Sad news last week: Yahoo Voices is closing.
You may never have heard of Yahoo Voices. It began about nine years ago, and was named Associated Content at the time before being bought a few years back by Yahoo.
Even before Associated Content, I wrote for a site (now defunct) called Themestream. This was probably around the turn of the century (wow — that sounds ancient!). I was a mom with two or three little girls at home at that time, and it was a respite to let the kids watch Barney or the Teletubbies for an hour while I wrote up an article on this or that. I was writing! And my work was published online! How fun!
Around 2007, I began writing at Associated Content. I began by writing an article about how to succeed with piano lessons. Then I wrote one about tips for having a hedgehog as a pet. Where things really took off, though, was when I began writing about the Gosselin family of “Jon and Kate Plus Eight.”
I was shocked at how many people wanted to read about the family — first they were sweet and cute, and then they devolved into a dysfunctional mess. Along the way, I entered (and won) a contest to sit in the front row at an appearance by Kate at the Indianapolis Home Show. I wrote about it, and the views poured in (I should probably mention that at AC, and then YV, we are usually paid an upfront amount for each article, but also a small amount for each time an article is viewed).
Yahoo Voices began choosing “featured contributors” in various fields, and I applied to be one in arts & entertainment. I was thrilled to get to do that, and spent happy hours learning about SEO (search engine optimization), and deciding which topics and phrases lots of people would be searching for. A recent phenomena is the Duggar family, of “19 Kids and Counting” fame. They’re highly popular, although I’m not sure they’ve reached “Jon and Kate” level.
Maybe a year ago, the Featured Contributor program was dropped. Google continued to fiddle with its algorithm, wreaking havoc with page views (basically, any article on Yahoo Voices was penalized with less page views than similar articles on other sites such as eHow. Why? That is a mystery, known only to the man behind the Google curtain).
Then last week, the news that Voices is closing up shop altogether, with July 31 being the last day.
It’s bittersweet news. I’ve learned a lot writing there, made some great online friends, launched my own blog, and written 5 books. I’m not sure any of those things would have happened had I not begun writing online.
So, if you’d like to earn me a few pennies and have spare time this month :), feel free to peruse my articles. Actually, I’m busy copying them and you’ll most likely be seeing some of them over the coming months here on the blog. One good thing about the shutdown is that the authors get all the rights to our pieces back.
Have any of you written for Yahoo Voices? How about other venues, either online or off?