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My Gripe With Helium

Posted by on Nov 15, 2009

Last year, I decided to give Helium a try after having a guest post here by one of their editors. This past week, a couple of things happened that made me realize these people weren’t for me, and it seems to continue into today.

The first thing is that I got email from them telling me they had removed one of my articles because I had self promotion in it. The thing that irked me is that I posted that article with them last November or December, and this is the first I’m hearing about it? It was an articles I wrote for my business newsletter that I figured I would repost on their site. In that article, I allude to my book Embrace The Lead, and when I posted the article to the site, I hadn’t even thought about that one line being in there.

Anyway, that was enough to irk me, as I’m not much for letting folks get to me more than once these days, so I went looking for a way to delete my account. There wasn’t a single thing on their site about getting out of it; ugh. So, I decided to write the help desk to ask them to kill my account.

Within a couple of hours, I get an email from them asking me why I want to remove one of my posts. That showed they didn’t even take the time to read what I’d written them, which irked me even more. I responded to that email saying they hadn’t read it, and that I wanted to immediately cancel my account.

A few hours later I got another email from them, but it’s not addressing my request. Instead, it’s saying that they’re deleting another of my articles for plagiarism, and one more instance of that and I’ll be banned from the site. Now, as nice as that would be, the thing is that I’m the original author of the article. I have it on one of my other sites, and last year, when I had talked to the lady who wrote the guest post through email, she said that if I wrote it, even if it was previously published, I could use it. So, great, I’m now accused of plagiarizing from myself; sheesh!

I returned that email also, saying that I was the original writer and that the article was on my site, and that I had put through a request to cancel my account and I was still waiting for that to happen. Today I get one more email, but this time it’s a Helium newsletter; what the hey? Isn’t anyone at Helium paying attention to my requests?

Well, I’m done with them. In the course of time, I earned 7 cents; they obviously can keep that. I was still left with the same feeling I had when I wrote my original post about them and freelance writing woes in general, only I can take it further now. One of the things you really have to do, if you’re going to decide to look into it, is to go really deep in trying to find a topic already listed that someone else supposedly has already come up with. Man, that was more work than the articles themselves were the first time I wrote them.

Then, after you post an article, you have to spend at least 10 minutes rating other articles. They give you two articles on the same topic, and you have to decide which one you like better and by how much you like it more than the other one. Then they put the article you favored against another article, and you rate once more. After that, it’s two more articles, and it all starts again. They also score you on how you rate articles; wow!

So, I’m done with them, and I’m hoping they cancel my account soon. If not, so be it, as I won’t be going back. No, I don’t recommend them, and there you go.

Now, if you think this is my only rant against a writing website, stay tuned for tomorrow’s rant.

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Man, what a rant and a half. Sorry they’ve given you such a hard time Mitch. They’ve only ever removed two of my articles, and after a couple of changed and being resubmitted all is cool.

I actually like Helium, especially as it continues to earn me money even though I don’t visit all that often. I’ve almost reached the $50 mark. That’s only about $25 a year, which while it’s pretty dismal it’s probably my fault because I’m not that involved with them.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Search Engines Both New And Old, And How They Affect You =-.

November 16th, 2009 | 2:11 AM

I’m glad it works for you, Sire. Frankly, I never was sure what to do with them, and I have to admit that the prospect of making $50 over two years isn’t appealing at all. If I write, I want my money now, and bigger money than that.

November 16th, 2009 | 9:00 AM

True, but seeing as all the articles I’ve written for them were already posted on my blogs, I look at it being just a little extra cash for a job already done.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Comments, The Lifeblood Of A Blog =-.

November 16th, 2009 | 8:01 PM

That’s the thing, Sire. One of the articles on their site is one I had already written and put online. Can’t remember if it was on the blog or elsewhere, but it was most definitely mine. But that’s okay; I’ll handle my own stuff.

November 16th, 2009 | 8:28 PM

Sounds like they’ve totally lost the personal touch if they ever had it. When I wrote about them on my blog I got personal email about my post and then an article… maybe they’ve just grown too big… happens all the time.

Seven cents – you’re not giving up much are you.

.-= Anne Wayman´s last blog ..Ideal Conditions Are A Myth – Quotes to Inspire Writers =-.

November 16th, 2009 | 10:09 AM

Hi Anne,

No, I’m not giving up much. I’m greatly disappointed, but I guess it happens.

November 16th, 2009 | 10:36 AM
Kim Ramsey:

I’ve heard negative feedbacks about Helium from previous members. I can’t remember if I join them or not, but one thing that pisses me off is their rules and regulations, particularly to their posting rules. I never thought that it wouldn’t that easy as what they keep on telling to all their potential members.

November 16th, 2009 | 10:43 AM

There’s definitely a lot of work involved, Kim, and you’re right, I thought it would be easy also, with all the articles I’ve written overall.

November 16th, 2009 | 1:49 PM

It wouldn’t be up your alley anyway, Dennis, but I’m glad to help shed a little bit of light on them.

November 16th, 2009 | 6:03 PM


I totally feel your rant on Helium. I joined the site a few years back thinking it would be a good oppotunity to make a little cash. I didn’t mind reading the other writings so much but the majority of them were AWFUL! Poor grammar and misspelled words with no real substance. And then you had to go through several articles and rate them. Helium is a site for “wannabe writers” who just want a platform to be seen. If you’re really serious–you’ll find another platform to showcase your work.
.-= Beverly Mahone´s last blog ..Sad Ending to the Shaniya Davis Story =-.

November 19th, 2009 | 9:25 PM

Thanks Bev; you captured that part much better than I would have. I guess I just wanted to be much more of a paid writer than a free editor, if you will, especially reading articles on topics I didn’t care about. If I were editing them and getting paid, nice, but otherwise, it just wasn’t working for me.

November 19th, 2009 | 10:37 PM

Wannabe writers? I think that’s a bit harsh Bev. Some of those writers are actually very good.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Keyword Abusers Force Comment Policy Change =-.

November 20th, 2009 | 1:01 AM


I should’ve said “some” so I’ll stand corrected, HOWEVER, the writings I saw and had to evaluate were those of people who thought they could write. I speak as someone who spent more than 25 years in radio and television news as a reporter, producer and assignment editor.
.-= Beverly Mahone´s last blog ..School Fundraising Project Comes Under Fire =-.

November 21st, 2009 | 8:33 PM

I’m not arguing with you there Beverly, but I’m sure that you will come across those almost anywhere you go.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Qondio Or Qassia, They Both Suck =-.

November 21st, 2009 | 9:06 PM

I came from Sire’s blog through the link he posted to your blog.

I have 143 articles at helium, and after I contributed that much they disabled the foreign contributions’ log in system. So now I could not contribute and I could not personally withdraw the earnings from my articles. It’s good a good friend had agreed to do it for me.

I was wondering how many articles you had in there.
.-= Jena Isle´s last blog ..Serendipity and Writing to Exhale =-.

November 23rd, 2009 | 2:55 PM

Hi Jena,

I only had 5 articles on the site until they started their goofy stuff, and they dropped it to three. That’s a lot of articles you had on the site; I hope you were making a nice income from it all, but how unprofessional to just disable your link without giving you the money you had earned first.

November 23rd, 2009 | 3:13 PM

Heck, I was wishing I couldn’t get to the site. As it is, they’re just ignoring me; in a way, almost the same thing.

November 26th, 2009 | 4:58 PM