of Art, June 2008
The museum article received 12 page views and earned 2 cents this year so far (7.5 months). Over its lifetime (2.3 years), it earned 49 cents in revenue share. (Lifetime page views are not available.) The article is currently ranked 2 out of 3 for its title. (more after the jump)
The article with the second-lowest number of page views year-to-date is Should a picture and bio be required on the writer's Helium home page?, which received 16 page views and also earned 2 cents. Coming in third, with 17 page views and 3 cents is How to tell the difference between good and bad fats, which Helium deleted in April for being too short (though it was in my top third of lifetime earners before Helium deleted it). Fourth from the bottom is a goofy poem I wrote, which got 18 page views this year and earned 2 cents:
A dragon has a fiery breath
and scales that shine and glow
It's bigger than a pickup truck
It slithers through the snow
In many ancient tales, alas
the dragon ends up dead
The story's hero, with a sword
hacks off the dragon's head
This bit of doggerel is currently rated 44 out of 102. That's a lot of dragon poems! I can't remember whatever possessed me to write it.
Google search results
The Value of Museum Membership article is indexed, but is not very visible. When I Googled the exact title, without quotation marks (using startpage.com to get search results uncontaminated by my own search history), it didn't show up in the first 100 results.
When I Googled using quotation marks, startpage gave me the odd response: "Because there are not enough results that match your query, we are showing results without quotes." I tried the search again on the regular Google page, and it gave me seven results, all but two from Helium. The first three were the individual articles, and mine was the last in that group.
When I tried Googling (without quotation marks) the article title plus my name, startpage still didn't bring up the article within the first 100 results. Strangely, though, for the top result, it brought up a different article I wrote on Helium -- How to Visit New York City's Top Museums for Free.
For whatever reason, Google really does not like the "Museum Member" article.
The other two authors in the title had duplicate copies of their articles on other sites -- one on Yahoo Voices and the other listed as a title only (no article -- maybe it was deleted?) on ezine. I actually thought I had cross-posted the article on Yahoo myself, but I couldn't find it there, so that was probably a trick of my memory. I wonder if the duplicates had any effect on pushing the articles so far down in Google -- as the Helium spokesfolks always claim. If so, it seems that the duplicates by the other authors may have torpedoed the whole title group, as mine was affected as well.
Or maybe that had nothing to do with that. Perhaps a more likely explanation is that articles about museums (for whatever reason) don't do well on Helium. I wrote seven articles relating to museums on Helium, and only one of those had more than 100 page views this year -- and that one, with 153 views, was part of a contest and was, if I recall correctly, on Helium's front page.
Should this article even exist?
If someone is thinking of joining a museum, I don't think my article would tell them anything they didn't already know. I don't remember now why I wrote it -- I was probably browsing titles, looking for something to write about back in the days when Helium had a token upfront payment. I think I'm done now with writing useless articles.
I think it's a major weakness of the content sites that they spend a lot of time repeating the obvious. I guess the same thing could be said of most of the women's magazines, though, so apparently there's a big market for it.
Updates on the article
Since I wrote the article in 2010, admission to the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has risen from $20 to $25, and the basic individual membership price from $75 to $85.
I'm not so sure about the Met. I don't go there nearly as often, in part because while MoMA is very conveniently located right in the middle of midtown, where it's easy to drop in when doing other things in the area, going to the Met is a separate trip. I have the lowest-level membership, the "Met Net" for $70, which gets me free admission, but nothing in the mail and no admission to member previews. Maybe the biggest argument against getting a Met membership, at least if your main goal is to save money, is that while the admission price is a steep $25, it's only a "suggested" price. I used to think it would be embarrassing to pay less, but since then, I've seen more people I know go in by paying only $1. As someone once told me, "It may be hard the first time, but it gets easier with practice." A Met membership may be more a way to support the museum than a way to save money.