Freelance writing is not restricted to putting fingers to keyboard and creating a compelling product. A strong news-based article encourages its readers to further explore the subject by providing links to related news. The catch is that the bulk of our time is spent finding articles that are appropriate and then linking to them, taking away from the time we could be writing our article. The Perk Rewards Reader application may not lessen the time spent in our search for news, but it makes it more rewarding.
What is the Perk Rewards Reader application? First, the disclaimer: Like all other applications from the Perk family, it is currently restricted to US users. The Rewards Reader page on Google Playstore doesn’t explicitly say this, but if you look at the list of charities that you can donate your earnings to, they are all US-based. My apologies to my international friends. If you’re still interested in this application, you’re probably wondering what it is and how to use it. Think of Rewards Reader as a news aggregate similar to BuzzFeed in which it is a collection of news articles from many sources on many topics (although there are major categories that are noticeably missing; more on that in the following paragraph). All the user has to do is click through a list of headlines. Each headline takes you to the article (usually but not always the full article) and you have to wait for maybe thirty seconds to get your Perk Points.
I love Rewards Reader because if I’m going to be looking for news articles anyway I get rewarded with Perk Points and that makes it worth using. Of course, I’m always critical of products even when I think they’re useful and have such potential. For me to recommend Rewards Reader as the go-to source for news, it has problems that I insist need improved on. First, Rewards Reader is missing important categories such as entertainment news, education news, and literature news. With many websites that Rewards Reader can pull articles from, there is no excuse to not include these categories. Until Rewards Reader fixes this glaring oversight, you can search under “news and politics”. Be aware that you’ll have to scroll carefully down the page because entertainment, education, and literature news gets buried under news and politics articles. Second, Rewards Reader is more for quickly skimming through the articles while you wait for your points to load than getting rewarded for hardcore article reading. Those of us who care about fully digesting a story to blog about later can absolutely use Rewards Reader, but the one to three points we receive becomes more of a side bonus than the reason we should turn to Rewards Reader over another news aggregate. I’d like to see “levels” of poins, such as a basic level for those that skim and receive one to three points and then a more advanced level for those of us who read the articles thorougly complete with additional points for our time. Rewards Reader isn’t meant for us freelance writers, but it would help their appeal.
Complaints aside, I do like the concept of Rewards Reader. Let’s see where it goes in the future.
One of BlogJob’s active users, “Rapid Blue”, suggested something that I’ve been wondering about myself concerning the kind of content we users are rewarded for on BlogJob. Rapid Blue suggested that we, regular users that see spammy comments, should be give the power “to delete the unwanted or clearly spammy replies and set the minimum length of a reply to at least 10+ words” because “I don’t think it is fair or correct to let some people earn easy.” You can find the full discussion on the forum topic “Keep Points Clean-Improve BlogJob!” to see us respond to Rapid Blue’s suggestion.
I assume that most of my readers are on BlogJob as well and are familiar with how BlogJob pays us, but for those who are not familiar with BlogJob, here’s a brief primer on the payment system. Overall any of our activities are worth one point, so we get one point for posting in the forums section, one point for posting a status update, and one point for posting to a group. We can also receive one point for referring visitors to BlogJob, although I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sure how that works at the moment. The serious points kick in when we create and publish a blog post of 300+ words; then we receive 50 points. Points translate to gift cards or money, which you can learn more about at this link to the BlogJob store. Because we get paid to write and it’s a great place to get started in freelance writing/freelance blogging, I legitimately recommend BlogJob.
Rapid Blue’s concern relates to how we users get paid for our status updates and group replies. I’ll use myself as an example here. I can get one point whether I post one “Good morning *insert name of user*!” or something more involved like “Hello fellow Kindle users! Today the Kindle Daily Deals are *books by this author*. If you haven’t read anything by this author, you should take the chance today when their books are on a really good sale. Let me know if you took advantage of this deal!” To be fair, I would only report about the Kindle Daily Deals once per day as opposed to many status updates about various news or vents, but having made this Kindle Daily Deal update a regular post, I think it’s worth mentioning in my example. Rapid Blue is concerned that posters who do many “Good morning *insert name of user*!” posts are abusing the points system and could potentially drain BlogJob’s money supply.
This is my take on Rapid Blue’s suggestion of limiting points to blogs (50 points each) and forum conversations (one point each). I absolutely support the idea of cracking down on spammy “Good morning!”/”Good evening!” posts because they do take away from interesting status updates and group discussion topics and it really is too easy of a way to make points. I spend serious time (sometimes minutes rather than seconds) creating status updates. Even the personal ones or the vent-y ones have thought behind them. Certainly there are ways for users to create thoughtful “Good morning!”/”Good evening posts!” How about doing one of each and include a nice picture quote? I have done this many times and while it’s a little bit of an easy way to make points, it’s restricted to one “Good morning!” and one “Good evening!” post, which should not drain the system but still lets other users know that you wish them well. I don’t want to see status updates and group comment posts be worth zero points, but there is one thing that I think could negotiate between getting zero points and cracking down on short posts. Rapid Blue even said it themselves that if we had a character counter (such as requiring each comment to be at least ten words for it to even be published and credited as a point) we could clean up the website. I actually enjoy posting status updates and sending other users well wishes, but I too would like to see more thoughtful, longer posts.