When one begins to write online expectations fluctuate, from crowing about getting 30 hits to receiving that first 40c. Overtime one learns, usually the hard way, that many sites don't pay, and not only don't they pay, they steal your work. Those who live within walking distance of the registered office of the site usually get paid and regain their copyright. Those who live in the same country can file a lawsuit. Those who do not live in that country; basically America, wear signs; "Rip Me Off."
Most people know of Triond .This site started out really good. Great writers, lots of hits, and there was a sense of community. Over time standards dropped. To prove it, many of the 'writers' (term used loosely) began to publish really poor quality items as well as complete fictions. They thought that this would shock Triond into re-instituting human moderation. It didn't happen. Standards kept dropping until Adsense marked it a 'Content Farm' and set it's Rolling Panda to mark down every item on Triond.
What this means is that if you wrote an article on a site marked a 'Content Farm' it would start with a minus score on searches, even though all words might match. Hence, if a user entered the terms; "How To Make a Vegetarian Pizza" and there was an article on Triond with the exact name, it would rank lower in a search than articles titled, "How to bake Pizza", "Making Pizza," etc.
Hence hits have dropped, revenue has dropped.
is very much like Triond, but has not gotten that thumbs down. It pays through Adsense, which means that one might gets hits but not much revenue. But it does pay, and does not steal your copyright.
ial sites is This site has what can only be called 'Shills' who run from writing site to writing site trying to entice people to join. These Shills are to outshout those who have complained they have been ripped off by Factoidz. With 74k+ returns to a Google "Factoidz+rip off" and over 100k returns to Factoidz+scam it is not surprising that the site is changing it's name to Knoji. I don't think any honest person can recommend this writing site.
One of the most famous and long lasting is This site pays by Adsense only, and did have some problem early in 2011 as being labled a 'Content Farm'. A lot of effort has gone into moderation, so be careful if you quote too much, for it might respond with a big red 'Duplication' on your article.
What you need to do before you join any site is to read the Terms of Service. If in anyway the site refuses to let you delete an article, that means they have taken your copyright. Further, be very chary of how it 'punishes'.
For example, Factoidz will drop a writer to a 'member' and confiscate their work, leave it up earning revenue, and pay the 'member' NOTHING. Other sites, such as Xomba; will bar a user and delete their account. Although Xomba is not recommended, it does not steal your copyright.
The Best thing to do when joining a new writing site, (after reading the TOS) is to publish something that means nothing to you. If you can't delete it, your copyright has been confiscated so publish nothing else there and move on.