About.com Guide FAQ
How are Guides selected?
Anyone can apply to be a Guide. Qualified applicants with proven expertise in a topic are accepted into our self-directed evaluation program. In this evaluation program, prospective Guides become familiar with About.com's writing standards and publishing tools by writing a series of articles on pre-defined topics and publishing them in mock sites. Editors evaluate these sample sites and choose the most qualified applicant. For more information, please read our detailed explanation of the evaluation program.
How much experience do I need to be a Guide?
When selecting potential Guides, our editors are looking for applicants we can put forward as experts. In general, this means that a prospective Guide should have more than five years experience in their chosen topic area, either through professional involvement, as a dedicated hobbyist, or as a book author or journalist (online or print). You can read about necessary qualifications for each topic on the application page.
Will I be building off of an existing site during evaluation, or creating something new? Does About.com hold on to old material when they hire a new Guide?
If the topic is new to About.com, you will originate all of the content on the GuideSite. If you are hired to take over where another Guide left off, you will be writing your own content and managing the existing content written by other authors.
How does Guide payment work? How much will I be paid? How frequently?
We pay Guides on a monthly basis. Pay varies from month-to-month. For more information, please see this detailed explanation of Guide compensation.
Is being a Guide a full-time job?
No. Most Guides balance their work for About.com with other freelancing opportunities, or have full-time jobs elsewhere.
In addition to working directly with an editor, About.com offers other forms of interaction to help Guides generate ideas and learn from their editors and each other, including email listservs, forums, conference calls, and regular events in cities around the US.
How long is the evaluation period?
Our evaluation takes place in two stages over the course of a month. For more information, please see this detailed explanation of the evaluation program.
Do I get paid for the work done in the evaluation program?
There is no payment for work done in the evaluation program. Any and all work created by the applicant during evaluation is property of the applicant; if he or she does not become a Guide, he or she may use it as desired afterwards. About.com deletes all work from uncontracted applicants from its servers on a regular basis; no work created by an applicant will ever be used without his or her express permission.
Do I retain copyright to the work I produce as a Guide?
Yes, you'll retain copyright to any material you produce for About.com. In return, About.com obtains an exclusive, perpetual online license to any material you produce for us. We retain this license in order to control reprints, so the articles you produce for us aren't competing against other copies of the same article on other sites.
What level of technical experience is necessary? Do I need any equipment?
If you have a computer and Internet access, About.com will supply you with all of the other tools necessary to build a GuideSite, as well as documentation on how to use those tools. Having access to a digital camera is a strongly recommended. Although About.com strives to make the process of creating a site as simple as possible, we prefer applicants with at least a basic knowledge of HTML and comfort communicating online.
How do I check on the status of my application to be a Guide?
We've created a form that will send you an update on your application to your email address. You can access the form here.
The topic I wanted to apply for is not appearing, but I checked the site and there's no Guide listed. What's going on?
We've selected a candidate for the topic, but they haven't started yet. Chances are, if you check back in a few weeks, you'll see the new Guide in place.
I applied to be a Guide and have not yet heard back from About.com, but recently went back to the application site and saw that the topic I applied for is no longer listed. What's going on?
This means we selected a candidate for the topic some time after you applied. We have not officially notified you about the selection because we hold on to all applications for a topic until a Guide starts; once the Guide starts, we'll send you a note letting you know.