Simon Says “Write and Make Money”

Review of SimonSeeks.com
5 March 2010 By: Print This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post         

Review Summary

What We Like:
  • Easy to use
  • Interactive community
  • Paying writing opportunity
What We Don't Like:
  • Poor Search functionality
  • Potential for biased reviews
Our Rating:
Our Rating: 3 out of 5 Pens
Price: 
More Info:
http://www.simonseeks.com

Now travel writers can monetize their reviews.

In my never ending search for inspiring retreat holiday destinations I’ve just stumbled across a new travel website called Simon Seeks.

The site has been created by Simon Nixon, that’s the guy behind moneysupermaket.com and travelsupermarket.com.

He’s used his internet enabled brain to create what may be the future in travel review websites and may provide the perfect opportunity for travel writers seeking the chance to make some extra money. Simon Seeks (http://www.simonseeks.com) allows travel writers, journalists and even celebs to write reviews of their favorite, most inspiring places in the world and, through affiliate links from the review page, take a share in the advertising revenue generated.

Every guide written is vetted by the Simon Seeks team before it’s posted online and once it’s up there the guide, and author, can be ranked ensuring that the most expertly written and most informative guides return the most revenue for the author.

Writers can be ranked based on a number of factors including the amount of guides written, the quality of those posts and the rating that the guides receive. You’ll have to craft tightly written prose and be quite specific in your review guide though, as the site provides a suggested optimum word count of around 700/800 words, certainly no more than a 1000 (although having said that one guide is 4500 words long…phew!).

I know by now most of you will be intrigued by how the payment system works. You can see how much money your guide has generated for you by logging in and going to your page. All income generated from your guide is paid via PayPal and sent to you in pounds sterling. As far as how much you’ll make is concerned even the site themselves say, it depends. It depends, for example, on the standard of accommodation you’ve linked to and the length of stay booked.

Suffice to say I can’t imagine anyone making a career out of writing guides on this site but I can see travel writers everywhere supplementing their income and finally liberating their writing from the pages of their dusty, well worn notebooks.

What We Like:

The site provides a great opportunity for freelance travel writers with the chance to earn money for their work. The site is clear and easy to use and I particularly love the ‘Inspiration’ tab on the navigation bar of the site. This gives you an easy, visual breakdown of all the categories that may be of interest from activity and adventure to eco-holidays and winter sports.

It looks like the site will build into a fantastic community of clued up travelers. People are already starting to post messages for the guide authors asking for more information and specifics of a particular location (i.e. I can only spend one day in Ko Phangan what are the must do’s?).

Writers (and site editors) are also giving feedback on the structure and layout of guides and, on the whole, it seems that people are listening and making amendments.

What We Don’t Like:

Firstly the search capabilities of the site aren’t specific enough for my liking, I put in ‘gourmet holiday’ as a search term and it returned a couple of skiing holidays on the first page. Understandably people will have written about restaurants in these resorts but it’s not strictly a gourmet holiday…is it?

As it’s monetized and click through links will result in financial benefit to the reviewer I’m not too sure that the guides will be impartial, obviously someone will talk a place up in the hope that their glorious description and irresistible recommendation will result in a click of my mouse.

Something else to be aware of is that in the Do’s and Don’ts section it says ‘Don’t submit guides that have been published elsewhere on the web. This includes your own blog’ I don’t imagine that’s the end of the world though, in fact, it just gives you another excuse to pack your bags and find more inspiring places to write about.

One important word of warning though, before you sign up and start bashing the keyboard with pounds (or dollar) signs blurring your vision, check the small print. I took a quick look at the terms and conditions and it seemed that your reviews and your images can be used by the company, don’t know what affect this has on copyright but it’s worth looking into before you start uploading every page of your travel journal.

Summary

Overall the site is a really appealing addition to the travel review marketplace. As director of a travel website myself, and someone who is always interested in finding ways for people to generate an income from their freelance endeavors, this site could be just what all you would-be travel writers have been waiting for.

~Mark

Have you written for SimonSeeks.com? Share your experience!


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9 Responses to “Simon Says “Write and Make Money””

  1. JoAnna
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hmmmm … Sounds a little bit sketchy to me. I get a little hesitate about anywhere that pays based on clicks and ad revenue and also claims rights to your writing. I almost think a person would be better of writing for themselves and monetizing their own blog.
    .-= JoAnna´s last blog post: I Love Las Vegas – Dick’s Last Resort =-.

    • I tend to agree with you JoAnna, but there are a few sites (and time will tell if SimonSeeks becomes one of them) that, by virtue of their massive amount of content receive massive amounts of traffic, which can result in more shared revenue with the author.

      I can see where this might work for an author who has some expert knowledge on some topic that might not be appropriate for their own blog (or something they particularly want to start a new blog about) and they want to publish it somewhere that can benefit them.

      SimonSeeks is a fairly new site, so we’ll be keeping an eye on them to see how it pans out. I would love to hear from anyone who submits articles to them on their experience!

  2. Dave Fox
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hang on…

    - A start-up website with no proven track record that only accepts unpublished content and then forever owns the rights to everything you submit?

    - A website whose terms include the following statement: “If you are the sole author of the work you agree to waive absolutely (should we so require) your moral rights arising under Chapter 4 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and, so far as is legally possible, any broadly equivalent rights you may have in any territory of the world.”

    - A site that writes, “What makes Simonseeks different from other travel guide sites? Firstly, quality.”

    (Yep… no quality whatsoever on other travel guide sites.)

    Ummm… no thanks.

    • Hey Dave – I can’t disagree with you that there are things about SimonSeeks I would most definitely do differently if I were in charge of it, and it’s true that it’s a very new (start-up) site, but it’s really not so different from many other article syndication websites (most of which also require exclusive rights to unique content) except that they do share some revenue with the author – something that most other article syndication sites don’t do…..

      I haven’t submitted anything to them yet, and am just keeping an eye on them for a while before deciding if I will or won’t, but I am actively trying to find someone who has enough experience with them to give us the ‘inside scoop’ – given that they’re so new it make take a while, but I do plan to do a follow up on this one!

  3. Mike Gerrard
    Twitter:
    says:

    Because this site started in the UK, it has already had a lot of official and unofficial press over there, with various travel writers sharing their experiences. If I remember rightly, the writer who earned the most money from all his articles during the first few months of operation reportedly earned about 37 UK pounds – say about $55. And that was only because the website waved their usual cut for this opening period. You can earn far more than that by doing your own website. You can imagine what the lower-earning writers were getting.

    • Trisha
      Twitter:
      says:

      I totally agree with you – writing for your own site is much better than writing for most of the pay-per-post sites like Simon (and there are hundreds of them)…..the only time I think they can be a good idea is if they are heavily-trafficked enough to bring you some decent traffic to your own site via a byline link. If they offer no byline link, and very little pay, I’d skip them.

    • Sam Orchard says:

      £37?! Is there any point if that’s the maximum reward?

      Did anyone reading this give this a go? Would be interested to see if anyone actually earned anything.

  4. Mike
    Twitter:
    says:

    I have known some bloggers do share adsense revenue in their blog with other guest posters or writers, but taking affiliate income as a catch is really a step further. I already think of this, but there are so many problems associate with it. The first problem is maybe writers will push his opinion toward persuading you to click the link–and that’s not good! Even more, pay rate is different per product, so determining how to pay is a difficulty, too!
    .-= Mike´s last blog post: 10 Biggest Blogging Lessons I Have Learned During These Past 3 Months =-.

  5. Ed Lawrence says:

    Seems like a good idea but i’m not sure that vast amounts of money can be made from it.

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