Share Your Passion – Be an About.com Guide

When you’re looking for legitimate work at home jobs it’s pretty common to come across writing gigs that note “$675/mo base” as the compensation. Ever wonder what jobs those listings are referring to?

Well, it’s likely those listings are referring to About.com’s Guide positions. If you’ve been on the Internet for very long at all you’ve probably seen About.com, the website’s been around for quite a long time. In 1997 Scott Kurnit founded the Mining Company which (in 1999) became About.com. In 2000, Primedia (a traditional print magazine company) bought About.com for $690 Million. Then in 2005 the NY Times Company announced it acquired About.com for $410 Million, the largest acquisition for the Times since it purchased The Boston Globe for $1.1 Billion in 1993.

If you’ve ever searched on Google for something fairly specific, you’ve probably seen a search result leading to an About.com article. For example, Google Halloween Trivia and you might see this listing on the first page of results:

Halloween Trivia Quiz – Halloween History, Superstitions and Fun …
puzzles.about.com/od/testyouriq/qt/HalloweenQuiz.htm
Take the Halloween Trivia Quiz and see how well you know your Halloween history.

That post, dedicated to fun facts about Halloween – or rather to About.com’s Halloween Trivia Quiz and a list of other holiday quizzes – was put together by Dave Fisher, a puzzle expert who also happens to be an About.com Guide. He’s got a passion for puzzles and when he’s not creating crosswords or solving sudokus, he’s sharing “news, reviews and all types of puzzling fun with the visitors to About.com.”

If you have a passion for something you could be an About.com Guide, too. Here’s the skinny . . .
About.com hires independent contractors to contribute content to the About.com website as either a Guide, a Topic Guide, or a Video Producer. An independent contractor, or freelancer, isn’t employed by the company directly so for tax purposes you’ll be getting a 1099, not a W-2.

Guides
About.com Guides go through an online orientation and evaluation program before becoming a Guide. They are generally responsible for 8 articles per month on their topic and the compensation plan offers a set monthly payment (base) plus content performance bonuses. You have to apply for an open topic but the list is pretty extensive at the moment including car tech, retirement planning, African-American history, weather, breastfeeding and more. And there are City and Town Guides, too. Current cities in that category include Baltimore, Oakland, Raleigh-Durham, Cincinnati and a few others. The coolest Guide topic I saw on the list was Origami! I wish I could fold paper and make neat things. My son’s got a real knack for it lately.

About.com is looking for a writer with extensive experience in origami to provide resources for beginning and experienced origami enthusiasts. The site will help readers learn the art of origami paper folding, including specific projects, techniques, tips, tricks and reviews.

To see what other Guide topics are open just visit the Apply to Be an About.com Guide page.

TOPIC GUIDE
Topic Guides are also independent contractors who cover topics but they cover more specialized topics and are also responsible for a weekly newsletter or moderating a discussion forum on the topic as well. Topic Guides go through a pretty extensive evaluation process as well, but there is no cap on possible compensation. Here’s how About explains it:

In their first two years, Topic Guides are paid by the article. In subsequent years if the Topic Site grows, About.com also pays Topic Guides for page views above and beyond the minimum pay per article. Compensation is limited only by page views – while the guaranteed per article minimums are offered as a safety net, there is no cap on what a successful Topic Guide can earn.

Just like becoming a Guide, becoming a Topic Guide begins with matching your expertise with an open Topic. Visit the Apply to Be an About.com Guide page.

VIDEO PRODUCER
About.com has lots and lots of instructional videos, too. And they’re always on the lookout for passionate and experienced video producers to work with editors and Guides. There’s no set number of videos you’ll have to produce, you’re simply paid a flat fee per video on a regular, bi-weekly schedule.

To get the gig you’ll need to tell them about your qualifications and experience, point to a few samples, and list a future video idea or two and then, if you’re application is accepted, you’ll submit a test video on a topic. Interested? Start by filling out the application.

If you’re interested in becoming a Guide, a Topic Guide or a Video Producer, you might begin by familiarizing yourself with About.com’s extensive category list. Or just start at the home page and click on whatever tickles your fancy. Look around and see what’s there, how it’s written, and who the Guides for various topics are.

And if you’re looking for a legitimate work at home job, these Guides might interest you, too:

  • Laureen Miles Brunelli, Work-at-Home Moms Guide
    A freelance writer and editor for more than a decade, Laureen Miles Brunelli has built a work-at-home career while she and her husband raise three children.
  • Melanie Pinola, Mobile Office Technology Guide
    Melanie is a seasoned telecommuter, IT professional, and overall gadget geek whose work responsibilities and personal interests prod her to find and share the best ways to use new technologies for mobile work.
  • Michael Desmond, Home Office Guide
    Michael is an editor and writer with 20 years experience in the field of technology journalism. Over the past 14 years, Michael has worked out of his home office as a consultant, editor, book author, freelance writer and small business owner.
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