Examiner, is it worth it to be one? Pros and cons

Today I wrote for one of my favorite sites Examiner. Why do I like them, what are the benefits and is it worth it for you to give them a try?

This topic comes up frequently enough among peers and the commentary varies as widely as the quality of Examiners. The reasons for poor monetization may lie with the writer, the topic, reliance on search, timing  and/or other factors. 

I am both a local and national examiner (though have retired the former for now) but as some may know I haven't published much lately. My reasons are unrelated to Examiner directly, at least for the national beat.
Let me start with the benefits of Examiner, as I see them, before you proceed to the wall of text I hadn't planned on writing.

  • Quality education to include multimedia, self-paced formats
  • Payment per 1000 page views is above average
  • Attractive newsletter
  • Remote publishing
  • Self-editing and multimedia capability
  • Reputation
    (which had fallen, but is geared towards improvement)
  • Tech, social media and ad savvy

Examiner wants writers

The only cons I can think of is lack of upfront pay and variable search engine rankings. So why did they bring back the $50 referral fee for new writers? 

It's awesome but there seems to be no lack of writers needing to boost their coffers. Therefore, I am making an educated guess that the pool has been reduced significantly (unless it's just an aggressive expansion). That may be a really good thing...or not. 

The Good Scenario: If it is due to a significant loss of writers from the Google Panda/Farmer Update, this could be a positive: whereby if it is limited largely to providers of low quality content and aggressive SEO.

If these providers jumped ship, that is good. Site quality, reputation and potentially search engine ranking would improve for quality writers and photographers.  

The Bad Scenario: Good writers are and have been hurt by the Farmer update as well. So working without upfront pay the effort may not be unsustainable. 

There is a middle ground --in treating it as a revenue stream or hobby. That may be where much of the variance lies too with results, but  frequent publishing won't guarantee decent earnings, either

As a Web Buzz Examiner, my topics are most interesting and enjoyable to write about.

My experience

In my experience, the local Examiner route is more difficult, either requiring a local interest network or connections and/or be one of the minority who performs well with organic search traffic for a niche topic. This can be developed but it would be easier for someone more involved with their community than I am with mine as a relative newcomer.    

For a local topic, I would check out the potential competition and viable interest via search and choose your topic carefully with some investigation.

I find that my National Topic does fairly well and has a lot of potential. It has ranked in Google News since I returned from hiatus, but not consistently.

My publishing frequency may very well play a role. Also, for news it appears there is a need to be the first or one of the first out with a topic in some cases. If you are a news writer wanting to claim a news topic I would investigate this further. Some feeds may perform steadily. 

As for today, my article did not index in news but it was syndicated to several sites, including Forbes.Therefore I remain optimistic not much has changed in the last month.
(update:  My article did index several hours later in G News and there was a site revamp in process)

The only reason I don't write for Examiner regularly, to make a long story short, is my commitments elsewhere. But given that I enjoy the variation and creative freedom -- and the platform -- I intend to when it is feasible. Otherwise I have to prioritize upfront payment first as do many writers.  

As mentioned, mileage varies, so feel free to share your experience. 

And the A-Z Blogging contest continues ...funny thing, as it's past day's end, and I was going to say E is for Examiner and simply say that I wrote there in so many words. -- I wanted to cheat and take a short cut but ended up with two paid articles worth of content. Blogging! Gotta love it. 


Tracey said...

I've thought about writing for Examiner.com but it just seems so overwhelming. They have so many topics, I don't know where to start.

M Pax said...

Thanks for all this info. I find this side of the business intriguing.