Helium: Concerns About Terms of Service

No, not the gas, the content site. Which, according to reports I’ve received recently, is soliciting writers for membership on the basis of their online profiles at WritersNet.

What’s a content site? It’s a website where people can post their work for the public to see and, often, earn money for it. (I blogged about the resurgence of content sites a few months back, with a focus on Associated Content and its unfavorable Terms of Service). There’s a growing number of such sites, each with a different focus and remuneration method.

Helium (“Where Knowledge Rules”) employs peer review plus a (patent pending and supposedly cheat-proof) ranking engine that decides which of its member-posted articles are the most useful. There’s also a payment system. According to the What Is Helium page: “Sure, Helium is an outlet for the writer in all of us, but it is also a place where you can earn not only the adoration of your peers, but money, too! We want you to be part of the success here. Helium shares a portion of revenue with you. Every article you write is an asset which can earn you revenue—into perpetuity.”

Perpetuity sounds good. Unfortunately, the Helium website is sparse on details. According to the fine print of the user agreement, “Your earnings are directly related to the number of your articles and the quality of your articles, as determined by other Helium writers, as well as the popularity of the subject and the corresponding advertising value to our sponsors.” Nowhere on the site, however, could I find a clear description or breakdown of exactly how this works, or what writers might expect to earn. In fact, the clearest discussion of earnings is the FAQ page’s description of a quasi-pyramid scheme whereby Helium writers who bring in new members get a “bonus” of 5% of those writers’ earnings.

Apart from this, Helium looks okay–it seems easy to use and its Terms of Service aren’t any worse than those of other content sites (and better than some).

So should you join? Whatever floats your boat–but don’t do it for the cash. As with other content sites, I suspect that the average Helium member won’t get much more than a pittance. No doubt there are exceptions–but for most writers, content sites are not the way to go if you want to earn income from your writing.


  1. The Bard School Of Thought ~

    Like many naive creative writer's, back in 2006. I too was looking for a platform to experiment with my writings, for which I could receive an income.

    I too attempted to delete my writings due to editorial reason's and for not receiving any payment, what so ever, to date!

    Consequently, I would like to inform you, Helium com. that you are in breach of copy right law's.

    The explanation for why you are in breach of copy right laws I hereby expound, for the attention of the American government to question the legality of!

    To whom it may concern!

    I hereby give notice, that, upon joining Helium.com, that, it was not stated in the rules and contract, that:

    I would need a solicitor before joining!

    My knowledge of the law relating to a legally binding contract? Is:

    A) There must be a partial witness to the signing of a contract which involves the exchange of goods for money!

    B)That the signing must be done in the presence of a lawyer!

    If these two facts are correct? Then Helium.com is in breach of copyright laws, for which they may be sued by the author's, who, have posted material on Helium.com.

    I hereby inform

  2. I wrote a short (very short–three short paragraphs, at most) article on Helium regarding the advantages of saving in a 401k account, and I recieved $60 for that article.

  3. Probably a little off topic. I was recently banned from Hellium discussion forums. They don't like complaints.

    More worrying they are so concerned about negative comment, they put some malware into my computer to prevent me from making further complaints.

    I found the file because it appeared on my desktop. I deleted it and I still connot use the forums even when changing my IP address.

    I don't think there is anything in their privacy police that allows them to interfere with my computer.

    Shame on Helium which is looking more corrupt by the day.

  4. Before contributing to Helium, be warned. I posted some articles on there, then decided that I would like to delete them. This is not allowed. So I asked them to delete my name from them, at the very least. They told they would do so, but that it takes a while for the changes to appear. I waited and waited and finally reminded them. Eventually my name disappeared and was replaced with "author name withheld." However, when I go into Google, Bing, Ask, or other search engines and type in my name, I am still directed to these articles. It may say "author name withheld" but anyone who knows me can decipher that I wrote the articles. When I brought this to the attention of helum's "helpers" they told me that this is an error with Google and that I should contact Google directly. Dumbest thing I have ever heard. I wish I had never gotten involved with helium. Take it from me: What you post there will haunt you permanently, so if you take part in writing an idiotic essay on winter crafts or shoe trends, it will follow you to your grave.

  5. With the recent changes to Helium what was once a reasonable place to make some extra money has become far less. You now must write to specific subjects and as often as not will have your articles deleted because of vague 'standards' even though they are rated high before deletion.

  6. I'm not sure why so many people are having problems with Helium. I've been writing there for about 2 months. I've made over $200 there without putting in a lot of effort, and I have been paid the money. It is sitting in my paypal account without me having had any problems. I'm pretty sure if I dedicated more time to it I would make more money, but I am at an effort level with it that is comfortable.

    There are many people that use the site that make significantly more than me, with several making close to a thousand a month. This is certainly not enough to make a living, but it also isn't chump change.

    Occasionally you see crap articles at the top of the heap, but it usually filters itself out over time. Unfortunately, some people don't put much though into rating articles, but I think their rating score probably reflects this over time, which will ultimately lead them to not make money and likely leave the site.

    I would recommend Helium to someone who is interested in doing some writing and making a little money on the side. I'm sure if I did this full time I could probably make over a thousand a month, but still definitely not enough to quit the day job. As a way to allow me to write and make a little money from it, though, I think Helium is great.

  7. This is to let everyone know, if you feel that Helium.com has taken advantage of you by terminating your account or refusing to pay you the money they owe you, there is something you can do. Report them for internet fraud. Contact the office of the Attorney General for the commonwealth of Massachusetts, they have an online form you can fill out. They also have an Internet Crime Complaint Center, http://www.IC3.gov. If they get enough complaints about this site they will have to investigate and hopefully shut them down one day

  8. Victoria, you should be commended for your accurate description of Helium.com. It is a complete scam, a mental sweatshop if you will. I'll keep my story short and sweet. I was accused of plagiarism, a totally false claim brought on by other members of the "Helium" community. The reason they did this was, I was a newcomer who wrote over 80 articles in a little over a month and was poised to win 2 contests for $50 each. I had numerous articles written for the Marketplace, I even sold one. With close to $46 in my account, I get an email with this outrageous accusation. When I defended myself, the powers that be at Helium decide to delete 5 more articles within less than 15 minutes. My account was terminated, yet they kept my profile picture up, my bio page, and my stories with my name on them. I couldn't log onto the site to delete anything. I emailed them, told them that since they terminated the account, they needed to remove my image and name from their site. I let them know that while they "own" the articles I was stupid enough to write for their worthless site, they don't own my name or image. Needless to say, after I told them they were breaking the law by keeping my profile active, 24 hours later there are no traces of me left on the site. I'm hoping the fact I can't find any of my articles means they can't make any more money off of me. I would tell anyone who is serious about writing to STAY AWAY FROM HELIUM.COM. The only people who make money are the stewards who work for the company. I learned a harsh lesson, lost almost 100 articles, and will never see the money they owe me.

