Get Paid for Traffic: The Scoop on Writing for Blasting News

How Bloggers Can Get Paid for Traffic. Makelivingwriting.comIt seems like there are always new sites coming into the market, offering to give freelance writers a little pay. But few sites pay based on traffic anymore (which makes sense, since traffic does not equal dollars).

Blasting News is one opportunity that is new to the U.S. and does pay based on the number of visitors you attract. They contacted Carol about referring writers to the site — and she asked me to take a look and learn about the pay and requirements.

Is Blasting News a good way for writers to earn a living? There are highly mixed reviews on Glassdoor and on Indeed (in several languages).

We decided to find out more, and talked to several writers around the world with experience on this platform. Here’s our report:

How it works

Blasting News is a citizen journalism site with versions in many countries. It was first launched in 2013 in Italy, and has grown to 34 countries and more than 513,000 writers (they call them “blasters”).

Pay is based on traffic, and rates varies from country to country based on the amount of traffic driven to a specific subject area. Writers can also earn for editing if they work their way up to senior blaster level.

The pros

You don’t need formal experience. According to Sophia Matveeva, the news site’s head of communications and business development, Blasting News was founded by Andrea Manfredi, who was turned off by what he saw as rampant nepotism in Italian journalism. When Manfredi graduated from college, “he really wanted to be a journalist, but he couldn’t get a job because he had no experience. But how can you get experience without a job?” said Matveeva. He wanted to focus on transparency and meritocracy, so he created Blasting News. “It doesn’t matter if your dad is the editor of the New York Times,” if you write a good article, people will read it, she said.

You can write on your passion. Writers pick their own topic areas and write stories based on their interests. Pierluigi Crivelli, a blaster in Italy, choose football (or soccer for the Americans) and school issues as his beats. Rita Guerra, a blaster based in Los Angeles, writes about Portugal. And Jane Flowers writes about wildlife poaching and conservation in Africa, where she lives.

You get a byline. Nancy Jobes is a freelance writer in Johnstone, Pennsylvania. “One of the problems writing for clients,” she said, “is that you’re writing for someone else. I wanted something where I could get a byline.” And she wanted to earn income while she was getting that all-important byline that will help her get more work.

Writers work together. The site has Facebook groups where writers can ask questions and connect, and Jobes really likes to collegial atmosphere among all of the writers.

Crivelli also likes the way he can work with his fellow blasters. Crivelli said the senior blasters “don’t work in solitude, it’s a team.” One activity he particularly enjoys is teaching the ropes to others who are new to Blasting News, he said.

Blasting News is syndicated in Google News and Apple news. This helps increase search engine and direct traffic to the site, which can help writers earn. This high profile helps its writers get press passes to cover events, as Guerra pointed out.

The cons

The pay is low. Blasting News is completely transparent about their pay rates, which is good news. If you go to their site, you can see exactly how much you’d get paid for an article based on how many people view it. Matveeva shared the pay structure for the U.S. site as of Nov. 30, 2015:

  • $4 per 1,000 readers who come from search engines, direct traffic, and referral traffic
  • $6 per 1,000 readers who come from social media referrals

The minimum number of readers to earn is 150, said Guerra, and the maximum payout per article according to the site is $150 for U.S. writers. Matveeva said they also pay a 10 percent bonus to writers who earn more than $500 in a month.

Jobes said “my most recent article has been out for about a week, and I’ve made $16. If I’ve spent two hours on this article, then I’ve made about $8.00 an hour.”

It takes a lot of work to earn well. Crivelli earns about €2,000 per month, but “there are months in the summer when I’ve worked a lot that I’ve earned €3,000-4,000,” he said. Those aren’t bad earnings (about $2,150-4,350, based on the current exchange rate), and Crivelli was able to quit his other job to focus solely on writing for Blasting News.

But, he told me he works 8-9 hours a day, seven days a week to earn that. He writes for about 6 hours per day, then edits other writers’ articles for 2-3 hours per day, he said. At the low end, that puts his earnings at about €8 per hour.

Guerra earns $60-70 on average per article, she said, and “each article takes 20-40 minutes, an hour, tops.” With the higher pay rate for social media traffic, Guerra said writers need to learn how to share on social media and how to write good headlines that people will want to share. That means adding in time for sharing posts on social media.

But, as she pointed out, “traffic is essential for earning.”

