Heaps of Hate for Helium.com

Helium.com, a site which encourages writers to submit articles in return for a share of its advertising earnings, is generating questions in the blogosphere regarding the validity of its promises, whether they’re greatly exaggerated, and if this site should even be considered a scam. 

John Hewitt, in his witty and entertaining blog, The Writer’s Resource Center, takes them to task in a recent post after Helium.com approached him with an offer of money and a chance to expand his audience “by millions”:

“I tried to make a counter offer, a simple link exchange, but apparently they ‘are not set up for reciprocal linking.’ Instead, they just want to pay me. Frankly, I think they’re a bunch of nutbars, but who am I to stand in the way of me making money?”

After a few email exchanges with Hewitt, the good people at Helium.com appear to have changed their minds about wanting him to link to them.  View the entire post here.

Other bloggers are less than impressed with Helium.com, as well.  Craig Kohler wrote an article for Blogcritics Magazine titled “Helium.com Censors Content, Deletes Accurate Articles.”  The author of AllSux.com has vowed to do a monthly write up on Helium.com until they either pay him the money he feels he’s owed or remove his content from their site.  So we can pretty much count on more Helium.com posts from him until, oh let’s see, the end of time.

But don’t stop reading there.  I suggest you bookmark The Writer’s Resource Center (even if you have no interest in writing) as it merits a bookmark all its own.  (Or feed subscription or whatever – I’m not very “Web 2.0,” despite how things might appear.)

For example, a recent post is titled 15 Ways the Harry Potter Books Would Be Different if They Were Written by Bret Easton Ellis (who wrote Less Than Zero and American Psycho).  Difference #6 is:

“The characters’ obsession with wands would be even more pronounced. Lord Voldemort’s crushing disappointment with his own wand would lead to a panic attack at the dinner table.” 


  1. Thanks for stopping by WRC and giving out the link love!

  2. Hah so true … I’ll be stuck writing about Helium until I’m old and gray 😦 It’s too bad, really … they’ve lost so much from my well-SEOed negative publicity. Allsux.com even shows up on the first page of Google searches for ‘Helium.com’ At least I get to point people in the right direction (toward sites that actually pay their writers). The CEO of Helium and I have had a few talks, but he is a master of spin and doesn’t really say much 😉

  3. I had a really hard time with Helium.com. I made about $0.20 from their site and decided that I wanted to use my articles somewhere else (magazine wants to pay me $50-$100 for one of them) but I couldn’t have them posted anywhere else. I emailed helium (at help@helium.com and at content@helium.com) 3-4 times and never received a response. In an (immature) attempt to get my profile deleted I purposefuly published inappropriate content then reported my inappropriate article thinking they might pay attention to that.

    Well instead of deleting my articles and my profile, they made me one of their premier writers giving the articles that I want to use elsewhere even more exposure. Not only that, but they have locked me out of my own account so I can’t post new work or edit my existing work and profiles. I’m absolutely livid. They don’t have rights to my work (by their own admission) and it’s to the point where if they don’t comply to my request in 48 hours I already have a lawyer lined up to help me take them to court.

    I recommend that you stay away from helium.com. They have absolutely no respect for writers and their artistic rights.

    Not only that but writers should be getting anywhere from $10-$25 per page for their work. Why would you work that hard and not get paid fairly for it? Rankings on Helium don’t pay the bills!

    I DO recommend going to websites like http://www.oDesk.com, http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com, associatedcontent.com or even craigslist.org where writers can find fair-paying gigs.

  4. Hi hardcorefreelancer. Thanks for your very detailed comment. Even though you were taken in, maybe your comment here will keep others from being taken advantage of. I don’t think your strategy to purposely post inappropriate content in order to get all of your content deleted was immature–you were just trying to work the system after your other options had run out. I might have tried something similar had I been in your situation.

    Good luck with your lawyer and do stop by and keep us posted on how that goes. I would be interested to know, and I’m sure my readers would, too.

  5. Helium must be looking for new writers (I use the term loosely considering what they reward) since I saw an ad on craigslist promising that you could win fabulous prizes on their site. Been there, done that, got banned from the boards for tangling with the over-zealous right-wingers that I didn’t want to hear about life in the Dark Ages which they were soooo eager to “share”. I completely agree with all the complaints about the bad writing and the payouts. I doubt that anyone ever got kicked out for riting like, this ?about topikz /yoo no like du ya thinkwarzBAD or whut . Hey, you might loose points if you passed the 8th grade. And just try getting an honest answer from the people in charge. It’s the Bush legacy in both truth AND literacy, folks! Oh, and politics. I just found out one of my pieces got to #1 in its category. But I can’t have full citizenship cause I upset some dingbats who don’t want evolution taught in schools, so there goes my chance to collect, and with the holidays coming I could really use that $3.56.

  6. Ostrova: “It’s the Bush legacy in both truth AND literacy” LOLOL! You had me literally laughing out loud with that one.

  7. It’s sad when people who deliberately tried to scam the site or were too stupid to read the user agreement before signing up try to bash a program that has really helped a lot of budding writers improve.

    Everyone who matters knows all about allsux and his smear campaign. I know who hardcore is as well, and the story behind that is almost as patheitic.

    Ostrova- you should have stayed out of the religious forum, is all I got to say! I steer clear myself, there are entirely too many hotheads on both sides of the fence. Not just a Helium problem; it’s universal.

    All I can say is, there are thousands of happy people at Helium (of course, this is where antagonists say “Well all those people are stupid”).

    helium is a free publishing and promoting platform, a resume that is earning and bringing you to the notice of publishers.

    No, I’m not Helium staff in disguise. I’m just a writer who got a start at Helium.com, and was able to quit my day job on the strength of my work there and the many freelance gigs that followed as a direct result of using the published work as my resume.


  8. Helium is everything that has been stated above and then some. It’s a place for hobbyists at best. If you are a professional or want to be one think hard before writing for Helium. They benefit from the writer’s work and the return is beyond poor. Of course they have an army of “supporters” many of whom are their site stewards. Check out absolutewrite.com/forums for a good post on content sites like Helium if you want an impartial view of the industry.

  9. @Sadie
    I don’t mean to start anything, but I was approached by a friend who asked if I wanted to try Helium.com. After only doing a little bit of research I’ve now come across several blogs that don’t like it much. But on many of them the same reply appears, from the same person, every time ending “No, I’m not Helium staff in disguise.”
    Just a thought.

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