  9. Victoria: where were you when I needed you? I have written 22 articles for Helium. 14 of the articles were rated #1. Yet they sent an Email relating that if I did not improve, Helium would delete my account. I deleted it anyway. I was also close to a $25 stipend, had a STAR and was eligble to write for their heralded Marketplace. I recommend thatyou heed Victoria's advice and stay away from Helium.

  10. Helium is total crap. The only way to use it is to spin a couple of paragraphs from an article posted to a better site. I do this all the time. The articles earn no less than those I spent hours crafting in my first naive weeks at Helium. Placement according to Helium ratings does not matter either. Outside visitors can easily see that most of the Helium no. 1 articles are worthless, and they tend to trawl through until they find some worthwhile matter.

  11. I write for Odesk and Elance and I get more than a thousand per month. I am thankful Helium deleted my account.Sure< I invested about 30 bucks at Elance and 0 bucks at Odesk but they're both great!

  12. If you write for Helium.com, you're taking a huge risk. Helium has taken to closing people's accounts and banning them from the site forever for ridiculous reasons. You can build up a library of content, sure, but if you lose it tomorrow over something that wasn't your fault, it was a waste of time.

  13. hehe.. and I am thankful Helium deleted my account. I get more than 50 real bucks a day at Odesk! Of course, you initially have to accept 2 dollar articles, but what the heck? After that when you get a LOT of feedback, you get to choose your own job and rate!!!!!!

  14. I have no problem with people earning money from writing sites or by writing freelance. My advice to people who do not like Helium is not to write there. It is up to you to find out where you prosper most from your writing and how you develop your own sources of income.

    Nobody is forced to write at Helium. If you join because you think it is easy money you will be disappointed.

    I choose where I want to write and I have a longterm plan for earning at Helium. I am now at a stage where I earn an average of $10 a day, just from upfront payments, empty title bonuses and daily ad revenue.

    It has taken me nearly 2 years to write 500 Helium articles but the experience alone was worth it, and I get a good payout every month.

  15. Thanks CV.

    Folks, my three posts above are in reverse order and can't be changed on Blogger, unless I delete them and repost them (perhaps a day or two apart). Note the times on each one. The third one should be read first, then the second one, then the first one. It's in three parts due to length restrictions (4,096? characters per post).

    Please also note that 'traffic tank' in the fifth paragraph of what should be the first post (immediately above) should be 'traffic rank'.

  16. … From what I've read, I can't see that those banned from writing sites would have much of a case in court. The user agreements are there. Helium and other sites will have reason/s each person was tossed out. Legal fees are very expensive, far more than any lost penny earnings or other income a writer may have earned on articles still on Helium. I can't imagine the police, the courts, or good lawyers would be all that interested.

    I've been chasing a guy who runs dodgy schemes on the net and have reported him for fraud, slander, stalking, spamming with malicious intent, scamming, threatening behaviour, false representation, giving a false address, deceptive practices, trademark infringement, and illegal use of a company name. This is surely more than anyone can bring against a writing site or the site can bring against any individual. But the police don't seem interested.

    BBB is a good service but they're not in the business of bringing actions against anyone. IC3 and FTC seem to concentrate more on the big-time fraudsters. Often I think the best way to deal with problems (real or perceived) on the web is to post on forums; the parties can have their say and others can make their minds up about who is genuine and who's talking rubbish. People banned from a writing site may not think they get justice this way but it's a whole lot quicker, easier, and cheaper than legal action, which they would probably lose anyway.

    People join writing sites for different reasons. Those that join to become rich or even to try and make a living will almost always be disappointed. Nevertheless, with the ongoing penny earnings at Helium, I estimate I could earn in the vicinity of $10,000 over the next 30 years, even if I never post another article. I could do this by spending about half an hour a month rating, but I choose to do more than the minimum. Someone with 5-10 times the number of articles I have, and who keeps posting, and who also writes to contests and marketplace, will receive a handy amount over coming decades.

    But it's a lot of work. I think you have to like/love writing, and you can tell from the Helium forums that this is the case for many members. I joined Helium mainly to test the waters for my fiction (in the form of novel excerpts) and non-fiction writing in the American market and could do this with their rating system. I then got into contests and marketplace. I research, write and edit for a living. When I come home, I'm still doing these things, because I enjoy them.

    There's been a proliferation of writing sites in recent years. As with just about any industry that is growing rapidly, especially on the net, there are bound to be some shady operators. But I'm sure that Helium and other legitimate sites are here to stay.

  17. … Penny earnings can be a mystery too. They're not calculated on a set number of view pages over time, like some sites. Earnings can fluctuate greatly and I tend to think the total amount available for these payments is based on a bucket of money that can vary from time to time depending on how much funding is available after the company's other expenses.

    In mid 2008, earnings fell to almost nothing and I have since read that Helium might have been having a spot of bother with Google at the time. I think earnings are comparable with similar sites most of the time and have been good lately. They should rise further if Helium's ongoing surge in business levels (see above) is any indication. There will always be stories of how particular writers find one site pays better than another site.

    I don't know how many members have been thrown out of Helium. Judging by the number of complaints, I'd be surprised if it's more than a few dozen, and there are 40,000 active members at Helium according to a recent post on their forum. They claim to be the world's largest writing community. I found a few complaints at the Complaints Board site, the Rip Off Report site, and some other places such as here.

    The Better Business Bureau has had five complaints about Helium in three years, the same number as Associated Content by the way. I wonder how many people 'Anonymous' comprises here; it's probably far fewer than the number of postings. At any rate, many improvements have been made at Helium since some of the complaints made on this page.

    I've just read a big long sob story by someone banned from Helium for plagiarism who felt it was Helium who had the problem. The person seems to think that if you copy something that is out of copyright, it isn't plagiarism. Maybe Helium should add a note to its site explaining that this is plagiarism too. Actually, Helium's Terms of Service don't mention plagiarism, although there are several mentions elsewhere. There are many types of plagiarism and maybe Helium needs to explain them so that members know exactly what is included.

    Looking at the user agreements / terms of service of a number of writing sites, they all seem quite long and complex, and similar. Several have higher payout thresholds than at Helium. Non-return of articles is in Helium's user agreement and I think it has always been there. The Helium model doesn't really allow it. People come and go at writing sites and if Helium agreed to return articles, it could easily lose a lot of them and risk going out of business.

    Instead of keeping the earnings, maybe a better policy would be for Helium to donate to charity earnings from articles by people thrown off the site, if it is not already doing so. Perhaps banned writers should be allowed to change their pen name used on the articles.

    Helium could put all new articles through a plagiarism checker. Maybe it already does this, or maybe it's impractical, given the number of articles. If plagiarism (or some other contravention) is found, maybe Helium could ask the member for a please explain. If unsatisfactory, the article would be thrown out and the member banned for, say, 90 days. With a second infringement, Helium could again ask for an explanation. An unsatisfactory response would then mean expulsion.

    Would this be a fairer system than people logging in one morning to find (rightly or wrongly) that they've been banned (if indeed this is what happened in some cases)? Helium, and other writing sites, may feel this is too lenient. Universities are very serious about plagiarism but I don't believe life bans for offenders are the norm.

