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Updated on March 12, 2010

Helium is a website where active members earn a share of the site's revenue (Helium is monetized by Adsense) for writing articles.

Earnings are calculated according to ratings and rank determined by a voting system based on peer review.

Writers submit articles according to current topics. Topics are set by Helium HQ, but writers can submit a title for consideration by staff.

These articles compete for votes. Fellow members vote on which they feel is the better written article.

Voting, and therefore reading, articles is a requirement of members.

Members can also flag contributions for plagiarism and poor quality.

Writers are ranked according to the number of articles they've written and their ratings for which they get 'writing stars' These qualify the writer for upfront payments, competitions, promotions and being able to participate in the Marketplace.

Competitive Nature

Helium's model continually pits writers against each other. It's not enough just to write a quality article, but how much that article can earn is dependent on how others vote for it in comparison to similar articles.

If the same article were published at HubPages it's profitability is determined only by how many people click on ads on the authors share of the ad impressions.

While Helium also earns income through Adsense, a formula involving page views, rank, voting and other unknown factors determines the amount a writer earns. And this formula can be changed at any time. And this is the simplified version. It's actually a lot more complicated than that.

It is said that the average article earns between 5 and 20 cents per month. An average article at HubPages can earn that with just one ad click.

To improve your earning capacity you'd need to promote each article individually, by linking from your own pages on Myspace, Facebook, other social networking sites, as well as forums and social bookmarking sites.

Competitions are of course, also competitive, and prizes vary from vary from $5 to $60 in Helium contests. Winners are determined by ratings.

To be eligible for the Marketplace section you need to achieve a minimum standard so you can sell your articles to publishers (Helium takes a commission on each sale). If sold the article is removed from Helium. Unsuccessful submissions are moved to the main Helium site.

All in all, you can make money at Helium, but you must be talented and prolific. Considering the amount of hoops you need to jump through I'd find HubPages far easy. Certainly less stressful. As I'm not competing against my fellow Hubbers, but writing for an audience who will get some benefit from my writing (be it entertainment, educational or informational) and also appealing to search engines, the result being $$$ without it being a title fight each and every time.

Which would you rather?

Which do you prefer?

Which is better?

See results

Helium compared to HubPages

When it comes to traffic, HubPages wins by a knock out!
When it comes to traffic, HubPages wins by a knock out!

Are you a Helium Contributor?

Do you write for Helium? Have you tried HubPages yet? Sign up to HubPages and start earning today!


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    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Australia

      I wasn't keen on the way they ran things before, and it obviously didn't work for them. And by the sounds of it they've gone from bad to worse. Thanks for the update Marisa! :)

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      4 years ago from Sydney

      Helium has now totally changed its model - it is now split up into several topic-focussed microsites. The result has been disastrous - traffic has virtually disappeared and with it, earnings. It has been six months since the relaunch and no sign of recovery.

    • Wesley Meacham profile image

      Wesley Meacham 

      6 years ago from Wuhan, China

      Interesting read. I started at HP in April and have curious about many of the other content sites sinse then. I've seen Helium mentioned almost promotionally by others. The way you describe them it seems that they may be more trouble than they're worth. Voting up and sharring.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I prefer Hubpages big time. I think I might earn more in HP than on Helium.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Yep, too many hoops and not enough disclosure and transparency. HP has a system that is easy to understand once you know how Adsense works.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 

      8 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      I started writing there again just to try and get to payout. They have how-tos that are supposed to earn more money. I don't know though. I'm making 1 cent a day and I have $2.46 left until payout. I may just have to ignore that and eat the loss because in order to earn any money you have to rate stuff daily. Writing for HP is definitely better than Helium.

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      Randy, given what you went through I think you were still quite civil in your telling of your story and personal experience.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      8 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I found out the hard way, Darkside! I just couldn't be as polite about them in my hub as you and Marisa were. I met some good people there who supported me as much as they could without being banned themselves.

      I could still read the forums even though I couldn't log on or access my account. It broke my heat to see those loyal to me trying to question the actions of the staff and stewards, knowing they could also be banned. Some had many hundreds of articles on the site.

      So in a way, I am lucky. Lucky to have smelled a rat early on. Great job!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Researching Helium, I'm glad to find your hub. I like to read articles from outside a website to get a more objective idea of how the thing works and if it works. Thanks for the info.

    • EmpressFelicity profile image


      9 years ago from Kent, England, UK

      I had a look on Helium's site yesterday and was wondering whether to join, but reading your hub has convinced me not to! Especially if they own the copyright of any stuff that's written.

    • awsydney profile image


      9 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks for this article Darkside. I have not tried Helium either but it looks like the consensus is for HP, perhaps partly due to relating your experience.