The verdict

Flowers said in an email, “There is no way a writer can make a full time living writing from Blasting News.” Because of that and the hourly rates the writers interviewed have shared, I can’t recommend it as a place to write and earn a good living.

However, all of the writers I spoke with enjoy the experience of writing for Blasting News and they all would recommend it.

Jobes said Blasting News could be “a side source of income for someone who wants another egg in their basket or who wants to be able to work every day.” And if you’re looking for your first clips, it’s probably a better bet than a content mill because it has a better reputation and you get a byline.

That said, writers will still likely earn more by proactively marketing their services to clients and pitching better paying online and print markets.

Have you written for Blasting News? Tell us your experience in the comments below.

Jennifer Roland is a freelance education, healthcare, and technology writer — and the guest-blog editor here at Make a Living Writing. Her latest book, 10 Takes: Pacific Northwest Writers, was recently published by Gladeye Press.

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34 comments on “Get Paid for Traffic: The Scoop on Writing for Blasting News
  1. Ash says:

    Hello Jennifer,

    Great post!!

    I think there’s some problem with the second sentence:
    “But few sites pay based on traffic anymore (which makes sense, since traffic does not equal dollars).”
    ————–

    I too have been planning to write for similar pay-per-view websites for a while. But the problem with such websites is that your posts remains on the top for a very short period as there’re too many writers working.

    So I’ll be the only one left to link my previous articles, which is the same thing if I set up my own blog. So I won’t think of such sites as the best choice.

    However, I’ve plans to use them for guest blogging and back-links as they seem an easy-to-get perks.

    All what I’ve just written is only an outsider perceptive and until now, I do not have any writing experience with such sites. So, I’m always open for suggestions!

    Best wishes,

    XOXO

    Ash

    • Ash,

      I think that quick churn on stories might be why they moved to a model that pays more for social media referrals. Writers who are successful on Blasting News spend a good portion of their time socializing their posts to increase traffic. And that is a useful skill. I socialize pieces I write for magazines and websites so that my network will read them. I posted this one on Twitter this morning, in fact. 🙂 Continued social postings about your articles will help readers continue to find them, no matter who you’re writing them for.

      On that second sentence, perhaps I need to drink a second cup of coffee this morning, because I’m not seeing an issue. There are not that many sites that pay based on traffic, and that is because traffic in and of itself does not pay the bills. If you can help me figure out where the issue is, I’m sure we can make it more clear.

      Thanks!

      Jennifer

      • Ash says:

        Oh I’m sorry, I’m no editor.

        Yet, I think it should be:
        “But few sites don’t** pay based on traffic anymore (which makes sense, since traffic does not equal dollars).”

        ———

        The problem with social media is that it counts for a few times only. A reader clicked your referral link, read the article, and clicked some another article (this one ain’t count). And what if he liked my article way too much and signed up for the newsletter or RSS!!

        And $6 for 1000 reads!?

        Why not to try Amazon or Clickbank’s affiliate program?

        Still, the pain is: my article will not stay on the home page after a day or two.

        I’ll always love to share my writing with my network, but when they find my article is nowhere on the site and can only be found by the link I’ve shared or by searching my name. Ahm!

        Though, Flower has already said that:
        “There is no way a writer can make a full time living writing from Blasting News.”

        If I’ll ever use or suggest a pay-per-view model, the reasons will be either:

        1. Back-links.

        2. Quick money, if one don’t know copy-writing and can’t earn on iWriter.

        3. Guest Blogging or Marketing, if they promote writers’ post on social media.

        4. To build a portfolio, in the case of new writers.

        5. To drop in a complete alien post/story that no-how relates and I’d written ’cause of an impulse.

        Again, that’s just an opinion.

        Maybe someday, I try them once or twice; just to try!

        Good day, I’ll like to follow you on twitter. 😉

        Thank you,

        XOXO

        Ash.

  2. Robie says:

    Got invited to write for them and kindly passed on the opportunity as I’m not one for pay per performance. However, my main reason for declining… Have you tried to read the content on there? It’s ridiculous.

    Here’s some headlines:

    COMMENTS HOW THE KEY FACTOR TO GETTING CUSTOMERS
    5 CARE WHEN DOING ONLINE MARKETING
    THE KEYS FOR YOU USE WELL FACEBOOK

    What writer in their right mind would associate themselves with a site like that? Even paying the top rate of $150 isn’t worth it in my opinion because I reckon it’ll hurt the reputation of those writers on there.

