and Amazon Associates.  The website shares a portion of the revenue with contributing members.  Some websites don’t require their members to sign up for an ad network.  The website owner uses their own ad network account and distributes revenue share to the writers.  The ones that do this, usually pay writers directly via PayPal, wire transfer or direct deposit.

What are the pros of writing for a revenue sharing website?

These platforms are a great creative outlet for people who have a thirst for knowledge and a knack for stringing words together coherently. Writing offers flexibility for the person in between jobs, full time students, stay at home parents, or people looking to ease into freelance writing and copywriting.  It is free to register and it is a nice way to supplement your income.   It is open to beginners, with very little experience,  as well as seasoned pros.

They are helpful for people who don’t know anything about blogging or writing for the internet .   Members don’t have to worry about learning coding (HTML, CSS, PHP, etc.).   The main requirements  are that you do your research, abide by the rules and then let your creative juices flow.

Most of these websites will give you the freedom to write on most topics that you care about.  So, you aren’t required to write in a specific niche or topic. Whenever I am in the mood to blog about diverse topics, I publish the articles on a revenue sharing website.  This makes more sense than publishing the article on my own blog in an unrelated niche.

Unless you are writing for upfront payment, there are no deadlines.  There are no taskmasters demanding that you submit articles on a scheduled basis.

Another good reason to submit your content to these sites is that they have high amounts traffic from loyal visitors.  The owners spend large amounts of money on SEO (search engine optimization), advertising and marketing to promote their business.  Most revenue sharing websites have high rankings in the search engines.  Therefore, many of the articles placed on these websites appear on the first page of Google.

This means that you stand a much better chance of publishing an article which receives a healthy number of page views, by submitting your articles through a revenue sharing website.  It can be much more difficult to get your articles on the first page of Google with a new website/blog.  That is true especially if you know nothing about driving traffic, social networking or SEO.

Some revenue sharing websites allow writers the opportunity to earn residual income from their articles.  Once you publish an article on one of these websites, it has the potential to continue making money for you into the future.  In most cases, no additional work is required beyond writing and promoting the articles via social media.

I joined some revenue sharing websites in 2009, and had no idea what I was doing.  I was honestly not that serious about it at the time. It took me about six months to a year to learn what I needed to know to start increasing my earnings.  People who join revenue sharing websites stand to benefit in so many ways.  At the very least, they will help you to become a better writer and a better internet marketer.

Some people wonder why a writer would ever want to put his or her content on another company’s website.  There are a few easy explanations for this.  For one, an unknown and inexperienced writer may gain more practice and develop a portfolio by writing for a platform owned by someone else.  It is also a great way to network with other writers in that website’s community and learn more tools for success.   Some writing websites provide style guides, forums and support for their member writers.

The forums at the sites are chock-full-of information about SEO, affiliate marketing, keyword research, blogging, and many other topics.   Most of the members are very generous about sharing information on how they’ve succeeded online and other opportunities to make money on the internet.

What are the cons of writing for a revenue sharing website?

The owner of the website retains control over what is displayed.  Some revenue sharing websites have very strict rules for the types content that is published on their platform.  Some of them have editors that hold contributors to a certain quailty standard before articles are even published.  They do this in order to please their audience and remain in good standing with the advertisers.  There is the looming risk that content that they consider to be too controversial, illegal, offensive to readers and advertisers, will be removed without warning.

Anyone who is already experienced with web writing knows about Google algorithm updates. From about 2010- 2013, Google implemented major changes to their algorithm.  The most notable among the updates are Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird Google algorithim updates.   This was done to prevent worthless, poor quality, duplicate, spammy content from ranking high in the search engines. Some revenue sharing websites are regarded as content farms with poor quality content.  So they were dramatically impacted by the algorithm changes.

Basically, the traffic to and readership of your content is at the mercy of the major search engines.  This holds especially true if you rely mainly on organic traffic from the search engines.  This is the reason why many revenue sharing websites are now editing/moderating content, whereas they did not before.   And some of them will not allow content which has been published elsewhere on the web- even if you are the original author.

