Years ago, I put time and effort into creating blog posts on a website called Bubblews (which no longer exists.)  It was one of those sites that pays writers by the page click.  At first, Bubblews seemed to have potential. That didn’t last, and I eventually quit.  I wrote about Bubblews on November 19, 2014.

I read “I Tried Bubblews – and Quit” in episode 34 of my Words of Jen podcast.

Bubblews is one of those websites that pays writers by the “page click”.  It is possible to earn a little money by writing something, posting it, and waiting for it to accrue enough views, likes, and favorites.

I viewed my experience at Bubblews as an experiment.  Would it be a viable option to use as supplemental income to my current freelance writing work?  The answer, for me, turned out to be a very clear “no”.

Overall, I believed it was possible to make a small amount of money at Bubblews.  Personally, the work involved (and the time it took to do that work) was not worth the amount of money it generated for me.  Ultimately, Bubblews wants to be viewed as a social media website, and not as a “writing website”.  I think that says quite a lot about what to expect.

I decided to join Bubblews after a friend of mine started writing there. To be clear, he did not “recruit” me. Bubblews does not offer members anything at all for convincing other people to join it. It just doesn’t work that way. The only financial benefit he got from me joining was that I chose to read his work, “like” it, and leave him some comments. Each of those actions generates a tiny bit of income for an individual who is on Bubblews. I probably missed a couple of his posts, and I didn’t leave a comment on all of them.

I first became aware of Bubblews earlier this year, when my fellow Helium writers mentioned it in the forums. Helium is closing, forever, in December of 2014. People who had a bunch of work on Helium were seeking a new place to put it, and many said they were going to join Bubblews and post it there. I am certain that at least some of them did follow through with that plan.

It does not cost any money at all to join Bubblews. If you wanted to give it a try, it would cost you nothing but the time you spend there. You don’t have to take a “writing test” or send them a sample of your writing, either. The benefit of this is that it enables people who don’t consider themselves to be “writers” to feel comfortable joining Bubblews.

There are also many disadvantages that come from letting everyone join without checking their writing first. One very obvious result is that there is a vast difference in the quality of the writing you see at Bubblews. Sure, there are several writers who consistently produce thought provoking, high quality, pieces of writing.

There are also plenty of posts on Bubblews that are poorly written. At least some of those are written by people who have English as a second language, and who are struggling to write the minimum amount of content for a post. The rest are people who have English as a first language but who are unable (or unwilling) to write in a manner that is easily readable.

It is very common for people on Bubblews to write about what they had for lunch or their plans for the day. Many write about something their children did (that either amused them or annoyed them). It is not unusual for people to write a “good morning” post when they wake up and a “good night” post when they are going to bed for the night. In this way, Bubblews resembles some of the content that people typically write on their Facebook pages.

I started Bubblews in July of 2014. It did not take long from the time that I started for the site to be completely overrun with plagiarizers. A bunch of people figured out that they could copy and paste, word-for-word, articles from somewhere else on the internet and not only get away with it but also could earn money for doing so.

Many of the honest writers complained, reported the plagiarizers, and wrote posts about their frustration with them. I admit that, after reporting the same plagiarizers, over and over, (for each newly plagiarized post), I got incredibly frustrated. I started writing posts about my frustration, and eventually wrote posts in which I “named and shamed” the plagiarizers. I am not the only one who did this.

To its credit, Bubblews did eventually crack down on the plagiarizers. They put in a system that made it super easy for people to report a plagiarized post. I know for a fact that some of the plagiarizers did have their accounts deleted. (I was keeping track of a bunch of them.) I stopped keeping track of them shortly after that, so I have absolutely no way of determining whether or not the efforts of Bubblews kept plagiarizers from re-joining (with a different name or IP address).

I joined Bubblews and wrote my first post. It wasn’t anything earth shattering. I think I called it “trying something new” and basically talked about being new there. My friend who joined Bubblews before me noticed it, but almost no one else did.

You have to earn $50.00 before you can redeem your earnings from Bubblews. Those earnings will eventually be sent by eCheck to your PayPal account. Don’t have a PayPal account? You better get one before you join Bubblews – or there will be absolutely no way for them to pay you.

