Massachusetts based Helium launched its user generated article database yesterday and combines original writing with user rankings and profit sharing. It’s an interesting model that’s more compelling that proved more compelling than I thought it would once I started using it. The site is fun to use.
Here’s how it works. Users are asked to write articles on topics from 25 categories and many subcategories, starting with nothing but a subject line. After writing one article, users are taken to a page to rank other articles in the topic area they just wrote about. Two articles written by other users but with user names removed are placed side by side and the reader is asked which is a better article. Any number of articles can be compared two at a time on a continuum (”article A is much better, or a little better than article B” for example). The best articles are then displayed on the category’s front page, followed by related articles in order of reader ranking.
Users can check the status of their articles – mine on “The best providers for internet phone calls” is currently at #11 out of 21 on the topic. It’s not clear what the revenue split on ads surrounding an author’s content is, but you can monitor your earnings and request payment by PayPal when you hit $25. You can also subscribe to the top articles on any topic by RSS.
Each author has a space to provide information about themselves, followed by a list of all the articles they have written and their rankings on that topic.