    • lrohner profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      I actually hired one of Helium's editors. The horror stories would make your hair curl. Stay away. I did make some money from them, but as you said, you never know what they will change tomorrow.

    • seamist profile image


      9 years ago from Northern Minnesota

      Thank you for the informative article, Darkside. You helped me make up my mind. I will avoid Helium. It sounds like too much for very little benefit.

    • JulietduPreez profile image


      9 years ago

      Helium doesn't sound like something I'm overeager to try.

    • .Ninna. profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm from the Philippines and all my articles were deleted and I can't log in anymore (but I can't complain about them not paying,at least they paid me what they owed me.) Nonetheless, it turned me off from the site, especially since I've seen the articles that have replaced mine in the top rank were poorly written (typos and all that, some even less than 500 words).

    • Susana S profile image

      Susana Serer 

      9 years ago from UK

      From what you've written Darkside I don't think I'd touch Helium with a barge pole! I'm using Ezine to promote my HubPages and hopefully that will work out to be a good strategy :)

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      I love a Bard rant in full swing!

    • The Bard profile image

      The Bard 

      9 years ago from London, England & San Pablo City, Philippines

      I agree that Helium is a bear pit. Did you say that? No? Well I'm saying it for you.

      I fail to see why I have to keep improving already sound articles (leapfrogging) just because some raters come along and fail to distinguish between the good or the bad. Much of what I write has hidden sophistication (wit), and quite frankly it washes over many so-called raters, who I doubt even spend more than ten seconds making a judgement.

      Having received excellent feedback from some (via email), my stuff invariably falls to lower positions, and frankly I do not have the time to keep jumping over the horse. The writing contests are extremely suspect, and producing one good effort in one catagory of a subject (of which there are normally fifteen within each) and each catagory has about 15 related titles, will not get a look in. It's necessary to contribute to as many as possible, which strikes me as just a numbers game.

      Of course I have expressed my opinion with the bods, especially when I learned that they no longer accept articles originating from Helium members in the Philippines. Considering I spend a lot of time there, it has effectively frozen me out (unless I use a proxy server) - along with many other writers who have been bundled into the slop basket.

      They said "it was necessary to ensure the quality of the site, in order to attract the best markets" or words to that effect. In other words, contributors from that country were not up to standard. Amazing - when you consider the dross which emanates from the stateside pond.

      I wouldn't give Helium much time of the day. I think your Hub sums things up nicely. Over and above the cents each article earns, it's possible to earn a one off dollar as an empty title bonus ie write the first article to it. But only if you're a starred writer, and if you do that too much, you will lose your stars anyway, because it effects your overall standing. By all means write to an empty title, but make sure you also write to a competitive title to address the balance.

      I think it's a load of old tosh. I've earned some dosh out if it, true, but I realise that when you submit an article to Helium they take first rights to it and yours are over. Whilst you can't remove it, it will always be there, always in competition, and if you don't keep it oiled, sooner or later it will rust away, or even be deleted anyway. This would not happen with a paid and published article. Ok, so you get instant copyright, but is it worth it? At least with Hubs and Squidoo you can delete it. And probably earn more out of it in the meantime.

      I would advise anyone to think twice before writing to Helium. Ask yourself, can I do better elsewhere. If the answer is no, then go with it! Alternatively, just write inferior stuff and see what happens. You may be surprised.

      My guess is you could write hundreds of substandard pieces, about any old rubbish and still keep at least one star, Which is needed in order to earn. Let me see - 300 articles all earning 5c a month equates to almost $200 a year. Worth the time and effort? No - but money for old rope, so do it during a spare moment over a bottle of Valpolicella! Hey, that'll pay for a few cases of the stuff! Hic!

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Don't even start me on helium. They froze my account without right of appeal, to this day have never replied to any of my emails about it and pocketed the THREE FIGURES of income I had banked there. Why? they said one of my articles was plagiarised.

      I can prove it was written by me and posted on my server 3 years previously, so someone must have published a copy of it. After I placed it on helium I still of course have the original server dated copy. But they didn't even reply to the proof I sent. I've heard a lot of similar stories too and wouldn't regard them as professional by any means. If they wouldn't even respond to my emails and yet take my money without right of appeal how can they say they offer a rpofessional service?

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      I have articles on Helium. They can't be deleted. They can only be edited one time with leap frog. Helium has the right under their contract to use your material(on site) forever and not pay you a dime. They do have great writers on Helium and professional standards.

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      9 years ago from Sydney

      Good summary, and thanks for the link!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for your input on this particular topic. I have been wondering about this very topic since joining HubPages

      I will have to investigate for myself, but will take your information with me. It should help in finding my way around.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      9 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Haven't tried Helium, not sure I will bother either.


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