I quickly learned that the way to get people to read your posts was to “follow” other Bubblews users. I would recommend searching around for some people who write the kind of stuff that you like to read. There is a notification system in Bubblews that lets you know when the people you follow wrote something new (or left you a comment, or “liked” your post). Go start reading their stuff and leave a comment if you happen to have something to say. They might notice you and choose to follow you back. A natural “reciprocation” can follow as you get to know each other and find stuff to talk about.

It is also possible to “share” your post on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook by clicking buttons at Bubblews. I manually posted some of my work to Tumblr, too. Overall, I think doing so got me a few more “page clicks” but not a significant amount. Ideally, what you want is to have a lot of fellow Bubblews users read, like, and comment on your posts. (People who are not part of Bubblews can read your work, but cannot “like” it or leave comments).

In other words, your success at Bubblews depends (in part) on how many “friends” you have. A super-popular writer like Neil Gaiman, or Stephen King, could easily join Bubblews, write short stories, and have thousands of non-Bubblews users go over there to read it. They wouldn’t need to rely on the attentions of fellow Bubblews users. On the other hand, those of us who don’t have a large following on the internet are going to have to work really hard to get enough “page clicks” to accrue $50.00.

My best guess is that there are two ways to become “popular” at Bubblews. One is to put in a great deal of time and effort to read, “like”, and comment on the posts of other Bubblews writers. Of course, your comments have to make sense. Ask them a question about what they wrote. Share a story of your own about something similar to what they wrote. Write an empathic comment sharing someone’s joy or consoling someone for their loss. Meaningful comments are worthwhile. “Nice Post!” is spam. Eventually, some of those writers might become curious about who you are, and will start reading your posts to find out more about you. (Or, maybe they won’t).

The other way to become “popular” at Bubblews is to write about topics that the majority of Bubblews writers will want to read. I’ll take that a step farther: Write about those topics in a way that the majority of Bubblews writers will agree with. Ideally, the things you want to write will fall into those criteria all by itself.

For me, this was not the case. My experience at Bubblews showed me that the majority of the users could be described as “Christian”, “Conservative”, and/or “Republican”. There has been more than one post that Bubblews chose to feature that were very specifically about the right to carry a gun around with you. This doesn’t mean that Bubblews itself shares that view. It does mean that several writers there do.

As such, there are a lot of posts that are written in a way that feels like a prayer. There are many posts in which a person complains because his or her religious beliefs are not being codified into federal or state law. In other words, if you believe that the United States laws should be based entirely on the Bible, you will find like-minded people at Bubblews. If you write something there about same-sex marriage (in a way that makes it clear you are for it) you can expect to receive a series of nasty comments from religious people who desperately need you to know that they (and God) disagree with you.

One time, I intentionally searched for posts that were about “Obamacare”. ALL of them were extremely negative. Almost no one there wrote anything at all that could be even tangentially related to President Obama in a positive, or neutral, way. Many people there have a strong dislike for poor people who need financial assistance, for poor people who want to see an increase in minimum wage, or for poor people who finally got access to health care thanks to “Obamacare”.

To be fair, there was a writer I followed who wrote about pagan beliefs and rituals. Another writer wrote about the Jewish religion. There were a handful of writers who were Christian but who didn’t feel the need to make that the main subject of the majority of their posts. This group would sometimes write about thanking God for something that went right in their lives, and might leave the “I’ll pray for you” comments on posts in which the writer requested prayers. In short, they weren’t pushing their religious beliefs on others and weren’t mean.

There was one writer that consistently wrote about the things he felt that Republican politicians were doing wrong. There was a guy who posted updates about the stereo speakers he was fixing. There was a women who lived in Japan and shared short, yet interesting, posts about things that were typical in Japan and strange to Americans. I was able to find some Bubblews writers whose work I enjoyed. But as you can see, they were a small handful of people. (There are a few others whom I didn’t refer to here, but whose work I enjoyed reading).

If you happen to be conservative, Republican, and devoutly Christian, you might find success at Bubblews. You will find many like-minded people who will read your work and leave you comments of praise. I quickly learned that Bubblews is a place where very few people are able to handle reading something that doesn’t match perfectly to their own belief system. Some will leave argumentative comments on posts they disagree with.

