Here's an example of a paid contributor position: You are not allowed to view links.
They pay $50 for an article/post that they decide to publish and they like feature articles to be in the 1200-2000 word range. First, you pitch an article idea that fits with what they publish to them in an email (time: 10 minutes). If they like the idea, you write it and provide a picture that can be your own or one with a creative commons license that allow publication. (90-120 minutes for writing the article and finding the photo).
Here's another one that works in a similar way, though the exact guidelines are different: You are not allowed to view links.
I've personally published with both but I'm not giving away anything by linking to them because those and many others are already available in a free pdf file that you can get from a well-known freelance blogging site.
Is there effort involved? Yes.
Do they require a good idea that works with their site and high quality writing? Yes.
Do they publish posts and pay for them? Yes.