Is it possible to earn true passive income writing online?


As you may have noticed, until yesterday I had not posted on this blog for several years.  What you may not have known - this apathy was not just unique to this blog and was in fact across all of my online money making activities.

I thought it would be interesting to see how my income has held up during this period of inactivity (about 3 years) as this would indicate whether the aim of passive income online is a realistic.  

Whilst I have used many forms of online income, the only one I track in Google Analytics was Hubpages, plus my personal blogs so these are what I will be reviewing.  


As can be seen from the graph above, over 3 years the amount of traffic to my Hubpages have fallen by about two thirds.  Other than "accepting" comments about a year ago I have not done anything at all on Hubpages.  During this time there have been several changes on Hubpages including rolling out "Featured hubs".  If a hub is not featured it will not appear in search engines - in total less than half of my published hubs are now featured.  Furthermore, using the hubpages system I can see that many of my hubs have broken links and the like, so this will impact further on both the internal Hubpages ranking and that in the search engines.  I must admit I am pleasantly surprised with the amount of traffic I continue to get to my hubs (many of which are 5 or 6 years old) and will certainly update my existing hubs to see if that results in a boost to traffic.  Overall, I have probably benefited from the majority of m hubs being on "everygreen" topics eg those which don't go out of fashion.  

A little extra money UK

A little extra money UK is this blog, as can be seen, over the last 2 years I have continued to get reasonable traffic to it despite not having made any changes.  This is surprising since many of my most popular posts are monthly earnings updates from years ago, although I have also had some traffic to my review pages.  If I get the chance I will increase my postings on this blog (time permitting) and I will hopefully see the traffic increase once again.

Renewable UK

When I was at university I also posted a few articles on a blog called Renewable UK.  As can be seen from the above chart, this has seen the largest decrease in traffic over the last 3 years.  However, this is to be expected as the majority of my postings were comment/opinion articles on the latest news in UK renewable energy so if I am honest I am amazed I continue to get any traffic.  Renewable UK would also probably have the fewest number of backlinks from other sites as when I used to comment on blogs etc I would use A Little Extra Money UK or my Hubpages profile.

Other sites

It appears I continued to get traffic and therefore earnings from Webanswers, Infobarrel and the other third party writing sites I use as shown in the sidebar to the right.  However, I do not track these in Analytics so I am unable to provide graphs for these.


From the above it is clear that it is possible to earn true passive income from both Hubpages and blogging, however, as would be expected over time the earnings will diminish.  I would guess with some small input the rates of decline would be much less than that shown above so that is what I will do!

Dooyoo Review - Is it really possible to make money just for writing reviews?

Dooyoo is a website where it is possible to earn just for posting reviews on a large range of products.  In this blog post, I will review the reviewers to hopefully advise you on whether you should also be looking at using Dooyoo.

Firstly what is Dooyoo?
As said already, it is a site where you can write reviews on almost any product and be rewarded for this.  Products to be reviewed are put into varioustop level categories, and then subdivided down further.  For example, Media > Books & Magazines > Travel Books.
The reviews can be seen by people who go directly to the site, but Dooyoo probably hope they will also get lots of views originating with the search engines.  Dooyoo make their money from adverts on site, and they also have links to companies like Amazon who are selling the reviewed products for which they earn a commission.
It is important products are in the correct category as each category is allocated a Level - in total there are 3 levels with Level 1 being those which are most attractive to advertisers and Level 3 being the least.

How do you earn?
As with many ways of making money online, Dooyoo has it's own particular "currency" namely Dooyoomiles.  The amount of Dooyoomiles earned for each review depends on which category it sits in - Level 1 reviews earn 600 Dooyoomiles, Level 2 pays 300 Dooyoomiles per review and Level 3 rewards 100 Dooyoomiles.  Furthermore, it is also possible to earn additional Dooyoomiles each time another member reads your review, these are at the rate of 20, 15 or 10 Dooyoumiles dependent on which "Level" the review is in.  Extra special reviews can also qualify for a "Crown", for these an extra 1500 Dooyoomiles are awarded.

How much is each Douyoumile worth?
For the UK site each Dooyoomile is in effect worth 0.1p as 1000 Doyoumiles are worth £1, there are other Dooyoo sites elsewhere worldwide and so these rates will vary.

How do you claim these earnings?
Payment is made through one of two methods, either a bank transfer direct into your bank account or through Amazon vouchers.  Occassionally I believe Dooyoo also runs bonus events whereby each Dooyoomile is worth slightly more in Amazon vouchers than it's normal cash value.  There is also the option of donating your Dooyoomiles to charity.