    (to be continued)

  18. I think Helium is fine. I joined in February 2008 and have earned over $1400 part-time, mainly from about 25 contest prizes in two stints of several months each. At one stage earlier this year, I was winning a prize or two nearly every week. I'm not a steward by the way. I think the stewards do an excellent job and should all be paid, not just the senior stewards, who seem to be on the site all the time, helping many people every day. When do they sleep?

    I've put in my two bob's worth on Helium's forums when I think something is adrift. In mid 2008, I had a post removed (not by Rex) for comparing competitors and suggesting reasons Helium was losing market share. I was sent an email asking me not to go down that path. Had I pursued the issue, I guess I may have eventually been banned.

    In mid 2009, I was almost accused of cheating with late leapfrogs in a contest, even though it was about a day before close. Apparently, leapfrogging an article in the lower half puts it back in the middle, which I didn't know at the time. Also, there often seems to be policy changes without announcements, but I guess that's their prerogative; they're not obliged to announce them. Nearly every company makes changes without first running things past customers or members.

    Sometimes I think Helium can be a bit quick to jump. But it's a hard business. I think tolerance levels have increased at Helium over time, judging by some of the things people say on its forums these days. There are some pretty robust discussions going on at any one time and I think that's great. My 2008 comments on competitors and how Helium was going would probably not raise a ripple now.

    According to Alexa.com, Helium has gone ahead in leaps and bounds. After a flat first half of 2008, its traffic tank has risen from about 6000 to better than 2000, daily reach has increased from around 0.02% to 0.07%, and daily page views have gone from less than 0.001% to about 0.003% of the net. The year 2009 has been a bumper year for writing sites and Helium's rise is typical of them, perhaps due to the economic downturn and people trying to earn a few extra dollars.

    The quality of articles on Helium is getting better all the time and there are all sorts of checks and balances in place. It's easy to edit and improve one's articles too. There are many good writers on the site, including English teachers, journalists, other professionals, as well as many older folk who went through the school system in the days when grammar was taught. Many of the articles, although certainly not all of them, are on a par with what you see in newspapers and magazines.

    There are lots of complaints about the rating system. It isn't perfect and the exact method of how your rating score is determined is shrouded in mystery. But if everyone rated properly and honestly, it would work quite well. Poor articles would sink to the bottom and good ones would rise to the top. Quality can be subjective though and this is especially true of fiction; what's rubbish to one person is a gem to another.

    Luckily, enough people do the right thing when rating and, overall, there does seem to be a correlation between quality and ranking. If there wasn't, no one would have writing stars. I have over 200 articles on Helium and have writing scores over 85% for both creative and non-creative articles, and most of the latter are contest articles. My rating score is also above 85%. I'm certainly not the only one on Helium to achieve these sort of scores. I don't think this would be possible if ratings and thus rankings were random.

    (to be continued)

  19. I bought Heliumnites.com and I just found out that another friend of mine bought heliumnites.net… so this is called taking over helium by those that Helium have NOT paid… hey Barbara, can I have my articles back?


  20. I seem to have been banned from Helium today with no apparent reason, since it was my first month I had already 100 articles 3 witting stars and 25$ in page views I was going to earn over 100$ this month
    and was expecting that money until this morning I could not log in and noticed how my articles started to be deleted.
    I'm dtill not sure what happened already sent three messages to help@helium.com and even some to Helium members and editors but no answer. So I got scared and Googled for "is helium scam?" this was were I got and I dislike what I have read so far, but 99% of that is far from true… Despite I have been baned from them probably because I went agains't the rules self-promoting 1 article they do pay very well up to 3.5$ per 400 words articles plus the pennys money! If you reach the 5 stars and you can get some help at their web forum, I guess I need to waith to see what happened… Wish me luck! 😀

  21. People…. if you want to earn writing by the hour, try Odesk.com. It's a legit site where professional freelance writers and other service providers work. Right now, I get paid $15 per hour writing a 500-word article that's SEO friendly. Imagine doing this for 40 hours a week and getting paid weekly. Helium.com just cannot match the pay I'm receiving right now… so I dropped out of it – FOR GOOD!

  22. I can't help NOT making money and I have no stars to think about at Odesk. Heck, I should thank Helium for deleting my account. Imagine getting ACTUALLY paid?????

  23. Lisa,

    I have some 20+ articles there at S101 too. But I have (considering the subject I write, my laziness to do any research on key words etc) not made anything much there.

    It's key word research, SEO optimization, most popular subject groups that Internet readers seek, and concentrating one one site more than others to put in your maximum articles there – these four are the deciding factors in earning at your best.

    As I had repeatedly said in my earlier posts, it's AC for some, Helium for some, S101 for some….

  24. Helium is a joke. I guess if you're writing for fun then it might be OK, but if you're looking for income, keep looking. Just read the forums there to see what people are making. there's a reason S101 and eHow have better reputations among freelancers, and it's because people ACTUALLY MAKE MONEY there.

  25. To the second anonymous posting just above my previous reply:

    I am sorry if I had put my words too strongly in my post above your post. I really appreciate the highly dignified way in which you have replied to my post.

    But, frankly, as I said in my previous post, individuals cannot fight with organizations and get justice easily. The person who wronged you may be an individual, but, you see, he is part of the organization that backs him up.

    But when you are caught in an issue with the organization and you feel highly wronged, your sentiments only form half of the story. As third persons, we won't really know what's that you did that has been taken to be so serious an issue to call for account deletion. Only an emotionless analysis of facts can throw light.

    Think of this. Helium has 100,000 writing members. Even assuming that only 15% of them are active members, it is 15,000 people. If 15 members feel wronged by the site, it is a meager 0.1% of the contented, active members!!

    Obviously that does not make the site a scam or fraud.

    As I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I have had my good share of differences of opinion with the site and stewards. My own son's account got deleted. My discussion board posts have been deleted a couple of times. I have had a couple of deletion of my articles on account of my slip in overlooking the sites' terms and conditions. I have had a one-to-one correspondence with the Chief Executive of Helium on some issues on which I was very critical of Helium.

    With all that, I am very much there; I believe that many Helium staff and stewards are still not averse to having a decent interaction with me.

    The worst case scenario: Even if my account is deleted, there are umpteen sites in the web which can accept my writing. No one site is vastly too different from another. We only find a niche site somewhere where we are most comfortable and earn our best.

    For some it's Helium. Fort some its AC. For some, its S101. For some its Hubpages. For some it's brighthub. The list goes on.

    If you are a good writer and write both in quantity and quality, subject to the terms and conditions of the site, you can see success in any site. Helium or no Helium.

    But just because our equation went wrong with one site, let's not call it a scam. Who knows, if you start in another site, there will be 10 people there complaining that site to be a scam!

  26. To the First Anonymous posting above this:

    Every website will have its terms and conditions which we are supposed to read, understand and then only join. But, mostly, out of initial enthusiasm, we ignore them and join, only to wake up later and complain!

