First, if you write only for fun and you’re not interested in making the most money you can on ThisIsBy.Us (TIBU), then this article is not meant for you.
And if you’re expecting to retire on TIBU dollars (or for most of you, even just to buy a freaking beer), you can forget about that right now. TIBU may credit the community with over 50% of the ad revenue, but they set their system up so that less than 5% of those dollars will ever make it into the author’s hands while the remainder will be forfeit back to the owners of the site. But there is definitely money to be made in creating Internet content (see below). And since anybody can post literally anything on their site, TIBU is an easy place to get read and promote your own web site. Their slogan to draw writers in is “50% of the revenue goes to the writers”, so you might as well maximize what little cash you can make too.
That said, TIBU is a “paid-content” site that lets you post whatever you want, when you want with no approval or setup at all. Other paid-content sites actually pay more (and not just ‘credit’ you with dollars but truly get them into your hands) but are not as simple. For example, at AssociatedContent.com an editor must approve your work to pay you and post it (and no off-color stuff allowed), or BlogSpot with Adsense ads you’d have to set up and market your own blog. So ThisIsBy.Us has its own niche and charm with a cash reward as the incentive. Every system has its inputs and outputs and by varying your inputs, you can increase your outputs. So how does the TIBU system work and how can you manipulate it to your advantage?
The details of the data, formula and calculations for figuring payments on ThisIsBy.Us are not disclosed (when I asked co-owner and law student Lauren Davis tells me that the community has indicated that it prefers this process shrouded in secrecy). So there’s no way to tell if what you receive is even close to accurate or is just the owner’s whim that day. But we gather from observation and experience that the process goes like this:
Every day the amount of money earned by the whole site varies depending on the number of visitors to the site that day.
For an article each day, its Votes times its Views = its Daily Goodness (DG) for that day.
You get the same percent of that day’s money as your Daily Goodness is of the entire site’s Daily Goodness for that day.
In other words, if your DG is 100 and the site’s total DG is 1000, you receive 10% of the writer’s half of the money made that day.
The first thing to notice is that since Votes x Views = Money, that means that NO VOTES = NO MONEY regardless of the number of views your work is generating. The main voting period when all of the active TIBU people will read and vote (or not) is only during the first days of your posting. After that, thousands more may come to read your work, but you’ll be paid no more for them since your work will get almost no more votes after days one and two. The money your post perpetually generates after the voting period is dispersed among the writers who do get votes that day. Doled out in nickels and dimes to thousands of mediocre and bad writers who are credited with the money but will never reach the payment thresh-hold of 25$. The money your post earns is effectively forfeited back to the site owners (unlike other pay-for-content sites that Paypal you whatever money you earn even if it is only pocket change).
So what conclusions can we draw. In terms of views (and thus cash), the vast majority of articles are minnows which only a few people will read. But now and then comes a whale of an article that’ll make it to the front page of Reddit and generate tens of thousands of views. Like the movie or casino business, the money made off the whales makes all the profit and covers expenses for all those loser minnows. Only the whales are going to have any meaningful effect on your bottom line.
Tip #1: Here’s the gold, the VERY best time to post an article is in the days after a whale. On the third day after a post that makes the Reddit front page, heavy traffic will still be coming in but all the TIBU members who would’ve voted for them already have. Thus you can suck up the money their whale earned. Finish your best posts in draft but wait to publish the good ones until the days AFTER somebody else’s work hits at least 10,000 views and 20-30+ votes. This will make far more difference in your revenue than any other possible tactic. Also, comment on the whales even if you have no meaningful input. Comments on whales are worth literally hundreds of times more than the thousandths of cents made on other comments.
Tip #2 Voting: For Heavens’ sake, don’t vote for somebody else’s post the same day you post something. You’ll be giving away a magnitude of your money to do it at that time. I know you’re monitoring views and comments on your own post so you’re on the site reading other people’s work and want to vote. But you’ll be screwing yourself (I again remind those who care not for cash that this article is not for you so please keep your comments to yourself).
Keep up with who voted for you and who made a long whiny comment but neglected to award you with a vote. Be sure to pay back votes regardless of the quality of their current work. FYI, I pay attention to who takes a second and one click to vote for what you just spent several minutes reading (and I spent longer writing) and who doesn’t.
Tip #3: Another valuable tactic is to not waste your time writing ‘How to’ articles or columns that would have long lasting Googling interest but limited initial appeal to the TIBU core members. You’re WAY better off describing your sexual adventures and faux pas than worrying about quality writing with limited appeal. I have several quality articles I could write that would be of interest to a small group of people for a long time but wouldn’t make an immediate splash. So they would be worthless to post on TIBU.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But Oogly, there’s no money to be made posting/bloging anyway” or ”I read but don’t write so why should I care”.
Well, there’s definitely money to be made from bringing eyeballs to the advertisements. For example, my first TIBU post “How to keep Obnoxious Kids from Bugging You!”, credited me for $13 from the first ~20 thousand readers and nothing from the last 24 thousand readers. Extrapolating those figures, it earned $28 for the “writers” and $28 for TIBU’s owners. So unless I meet the payment thresh-hold someday, TIBU cleared at least $66. FOR ONE SINGLE POST. If it’d been on AssociatedContent.com (and it is now) who pays $3-8 upfront then $1.50 per thousand viewers, I’d have personally received $69 for 44k views. The point is: Don’t you think those kinds of numbers would improve the quality of writing on TIBU?
This semantically correct but in practice dishonest reward system on this otherwise great site doesn’t fairly compensate the very best writers so they eventually go elsewhere. BBStucco, MoreAnonymous, and others could be making hundreds of dollars a month (and their grandkids would still be getting residuals) and would thus write more and not burn out as soon. A honest, fair system would benefit all of us as both writers and readers. For example, last month this same post got picked up by The New York Times and is driving thousands more viewers to my personal site instead of TIBU.
In conclusion, cash money is TIBU’s stated incentive. It’s the only hook that makes ThisIsBy.Us different from other sites you could post on (yes TIBU’s community is nice but MySpace/FaceBook/etc also have nice communities which are larger and more interactive). By definition, incentives are created to encourage desirable behavior. If you find the behavior I’ve described here is undesirable, then the solution would be to change how the incentive is doled out. I personally feel a simple honest system where your percentage of that day’s views would equal your percentage of that day’s take in perpetuity would create a better, higher quality site for all. A system where 50% of the money isn’t just credited to the writers but actually gets into their hands would be more fair and, in the long run, draw better writers which would benefit and attract more readers thus be more successful and therefore profitable to the owners in the long run. But in TIBU’s current system, these tips are what will net you the most bling.