My review
Dooyoo is a good site to earn a small amount of money if you have spare time and an internet connection.  However, you are somewhat limited by the amounts that can be earned since you need to have actually used the item reviewed.  Whilst it may be possible to do a lot of reviews in the Level 3 categories (books, films, groceries etc), the highest earning reviews in Level 1 are for items which are rarely purchased.  Therefore, you will not become rich using Dooyoo, but I definitely recommend it if you have a few hours spare.

If you like my review of Dooyoo, why not check out my Dooyoo profile here.

Top Cash Back launches in the USA - The best cashback site jumps across the pond

As you may all know I am a firm believer of cash back sites and have previously written about two from the UK - Mutual Points and Top Cash Back.  Top cash back has since become my favourite cashback site based on the fact it promises to return 100% of cashback earnings plus sometimes bonuses on top, with no fees.  This is in stark contrast to many other cashback sites which charge a fee, either monthly/yearly or as a percentage of cashback.

Up until recently topcashback has only been open for people shopping on UK sites.  However, they have recently opened a site called which caters to US audiences.  If it is anything like the Uk version of the site (which it appears to be) I would strongly recommend signing up to it.

For those who have no idea how cashback sites work it is simple.  Online retailers pay 'commission' to other website owners who refer individuals to their store (think of it as an advertising payment).  What cashback sites do is return a portion of this money to the consumer.  Top cash back is unusual in that it returns 100% of this cashback to the consumers and doesn't charge any fees.  In the UK they actually offer more than 100% cashback (meaning that they pass on more commission to the consumer than they get from the retailer).  Many people will wonder how this is possible - Top Cash Back say they are able to earn enough money from advertisements on site to cover their costs.  They also make money from bonus payments from retailers when certain targets are met, as well as probably making interest on unclaimed money.

There are several other advantages to Top Cash Back.  It is the largest cashback site in the UK and has been running for many years and so there is a degree of confidence that it is unlikely to go bust with all the money.  There are also generous refer a friend bonuses available - at the time of writing on the USA site this is currently $5 but on the UK topcashback it is £10 ($15).  There are also often no purchase cashback offers which are always welcome.

Overall I would recommend topcashback in the UK and now it has launched in the USA I would also recommend this site.  As can be seen from my earnings update to the right I have made a lot of money using topcashback in the UK (approximately $1000); so if you are in the US why not sign up for topcashback and if you already have why not post a review/share your opinion in the comments section below!

How much money can be made using Youtube?

You may have heard of the stories on massive incomes being made from Youtube.  Some of these stories include people who have made large amounts out of money from multiple views having built up a large following, but others are due to one off videos making it big.  I noticed that Kidgas had written a piece a while back on making money from Youtube, so I wanted to see if I could do similar and possibly get some residual earnings, but up until recently I had no decent videos.  

However, I recently got the chance to see a Sea King helicopter at very close range whilst out walking near the coast and so I uploaded the videos to Youtube to see if I could make any money.

See the videos here:

Despite the name of the videos, I feel I should point out that I believe the 'rescue' taking place was purely an exercise.

Well as can be seen from the videos, they have been up for over 2 months now and they have had very low traffic.  In fact, combined the traffic is only about 60 views and considering that many of these views came right at the beginning it would indicate I will be waiting a very long time to make my first million from Youtube.  There could be several reasons for this.  Firstly, each Sea King video on Youtube seems to have only a small number of views (aside from a couple of videos of these helicopters crashing!).  Secondly, I have done little by the way of backlinking etc to drive traffic to these videos over the alternative Sea King videos.   Thirdly, I appreciate that these videos are of a rather poor quality.  Therefore my experiment so far to see whether it is possible to make any money from Youtube has so far indicated that without traffic it isn't possible to get any earnings (rather like the web in general).  However, I am not completely deterred and so I have uploaded a couple more videos, one of the Bristol Balloon Fiesta nightglow and one of a panoramic video of Falmouth, Cornwall.  

Monthly Update - April 2011

As this post is a bit late I shall keep it brief!

Aside from a few posts on this blog, I did very little online work during April and as a result the majority of my earnings are residual, so I suppose I am in no position to complain whatever the result!  You may remember that for the last few months I have seen decreases in my earnings linked to the Google Panda update - I wonder if this will continue?