    In AC, your original articles for which you are paid upfront cannot be deleted by you. In Suite101, your original article cannot be posted elsewhere (in websites) for 1 year. You can't delete them unless under special circumstances.

    If you have google adsense account in your own blog and if Google finds (or suspects) fraudulent clicks, they will ban you and eat away all your accumulated earnings upto $100 (min payout). No explanation or proof will be given. No arguments. You will be given just 1 chance to appeal and if you are too lucky, your account may escape.

    You go to any website that pays for your work, however petty the pay may be, it will have some strings attached to it.

    Every business organization has a profit motive. If no profits, no business. Each will have its own sets of rules and a couple of them will be intentionally there, one-sided, to suit their selfish business interests. You can't expect 100% democracy there. As individual, you cannot legally fight with the organization that easily, by spending money and time. At the end, you won't clearly know who the winner is, even if you legally win the battle.

    If you are a business owner, I am sure you too will behave in the same way — keeping some conditions intentionally to protect your selfish interests!

  27. on one comment posted by CV Rajan,
    Dear Sir, Don't You think it is unfair to judge 'boyish' people and attributing them a 'petty Ego' without even considering what happenned to them on Helium website?
    How about, finding one fine day, your account deleted, your earning stealed at Helium, no Justification given???!!! Uhm? May be just for right and very truthful observations made to the 'un-help desk' there? How Woould You feel?
    I wish You won't find yourself in this situation. But be considerate, please, for others who had to go through it. Certainly, this will inevitably lead to serious Federal investigations into Helium website. Make a search and You will find how many people had been scammed, banned, stealed of money and work and unjustly accused of plagiarism or other lies, without any proof or evidences. Just to eliminate inconvenient witnesses of wrongdoing from some 'inflated ego' among the staff, who clearly works against, certainly not in favour of the site and its contributing writers. I'm sorry, Sir to read these words from You.
    Really think, another time, if it were You to go through such injustices there. Will Your comments here, be different by those you judge 'boyish and with petty-Egos'?
    Thanks for Your Kind consideration, Sir

  28. I just wish I had read this blog before I signed up for Helium – after questioning why I cannot delete my articles I find myself locked out of the site – my name taken off my articles which are still posted and still accrueing money – (if mere cents) I now find Helium has infringed my copyright by basically stealing what I have penned – I find this deplorable! If you like vanity press, a grade school star system and perhaps enough money to purchase some candy – then Helium could be for you – if you are a serious writer don't touch it!

  29. It is highly amusing to see some disgruntled elements with hugely bloated egos who, on account of perhaps some petty ego clashes with individuals in the Helium site, have become unhappy with the site and start mudslinging about the site here!

    And that too pointing fingers at individuals in a very cheap and undiplomatic style.

    I too have had differences of opinions with persons like Rex Trulove at Helium. But person to person, I know how nice he is and how level-headedly and diploamatically he handles complaints there. His loyalty to Helium is phenomenal. But that should not be a reason for us to do mudslinging on such a nice person.

    And now I find people start finding more and more individuals at Helium and start pouring venom on them here purely on account of their 1-to-1 ego clashes!

    Come on, people. Grow up from school boyish tendencies!

  30. Helium has been a complete delusion.
    They delete high ranking and well written articles, if their author has rightful complaints about wrongdoing of some people from the staff at the help desk (actually, I'd should say 'un-help desk'. Beware of Jim L)

    Press, News, the Attorney General of Massachussets and other Institutions should make serious investigations on Helium Website. Watch out Guys! Keep far away from it

  31. I made more than 100 this week on Odesk. I get paid right after I finish and I am happy that I do NOT have to wait forever to GET my payment. I also do not get cents for one artile that's only 400 words and I get a dollar for 300.

    If you wanna joinmy team and get paid email me at bugsey@heliumasia.com. Helium was a mistake. That's it!

  32. Janet, Have fun! I certainly have no objections to that, not at all. As for name-calling, "citizen journalists" are naturally concerned with the right application of names, and some of the names that you apparently object to suit the subject quite well.

  33. I’ve written on Helium about 2 years, and I like it. The pay is reliable; I’ve cashed out every month since I got going, via paypal.

    The writing standards aren’t as high as yours, but we don’t argue via name-calling and personal attacks such as I see in this thread.

    I have no buddies who are stews, yet I’ve sold 6 Marketplace articles, and seconded and thirded in contests. Nor do I cheat. (Actually, I have exchanged cordial emails with one science steward, and if she gets $25 monthly for her work, good.)

    I don’t care about office politics or spouting, so I don’t use the boards much, I just want to quietly write. On Helium, I can write virtually whatever I want, whenever I can, and I get paid for it. If you look at my articles, you’ll see I’m no Tolstoy, but I’m having fun.

    Janet Grischy

  34. Hi, folks. It's me Scam Mamma, the latest to be booted out of Helium. They accused me of plagerism on 2 of my recent articles – totally unwarranted (and owing me about $25 for the month.
    Although Helium owns the copyright for every article they paid you for, they have no legal right to publish any articles they have not paid you for. I'm going after them on that.
    I'll keep you posted on any success I have. If enough of us can get what is owed to us – at least in part – they may just have to shut down their operation.

  35. In re Networked Blogs, you are welcome to link to my blog at http://www.heliumsagas.blogspot.com, which I plan on updating soon in respect to Helium's threat to bring criminal charges against me, in the light of the decision recently handed down on the notorius MySpace case. Although any such complaint against me would be abusive of the statute, I was warned threateningly that my defense would be very costly to me – see my interview with Helium's Mr. Rozen. Anyone interested can see my take on the future of journalism, a widely circulated article brought to the attention of two congressmen, which includes comments on Helium.

  36. @scammama – I am linking your site with mine. How about someone start a networked blog and i'd be happy to join you guys? We all have our own blogs. Mine isn't ONLY about Helium because there are mire important subjects. Nevetheless, I agree that taking away 300 articles is a "scam".If someone starts a networked blogs, I'll join that "network".

    Chavie Cyn

  37. CVRajan

    The last time I examined the TOS, it provided for the payment of writers outside of the rating system. The payment of premier writers is resorted to by well funded 'Web2.0' publishers, and they are sometimes paid handsomely.


  38. I was so happy to read that someone had enough guts to tell Rex direct to his face on Facebook that he's an asshole.

  39. Hi, folks. Scam Mamma here. I've just been booted out of Helium with a $25.00 payment for the month due, for supposed plagerism. When I challenged the accusation, they stopped returning e-mails. The only excuse is that the information was somewhere else on the Helium website.

    I've read everything anywhere close and the charge is totally false.

    So, they have my earnings, they have my work (119 articles) that they'll be paid for and I'm up the creek.

    Started my own blog site which will hopefully get the word out.

    Please report any new scams there.

  40. Hi Rex,


    Of course, as we know each other pretty well in Helium boards, I am quite familiar with your justifiable stand on this issue.

