The Associated Content “Clout” system is a way of determining how much you as a contributor are to be paid for your page views. It certainly isn’t necessary to understand the Clout system in order to make money at Associated Content-the numbers are all tabulated automatically without the contributor having to keep track of what the system is doing or why-but it’s always nice to have a better understanding of the system under which you are operating.
What is the Clout System?
Clout is a 10-level scale that gives you a score based on the amount of your content, and how many page views your content has received.
How is the Clout Score Determined?
Each time a user clicks on a page of your content and stays on the page long enough for the ads to load, this is recorded as a page view. If you have a 5 page article, and a reader stays on each page long enough, you would get credit for 5 page views.
All of your page views for all of your content are accumulated into one total. You then receive a bonus of 1% (up to a cap of 200%) for each item of content you have published at Associated Content. Your page views plus the bonus constitutes your Clout score.
Let’s look at some examples to see how this works:
First, consider a case where you have 3 articles that have received 25, 20, and 12 page views since you’ve published them. That means you’ve had 57 page views so far, plus then you get another 3% of that as a bonus since you have 3 articles. The quickest way to figure your score with your bonus is to multiply 57 by 1.03. That gives you a score of 58.71.
What if you have 4,000 page views spread out over 55 articles? Multiply 4,000 by 1.55, and you get a score of 6,200.
How about 15,000 page views and 142 articles? Multiply 15,000 by 2.42, and you get a score of 36,300.
As soon as you’ve posted at least 200 items of content, you’ve maxed out the bonus and your score becomes easy to calculate. Simply triple the number of your page views. If you have 500 page views, then your score is 1,500. If you have 100,000 page views, then your score is 300,000.
What are the Different Clout Levels and What Do They Mean?
As you increase your Clout score, you move up the Clout “ladder” as follows:
Level 1: 0-100
Level 2: 101-500
Level 3: 501-1,000
Level 4: 1,001-5,000
Level 5: 5,001-20,000
Level 6: 20,001-50,000
Level 7: 50,001-100,000
Level 8: 100,001-500,000
Level 9: 500,001-1,000,000
Level 10: Over 1,000,000
As you can see, the gaps between levels grow as you ascend. Early in your career at Associated Content, you may well breeze through the first several levels rapidly. After that, though, you’ll likely find it takes you longer and longer to advance to each higher Clout level.
The first six Clout levels have no importance beyond just the ego boost of marking your progress. Contributors from Level 1 through Level 6 are all paid for their page views at the same rate of 0.15 cents each.
Once you get to Level 7 and above, however, the pay rate per page view increases as follows:
Level 7: 0.155 cents
Level 8: 0.16 cents
Level 9: 0.175 cents
Level 10: 0.2 cents
So let’s use an example to illustrate the calculations. Let’s say you have published 350 items of content, and received a total of 44,000 page views on all of them combined.
First, we’ll calculate your Clout score. Because you have at least 200 published items, your bonus is the maximum of 200%. So for 44,000 page views, you get 44,000 plus a bonus of 88,000, for a score of 132,000.
If you check the scale above, you’ll see that a Clout score of 132,000 puts you at Level 8. (Level 8 is any score from 100,001 to 500,000.) What this tells you is you are currently being paid 0.16 cents per page view.
(By the way, you cannot make this retroactive and simply multiply your 44,000 page views by 0.16 cents to see how much money you’ve earned. You’ve only been making 0.16 cents per page view since your score topped 100,000. For your earlier page views you were making 0.15 cents each and then 0.155 cents each.)
Just as your bonus maxes out at 200% when you have at least 200 articles, your pay rate maxes out at the 0.2 cents per page view of Level 10 once you have a score of more than 1,000,000. (Which is to say, once you have at least 333,334 total page views, assuming you have at least 200 articles.) As soon as you reach that point, you need not worry about the calculations any more, as you’ll simply be making the maximum 0.2 cents per page view from then on.
What About on My Account Page Where it Says “Progress to Next Level” With a Percentage? What Does That Mean?
This notation on your account page simply informs you of the progress your Clout score is making toward the next Clout level.
There are two main things to note about this that tend to confuse contributors.
Number one, the percentage tells you how far you’ve progressed from your current level toward the next, not how far you’ve progressed toward it from zero.
For example, let’s say you currently have a Clout score of 90,000. That puts you at Level 7, working your way toward Level 8 which requires a score of at least 100,001. So should that progress meter read 90%, since 90,000 is 90% of the way to 100,001?
No. Because what the meter measures is how far you’ve gone from Level 7 toward Level 8. You reached Level 7 when your score rose to 50,001. From there it takes a further score increase of 50,000 to reach Level 8. Since your score is now 90,000, that means your score so far has increased by 39,999 since you entered Level 7. 39,999 is 80%, not 90%, of the journey of 50,000 that will take you from Level 7 to Level 8, so your progress meter should read 80%.
Number two, the percentage figure on your progress meter is rounded to the nearest whole number, but it’s still the actual number that counts.
So if you are 37.814% of the way from Level 3 to Level 4, the meter will read 38%. If you are 6.05% of the way from Level 9 to Level 10, the meter will read 6%.
Where this confuses people is when you get past 99.5%. Let’s say you are 99.875% of the way from Level 6 to Level 7. You look at your progress meter and it reads 100%, yet you are still on Level 6. You wonder how that can be, since if you’re 100% of the way to Level 7, doesn’t that mean you should be on Level 7?
The key is that the figure is rounded. You aren’t in fact 100% of the way to Level 7; you are 99.875% of the way. But the meter can only show whole numbers, so it displays as 100%. So really you aren’t quite there. (But the good news is, once you’re past 99.5% of the way to the next Clout level like that, you’ll likely get there the very next day, or certainly not much longer than that.)