Webanswers: £14.79 (11% increase from March 2011)
Infobarrel: £0.48 (67% decrease)
She Told Me: £0.07 (600% increase)
Xomba: £0.07 (99% decrease)
Hubpages: £50.56 (29% decrease)
Total: £65.97 (28% decrease)

This was the first full month for which the Panda update had been in effect and so I expected to see some decrease in earnings.  Whilst I am disappointed about the earnings decrease it is not as bad as it could have been and so I am not too disappointed.  Whilst there was once again a large decrease in my Hubpages earnings, it is encouraging to see the Webanswers earnings having a slight rebound.  Hopefully the decreases in earnings for Hubpages and total will stop now that Panda has fully taken effect and my Webanswers earnings will continue their rebound.

First Hubpages ad program payment

I have recently received an email from PayPal to inform me of a payment by Hubpages and when checking my account sure enough my earnings for March 2011 have now gone into my account.  These are my first earnings under the Hubpages ad program scheme, which in theory should be better than purely Adsense, but with the Google Panda update it is hard to tell whether it really is.

This is good news and a timely boost as I was starting to become demotivated (did I just invent a new word?) by the decrease in traffic to various articles etc I have written, in particular Hubpages but also other sites like Infobarrel and She Told Me.  My various blogger blogs are continuing to see good traffic though, so I will continue to expand on these - I am considering putting advertising on those which don't already etc.  I also mean to follow Kidgas in making money from videos on Youtube as soon as I have got a decent one as I feel this would be an interesting new source of revenue.

Further good news is I have already reached the payout amount for April 2011 and so hopefully, unless there is another update to Google, I should be able to make payout on Hubpages ad program every month which is good news.

Annoyingly though, March 2011 was the first month in a very long time in which my Google Adsense account didn't reach payout (this is partly as a result of the Google Panda update but also likely due to the Hubpages ad program ads instead.  Once again it looks like I won't earn enough solely in April to reach payout, with monthly earnings likely to be around 70%-80% of the payout requirement.  In addition, Amazon earnings have dropped massively.

I have recently, as in the last couple of days, also noticed something of a resurgence in Hubpages traffic.  As it is so recent I am yet to discover whether this will be sustained, but there do appear to be some improvement in my search engine rankings and so I hope it will be sustained.  If the traffic does start to increase it will be good news as Hubpages is a massive percentage of my earnings, but I won't make the mistake I previously made of becoming too over-reliant on it regardless of regular Hubpages ad program payments!  Now I must really get on and produce some more articles so until next time...

What Google giveth panda can taketh away...

You may have seen in my March 2011 earnings update I mentioned the effect that the Google algorithm update, known as the 'panda update' had on traffic to my online income streams in particular my Hubpages traffic.  At the time I mentioned that it appeared that this was only affecting the US at this time, but that Hubpages traffic to the US had decreased by 50%.

This decrease in traffic from US users to my hubs actually accelerated slightly at the beginning of April, resulting in traffic from the UK exceeding traffic from the US, with Canada and India only being slightly behind.  Well a few days ago the panda update was rolled out internationally.  Whilst this is only a short space of time, I am already seeing decreases in traffic from most countries in the world of between 20% and 60%.  The one exception to this is in America where I have actually seen a slight increase.  This has obviously had a knock on effect on my earnings, both from Google Adsense and the Hubpages ad program.  However, at this stage I am unable to quantify it.

Since Hubpages is an external site there is not much that I can do as an individual to improve the Google rank of my pages, other than backlinking.  I believe Hubpages have recognised that there is a major problem and to a degree the company has been backlisted by Google and other sites, such as Infobarrel, have fared better because of their stricter controls on content (a reason I mention in March 2011 that I would concentrate on Infobarrel and Excerptz for posting articles at least in the medium term).  Therefore Google are starting to crack down on overly promotional hubs and those which have excessive Amazon/eBay affiliate links.  Whilst this is admirable, the checking process is not as thorough as those on other sites where all articles are approved before going live, at least to newbies and therefore I can see Hubpages struggling to bounce back as quickly as the alternatives have.

In addition to posting on Infobarrel and Excertz more, I will attempt to post more on Blogger blogs, eventually leading to starting my own hosted site.  I mention Blogger blogs because this blog and another one which I haven't posted on in a long time, on Renewable Energy in the UK, both seem to have done well out of the Panda update and this will fit in with the research done here on how different websites are affected by the Google UK update.  I may also post more on Webanswers although the degree I do depends on how traffic there is affected by the Panda update.

A side effect I have also noticed is that accompanying the fall in Google traffic there has been a corresponding fall in the amount of traffic which comes from Google.  Previously 85% of my traffic to Hubpages was from Google, now it is nearer 70%.  It might be time to figure out SEO techniques for Bing!

Redgage and She Told Me comparison - which site is best for making money on the internet?