    One thing new and heartening here is about your revelation that you (and a dozen other stewards) are getting some "honorary" payment from Helium for your services, though it might be too paltry for the time, effort and the missionary zeal with which you work for Helium.

    I am glad that this revelation has come at last. Perhaps such a revelation at Helium boards could have created lots of stirring and bad taste amidst several other stewards who "volunteer", but don't get anything.

    That has precisely landed me back to my intellectual hairsplitting about volunteering per se.

    I wonder if any Helium volunteer is proposed to be paid a "small token amount" as a way of appreciation, whether the volunteer will refuse saying, "no, no! I don't want it! I am just only volunteering without expecting anything in return! By paying me, you are really undermining the very concept of volunteering!"


  41. You can get all your laughs at my name or whatever that you want. I've lived with that for 53 years, and it really doesn't bother me. Dish it up, and I'll just ignore it. I'm not that much of a child anymore (though I do wish I was a lot younger).

    For the record, I never said that my job was to "defend" the boards. My job is to keep them civil. Nobody is banned without receiving warnings. Even then, they are generally banned from the boards, which doesn't stop them from earning.

    In the first few months of the steward program, all stewards (about a dozen, give or take) were paid $25 a month. That token payment was for the dozens of hours working on the site, instead of writing and rating.

    I personally spend about 60 hours a week online at Helium, and have worked the last two months, every day. I'm not alone. Other stewards work their rears off helping people.

    A statement was made a ways back that was basically, 'don't make a claim if you don't know what you are talking about'. That is what is being done in this thread. Many people are claiming things that are either untrue or ancient history (web speaking).

    I'm also not Barbara's flunky, and never have been. I've always told her what I thought, even when I was at odds with her. She was always gracious enough to listen to what I said, but in the end, she made up her own mind.

    In the same way, I make up my own mind now. I answer to Helium. I've made mistakes like anyone, and will admit them. But I will say that threads are seldom deleted, and only when they get out of hand. Usually a warning to keep it civil takes care of the problem. Only when people want to be childish is this not the case.

    Also remember that while I run the boards, Helium staff also does read them, and if something is going south quickly, many of them have the power to close a thread too. Complaints and suggestions are one thing, but something that is nothing but attacking and bellyaching is quite another.

    Helium is a great place to write, and it is getting stronger all the time. It is the biggest writing site on the web, and has gotten notice from major publishers. The income opportunities continue to grow.

    Is that cheerleading? In a way, I suppose it is, but it is because I've seen the changes over the last 2 years, and because I've spent so much time on the site.

    Say what you will of me, (and I've heard a couple really unfounded and uncomplimentary statements), but Helium works for the best interests of the writers.

    Bottom line: If you want to make money, write at Helium. If you don't, go elsewhere. Nobody holds a gun to anyone's head, forcing them to write for the site.

    In the future, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave me out of the discussion. I run the boards, won't let them be disrupted, and spend most of the rest of my time doing senior steward duties. I've not hurt anyone, and don't intend to start, so I really have no place in petty bickering.


    Rex Trulove

    (Note: Trulove, not Truelove)

  42. CV, The going rate for an article of about 750 words before the Internet was about $300 if you were not a premium writer, so you could pick up $900 for three articles. Sometimes you could sell an article for quite a bit more. The average earnings of a writer about 20 years ago was around $25,000 per annum. Are you aware that Helium's TOS provide that some writers are paid entirely outside of the rating system? That is a standard practice, even for some popular blogs. The money however never was of great concern to me for several reasons, not the least of which was being prejudiced by Hindu sages at an early age. What concerned me most of all about Helium was the dishonesty of several of its staff members including executives, and the overall deceptive practices of the firm – by no means unique to Helium. That is why I did not want to have my name associated with Helium, so I asked them to remove the few articles I had posted. Best Regards,

  43. David,

    Thanks for your balanced reply.

    My own son's (aged 19) account in Helium got deleted. He had good writing percentile (above 85%) and had also earned some amount in Helium over about 1 year period.

    His writing was of "passable" quality (and he himself says he is not a great writer) but Helium administrators felt it was not a quality acceptable to predominantly US readers. Though he got quite some sympathetic response from several Helium members in the discussion boards (who said they had come across much poorer English from native US writers!), his account got deleted anyway.

    But I would definitely accept selective screening and deletion of accounts on case to case basis for the sake of site's quality norms which are definitely improving day by day.

    But what is wrong in principle is blocking India as a whole. Hope Helium starts implementing input level screening for new authors soon irrespective of the country of origin. With my experience in Helium, I do believe this will happen over a period of time.

    Helium as a business has to have an eye on profits and naturally they will always look for smart ways of getting it. Some of them may even border on extreme selfishness. But, tell me, who is not selfish? How many businesses are altruistic and outright honest?

    Take the minimum payout of $25 at Helium. When AC is giving at 1.5$ as minimum, Helium is firmly sticking to their $25 min. They stand to gain by that stand, because there may be many writers who drop off before reaching that
    level of earnings.

    But from another angle, think of this. Only Helium pays upfront for non-exclusive articles. ANy writer across the globe is eligible for getting it. In AC, non US (+ Canada ??) members cannot get upfront payments. They can only claim their performance payment.

    Thus for non US writers, HElium is quite attractive.

    It is like this. You see a couple of girls; Some of them do not appeal to you at all for a marriage proposal. You get married to one good looking girl and live happily. Rest of the girls who were not appealing to you at all are found attractive to other guys and they too get married!

  44. C.V. I certainly did not intend to imply that you had prostituted yourself to Helium, or that I do not approve of people who enjoy contributing to the site. As for Helium being a "shrewd" business, but I do not think the management or the investors are very shrewd at present but they might wise up even to the point of survival and prosperity. I congratulate you for the favorable discrimination you have received – as a matter of fact, I recommended to Mr. Rozen that he favor talented people. Again, on the subject of censorship, I am glad to hear that yours has not been deleted along with hundreds of comments that might cast policies in a bad light. Unless the policy has changed, I would certainly not brag about not having my crticism deleted. Best Regards,

  45. Arthur,

    To my knowledge, Helium had a 3-stage action in banning Indian authors. At first round they barred writers whose writes are too poor in quality.

    Then they deleted those who were of reasonable quality.

    Then they banned entry of any fresh Indians outright.

    I escaped the ban perhaps because my quality was acceptable in Helium's "standards" and I simply had too many articles, which may fetch some good money for Helium too.

    If you have access to Helium discussion boards, you will come to know that I am one of their strongest critics whenever there happens to be a policy change that turns out to be detrimental to members or that looks unethical.

    Despite my very strong criticisms and some very sarcastic posts in the discussion boards, I am still surviving in Helium. I have also seen some of my (and fellow Helium Critics') suggestions, criticisms have been taken due note of and corrective action have been taken in the past.

    That's why I say helium is quite democratic.

    You see, all said and done, Helium is a commercial organization being run by very shrewd businessmen. They are not running a charity. If some volunteers and stewards opted to offer free service to Helium, it is their own sweet will. Helium as a business organization would not complain!