Some discourage or limit affiliate links or backlinking to build traffic to your own website.  For example, Bubblews does not allow any affiliate or promotional links.  Hubpages places limits on links that are promotional and will not allow any affiliate links from Clickbank.

Most revenue sharing websites will agree that the writer retains copyright ownership over any content that is produced and submitted, unless otherwise stated.  So, the writer is usually free to remove their content, if desired, without penalty.  However, there are few revenue sharing websites that grant themselves certain rights to repubish your content.  So, always be sure to read the fine print.

Will you make money with revenue sharing websites?

Yes, but you will not become an overnight success or eek out a full time living for several months or even years.  This requires lots of hard work upfront to build a large portfolio of good quality content and marketing the content.  The process is very time consuming to do research for articles, drafting, and proofreading before publishing them.  It is your call whether to invest the time and effort that is required to make money on these sites.

The most obvious disadvantage is related to the pay structure.  There is no guarantee that you will make money.  There is also no upfront payment for article posts submitted. Writers on revenue sharing sites need to share the advertising revenue with the website owners.  This is only fair since the website owner is responsible for the financial, legal and administrative drawbacks of owning and maintaining such large platforms.  You always have that option to publish content to your own blog or website and keep 100% of any earned revenue.

Popular revenue sharing websites:

Hubpages

Infobarrel

Bubblews

DailyTwoCents

Wikinut

Wizzly

Writedge

You will need to make the determination as to whether you can benefit from writing for a revenue sharing website and whether it is worth your time.  Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you come up with some goals, a good strategy and an action plan for maximizing your time spent curating content.  Professional writers can skip these websites altogether, as they are capable of earning more money through freelance writing for private clients.  As soon as you gain enough knowledge and skills, devote more energy towards building your own niche websites.

Make Money With Amazon Mechanical Turks

This post is an Amazon mechanical turk review of my experience with the website.  Amazon mturk is one of the quickest ways to make money online that I am aware of.  Amazon Mechanical Turks or Mturk is a crowd sourcing or micro jobbing website where you can make money doing tasks called HITS. They are Human Intelligence Tasks, which are performed by human beings and not automated software programs or robots. On the other side of the transaction is a requester, which is an institution or individual placing the request for the task to be completed. Most of the tasks are very easy to perform and take just a few seconds or minutes. Other tasks are a bit more involved and require more attention.

The average HIT pays anywhere from a few pennies, up to a few dollars. The pay widely varies according to the requester, the type of HIT and the amount of time it takes to complete the HIT.

 

Getting Started:

It is free to register with Amazon Mturk and it is open to people residing both in and outside of the United States. Refer to the terms of service for a complete listing of countries allowed. The process of signing up to do work on Mturk is really easy and they assign an Mturk ID number to each worker. It can be found in the upper right hand corner from the “My Account” page, after registration.

Getting Paid

When HITS are completed, the requester will either approve or reject the HIT. After HITS are approved, the Requester releases the funds to the Mturk account. Some requesters approve and pay HITS really quickly, sometimes within minutes of completion. Other requesters take several days or even a few weeks to pay HITS.

Turkers (workers on Mturk) are allowed to transfer funds to their Amazon payments account. From there, the turkers can withdraw the funds, as long as there is at least $1.00 in the Amazon Payments account.

Amazon Mturk pays their turkers (in the U.S.), either by direct deposit to a verified bank account or Amazon e-gift card which can be used to shop at Amazon.com. Funds are held for the first 10 days for new Turkers. Currency is paid according the country that the turker resides in.

The best thing is that you get access to your money really quickly. They say that direct deposits take between 5-7 business days to complete. In my experience, the deposit appears in my bank account within 1-2 business days of withdrawing. Amazon e-gift cards are sent to your Amazon.com account almost immediately.

 

These are examples of the types of requests or HITS available on Amazon Mturk:

Moderating, rating or tagging images

Simple data entry from receipts, invoices, or business cards

Transcription

Writing articles

Writing product descriptions

Putting items into categories

Consumer surveys for products and services

Academic research surveys

Watching and rating movie trailers and other videos

Search engine keyword ratings and relevance

 

Pros of Doing HITS on Mturk:
There are thousands of HITS are available that don’t require any specialized skills or training to complete.