    Might be just me though.
    Robbie

  3. Manon says:

    I checked out the Dutch site. Nothing but echoes there. Looks like our population is too small to get enough page views. Only if 1% of our entire population reads your article, can you earn the total of 150 euro’s.

  4. Jack O'Shea says:

    This was very helpful, thanks!

  5. Hello Carol,

    It was a great post I don’t know if I am correct Blasted News looks more like pay per view and from the little research I did on them for me to earn good money I am going to work hard to get views. Thanks for sharing ,

  6. I am not a fan of pay-per-view models, however, I decided to give Blasting News a shot. I didn’t think it was going to be phenomenal with regards to pay, but I like that I can choose what I write about and figured it won’t hurt to bring in some extra pennies. If I really didn’t find it lucrative I could stop. No big deal.

    The first four articles I did were under the ‘world’ news section and did not make much money, but that was probably because a US audience may not be that interested in the topics. I was happy to give it some more time, try other topics and see how it goes.

    I’ve shelved writing for them for now due to a technical issue. Tried the email share button below one of my articles once, and it promptly blasted (excuse the pun) a mail to EVERYONE I have ever emailed, which was rather annoying.

    It seems that now the email share button is permanently defaulted to automatically send emails every time I publish an article. It happened a second time and landed me in some trouble with another company I work with who felt they were being spammed. I also do not want emails going off to everyone in my mailbox every time I publish an article. I have gone back and forth with BN about this and they have not resolved the problem. So that’s the reason I’ve stopped writing for them.

    Bare in mind, Blasting News is still growing its US footprint. The European versions have a lot more traction as it’s been around longer, so I think some writers may very well be making decent money. But what the average income is generally, I have no idea. Some may find BN worthwhile, others may not. As I have not been able to explore it some more, the jury’s still out for me.

  7. Jason says:

    I have just had a look, and it is clearly not written (for the most part) by fluent English seakers. Not sure that clips from here would prove helpful.

  8. Jason says:

    “Speakers” even! Oh, the irony….

  9. Jorden Roper says:

    Interesting post, Jennifer! I had never heard of Blasted News until today, but from what I have learned here, I definitely agree that it’s not a good place to make a full-time living writing.

    While writing for them might be better than a content mill, it’s still not as good as creating a freelance writer website and using marketing strategies to land clients. I’d advise new freelancers to spend time working on those types of things rather than overworking themselves for somewhat low, inconsistent pay.

    But I definitely understand that writers need to do this kind of work sometimes to make ends meet.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  10. Sarah Arrow says:

    Seems interesting, and if you have an article that you can crank out quickly (erm, yep, still working on that one), you might find it worthwhile. It might be worth a punt for the backlinks, and treating it as guest posting. Any cash would just be a bonus.

    • Carol Tice says:

      The thing that interested me here is that there aren’t a lot of outlets for earning through breaking news or political commentary or coverage, and this sort of platform offers that.

      But I do think there’s a challenge because news becomes tomorrow’s fishwrap quickly. Writers would have to think hard on how to design their posts to continue drawing traffic in order to earn–or be very adept in social media.

  11. Arjun says:

    Most of revenue based website are not longer available in Internet. Remember Squidoo and bubblews.

  12. Joel Savage says:

    Interesting article Carol. Thank you.

  13. Ponmile Japheth says:

    Thanks for taking out time to learn about the site. Very helpful

  14. Josh says:

    I’m going to have to give this a try. I love it when a new take on freelancing comes out. Not that the traffic model isn’t used, but the freedom to write what you want is pretty cool.

    • That’s what I liked about it too, and you can write as little or as much as you like. It can also give one some good clips to add to your portfolio, particularly for writers who are starting out and interested in news and journalism writing.

  15. Yes I am writing for HubPages and the pay is very low, but think it better to have own website.

  16. I used to write for Examiner.com. When I started, you could make hundreds of dollars a month, because the pay structure was decent. Then, things went downhill. The company kept lowering rates. Most writers ended up not making money at all. Finally, the company was acquired and many were “fired”.

    Initially, that’s what I thought Blasting News would be when I joined. I haven’t written anything there yet because I’m too busy, but I like this review. I may give it a try in the next few months. Thank you!

