I mentioned some time ago that I decided to start writing for Helium. I didn't do a lot there until they started paying small up-front payments and empty title bonuses in December--at which point I started writing a lot more. I decided to write enough to earn $25 per month, which is the minimum payout. Of course, having more articles there means that I make a little more in trails, which is nice, but mostly for the ego because it's still not very much! Another nice thing about Helium is they sell articles in their "stock content" program, which has happened to me twice--two different articles have earned an extra $5 because someone read it and liked it and bought it. I retain the rights and the articles stay on Helium to earn more pennies and maybe even get sold again.
Is Helium a good place to earn money?
Well, Helium is a place to earn some money. Don't quit your day job purely to write for Helium, unless you live where the cost of living is very, very low and you have very, very low standards for living. Even if you have five writing stars, and it takes a long time to get there, you only get $2.50 in up-front payments plus $1 for empty titles. The performance pay is paltry, but it all does add up to a little bit of cash at the end of the month.
The best chance at making money is to do the Marketplace, where publishers are looking for articles for a bit better money. The competition is fierce--I've only sold one article there so far. However, you get a kill fee if your article is not selected and you have at least one writing star, and then you earn pennies on it. Everything I put on Helium I rework and put on Associated Content. I also take non-exclusives from Associated Content and put them up on Helium. Between the two, I end up making a somewhat less paltry rate per article.
What I like about Helium:
*No waiting for someone to review your work. It goes up immediately.
*Guaranteed payment, although it's small.
*Stock content sales
*Good place to get ideas for articles
What I do not like about Helium:
*Very low pay
*The rating system sucks
*No formatting, so it doesn't look as professional as other sites
*There's a lot of crap content
Check out Michelle L. Devon's thoughts on Helium in her
Month-Long Helium Challenge