Mturk is up and running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is open to people in the United States and some other countries. Turkers can log on to the website and do a HIT at any time, provided that there is a HIT available, that you are eligible for. This allows for a great degree of flexibility, since you aren’t required to adhere to any set schedule. You could spend 10 minutes working on HITS or you could spend hours working on HITS. It’s up to you how much time you put into it. You can go days or weeks without doing HITS. The amount of money that you make is up to you.
You can work on most HITS from anywhere. In some cases HITS can be completed on a high-end smart phone or tablet, as long as you have access to high speed internet service. I frequently do HITS from my dining room table, or sofa while the TV is on in the background.

 

If you find a particular HIT unacceptable, then you may return it, in most instances, without a penalty. Try not to do this too often, though; It affects your ratings.

 

Cons of Doing HITS on Mturk:
Most of the HITS are extremely mind numbing, repetitive and tedious. You can quickly become bored with some of the non-stimulating tasks on Mturk.   However, if you are willing to do some searching, there are some very interesting HITS available to participate in.

Most of the HITS are very low paying, and often below minimum wage. You will have to determine whether it is worth your time to do the low paying HITS. There is a filter in the HIT search to help workers to weed out the lower paying HITS. I’ve found some HITS where I was paid a couple of dollars for just a few minutes of work! Some requesters pay out small bonuses for turkers who are productive and accurate.

There are probably some people who understand what it takes to make a good living on Amazon Mturk. They are highly organized, efficient and have a thorough understanding of the systems. The vast majority of turkers will make just enough for some pocket change or supplemental income.

I did some of the low paying HITS in order to boost my ratings and scores. The more HITS you complete, the more opportunities will become available for you to do different types and higher paying HITS. Some turkers work so well that they are offered Master Turker qualification, which gives them special perks on Mturk.

Overall, Amazon mturk is one of the easiest,  scam free ways to make money online.  But, a word to the wise: There are a few dishonest and unscrupulous requesters on there, who have a high rejection rate. Unfortunately, they may benefit from the work that a turker does, without paying. They will justify the rejection by stating that the worker did poor quality work or that the worker didn’t follow instructions.

Try to avoid those requesters with a poor reputation. There is always an option to either contact the requester for any questions regarding a HITS. Turkers can file a complaint against requesters who violate Mturk’s terms of service agreement.

Avoid giving requesters any personally identifiable information or sensitive information, such address, phone number, social security number, etc.

 

Where the Real Money is on Amazon Mturk

 

The other way that you can make money on Amazon Mturk is to be a requester posting HITS. This is where the real high earnings opportunity exists. You would need to know a considerable amount about Web developing and API’s or at least have the wherewithal to pay someone to set things up for you. If you can come up with a system whereby you make money off of someone else’s work, then it could be a great way to make some good residual income. That’s what I call working smart.

 

Ten Things You Should Know Before Taking Surveys

Participating in online surveys conducted by market research companies can be a

good source of extra pocket cash. There are some things that you should ponder

before deciding whether to the join survey panels of market research companies.

Here are some suggestions that you may find helpful:

 

  1. What are your reasons for participating in online survey panels? Are you taking

online surveys strictly to make money? Do you enjoy the opportunity to express your

opinion and influence marketing decisions? You will want to explore your reasons for

participating, since this will make it easier to determine whether surveys are worth

your time. Don’t ever get fooled into thinking that you can make a full time living off

of taking surveys. Any money you make from taking surveys is supplemental income

at best. I use the extra money to put gas in my car or to buy a cup of coffee from

time to time. I question the veracity of statements such as: You can make $75- $100

an hour by taking online surveys. The average survey offer is between $1- $5, for

10 minutes to 30 minutes of your time. Once in a while, “specialist” surveys are

offered which can pay $20 or more for your time.