    I have never volunteered any free service to Helium nor was I interested in any stewardship there! Actually there is a very interesting discussion thread going on on this very subject. Only from there, I ended up here, based on a posting from Marisa Wright there!

    So, when I, as one of the strongest critics of Helium at Helium boards am stating something positive about Helium, I think you have to give some weightage to it.

    Another strong critic of Helium at Helium boards is Tenebris, who too has written something positive about Helium in this discussion.

    Please don't think that if we write something positive about Helium, then it must be that "these people have been bought".

    Regarding Indian English and English quality. Yes. There are very talented writers with good command over English in India. But such people perhaps may not have been aware of Helium or any such site.

    But those who came to know, who found some opportunity to make money may be youngsters, who use Internet a lot, but not too good in writing "correct English"

  46. CV, to add to this discourse, here is another email statement by Helium, in reference to its exclusion of foreigners, and HeliumSagas response:

    “Because you cannot access Helium, or will soon be blocked from access, we feel it is only fair to remove your content from the site. Full rights to the work revert to you. We recognize that the version of your work that exists on Helium may be your only copy, so we will not begin removing content for four weeks (in mid-July). (For an easy way to copy multi-page articles, click “Print article” in the Article Tools tab on your article page, then copy and paste that version to your computer.) If you have earned over the $25 minimum payout, we will be crediting your Paypal account.”

    [Helium censors routinely delete articles posted by writers because they feel those articles are not on the salable topics preconceived by staff, or because the article is considered too short or long, or politically incorrect if not otherwise offensive, and so on. The arbitrary and often ridiculous character of its censorship behavior is a cause of some amusement, annoyance, and discouragement among its writers. The writer will discover that, although his article is deleted from public view, it still remains on the server as a Helium “property” file. But if the writer wants to delete her own article, she discovers she cannot do so, nor can she have her account closed down and her articles removed from public view, although she has not actually received a red cent for her work. If she feels that she has associated with a bad company, she cannot withdraw her work and disassociate from the site. She is referred to an adhesion agreement, which can be changed any time, at the will of the corporation, a clickable “agreement” that supposedly commits her posted work to the site forever, by way of a perpetual license. And if she does not maintain activity at the site, she may never be paid anything for the work she has posted. When she claims that she thought the staff had discretion to delete postings for her, or claims that she did not read the User Agreement every time she posted to make sure she understood and recorded every change in that “agreement”, and when she points out that she is able to remove her work at the half-dozen other sites where she posts articles, she is informed that no exceptions are made, that no work may be deleted at the author’s request, and that this policy is a norm for the industry. In other words, Helium can delete work for any reason whatsoever, but the providers of that work can never do so. Helium’s arbitrary deletion policy and its unconscionable adhesion contract has alienated many writers, who are spreading the word: “Stay away from Helium. It is a mediocre company run by mean people.” If you wish to be a Helium Head and believe that your work has value worth enduring, be sure to back up copies of your articles somewhere else in the “computing cloud” as well as on CDs. Also print out a copy with good ink on good paper for long term preservation. Many Internet publishing sites have failed; Helium.com will probably fail in a year or two unless it changes its way; the Internet itself is not an entirely safe place to store material; CDs will become obsolete and may be unreadable in the distant future.]

    “Readers from around the globe are welcome to enjoy Helium's articles. In the future, we hope to be able to offer a full experience of Helium that works well for everyone. Thank you for your understanding, Team Helium.”

    [The conclusion penned by Helium’s PR writer is utterly absurd and hypocritical in the context of what Helium has previously stated.]

  47. CV, Have you or have you not been banned because you are in India?And is not India virtually an "English-speaking" country? Most Indians I know, including the ones who do not like to be called Indians, speak and write good English. And if you have been excluded from the Helium site and your work removed as promised by Helium and as reported by other writers, how can you say that you are a five-star writer there? And are you aware that if your work does remain yet you are inactive, the TOS provides that you will no longer be entitled to earnings? By the way, congratulations on the $800 over 1 1/2 years of work. The main complaint is not about the money however, but because of behavior reported by scores of writers that contradicts your statement about Helium's "democratic" policies – your use of this term makes me wonder at what sort of democracy you have in India. Have you served Helium as one of its channels or guides or in any other capacity?


  48. I have been writing in Helium from India for more than one and a half years. I have earned more than $800 from this site and I am currently a 5-star writer there.

    I can vouch Helium is not a scam. I have won twice in Helium contests. I have earned mostly from upfront payments (earlier, rewardathons). I have sold a stock content.

    I am one of Helium's strong critics at Helium discussion boards. I too have critcized about their "changing rules mid way".

    I also know that Indians are currently barred from entering into Helium and some existing members were chucked out too. I have strongly expressed my opinion about this discrimination in Helium discussion boards. I am for quality in Helium. But it should not be in the form of banning a whole country, without looking into individual merits.

    But I can vouch that Helium is very highly democratic in their functioning. When accusations mount beyond a level on any new policy or payment issues at Helium, I have seen Helium taking corrective action.

    I write in more than one site. My earnings are maximum only from Helium. Every one finds a niche site ultimately. For some, it may be AC. For some it may be suite101. And for some, it is Helium.

    Whether you are rewarded in proportion to your efforts is a totally different question. Those who have tried to make a living by writing in Internet will definitely know that it is not practicable. There are simply too many freelance writers in the web.

    Not every one can succeed commercially through their own blogs.

    In this particular discussion, what disturbs me is some statements about helium volunteers getting secretly paid. If it is true, I am flabbergasted.

  49. To start, I want to thank Mr. Godwin for his commentary. His numerous blogs (and others) have helped raise awareness and expose contractual nuances when "writing for Helium". The vigor and sheer mass of criticism against this site merit initial skepticism and for me, much more. The lack of transparency and integrity described here are deplorable, and I am happy to report that Helium.com will not squander nor benefit from my work. Thanks again,
    To other writers: regardless of your expertise, if you are passionate for the craft, monetary reward and/or fame should hardly supplement your motivation.

  50. Take this change for example:

    “As you may be aware, Helium recently changed its policy about accepting contributions from every country around the world. Helium.com instituted this policy as a result of careful consideration of its members and its publishing partners.”

    (Every Helium.com participant was not aware of this new policy until frustrated members posted it in blogs. The email was originally sent to participants in foreign countries where English is not the native language, although English speakers in those countries may speak English better than many Brits, Americans, Canadians, et cetera. We suppose they will have to move to English speaking countries if they want to contribute to the enterprise, or at least set up virtual addresses in those countries. However that might be, Helium.com did not ask its members to consider whether or not English speakers from foreign countries where English is not the native language should be discriminated against. Its policies are simply “instituted” i.e. dictated or imperiously handed down. Helium.com is not a writers’ community, cooperative, or “open” WEB2.0 social network as its administrators occasionally imply. Quite to the contrary: even constructive criticism is routinely deleted from its site. There was even less consideration of the will of its members in reaching this dictatorial decision on linguistics than there is consideration paid for content pursuant to Helium’s perpetually changing, non-negotiable, “take it or leave it”, invalid adhesion contract. The great majority of writers receive no consideration whatsoever for their “contributions” because, regardless of the quality of their work, they never reach the $25 payout threshold. The fact of the matter is that Helium Exchange Inc is a Delaware corporation, registered to do business in the State of Massachusetts, whose sole interest is produce a profit for its owners. Its ability to do so is naturally based on its financial resources, its business plan and organization structure, and the abilities of its officers, directors and employees. It is obviously wasting its financial resources on a business plan quite similar to the plans of many other Internet publishing companies that have dismally failed their investors and the writing community because of their closed, hierarchical structure and lack of consideration for and underutilization of the intellectual capital they believe they can inconsiderately exploit for content.)