As regular readers of this blog will know, it is primarily about making money on the internet.  To make the money on the internet I use a wide variety of sites.  Primarily my income has come from Hubpages and Webanswers, but I am trying to diversify my income.  Two sites I have been using to diversify my income for a while are (She Told Me) and (Redgage) and every month I provide monthly earnings updates which include earnings from these sites.  These sites also have another benefit - it is possible to backlink to my other sites using both Redgage and She Told Me, meaning improved search engine rankings (good SEO) and direct traffic.

I initially started using these two websites for the purpose of providing do-follow (dofollow) backlinks, since these are best for SEO purposes, with the added advantage of earnings potential.  They both work in slightly different ways and so I feel it is worth explaining this for new readers before going into detail on which one I think is best, so if you are already familiar with both sites I recommend you skip the next couple of paragraphs.

Redgage is webpage where an individual signs up.  Once they have signed up is possible to upload a blog, photo, video, document or link.  Whichever option is chosen, there is the possibility that Redgage will earn money from adverts shown alongside the content.  Redgage then recycle a proportion of this money to an individual.  In addition, they may give bonuses when they consider a piece of work to be particularly good.  Earnings from Redgage are earned within the site, and are paid through a Visa debit card once the amount in the account reaches around $25.

She Told Me is primarily about creating links to other sites and other content, primarily for SEO purposes.  Links have to be accompanied by a minimum volume of text.  Money is earned on She Told Me through Google Adsense revenue sharing and so there is a need to have a Google Adsense account before it is possible to make money from She Told Me.  On each She Told Me page there are a number of Google Adsense blocks, on all links submitted the submitter gets 100% revenue sharing on one particular block of ads.  She Told Me keeps the earnings from the other two blocks, unless an individual signs up through an affiliate link, in which case the referrer gets one of these blocks (meaning the content writer has one block, the person who introduced to them gets one block and gets the final block).  She Told Me also makes money from private adverts and Chitika adverts.

As can be seen, if initially starting out, Redgage may be the best site for making money as there is less need to sign up for external companies such as Google Adsense.  However, assuming you already have a Google Adsense account and are looking to use Redgage or She Told Me to increase income from additional sites which site is better?

I have signed up for both sites well over a year ago and have approximately the same number of links on each site.  Therefore I feel I can provide a reasonable overview of the quality of the sites.  Put simply, I have earned slightly more directly on She Told Me than I have on Redgage (about 30%).  Obviously this is in the form of Google Adsense revenue though and since I already earn money using Google Adsense elsewhere it is also much more likely I will get my She Told Me money before Redgage money (at the present rate it will take me about 2 years to reach each payout using Redgage).

There is another source of income which can be directly measured and that is the traffic from each of these sources to my other sites.  My links have provided about three times more traffic to my Hubpages articles as have my links.  Also assuming a typical earnings rate for each Hubpages impression, this will result in Redgage earning me more money.

Another source of traffic is much harder to quantify.  I mentioned that I used each of these sites for backlinking and SEO purposes.  It is very hard to measure how well each of these sites affects the search engine rankings of the linked to page and so I won't even attempt to.  The only thing I will say, is that for short, important keywords Redgage seems to rank higher than She Told Me for a given phrase (I assume this amongst other things is an indication of relative pageranks).  However, since links on She Told Me are accompanied by much more text, it is worth remembering that She Told Me generally ranks for longer tail keywords and a lot more.

So which one would I recommend using for making money on the internet, in particular in gaining backlinks.  Direct earnings are very similar between the two, but Redgage links are much quicker to create and so it is possible to create many more Redgage links in a given time.  However, there are definitely advantages to using She Told Me - earnings are paid using Google Adsense and so if you are already at/near monthly payouts with this system you will see the rewards much quicker than likely with Redgage where you will need to build up to $25.  All in all, I would recommend Redgage should be the first site to use (mainly due to it being much quicker to create links), with She Told Me being a good second.

If you want to get ongoing monthly updates on how much I earn from each of these sites (as well as a large number of other online money making sites) keep heading back here, or why not subscribe using the links on the right.

Have you used Redgage, She Told Me, or both?  If so what sort of experiences have you had?  Which one do you think leads to the highest earnings.  Use the comment box below.

Hubpages versus Infobarrel - Comparison number 2

Those people who have been following my blog for a long time may recall that about a year ago I decided to carry out an experiment to compare Infobarrel and Hubpages to see which one would get the best results financially.  I wrote articles for Hubpages on a number of subjects and then wrote articles on the same subjects and submitted them to Infobarrel.  At the time it was clear that the articles in Hubpages had much higher Google rankings for all keywords (although Infobarrel seemed to rank higher in Yahoo!) and so my conclusion was that it was better to concentrate my efforts on Hubpages.  I have every so often revisited this, but at all times Hubpages has come out on top, although Infobarrel seemed to be closing the gap.

