Sunday, September 20, 2009

Make money from being an opininated git

Holiday critics' cash for comment

THE SWITCHED-ON TOURIST: David Carroll September 19, 2009
Article from: The Australian

AMERICAN travellers have a reputation for being rather loud. But in the online world, it seems, we Australians are the ones who really enjoy being heard.

Research company Forrester claims that more than one-quarter of Australians active online regularly post content on the internet, such as videos, blogs and holidays snaps (putting us ahead of the US, where about 20 per cent of online adults are so-called creators). Even more of us, 35 per cent, apparently are critics who post reviews or contribute to online forums.

If you enjoy bagging shoddy hotels, praising good tour operators or just passing on helpful travel tips, then consider sending your work to one of the growing number of websites that will reward you for your efforts.

There are plenty of sites that pay for written reviews, including Helium (, Review Stream ( and Associated Content ( And if you enjoy creating videos in your hotel room -- um, let me be more specific -- of your hotel room, then consider uploading your film to (

These sites entice contributors with a wide variety of payment models. Some offer a set fee for your review, video or slideshow, some link earnings to the number of people who read or view your work while others operate a combination of the two. Generally, once you've earned a specified amount you can use an online payment system such as PayPal to download your money.

Other sites offer the ability to earn points, which then can be redeemed for vouchers or products. A good example is Rough Guides (, where reviews generate so-called GO Points, which can be converted in Australia for gift certificates. You start earning points as soon as you register and post your first piece.

One of the latest sites to pop up, Simonseeks, is pursuing a slightly different approach. Started by super-rich online entrepreneur Simon Nixon, the site is aiming to attract one million unique visitors a month and its user-generated destination guides (of which there are already more than 1500) are an important part of its strategy.

Visitors can search for guides based on destinations, themes or budget and rate them on quality and relevance, withthe most popular enjoying more prominence.

What's interesting about the Simonseeks concept is that it's willing to reward contributors whose guides encourage consumers to book a holiday component. Every time a reader takes the next step by clicking through to an affiliated site product and making a booking, Simonseeks splits the commission revenue it receives 50-50. It also shares display advertising revenue with review writers.

It's not the first website to turn reviewers into salespeople; also pays a fee to video-makers when their work results in a hotel booking. But Simonseeks is certainly the most ambitious venture of its kind. Between now and December, for example, the site is giving away pound stg. 20,000 ($39,000) worth of prizes to people who post great reviews.

Theoretically, as some of the sites eagerly point out, the amount of money you can make contributing reviews is unlimited. In reality, don't quit your day job as you'd need to be posting content that regularly captures the attention of tens of thousands of readers just to eke out an uncertain existence.
Still, there's no harm in earning a little spending money for your next trip.

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