  51. Marissa, You're correct about the continuous changing of the rules. You will notice that the adhesion "agreement" provides for changes of terms without notice. In effect, there is no valid contract at Helium, just top-down dictation. David

  52. Mr. Trulove and all the other Helium cronies! They make you laugh with some of the idiotic stuff they say at times. The advice from Rex is truly vomit inducing at times and has anyone read his 'fantasy' novel online? This man calls himself a writer? It is without a doubt one of the most awful pieces of fiction I have ever come across. I could not get past the first couple of pages. He is one of the 'heads' at Helium which shows the the caliber of people they attract.

  53. Why was the following post removed? Because of threats from Helium staff?

    The Old Man has left a new comment on the post "Victoria Strauss — Helium":

    So, Barbie Whitlock stops by to defend the scammers! I'll reveal myself, I won't hide behind anonymous. They can't hide what they did to ME!

    I had spent 18 months, over 100 articles. I watched poorly written, poorly punctuated articles move up and overtake good articles. In fact, I had a professional editor check the site. She was stunned that such people could get rating stars while the good writers would receive nothing.

    I asked the professional editor and writer to submit something to see how it would do, but she declined. It was smart of her.

    What bugs me the most (Aside that they robbed me of the funds I should have had by changing the rules, without notifying us of the changes, or allowing us to get our funds and leave) was the obvious stupidity of some of the writers. They'd use "Effect" rather than "Affect," or "Then" instead of "Than," or "Of" instead of "Have." While I am not perfect in my own grammatical usage, the mistakes in verb/subject agreement were also common. And yet, those articles would hit #1. Excuse me?!

    When I left, I posted one final thing about that problem, and said that I was considering having a lawyer look at it. I DID have a lawyer look at it, and they deleted the post, claiming it was a threat. Of course, my lawyer said otherwise.

    Helium: Where you are scammed. STAY AWAY!

    Charles B (Ex-helium member, and still angry after a year)

    Post a comment.

    Unsubscribe to comments on this post.

    Posted by The Old Man to Writer Beware Blogs! at 6/20/2009 5:08 PM

  54. I purchased heliumasia dot com but I frankly feel that to give another website that much importance would make my site boring.. dunno.. maybe I’m wrong.

    I have pestered Barbara a LOT, and there wasn’t an instance that she seemed less than straightforward. I (and so many believe me) annot say the same of Grace Alexander whom her “fans” (bwahahaha) call MIss PMS. Neither do I trust Rex Trulove not because of his name which is none of my business BUT because anyone who comes across “too goody goody” is not real. I dunno, I may be wrong.. let’s see. But I shall visit your website!


  55. Barbara Whitlock is in fact a great person, but she is apparently a paid employee of Helium and one who is not about to disagree with its policies.

    Indeed, I hurt her feelings when I asked her how as a writer she could tolerate the abusive policies at Helium – I was thereafter ordered by Helium management never to email her again.

    I notice that someone mentioned that John Rozen threatened a Helium Head for exposing its gaseous nature. Mr. Rozen also threatened me, saying criminal action would be brought against me in the Federal court for signing up and publishing (without any attempt to hide my real name, and without any notice that I was barred from the site) dialogue between myself and Ms. Whitlock and Mr. Ranalli. But I don’t blame him, as I had pointed out an fatal, self-defeating contradiction in his Helium rhetoric, and had also stated that Helium MAY be in violation of the computer crimes statues.

    I am gradually (as a former Helium Head and so-called Citizen Journalist) reporting on my relationship with Helium, and shall soon provide the “content” of my interview with Mr. Rozen, at my Google-hosted blog site:


  56. “I have to defend Barbara – I found her to be helpful and responsive when I was on the forums. Now they are presided over by Rex Trulove – whom I used to think was a great guy – like some kind of forum Nazi. Threads are closed or deleted if anyone dares say anything too negative. I’ve even heard Rex say his job is to “defend” the forums – what does that say about the chances of open discussion? He even made a veiled threat to ban me just because I challenged him to justify an outrageous statement, and he couldn’t.”

    Marissa, I have to agree wit you about Barbara. Barbara isn’t the Nazi type at the boards– Rex is “plastic” (good guy in disguise) and is an asshole.(OK?) Grace Alexander is the Prozac Lady. In fact, even Janice seems to be alright.
    Oooops.. Rachelle is someone who needs some sense of importance lest you “fall in the stars”.But still, that’s okie, she’s not as obnoxious as Grace Alexander and Rex Trulove (heck!!!! whatta name!!!)

  57. Has anyone noticed the last sentence of the Helium Writer’s Agreement below in reference to deletion, or has this sentence been recently added?

    “Helium Writers Agreement
    By checking this box I agree to:

    This article is my own creation and not copied from anyone else’s work nor is it a duplicate of another article of mine on Helium. I certify that I own all rights to this material and grant Helium™ a license to publish it according to the terms of the Helium User Agreement. I understand that my account will be deleted if I copy another member’s article or if I am found guilty of plagiarizing any content. I also understand that I will not be able to delete the article after it is posted.”

    please contact me: helgalian@yahoo.com

  58. Marisa- Yes, I agree with you completely. As I have said, Helium pays.
    Hahahahahahah… I also agree with you that Helium is like a cult. Rex Truelove gives you the first impression that he’s a nice guy then he jumps on you when you say something he doesn’t like on the boards. There’s also Grace Alexander who recently wrote that those without writing stars have “crummy writing” hahahahahhahah!!!
    Their publishers must love crummy writing because I sell my articles at their Marketplace.
    My advise, NEVER to put ALL your articles in one place. Be pragmatic, AC and Constant Content is THERE. Also, remember that you can re-sell your articles in Helium at Constant Content ( I do that) or BETTER, come up with your own domain and put ALL your articles there.

    Any comments? bwahahahah email me at bugsey@heliumasia.com

    PS: Be brilliant when you choose your domain name!

  59. It’s interesting how Helium excites such passion in people! Those who are Helium fans seem blind to its faults – almost like a cult – and those who’ve been banned or mistreated are vitriolic.

    I wrote over 200 articles on Helium before I realised what a poor earner it was. I was a major contributor on the forums at one time, even after I stopped writing (Barbara called me the “gadfly”), because I felt it was important that someone didn’t let them get away with vague and inaccurate statements.

