Censorship on Bubblews?
No-Brainer or No,Thank You?
Of all the ways to make money online, Bubblews seemed like the most simple no-brainer choice. A social networking site that pays? Where do I sign up?
On Bubblews you can post short musings (400 characters long) on any subject, and get paid for every view, like, comment and share (the money comes from advertisement revenue).
"Why waste time posting and commenting on Facebook and other social networks if you can do the same on Bubblews and get paid for it?" I thought, posting my first "bubble".
Was the reality up to the hype? Read on to find out.
Read, Comment, Like, Connect
The name of the game on Bubblews is social networking. There's not much outside traffic, which puts a lot of importance on the connections you make with other "bubblers".
The system is similar to HubPages in that members connect and interact with other members by posting comments, sharing etc, but with one crucial difference. Whereas on HubPages interaction with other members is optional and, strictly speaking, not linked to your earnings, on Bubblews there is a clear monetary incentive to engage with other members.
Naturally, that led to the abuse of the system.
I, however, adopted the philosophy: less is more. I wanted to write quality posts, the ones I won't be embarrassed of in five years when I'm a bestselling author (yes, I live to dream). Intending to take the high road, I set out to submit no more than 1 or 2 posts a day, and to make sure to respond to every person who've made a comment or connected with me. So far so good.
What Can You Write About?
It doesn't really matter what you write about, as long as it's not "badmouthing" Bubblews, promoting other writing sites or plagiarizing.
People will literally submit "Good morning/I'm going to bed" posts, or even "I don't know what to write about" posts. A quick scan of the home page reveals pearls like:
- "You just need to do is think positive"
- "Tuberlocious after Homeless people"
- "Pregnant, I did not know was the son of her husband or dude"
- "It’s not tough to write" (apparently not!) and other posts too numerous to mention.
Occasionally you'll come across a great post, but most of them just make you go: "WTF?"
Does the Number of Followers Matter?
Theoretically, the more connections you make, the greater your readership.
That's true to a certain extent (how else do you explain the most idiotic posts in broken English with hundreds of likes?), but like with Facebook and other social media sites, the greater the number of connections, the more superficial and meaningless they are.
- Ideally, you want to connect with people whose posts you genuinely enjoy, not just random people chasing a quick buck.
- Conversely, you want to connect with people who genuinely enjoy your posts, who will take the time to read and comment because they are a fan of your work.
These are the principles that the better writers on Bubblews follow, and it made sense to me. So I diligently read, commented and connected. By the end of the first month my connections circle was about 350 people.
Quality Vs. Quantity Debate on Bubblews
Bubblews has very minimal writing standards, and that's a big part of the site's appeal.
Logically, higher quality content means higher traffic to the site, which means higher profits for everyone. However, quality was never Bubblews' forte.
The critics of quality standards or application requirements say that Bubblews is a kind of a social experiment where "anything goes", and that it's not a professional writing site, it's a social media site. And therein lies the issue...
A lot of writers on Bubblews are... not exactly writers. I don't think you have to be an amazing writer to post on Bubblews, but basic familiarity with English language would be good.
Many members are people from non-English speaking countries, and while some of them are English-proficient, the majority is not.Then there are those who spam the site with ads for astrology readings and other crap. Then there are those who copy their posts from elsewhere. Then there are those who post the maximum amount - 10 posts - every day to squeeze out every penny possible. Obviously, those posts tend to be of very poor quality.
That amounts to a large number of posts that drive the overall quality of the site way down.
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How Much Can You Make On Bubblews? Assuming You Get Paid, That Is
"Bubblews" is all about the freedom of expression, the money is merely a bonus.
That's what some "bubblers" are saying. But just for the sake of conversation, how much are we talking about?
Some of the more prolific writers used to make anywhere between $25 and $50 a day, but since the recent (October 2014) payment model updates, not much at all.
My total after one month on Bubblews was about $33, but that was before the "upgrades" that slashed everyone's income by 70-80% and essentially removed the transparency that allowed people to track their earnings.
Now the pay rates are unclear (they say it depends on your geographic location) and there are no guarantees you get paid at all (they've defaulted on payments a few times, claiming they didn't make enough revenue). And at any time they can claim you broke one of their rules, which leads to non-payment and/or removal of your account without warning.
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Oops! I Got ... Censored
My month-long Bubblews journey ended as suddenly as it began. I wrote a post about a writer-friend who didn't get paid for God knows what reason.
A few hours later my post was deleted. I wrote a new post about my post being deleted, and another one. All three got deleted.
It seemed like any mention of a deleted post resulted in the deletion of that post. My last one was about a day at the beach that began with a sentence: "I was happy to get away from all the Bubblews drama and just enjoy the day." Deleted.
The only explanation I could come up with is that some over-zealous bubbler, having confused my posts with child pornography or Nazi propaganda, decided that they must act fast to neutralize the threat.
I'd like to stress that I did not "badmouth" Bubblews in any of my posts. All I did was ask questions that had to be asked. The comments that I got on those posts fell into two categories: 1) yes, that sucks, I didn't get paid either; 2) if you don't like it here, go somewhere else.
So I did, even though I've met some good people there, and I still miss them.
But don't let me dissuade you. I say: try it, see if you like it. Maybe your experience will be different than mine, I sincerely hope it will be.
© 2014 Lana Adler