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Simonseeks announces first earnings

Update: April 2013.  The following information regarding earnings and payments is now out of date. Please refer to our Terms of Use for details of how the Simonseeks revenue share model works.

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We recently announced that your first earnings would be paid soon and we’re delighted to tell you the time has come. In the next 24 hours you will notice some changes in the My Earnings section of your My Simonseeks page on the site – most importantly, your current balance will be shown. This reflects your share of the revenue earned by the site from the launch date in mid June until the end of August. The highest-earning writer has received £34, and several others have been credited with more than £20. Please note that these earnings do not  necessarily reflect a writer's overall ranking on the site nor the total number of page impressions their guides have received - they depend partly on whether users have booked recommended hotels (see below).

Some guides have earned only a few pence, but please note that the amounts credited to your accounts are not indicative of what we expect from the site in the future. These are very early days for Simonseeks. It will take time for us to generate the traffic, and the user-loyalty required to make more substantial returns, and for all of us to learn which guides will most appeal to the readers, but I am confident this will happen. When I started Moneysupermarket.com, it was a revolutionary concept and it took a year before I generated any revenue at all. Eight years later it floated for £850 million. 

With Simonseeks we are also pioneers, working together to create a new way for the best travel writers to make money from the web. Developing a new concept such as this requires both commitment and patience, and I hope that you will share my determination to make it work. I am certainly prepared to put in the resources to ensure that it does. I've already employed 18 full-time staff in our offices in Chester, and we continue to retain several excellent freelancers. I've set out some of our latest initiatives below, but I hope you will understand that it will take time for the commercial side to come to fruition. 

How we calculate your payments

Earnings are calculated according to a number of key factors. Page impressions are important, but the most significant payments come from commission earned on bookings - such as when a user follows your recommendations to book a hotel. So the writers whose guides have received the highest number of views, are not necessarily the highest earners. A well-written guide, which attracts a lot of bookings will earn far more than a guide which is simply read and not used. For a more detailed explanation of the way payments are calculated, please see our Terms of Use (published on the site). For this first round of payments and in recognition of your patience while the site has been getting off the ground, we have waived our 50 per cent share of the revenue, and paid all of it to the writers.

How you’ll get paid

Once your earnings have been calculated, your Simonseeks balance will be credited. You can see this in the My Earnings page of My Simonseeks (you must be logged in to use this facility). This will now take place on a monthly basis. You will be able to request payment when your balance exceeds the minimum amount that can be paid. This is currently set to £5.00. When you request payment, we send the money to you via PayPal. You’ll receive an email from us confirming the request - the email will contain full instructions on how to claim your funds.

You must have a PayPal account to be paid from Simonseeks. If you request payment from Simonseeks but have not set up a PayPal account, don’t be alarmed. You will receive an email instructing you how to set up an account. If you already have a PayPal account, you will have the option of logging in and using this.

You can set up a PayPal account here.

See our payment FAQs if you have any problems with any aspect of claiming your money. If we can’t answer your query there, please get in touch (see Payment Help in My Earnings page for instructions on the best way to contact us).

What you can do

Our editorial team has compiled a list of the top-earning guides and highlighted ways to help you earn more from your guides. Read the blog here. There are many ways of optimising both the guides you currently have on the site, and those that are yet to be published. Check the site regularly to read our latest blogs.

In the meantime, you may want to read the travel writing tips for help in getting those all-important views of your guide. You might also want to take a look at a recent blog about optimising your travel guides to increases their chances of a high ranking on the main internet search enginges. Again, this will all help to increase the amount of people looking at your guide.

What we’re doing

We are working behind the scenes here at Simonseeks to make sure you see the benefits of being part of our writing community.
New commercial partnerships are being put in place all the time and as the success continues, the flow of revenue to the writers will increase.

We continue to work hard and focus on key areas of growth within the business - especially search engine optimisation and marketing, the design and functionality of the site, commercial monetisation and traffic generation. You’ve probably noticed the amount of press and PR activity we’ve also been involved in. We’ll continue to keep you updated on these developments.

The area you, as writers, are probably most interested in is editorial. We can’t thank you enough for your support and for the overwhelming response in the submission of travel guides. We'd like to take this opportunity to apologise for the delay some of you have experienced waiting for your guide to be edited. This was caused by the huge number of submissions we received over the summer. We have recently made huge progess in are working through it and expect response times to be back to a reasonable level within a fortnight.

Simonseeks is a unique venture and we are on our way, with your help, to building a world-class travel inspiration website. Thanks again for your continued support.

As always, please let us know what you think and leave a comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.
 

Community comments (7)

I believe you when you say that these are very early days and that there is tremendous potential for earnings to increase. I am really glad that I discovered Simonseeks early on and I already love being involved with it. I appreciate the training aspect, being helped to write in a more commercially useful way rather than just a "what I did on my holidays" way. I was actually kind of relieved to hear that around half the submissions are rejected - seems to prove it's not true that anyone can be a travel writer!

Delighted to hear the site is kicking on its plans. I plan to spend all my cash on yet more travel - Tasmania at Christmas, camping in Victoria, drinking in Perth and Europe, the States and Central America next year.

...I may need to write more guides.

Just as a side note, I love the new feature where editors leave a comment on the guides after reviewing. Feedback really helps, and it's good to know the why as well as the what of what was edited. It also means, looking at guides from a reader's perspective, you get an instant of idea of what sort of guide they are; informative or descriptive etc.

Also, my reviewer was nice enough to call me Bridget Jones afloat, which has given me an appealing vision of me sailing a tall ship around the world with nothing but a few cases of wine to guide me.

I agree that editorial comment is useful, essential, vital. It's what editors are for (in case anyone has been wondering). But these comments should go directly to the writer and not appear on the actual blog. It looks, well, amateur. You never see this sort of thing in New Statesman or New England Journal of Medicine, do you? So why here?

I mentioned this a week ago on another blog. They're still thinking about the answer, it seems.

PS: Any news on the forum?

Jon,

This point can be argued either way. Obviously, traditionally, editing and editorial feedback to writers has been done in private. But the web has given everyone the opportunity to be more open. Editors aren't always right, and we can't always anticipate exactly what readers like or want. It can be hard for us too, to have to our judgments held up to public scrutiny isn't always comfortable. It isn't a question of amateurism. You could argue that we are all putting our professionalism on the line. But having these debates in public gives the readers the chance to give their views - we can all learn from that. It also enables other writers to benefit from editorial feedback. Even this blog is a measure of how things are changing - we are debating these points in public... As for the forum, that is something we are still working on. The site is still in its early days, but we are working as fast as we can to add more features and functionality to it.

Hi Nick,

Thanks for the swift reply.

The point I made on Another Blog was this: Does such public comment enhance the appearence of a review? That the reviewer gains from the input of an experienced editor is certain, pretty much. But does the reader, the person at whom the review (and the whole Simonseeks initiative) is aimed, gain? Is the page as it appears to the punter improved by having these comments visible? And will such comments be added to all reviews, regardless of the experience of the writer? I really would like that point answered.

Yes, the comments will be added to all published reviews - please note that about half the guides submitted are still rejected and comments on these are made in private. Since the reviews come at the end of the guides I don't think that appearance is an issue. And yes, we do believe that the users will be interested in the comments, and therefore gain from them.

Fair enough. Thanks for the feedback, Nick.

It's a nice site, different to anything else and when the database has had a chance to grow I'd be pretty suprised if it didn't become one of the first checks people will make when planning a trip.