Gather.com – Full review
Do you love social networking? I have to admit… I’m a big fan of Facebook and I’ve also been known to send out a Tweet from time to time. Social networking provides a great way to keep in touch with those old high school friends and figure out whatever happened to that weird guy you dated for one regrettable weekend in college. Since I already enjoy social networking, wouldn’t it be awesome if I could find a way to make some money from it? Well, I recently found out that it’s actually totally possible to cash in on social networking thanks to Gather.com.
Gather.com is the first paid social network. While a few other websites have tried to create the same concept, Gather was the first to successfully create a site that people really enjoyed and made consistent income from. Let's find out a little bit more about exactly how Gather works. (You might also want to check out my post, Social Media Jobs From Home for more social media related careers that allow you to work from home. As well – you might enjoy looking over my big list of Online Writing Jobs.
What is Gather.com?
Gather encourages the members of its Internet community to interact with one another in several different ways, including media files, articles, and podcasts. The Gather community is very large and you can find information about almost any topic imaginable. Gather allows individuals to have their own personal profile page on the site. You use your profile to publish blog content, share media files, or link to articles that you want to share.
Make Money By Writing For Gather
When you publish content on Gather, your account is credited with points. You earn points by participating in discussions, adding blog posts, or simply being active on the site. As these add up, you can eventually trade them in for gift cards or cash paid through PayPal. The gift card incentive program is the most popular reason why individuals choose to sign up for Gather. There are a wide variety of gift cards to choose from, and the points program does not require an extraordinary number of points before you qualify for your first gift card.
Pros of Writing For Gather.com
1. You Meet Incredible New Friends
Gather is a great way to make new friends. You can interact with thousands of people who share your interests. Whether you love photography, scrapbooking, poetry, or baseball, there is undoubtedly someone else on Gather who shares your passion. When you discuss your common interests, you earn points, which translates to extra income.
. You Get Fresh Writing Inspiration
As you interact with new friends, it can spark some very interesting conversations. You might even find a few heated debates ranging if you hit a controversial topic! If you are suffering from a bout of writer’s block, browsing Gather and participating in discussions will give you the perfect inspiration to start writing again. You can get dozens of ideas just by reading hot discussions. If you have a serious opinion, you can write an article about it and post it to your Gather profile.
3. Gather is 100% Free!
You might assume that there is some sign-up fee to participate in a social network that pays. However, Gather is completely free. You simply sign up on the website and start interacting with other Gather users. There is no charge to be a member or participate in the discussions. In fact, they pay you to participate!
4. Gather Offers Bonus Points
There are often promotions offered for members to earn more points by participating in special activities. When you spot these promotions, take time to participate and you will be able to cash in those points for gift cards even faster!
5. You Can Polish Your Writing Skills
Gather provides a wide range of topics for discussion, which makes it an excellent place for budding writers. You can polish up your writing skills as you participate in discussions and interact with other writers. This is also the perfect opportunity to get free, honest feedback on your writing!
Cons of Joining Gather
1. You Have to Wade Through Useless Content
Unfortunately, a few unscrupulous individuals have made their way into the Gather community, causing some problems. Self-promoters who fill their pages with a lot of useless content can sometimes make it hard to find content that you are actually interested in.
2. There Are Occasional Website Bugs
When I was reading reviews from current Gather members, there were a few complaints about the website itself and technical issues. It seems that the site has grown so rapidly that the support team has struggled to work out the bugs to keep up with the growth. At this time, it appears that everything is resolved, but be aware that an occasional issue could pop up.
3. Ads, Ads, Ads!
By far the biggest complaint is the fact that there are so many ads on the site. Of course, any site that pays people to participate requires ads in order to generate revenue, but the number of ads currently on the Gather site makes it almost impossible to read the actual content at times. Once you get used to it, it’s probably not going to be a problem. But at least in the beginning, the ads are pretty annoying.
Start Earning Points on Gather
The first step to earn points on Gather.com is to register as a member. After you become a member you can then join the groups that talk about subjects that you are interested in. It is best to join large groups. If there are more people to interact with, you will earn more points. Keep in mind that points are awarded based on page views and member interaction. If you post content in a group with only a handful of members, you won’t get many views. On the other hand, if you post something interesting or controversial in a large group, you could accrue points rather quickly.
After you have joined a group, you can post about something that you think will be of interest to the group as a whole. Once you have uploaded your post you can make use of social bookmarking to increase the number of page views that your post receives. There are a number of social networks where you can bookmark your post including Twitter, Digg, SumbleUpon, Reddit, and Facebook. The goal is to get a lot of traffic to your content. The more page views you have, the more points that you earn. These points can, in turn, be redeemed for either money sent to your PayPal account or gift cards, which are mailed to your home.
How Many Points Do I Need?
I know what you’re thinking. How many points will I have to earn to get paid? Is it going to take a year to cash out? Here’s how it works…
You need a minimum of 625 points in order to be able to redeem them for a gift card. When you get 625 points, you can cash them in for a $5 gift card. It goes up from there with 1,565 points earning you a $25 gift card and 3,125 points earning you a $50 gift card.
Actually earning cash requires at least 1,565 points, which can be redeemed for $25. Trade in 3,125 points for $50, and 6,250 points for $100. Cash is paid through PayPal. These point values may seem high, but the reality is that a good post can earn you 100 points in a day. If you post high-quality content regularly you can earn a nice little chunk of change on Gather.
Of Course, You Could Also Join Gather “SocialWriters”
If the point system on Gather does not appeal to you, there is another way to earn money on Gather as a SocialWriter. SocialWriters write about current topics that are sure to get lots of pickup on search engines, blogs, and social networks. Writers are paid based on the popularity of their content. In order to apply as a Gather SocialWriter, you need to go through Skyword.com.
Wait… What Is Skyword?
Skyword serves as a middleman between clients and writers. The rates paid per article vary depending on the client that you end up writing for. Gather is only one of the clients served by Skyword, but it is one of their main opportunities. Skyword is actually a “sister” site to Gather and the same company owns both. You can learn more about the different writing opportunities and about the specific rates when you apply on the Skyword website.
Final Thoughts On Gather.com
Whether you choose to go the traditional “points” route or apply to be a SocialWriter, there is money to be earned on Gather. If you enjoy writing or just like sharing your opinion, the site can be an excellent way for you to earn a supplemental income doing something that you enjoy.
So what do you think? Are you a member of Gather.com? How much money have you earned with this social network?
**Unfortunately Gather.com has closed it's doors in 2015. There are rumors of a re-vamp — but I wouldn't hold your breath.