    Helium is not a con. They don’t promise anything they don’t deliver. They only promise to pay, after all, not to pay well – and the fact that you can’t delete your articles is there in black and white.

    What is wrong, in my view, is the way they change the rules so often. People who wrote short articles in the belief they would be paid “in perpetuity” are now finding they’re being deleted, and they have to maintain a rating star to get paid (so it’s no longer truly passive). Who knows what the next change will be?

    The other sad thing is the way the forums have been shut down. I have to defend Barbara – I found her to be helpful and responsive when I was on the forums. Now they are presided over by Rex Trulove – whom I used to think was a great guy – like some kind of forum Nazi. Threads are closed or deleted if anyone dares say anything too negative. I’ve even heard Rex say his job is to “defend” the forums – what does that say about the chances of open discussion? He even made a veiled threat to ban me just because I challenged him to justify an outrageous statement, and he couldn’t.

    Note to Lisa Logan – Helium is no use for free promotion, because although you can include hyperlinks in your articles, they are all no follow.

  60. I was a steward who got paid, and was told to keep it hush. I did, because they were paying me every month. I have nearly 600 articles on there, but the money has dwindled to nothing, so I have basically abandoned the place.

    HWL (Helium Was Lame)

  61. Alan, I do think you are sincere in your posts, but again, you’ve obviously had a different experience on Helium than others. Some people do not question changes in policy on this site and simply go along. If they do not, they are banned and their articles and work on the site go for naught.

    We differ in our outlook towards this type of behavior and there’s nothing wrong with having a differing opinion. At his time on the site there are members, with writing stars, who cannot relax and enjoy writing because they constantly worry about losing their rating stars at the last minute.

    This means the page view money earned by the authors articles will go to someone else. It doesn’t matter how many rates a member does, if the percentage doesn’t reach 75% no money will be forthcoming. Before the change a member received this money no matter what.

    Many complaining about losing their stars on the last day have writing stars. In other words, they can write a good article but don’t have the ability to choose the better of two articles while rating.

    The rating system is screwed up and everyone knows it. Helium staff cannot admit to this and get angry when someone mentions it. The first thing mentioned by the stews and staff is “sour grapes.” Then it is, “if you don’t like it,leave.”

    You know yourself there are terrible writers who have writing stars on the site. Sometimes the #1 ranked articles is filled with grammatical errors and run on sentences. There is no way rating and writing stars mean anything on Helium. It is funny how much stock starred writers put into this system. If a writer gets writing stars they get a false impression they can write well. This does more harm than good.

    Again, I do appreciate your input as it gives me an idea how Helium has lasted as long as it has. I suspect it will only get worse as members are getting fed up with the new controversial requirements.

    Enjoy your time off.


  62. Randy,

    Actually, if you scroll up, you will see that I did not say that I no longer participate at Helium, I said that I very rarely had time to do much there because I do hot have much “extra” time.

    I am actually relaxed now, because this will be the first week (out of about the last six months) that my total hours worked is below 60, and my own person classes (I am also a full-time student) do not start up again until May 1. Combine this with having a wife and two children to take care of, and you can see that I generally do not have time to do anything. The only other break I have had was taking my kids to Branson, MO for three days during Spring break.

    All that I have basically done over the last few months is rating (to keep my stars and thus my “income” going), posting infrequently on the forums, and editing articles to improve them. In fact, I just checked and the last article that I wrote was on 11/23/08.

    So if you really want to check it out, review my posting history on the forums (which is where I seem to spend most of my time nowadays) and you can pretty much narrow down my level of activity.

    Cheers to you,


  63. Alan, since you admit to not knowing what goes on behind the scenes on the stews forums I can understand why you are uninformed as to how things really work on Helium. It makes me wonder where exactly you do get your info. I suppose you are going on your personal experience there but I doubt you’ve personally wrangled with as many of the minions as I have.

    Perhaps if they ban you for an untrue reason you might understand my motives better. But then again, you may be a person who just takes things sitting down. I personally hope you don’t encounter the same treatment I and many others have experienced on Helium as this is what I am trying to prevent.

    I think the words “unpaid volunteers” are clear enough to get the meaning across. You mention compensation “in some fashion or another.” I have no problem with this as long as this is clear. Don’t make it sound as though people are doing this out of the goodness of their heart.

    You didn’t mention how you felt about some of the stews getting paid while others were completely unaware of any “compensation.” Do you remember the deleted backlot thread where a steward was heartbroken when she found out others were getting paid while she was working her butt off and getting nothing. This is slimy and there’s no getting around it.

    The directed rating enjoyed by the stewards is mentioned very little on the forums. Recently when a member asked about rating in other channels a new steward said ” it’s simple, just choose the channel you want to rate in and begin rating. I began laughing out loud and wondered how long it would be before this comment would be deleted. It disappeared very quickly.

    As you pointed out, this plays a large part in the rating of contests and any other submissions on the site. This allows repeated rating of certain articles by the stewards further skewing the results. But besides all this, it is not fair to the members who may work all month only to lose their rating star and therefore any money they should have received. This is being discussed daily it seems.

    You are right that companies always have secrets. I have no problem with this as long as the secrets are ethical and the members aren’t being lied to as in these other cases. But perhaps you think lying is okay too. I really do not think this is the case though.

    You have posted on the Helium forums in the last few days despite your claim of not participating on the site lately. This is my own “vendetta” as you put it and I will continue it as long as this type of unethical conduct is condoned on the site. And, I am not alone in this quest.

    Randy Godwin

  64. Randy,

    You are right, I do not have access to any “private” boards, so anything that may have been discussed on them is secret to me.

    As far as being “taken in”, all the allegations you make, true or not, make absolutely no difference to me. For example:

    1. Helium paid their “volunteer” stewards. I know of many companies who compensate volunteer workers in some fashion or other. This neither makes the stewards emp employees nor does it take away their volunteer status.

    2. Stewards have “directed” rating ability. I know this was one of the features that I personally would have loved to have. The principle reason is that as I have written to so many different categories, I was forced to rate seemingly everything. However, I would have included a clause to that in that anyone who could perform “directed” rating could not participate in any contests.

    3. Helium has “secrets”. Good, every business has them, and they have neither a requirement nor a responsibility to reveal any information about their programs to their own employees. They have even less of a responsibility to reveal their internal policies or procedures to non-employees. This is true of any business, but moreso for internet companies such as Helium that have folks investigating every little nuance of every word they put out looking for holes they can rip into. I think even you will admit that this is similar to what you have done 🙂

    In regards to why I posted here, as I stated earlier, I simply posted my own experiences. I saw many people posting their negative experiences, so I replied with my positive experience.

    Of course, you want to believe that there is no way possible that others could have a positive experience at Helium, and that those who claim it have been “taken in” by “them”. Fortunately for Helium, it seems that there are enough people that have had the positive experience at Helium that it looks like they may be staying in business for a while.

    Anyways, you have your personal vendetta against Helium, so… I wish you well in your quest.


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