 

  1. Understand the incentive system that each company offers. Some companies

utilize a points system, whereby you earn a certain amount of points for each survey

completed. Those points can be converted into amounts which can be redeemed for

money or other merchandise. It’s important to understand the conversion factor for

points awarded (example, 1000 points = $10 or 1000 points = $50 ). This way you

will avoid wasting time with surveys than may not pay as well compared to others.

Other companies don’t reward in points, but rather reward dollar (or cents) amounts

for surveys completed. Also, the payout threshold varies from company to company.

Where one company might have a payout as low as $5.00, another may require you

to have $50.00 in your account before you are allowed to cash out.

 

  1. Related to #2, familiarize yourself with payment methods. Some market research

companies payout in cash via PayPal or check. Others make payments in the form

of gift certificates with major retailers like Amazon.com, or through virtual gift cards.

If you aren’t aware of payment methods, you could find yourself taking surveys only

to be rewarded with a magazine subscription or points for a tote bag, or perhaps, a

no-name brand MP3 player. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself. But,

what if these incentives don’t tickle your fancy?

 

  1. Know the market research company’s policy regarding account inactivity. It is

often required that you login to your account within a certain time frame in order for

the account to be considered active. If not, you run the risk of your account getting

deactivated. There are market research companies that will go as far as removing

points from an inactive account and then closing the account.

 

Just as a hypothetical, a panel member at one market research company hasn’t used

her account for over a year. The terms of service clearly states that if a panel

member has not taken any surveys or logged into their account within 12 months,

then the account will become inactive. This market research company considers all

money rewarded in inactive accounts to be forfeited to the market

research company. You don’t want all of your hard work and time to go down the

drain. So, be sure to read up on this. As a matter of fact, you should read the entire

terms of service agreement very thoroughly to avoid unknowingly violating any of the

terms of service.

 

  1. Thoroughly read the privacy policy of the market research website. As a general

proposition, you should be reading the privacy policy of every website you visit.

There may be information in the privacy policy which is shocking to you. The last

thing that you want is for a company to take your private information and use or sell

it to another company without your permission. Reputable market research

companies have privacy policies and they do not use your information to sell things

to you. Avoid websites that don’t have a privacy policy.

 

  1. Never pay to join a survey website. Bona fide market research survey panels don’t

charge members to join. You should not have to pay for a list of real survey

companies, either. This is information readily available to you with a little common

sense and Googling legwork.

 

  1. Be honest in the information that you provide to market research companies.

Panelists that provide dishonest answers just to qualify for surveys, are often

permanently kicked out of the panel when discovered. Also, the market research

company is collecting data for their clients. Providing incorrect information during a

survey, leads to skewed statistics and unreliable data. Market research companies

and their clients aren’t willing to pay for bad information.

 

  1. You won’t qualify for every survey opportunity that you are offered. You may find

that you start a screener in the beginning of the survey, and get disqualified after a

few minutes. During the screener you get asked questions about your demographics.

That’s because market research companies often target specific segments of the

population. Most market research companies don’t pay for the time it took for

screening. You get paid only if you complete the survey and your results are

approved. If you are disqualified during a screener, don’t feel discouraged. Just keep

it moving.

 

  1. You might want to sign up for a free e-mail address and use this e-mail account  for

panels. In the event that you sign up for a company which poses as a market

research company, your e-mail inbox might get flooded with spam. To save yourself

some headaches, refrain from providing your personal and business e-mail unless

you are very certain that you’re dealing with a reputable organization. Scammers

won’t hesitate to sell your information and then proceed to spam you.

 

10.   After you sign up with a market research panel, you will receive an activation email.

It is very important to click on the link in the activation e-mail, so that your

account is activated. Afterwards, you will be able to receive survey invites in your email

inbox. Add the market research company’s e-mail address to your contact list,

so that the e-mails that you receive from them won’t go to the spam folder.

Some tips to Make Money in Sales and be a Good Salesperson

The term “sales” or “salesman” often carries a negative connotation. Those words

conjure up images of the snake oil salesmen or that shifty-eyed used car salesman.

However, there is nothing inherently bad or negative about the sales industry. In fact,

we are all salespersons. Selling is all about negotiating and persuading others to

some action or thought. When you go on a job interview you are selling yourself.

