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Writing Free On-line Content - Is This A Legitimate and Viable Industry ?

Updated on November 12, 2013
all's well that inks well
all's well that inks well | Source

Economics of Writing Free On-line Content

The Internet has created a new economic order where various economic players trade commodities and services on a virtual market place that is accessible to all . Over the past few decades, the Internet grew in leaps and bounds to such a versatile platform that it is today where users can easily operate without the need to be technically savvy.

Writing free on-line content has emerged as a new industry where people have a potential to earn revenue. Many people question how it is possible to earn money simply by writing and posting on the Internet. There are also questions as to its profitability and viability.

A person new to the concept questions a lot of issues regarding earning residual income through writing on-line.

This business can be described as: An individual writing freely on a platform where anyone around the World can freely access the content. Vendors of commodities and services have an arranged access to advertise on the same platform and each can easily choose on whose content they can align their business. Writers of content will be rewarded in proportion to viewership of advertisements.

Do you write free online content with the hope to earn money?

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Is Earning Money From Writing Free Content a Legitimate Industry

The first question is on the legitimacy of the business. In other words, are there any legal or ethical questions associated with this industry? The answer to this is : The business is legitimate and ethical. However, conduct of individual players may not be answered for in a general way. Banking is a legitimate and ethical business, however actions of individual bankers may be unethical and questionable. The reason why there is so much literature based on earning through writing is because most us fail to get the past this and other questions.

As long as the Internet is a legitimate platform to share information and to do trading, anyone posting information or selling services on the network is free to do so and must not be hung up on the ethical questions around except those concerning his own belief systems.

Questions regarding the acceptability and legality of actual content or modalities of pricing and charging for services, otherwise known as monetization are entirely different issues. These questions must be separated from the legality of the industry. Those are issues of efficacy and efficiency.

Once one is free of ethical dilemmas regarding whether or not writing free on-line material is proper business, issues of concern are how to be part of the industry.

Business On The Internet

  • Business on the Internet has access to billions of customers
  • Is accessible from a multitude of devices including mobile technology
  • Is free to set up - Internet is a free resource ( Costs of devices and telcoms are other issues)
  • Does not have physical barriers

Structure Of Free On-line Content and The Value Proposition

An industry is characterized in terms of its value proposition and logical form of transfer of value from supplier to consumer. Other issues to consider are the nature and intensity of competition, pricing , and regulatory requirements among others. Importantly, a new business person wants to know how to model his business.

A business model is concerned with how to set up the production and distribution process, how to secure revenue and how to report and assess profitability. A potential business owner wants to assess if it is proper and viable for her to participate.

To describe the business model of writing free on-line one must restate the characteristics of the Internet. The Wikipedia defines the Internet broadly and I pick some the various aspects of the definition in point form:


  • global network of interconnected computer networks
  • to serve billions of users worldwide
  • linked by broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies
  • carries extensive range of information resources and services


Source: Based on Wikipedia.

It is not possible to fully describe or define the Internet because of its pervasive nature. The Internet grows in scope and scale, even in its nature, continuously because of advancement in different but closely related areas of

  • computing
  • sensors and instrumentation
  • telecommunication
  • software and
  • miniaturization .

The ubiquity of computing and the Internet makes for limitless potential. A model for business built around the Internet has limitless access to global customers at all times, across an array of access devices including mobile.

The individual entering this industry must know that the ground for the game is set. The Internet platform is no longer on trial, the writer's ability, tenacity and innovation is under test.

The next step is for the potential business owner to set up his production process, distribute and secure his income. Fortunately this is all done on-line.

Setting Up Your On-line Writing Business on HubPages

  1. Identify and choose suitable platforms ( HubPages, InfoBarrel, Squidoo)
  2. Sign-up takes less than 20 minutes, you can technically start to write and publish
  3. Open a PayPal account if you did not have one, link your PayPal account
  4. Register with the Platforms Earnings Program
  5. Register with Google's Adsense - this process is crucial and takes time
  6. Register with other Earnings Affliate Programs
  7. Write and publish your first hub
  8. Monitor and Revise your articles and your profile regularly
  9. Participate in Forums
  10. Continue to learn writing and to publish articles
  11. Disclaimer: This is not exhaustive nor is it in order of precedence

Set Up Your Business

Any person who had started a business knows that the start up process can be a minefield .

I can write (in fact I will) a hub about setting a traditional brick and mortar business. But here are some of the snippets:

  • Trade registrations, you need professional registration to start an engineering consultancy firm, six months to regularize
  • The Municipality must see your Company Registration papers before they allow you to operate
  • The bank wants to have copy of your lease agreement, and at least 3 months trading figures (how come?) and three referees
  • The Tax department wants to have all papers

There are a number of common issues such as

  • For most professional services (such as dentistry, engineers, etc) the success is in setting up the practice, your tenacity in pursuing the start-up process is a measure of your potential to succeed
  • Most of all engineers started off through some short cuts, (and they do not remember which short cuts they took)
  • Authorities are well aware that the start up requirements cannot be logically met because there is a known circular issue ( the bank can not open an account before you have at least 3 months of steady cash flow, however you can not legally trade before you have a bank account)

When you decide to do business writing free on-line content there are ready on line portals to avoid all the clatter. You may want to just sign-up with HubPages and be on the go straight away. It took me less than one hour from discovering HubPages to complete my sign-up process. Less than two days to post my first hub and less than a week to have a featured hub.

Start-up process for writing on-line is very straightforward.

There are still things I have to understand and complete , especially those on earnings from Google Adsense.

Money - Bottom Line

  1. The income from writing free on-line content is residual i.e. it continues to flow with out your active involvement, also called passive income
  2. The amounts vary, from a few pennies, just like as you can sell a single tomato to your buddy, out of jest maybe to quite a lot of money
  3. There are no guarantees of earnings, there is no contractual agreements
  4. Money is earned indirectly from alignment of your content with merchandise


When you start gardening at home, what motivates you can be many factors. It can be to enjoy healthy eating, recreation and relaxation, an opportunity to demonstrate skill and/or potential for extra income.

One of many results is possible; your gardening can be a source of pride, a source of friendly jokes with family and friends or it can prove to be a source of substantial extra income. Or a good combination of all these.

One does not start gardening with a large capital, certainly not with all your life savings. You usually do your gardening outside normal working hours, say weekends. You certainly do not plan to quit your job becuase you want to weed your garden. The earnings from your gardening is not something that you budget with, irrespective of amount.

If you had bought a one bed-room apartment early in your life, you expect some regular rental earnings and you can plan around it , but you also do not leave your job because of rental income. Apart from a little maintenance work, you do not attend to your apartment the way you do with your garden.

Writing free on-line content is a some combination of recreational gardening and rental income.

Like gardening, writing is something that you can do for various motives, including opportunity to demonstrate skill and potential for extra income, you are under no obligation to start or continue. The income from both activities is random and can not be planned for, at least not at the early stages. As you can grow various crops, you can also write on various topics. Both require constant weeding and some passion to go with.

Earnings from writing free on-line content has an additional characteristic; it can continue to come with little or no additional input from you. even if it is little or big. This is called residual income. Just like rental income.


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