A couple of weeks ago I mentioned another blog I run on Today.com, called For the Love of British Food.
I've been doing some hard thinking about how I'm going to maximise my blogging profits in the coming year, and this blog will definitely be a key part so here's a review of what it's like to run a blog in this location.
The most attractive part of the deal is being paid for 1 post per day and every unique view in a month. You don't get a lot for the views, but you get $1 per post and a whacking $5 for referring a new blogger to Today.com. Looking a little deeper into the rules for referrals, the new blog will need to meet some fairly stringent conditions, such as having 10 posts within a 3 month period - even more than Entrecard! There are some very generous monthly bonuses for referring large numbers of new blogs, but the target of a minimum 300 is unrealistic and I'd be surprised if they'd ever have to pay out on this.
You don't earn through your own Adsense account, but Today.com claim they share Adsense click revenue with you. I can't find anywhere in my earnings stats that specifically identifies what I earned this way though.
One thing they really do need to work on is the user interface. There are two different account/blog control areas and they are only linked one way. The menu you get to when you login has a further link to your blog control panel and once you are there you can't get BACK to the login menu, so I recommend opening in a new tab or window. The login menu untidy and ragged in appearance too.
Help is a bit sketchy. There is a Help 'wiki', but a lot of topics don't have anything in them. However the forum is a good source of information and there is a very helpful user blog called 'The Answerman'. I'm planning to do some investigation to see if Today.com users can help build the help wiki.
You won't be able to use as full a range of moneymaking and traffic-gathering widgets as you can on Blogger or other platforms, and the guidelines for what you can and cannot use are in the forum in a sticky post. Entrecard is apparently OK, but Adgitize is not allowed as a widget which is rather disappointing. However, Adgitize does NOT require you to carry an advertising widget on all blogs in your account, so although this rule may change in the future, I will be adding my For the Love of British Food blog to my account.
Creating widgets is a little confusing and not very elegant. There isn't a specific HTML/Java widget, you need to use the text one. To set up a feed link you can either use the Meta widget or find a suitable image and create your own in a text link. Some of the themes already include feed icons. The widget list optimistically says 'Tag Cloud', but it's just a plain old list. You can move your widgets around in the sidebars the same way you can here in Blogger.
There are a reasonable range of attractive themes and templates available including 2 and 3 column options, and on a number of them you can customize and replace the header image with one of your own, which I did.
I frequently prepare my blog posts in Word so I can spell and grammar check beforehand, but it seems that there are conflicts when you paste into the Today.com editor, and line and paragraph breaks can get corrupted. A forum post recommends doing all your checking, then pasting it as plain text. A bit annoying as you then lose all your hyperlinks and have to re-add. If you are good at HTML, it may be quicker to take the risk that you'll get some odd formatting after pasting from Word, and fix it in the HTML editor view.
Finally, the payment lowdown. You have to reach a minimum of $50 to get paid at all, so daily bloggers with a very high readership and a referral or two might hit the target in a month, two months is more realistic.
You can only have one 'VIP' blog qualifying for the paid programme, you can't REFER someone else in your household, but it says nothing about spouses, partners, housemates etc having a NON-referred account, provided they have their own Paypal account or a bank account to pay a cheque into. Presumably the cheques are issued from a US bank in $.
I'd recommend it with the above warnings, but do make sure you are aware of all the exclusions and restrictions or you could end up frustrated and annoyed that the only way you can actually earn and monetize your blog is through Today.com themselves.