When a doctor tries to convince a patient to take medication, he or she is selling.

Every time we ask a supervisor for a raise, we need to sell ourselves.

 

One of the biggest benefits of becoming a salesperson is that it is a veritable

“recession proof” career (that’s if you are good at it). In most cases, a college degree

is not required. Most of the skills required for the job can be learned, even if you

aren’t a natural in it. But some people don’t want to get into sales because of their

negative perception of salespeople. Others are just too lazy to put in the hard work

required to have any success at it. At the same time, sales is simply not a career for

everyone.

 

In the past, I did work in sales. There were certain aspects of it that I didn’t like.

Also, I was not 100% fond of the company that I worked for or its services.

Therefore, my performance was lackluster and I was pretty mediocre at my sales job.

However, I noted that some of my colleagues, working for the same company, were

great at sales. You might enjoy the challenge of it, as well.

 

Here are some abilities and actions that you need in order to be a good salesperson.

Of course, this isn‘t an all encompassing list. It is my opinion, based on personal

experience working in the sales industry.

 

  • You should have good communication skills, both verbal and nonverbal.

Successful sales people are experts at getting their point across to

prospects and customers. I think that most good salespeople are

extroverts, but this doesn’t mean that introverted people can’t sell. Many

introverts are able to overcome any social anxiety or fears to make a

great living in sales. It is all about how you speak and what your body

language conveys to your prospects. You must know how to explain all

the features and benefits of the product in a way that is palpable for the

customer. Good sales people are honest and have integrity in what they

say and do.

 

  • Good salespersons are very competitive. They get a rush every time they

score a sale. A good salesperson’s greatest competitor is their own self

and he or she is always looking for ways to improve. They set a goal to

achieve in daily, weekly, and monthly contacts and sales. A good

salesperson doesn’t just aim to meet the sales quota, but rather to break

records. A successful salesperson understands that is a numbers game,

so he or she will not pass up an opportunity to at least attempt a sale.

 

  • You must enjoy working with people. You need to know how to build up a

rapport when dealing with prospects and customers. When you build a

relationship with a customer, it is important that you make the best first

impression. You must come across as a trustworthy and likeable person.

Even if the person that you are trying to sell to, loves the product, he or

she will not buy it from you if you aren’t likeable. Oftentimes, clients will

refer you to other prospective clients when you build good rapport.

 

  • You need to be persistent and resilient. Salespeople hear the word “no” a

lot (probably a lot more than the word “yes”). It is vital that salespersons

don’t allow “rejection burnout” to set in. This can happen when you take

the “no’s” personally and loose confidence in yourself or the profession.

You need the ability to bounce back, return to prospects whom have told

you “no”, once or more times. It might seem gutsy, but there are cases

when a sale is made after the third or fourth follow up with the same

prospect. So, never give up.

 

  • Listen and pay attention to your client or customer. Sometimes

salespersons are so hell bent on making a sell that they don’t listen. If

you don’t listen then you might miss vital clues and signals coming from

your client. Clients will tell you what their true motivations and desires are

and this information can be used to push “hot buttons”. Also, by listening

you can determine whether what you are selling is of value to the

customer. Thus, you won’t waste neither your time, nor the client’s time

trying to sell them a useless product or service.

 

  • Good salespersons have self-confidence and a thick skin. Some

customers or prospects can by down right nasty and rude, but you have

to learn to deal with it if you want to be a success at sales. If cold calling

is required, customers might abruptly hang up on you. A friend of mine

goes door to door trying to make sales for his landscaping business.

Sometimes people slam the door in his face before he can finish the first

sentence. My friend does not allow this to destroy his confidence or stop

his hustle. He dusts his shoulders off and keeps it moving to the next

door. You are not defined by what someone else says or thinks about

you.

  • Learn and know your product. There are millions of products and services

just waiting to be sold. Find a brand, product or service that you respect

or already own to sell. The reason being is that you will have a very hard

time selling a product or service that you don’t understand or believe in.

Would you spend money on a product or service that is worthless?

Customers won’t buy a product from a salesperson that doesn’t know the

benefits and value of owning the product