Others will just stop reading your work. When this happens, you don’t get any “page clicks”. That makes it harder for you to earn the $50.00 minimum required for you to get paid.

There are a lot of writers who write what a fellow Bubblews writer called “fluff”. One can assume that the “fluff” writers – those who posted about doing laundry, making dinner, or other day-to-day stuff, enjoy reading that same kind of content written by others. I never tried to write topics like that, so I cannot say with any certainly how well the “fluff” writers do.

So, I wasn’t exactly popular on Bubblews. What can you do if that happens? The only other option is to write several posts, every day, and to scatter them throughout the day. Sometimes, your post will automatically get put on the front page (and then replaced as other, newer, posts bump you lower down on that page). There are people who will read whatever is first in line. That gives you one more “page click”. While you are at it, keep writing meaningful comments on other writer’s posts. Does that sound like a lot of work to you? That’s because it is!

It took me over a month to earn my first $50.00, and about a month to earn my second $50.00. When I joined Bubblews, there were people who posted about earning $50.00 every week (or more than once a week). There were also others who posted about missing payments that were very, very, late. I can honestly say that I did receive both of my payments, and that they were only a few days later than anticipated. When I left, I had $22.00 in my bank. I won’t receive that money, and don’t actually care about it.

At the time I left Bubblews, things had changed. You now can request a redemption once every 30 days. (That’s assuming you earned the $50.00 minimum to make a redemption request. Otherwise, you wait until you accrue that amount). Or, you might have to wait 60 days to redeem. This, in part, depends on where in the world you live. It is my understanding that this relates to ad payments that Bubblews receives, and how much they are getting from ads for individual countries. I could be wrong about that.

In the early days, Bubblews was a writing website. Later, it became a social media site that pays money to people for the content they post (as long as it wasn’t plagiarized and only after they earn at least $50.00). Personally, I found it to be very difficult to earn money there. For me, the amount of time and effort it required for me to earn enough to redeem was not worth it.  However, it is important to note that one of the “high ups” at Bubblews did write a post in which he made it clear that “Bubblews is NOT your job.”

If you are seeking a website where you can make new friends, be social, and write something longer than you can on Twitter – Bubblews is the website for you. The interface is simple to use, and you don’t have to know how to use HTML or how to add links. Are you able to write 400 characters of content? That is literally all you need. They have even included a bunch of photos (via Pixabay) that you can use to put at the top of your posts. Or, you can choose a color to put at the top of your posts instead. It is extremely simple to use.

Overall, I’m glad I gave Bubblews a try. I now know, from first-hand experience, that it is not the site for me. To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for it. I’ve written for other “pay by the page click” websites in the past. One of them has closed, and the other is on its way out. Bubblews is different from those other sites because it has an emphasis on being social instead of writing good work. Some of the writers there are excellent. Most are not.

I deleted each and every one of my posts before I quit Bubblews. This was my choice. I just didn’t want to feel like my writing was out there possibly making money for someone else (even if that money was a pittance). In other words, I didn’t get “banned” and Bubblews didn’t delete my posts for me. Unlike other forms of social media, it was extremely easy to close my account. All you have to do is contact Bubblews and tell them that you want to close your account. You get an email that lets you know they have done it. I think it was either the same day or the next day. So, there’s that, anyway.

UPDATE: If you try to visit the Bubblews website now you will see that it has closed down, forever. This does not surprise me, based on how poorly managed the website was, and how many problems appeared that prevented people from getting paid the money they had earned.

Greetings,  After being up and running for almost 3 years now we regrettably need to inform you that we will be shutting Bubblews.com down. The climate for display advertising has drastically changed and made it impossible for us to sustain the business model and operations

We want to thank everyone that was a part of this journey.  We wish you all the very best – Bubblews

As far as I can tell, it appears that Bubblews shut down abruptly with absolutely no warning to users of the site, in November of 2015.  A quick Google search revealed that some former Bubblews writers are now writing at “blogjob”, and several have written about the demise of Bubblews.  It seems that at least a few people who were writing for Bubblews are upset because they were not given the opportunity to copy their work before the site suddenly closed down.

I Tried Bubblews – and Quit is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.

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