Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Death of Helium: Rejoice!

Normally, I would not be happy that a revenue-share site has given up the ghost. Nevertheless, the death of the obnoxious Helium site has caused much rejoicing. You might be asking why:

1. Helium placed numerous obstacles in the way of its contributors. Firstly, it was not possible to write freely to a topic of one's choice. Instead, writers had to select from the pre-defined titles. For the most part, the titles were unimaginably tedious and tended to sound like essay topics assigned by teachers, who had long ago lost the slightest interest in their subject.

2. Secondly, authors were encouraged to write to titles that were already populated by one, more and sometimes many articles. Not only did this dilute views, it must surely have been suicidal in terms of SEO. I certainly know that whenever I did a Google search on a Helium article, it never appeared in the first several pages of search results, the only exception being if I searched on the exact title in quotation marks.

3. Thirdly, it was only possible to earn from page views if you engaged in the idiotic rating system. You were asked to compare two articles written to the same title and presented side by side. You had to say which one was better. This was not enough though! Your ratings had to match the average ratings for that article pair. The closer the match, the more rating stars you received. No stars meant no earnings from your articles. Similarly, your articles received stars on the basis of their ratings. The more stars, the higher your earnings for a given article. The joke was that the ratings did not actually reflect the quality of the content. I perfected a system whereby I was able to rate article pairs in about 10 seconds while maintaining a rating score of over 95%, My rating system did not require me to read the articles at all apart from glancing briefly at the first paragraph. I simply looked at several formatting parameters plus the presence or absence of spelling and punctuation errors in the first paragraph. After a while, even with this rapid rating system, I became bored out of my mind ploughing through the tedious school essays churned out by the average Heliumite.

4. The main factor that led me to abandon Helium very rapidly was the unpleasantness of the forums. These were dominated by sanctimonious clergymen and brown-nosers, who found they could gain petty power as topic managers. No criticism of the status quo was tolerated by these poor excuses for humanity.

5. Helium kept a tight leash on all submitted articles. Those who had their accounts deleted (I know one person who suffered this) were not able to delete their contributions. Helium retained their articles and any income derived from them. Likewise, anyone who chose to leave the site was unable to delete their articles.

Helium started dying a long time back. It was bought out by a large corporation, which introduced some changes into the structure, creating topic-related microsites. It seems though that this could not bring back to life the foul monster that was Helium.

Helium's motto used to be "Quality rises". As far as I am concerned, the reality of Helium was that shit rises. Finally though, the shit has hit the fan. Rest in peace Helium and may you never rise again.

I have recovered a number of articles I submitted to Helium in my naive days. Some of these will eventually find their way to my new web site: