In my previous post, I linked to an article I wrote on how I was making more off of Gather than my blog. But that's not the full story. I was checking the Gather website again this evening, and it turns out you can earn some real money from them (not just gift cards).
Gather rewards its writers with "points." Points can be earned by writing articles, commenting on other articles, and running groups. (Oh yeah, and referring other members - thanks for tolerating the shameless affiliate link!) Ideally, you'll get rewarded for writing quality, or at least quantity: The more people read and comment on your articles, the more points you get.
So the deal is this: If you earn at least 3,000 points per month, you'll get a whopping (woo!) minimum $50 per month.
Seeing as I pulled in about 750 points in the last few days just posting a few articles and commenting somewhat liberally, this wouldn't be too hard to do.
While I doubt that you could earn a real living at Gather, I would say that for most bloggers, your chances of earning somethng back at Gather are far greater than going it alone, unless you have a great niche, are a super marketer, very lucky, or have an existing audience.
The downside of Gather is that there can be some silly politics and people get way overinvolved there. But for the prolific writer, it may not be a bad way to blog, get your stuff read (much more than otherwise), and also bring readers to your websites.