I recently decided that with the recent Google algorithm changes it would be wise to review these conclusions to see whether they still held, particularly since Alexa seemed to show a decrease in Hubpages traffic, but if anything an increase in Infobarrel traffic.

Once again to assist with the comparison I used the Firefox add-in Rank Checker, which can be used to see how highly a particular website ranks in search engines for a particular keyword.  The results were quite surprising and showed that a complete reversal has happened over the last year - now Infobarrel seems to rank much higher in Google and Hubpages ranks higher in Yahoo!  I am not sure why the Yahoo! ranks have changed around but I have at least a theory as to why the Google results have changed.  Since writers on Infobarrel are pre-approved, this results in much higher quality content and the site having articles of a higher quality whereas on Hubpages substandard content is removed as and when it is discovered by Hubpages saff which probably results in a lot of dodgy pages slipping through the net.  As I say, this is only a theory, but it appears to tie in with the theory Kidgas came up with for why eHow may prosper.

Whilst I am impressed with the potential of the Hubpages ad program, it can only be successful if there is the traffic and at the moment I am thinking there is the potential to get more traffic on Infobarrel and so I shall start to concentrate a little bit more on Infobarrel and a little less on Hubpages and I suppose it is always good practice to have a diversified income stream.

If you are on Infobarrel and Hubpages have you noticed any changes in the earnings between the two?  Is it similar to my findings?  As always do let me and other readers of this blog know by commenting below.

Monthly Update - March 2011

In March 2011 I have been relatively busy, however I have still managed to create a few articles.  I wrote several articles on this webpage (a Tickles review and a Hubpages ad program review review) as well a Webanswers review on Hubpages.  I also carried out a bit of backlinking.  One site where I did considerable backlinking is on the new website Excerptz.  It runs in a similar way to Infobarrel - articles can be written and these are checked before being posted to the site, which should hopefully result in less spam and substandard content resulting in higher Google rankings etc.  Money is made through Adsense revenue share and the percentage is 80% for the writer.  At present the site is just starting but it is growing.  It was set up by the Hubber Ryankett and I would recommend that you go and check it out.

Now on to the bit I am sure you want to hear, my monthly online earnings for March 2011.  Remember most of these earnings are once again residual.

Webanswers: £13.37 (46% decrease from February 2011)
Infobarrel: £1.44 (12.5% increase)
She Told Me: £0.01 (the same)
Xomba: £6.02 (147% increase)
Hubpages: £71.29 (5% decrease)
Total: £92.13 (11% decrease)

As can be seen, I once again had a decrease in total earnings, primarily driven by a large drop in Webanswers earnings and a slightly less extreme drop in Hubpages earnings.  I was expecting a drop from Webanswers and Hubpages, since traffic to these is down both individually and site wide (according to Alexa) linked to the Google algorithm changes.

As Hubpages is my major revenue source I thought I would review this, especially in light of the Google algorithm changes and the launch of the Hubpages ad program.  I was actually worried that the decrease in earnings would be much greater than this and so I am in a way quite happy with a 5% decrease in earnings.  At the moment (as far as I am aware) the Google changes have happened only on from the US and obviously US traffic is the major earner for Hubpages.  Despite March having more days than February, overall I saw a 11% decrease in views to Hubpages.  This was entirely driven by views from the US decreasing by approximately 50%.  At the same time, views from all the other major countries actually increased by between 5% and 20%.  This saw the share of traffic from the US dropping from over 35% to less than 15%.  As I have already suggested American traffic is some of the highest earning traffic, so considering I had a 50% drop in this traffic, resulting in a total drop in traffic of 11% and yet only saw a 5% decrease in earnings I am very happy.  I believe that the main reason for earnings holding up is the Hubpages ad program, which I believe at the moment is north America only.  In fact, despite American traffic dropping to account for less than 15%, the Hubpages ad program accounted for a similar percentage of earnings as Google Adsense, which is obviously still shown in America as well as the rest of the world.

As can be seen, I have had a drop in total earnings this month.  However, thanks to the Hubpages ad program it is a lot less worse than I was expecting and in fact I consider that the worst of the drop is over and in fact over the last week or so I am starting to see a recovery in traffic with a corresponding increase in earnings.  Hopefully this will continue  over the next month and so I hope to see my earnings for April 2011 to at least equal the earnings in March 2011.