A few years back I found a website where you could earn money by answering questions. People would post questions and assign a dollar amount to them. Then others would submit answers and the person who gave the best answer would be awarded the money for that question. It was a fun way to earn a little money online.
Shortly after, the site began to develop another completely different idea which was basically a Wikipedia but with more images, videos, links etc. To develop this site, they asked the community to write articles and put together content for it. They picked out the popular subjects and paid people to write up articles for these topics. Users would be paid a fixed amount to write the page and then they would earn a percentage of the ad income generated from that page as long as they were the manager of that page and kept it in good shape.
Quickly everyone figured out which kind of pages made the most money and everyone scrambled to pick them up and claim them as their own. I was in on this whole project early on so I was able to get many good pages and continue to accumulate high earning pages.
Within about a year I was making some good money and it was pretty much passive income because once you had the pages, there was not much you had to do to keep them updated. The community was thriving and everyone was seeing a lot of earnings.
Then after about a year, we got some bad news. The company decided they were going to stop paying the percentage of the earnings to the people who wrote and managed the pages. This was very controversial because in the contract it was explained that once you wrote a page and managed it, you would be given a percentage of the earnings throughout the lifetime of that page.
So all of us who had written these pages expecting continued income were completely thrown for a loop. We went from making a lot of passive income each month to making nothing. The company said they were going to discontinue the profit sharing model and instead pay an up front flat fee for articles written. That would have been ok if they honored the previous agreement up to that point but they did not.
This caused an uproar and most people who were loyal to the website picked up and left. There was even a pending lawsuit in the works for how the site did not honor the agreement it said it would for the writers but ultimately nothing materialized out of it.
Shortly after that, Google made some big changes to their search engine to try to weed out sites which were kind of spammy which the site had kind of become with articles that were just written in order to make money from ads. The site took a big hit from this and their page rankings dropped as a result.
I moved onto another writing website which was ok for a while but nowhere near as good. It is a shame things did not work out, but this is a common occurrence with internet companies when money is involved. Circumstances can change overnight so you have to be careful not to get too invested in just one project or company.