Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Helium - Another Writing Venue

Helium.com logoI've mentioned here that I've started submitting some of my articles to EzineArticles.com. I figure that it's a great opportunity to get my name out on the Web, share some of my knowledge and experience, and potentially boost my position in the Google search results for "Greg Peters" (right now I only have one entry on the first page -- my Amazon.com profile).

I've sent in ten of my articles so far. As of this writing, seven have made it through the editorial process and have been approved for public consumption. The thing is, with EzineArticles.com, when you sign up as an author, you are only given the "Basic" package, which means that you can only submit ten articles. Then you have to wait to see if those articles are good enough for them to declare you a "Platinum" member with unlimited submissions.

So, while I wait for that process to drag on, I figured I would check out some of the competition in the online publishing world. Today I played around a bit with Helium.

Helium is a site which accepts article submissions and publishes them immediately (kind of). A secondary aspect of the site is to present articles with the same topic side-by-side in order that the better of the articles will be rated higher. As more people select a particular article, it rises in the rankings. The ultimate goal, of course, is to have the highest rated article in a given topic.

In general, I like the concept. I just have one or two issues with the implementation.

First, the article can only be straight text. I often like to use italics or bold to show emphasis or define logical structure in my writing. Helium doesn't allow either of these, let alone sub- or superscripts, strike-through, color, or hyperlinking.

The second issue, and this is a big one for me, is that you are somewhat constrained to write to existing topics (or "titles" as they put it). The general idea is that you search for a title about which you would like to write and add your article under that title. While I haven't actually tried it, I get the impression that Helium looks dimly on the idea of creating new titles. As much as possible, they want to have multiple articles under each topic so that their rating service can sort them out.

I've submitted one of my networking articles, just to see what would happen. I'll check back in a few days to see if it has changed position. Right now I'm 6 of 10 in my topic of choice.

Wish me luck!

So, what article submission services have you used?

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