  17. Pere Greenham says:

    Hello! I’d like to share my personal experience on Blasting News Mexico. I’ve so far published 36 articles mostly on Art and Films since December to April and have been paid ZERO euros!

    I do not reccomend it if you are a professional writer and want to have an extra bonus to the income you make from some other source since I definitely don’t think you can make a decent living only from writing for them!

    After enrolling I received a thick leaflet containing their policies, style guide, tips and so on. I paid a lot of attention on their paying system which I clearly read, a minimum of 150 “unique visits” to make the minimum amount they pay of 50 euros were required.

    They remarked that these fees are international to all “Blasters” around the world. I contacted a follower who told me he understood so too, after reading carefully their directions.

    I had a difficult time learning how to move swiftly on their digital plattform in the required time, especially loading up the photos which had to fit the required size. The clock would end my writing time so I had to re-start all over again!

    They never answer directly, but “drip” the information not hitting the point in brief. It took me months to understand why…they don’t want to scare their free workforce!

    Feed-back and technical support was also disappointing. Every day I had tons of questions which answers were not in the documents they’d sent me. It took them between 2 or 4 days to answer me back in a rather impersonal way, with answers looking copy-pasted from somewhere!

    Although they offer total freedom of speech, articles have to be reviewed by some rather conventional staff that has twice censored a couple of my articles where I used the words “puto” (male prostitute) and “lesbian gang”.

    Their puritan “political correctness” is impaired with their editing, grammar and spelling skills they show. Since they accept ANY collaborator, the quality of the published material is deceitful now and then…

    After that phase went by, I was ranked between the top 5 most read in Mexico in a record time! To my astonishment I found out that despite the fact that I’d gathered 517 readers (only on one of my articles) I only totalled the laughable amount of 14 euros altogehter! So, ZERO since they only pay as of 50 PER ARTICLE, not the addition of all…

    After my claims, I received a cold, frugal response enclosed with a digital token to make my calculations. I typed my figures and they were right, so I started playing with numbers of hypothetical readings so as to know how many “unique visits” I would require to make the minimum fee of 50 euros…

    You can drop dead now…¡150,000! Can you believe anyone can reach such amount of “unique visits” per article in the era of generalised stupidity when people read less and less? IMPOSSIBLE!

    It seems that they apply the massive traffic method used by tutorials and other stupid stuff uploaded on Youtube and such portals.

    This is my experience on Blasting News Mexico, I ought to point out. I think that Blasting News profits the FREE WORK of so many gullible souls that, like me, think they are going to make an extra buck or two. They’re cheaters!

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, this is eye-opening, Pere. Thanks for sharing your experience of how hard it is to break into the money on Blasting News.

      I think success on all these types of sites does depend on driving a LOT of traffic, in part through your own promotional efforts to hopefully a large social media audience. If you don’t have one, beware!

      • Pere Greenham says:

        Dear Carol, thx 4 ur reply:

        Let me tell you that, concerning my own promotional efforts, I “opened the gates” of my FB account to everyone. I started accepting just anybody who sent me a request, burying in the past my idea of FB being for “my buddies” and considering all incomers as potential readers of my articles.

        Not only that, I followed B.N.’s advice of joining groups of common interests, ergo, Films, Art and Music – by the way, I’m shocked on Prince’s death, first Amy Winehouse, then David Bowie, now him, Gosh!

        I also reply to comments and thank all the “likes” I get with all the effort and time consumption it takes! What for? To no avail!

        Summarising the experience:

        I’m absoutely sure it’s not a way to make some decent money on a decent journalistic job since one needs MASSIVE TRAFFIC just as any of those “Ganga Style” videos circulating the world.

        What to do? Move on to another website with a more down to earth compensation structure. Any ideas?

        I’m also starting to use BN as my visit card in order to register in the museum’s database as Media to be included in their press bulletins and openings.

        • Carol Tice says:

          I don’t find Facebook that big of a blog-promoting tool myself, I do better on Twitter…you have to experiment to see what works for you. But yes, in general, pay-per-click or view type sites require massive traffic to pay.

  18. Pere Greenham says:

    Here what I found on “10 Websites that pay for writing”:

    Squidoo, Hub Pages, Content Blvd, Helium, Triond, Epinions, Fiverr, Yahoo Contributor Network, Demand Media Studios and Digital Journal.

    Any comments on these ones?

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