Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vocaboly : Vocabulary Building Software for SAT GRE GMAT TOEFL

In case you aspire to study abroad, especially in the US and Australia, and English is not your first language then it might be quite a good idea to polish up your English vocabulary before taking the tests. While there are a large number of books and online resources which contain large 'word lists' for the various different exams, the number of interactive vocabulary building software for exams like SAT, GRE, GMAT and TOEFL are a bit harder to find. However, Vocaboly is one such software which facilitates vocabulary building for all the above mentioned international entrance/scholarship exams.

Vocaboly supports multiple users and stores each user's personal settings. It also has five dedicated 'books' (which are basically word lists along with definitions, pronunciations and sample sentences), one for each of SAT, GRE, GMAT and TOEFL and one for total beginners. But, this much can be found in any online or offline support tool for these exams. So what makes Vocaboly special? Well, quite a lot of things actually, and here's an in-exhaustive list:

  1. Difficulty Levels and Filters: As you come across the different words (which are arranged alphabetically in the form of a list) you can assign a difficulty level, ranging from 0 to 5, to each word. Words of each difficulty level  will be highlighted in a particular color for easy scanning. Further, Vocaboly also offers a filter facility by which you can search for words within a particular difficulty range as assigned by you
  2. Memory Cards: Vocaboly offers 8 memory cards for each book (SAT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and VOA). A memory card basically allows you to create your custom word lists or rather word  arrays. For example you can create a memory card for homophones for easy revision.
  3. Pronunciation: Vocaboly has a pronunciation guide where a human American voice will read aloud any word/page you select. It also has a audio  test where a word is read aloud and the meaning is provided and you have to spell it.
  4. Interactive Learning: Personally, I believe that it is important to make learning interactive in order to make learning interesting and Vocaboly does just that with the  help of some basic but interesting games. My favorite is the classic memory game where you have to match every word to its meaning in order to complete the game. With timer, click counter and a hall-of-fame, the games definitely make learning a lot more fun.
Vocaboly is probably slightly over priced at $80 but there is no doubt that it is a quality software and delivers on all its promises. Also don't be disheartened by Vocaboly's modest and spartan website or the sample word lists (which consists mostly of very easy words), trust me when I say Vocaboly is the real deal and the perfect tool for boosting your vocabulary.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What I Think of the Hubpages Ad Program : Actual Earning Figures

As I have already mentioned in my previous post (please read it before continuing), Hubpages has recently launched the Hubpages Ad Program which enables hubbers (freelance Hubpages contributors) to earn some side income alongside there Google Adsense earnings as per the pre-existing Hubpages revenue share policy (60% Adsense ad display ratio).

I had also mentioned in that post that opinions were divided and it was too early make a call on whether it was a good thing or not for their writers seeing that it could potentially (read: most likely) negatively affect your Adsense earnings from your Hubs.

Well after seeing it in operation for close to3 months here is what is I think of the Hubpages Ad Program. I have also included my actually earnings from my Hubs for both Hubpages Ad Program and Google Adsense to give you a better idea. However, I must inform you beforehand that:

  1. I am not a very active Hubber (though I think Hubpages is easily the coolest content sharing site around). So it is very likely that you will earn a lot more from Hubpages than I have. Hence don't treat these figures out of context.Instead use them to just compare Adsense and the Hubpages Ad Program on a relative scale.
  2. Google Adsense usually serves CPC ads whereas the Hubpages Ad Program exclusively serves CPM ads which means that you will earn a few cents (or even dollars) in Adsense revenue every time  an ad on your page is actually clicked but you will earn a fraction of a few cents every time your page is viewed. However, in both cases the rates depends greatly on the subject matter as well as the target audience of your contents. You can get a better idea of this by taking a look at the Adwords Keyword tool.
  3. The CPM rates offered by the Hubpages Ad Program are indeed a lot higher than those you can hope to get as a medium level publisher (as with 5000 monthly PVs). It is usually around the $5 mark but can be a lot higher as well whereas third party servers are likely to offer CPM rates of around $2 or even less  if your main traffic source is Asia and Africa.
You can find my actual earning figures from Hubpages from both Adsense and Hubpages Ad Program by visiting this page. (I wanted to include it in the post itself but I just can't get the table to look right. Sorry.)

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