Pageviews over RSS Feeds
Reports of the new problogging pay scale over at Gawker Media has generated a lot of opinions and criticisms on how blog networks should compensate their bloggers. My thoughts are more about the apparent focus on pageviews over rss feeds.
Blog networks pay their bloggers with varying pay scales and salary modes:
- Know More Media used to pay its bloggers somewhere between $5 to $7.50 per post plus a $1 incentive when making comments on other blogs.
- Weblog Inc. used to pay their new bloggers a flat $500 a month for 120 posts. A $4 differential is subtracted for every post below the quota.
- b5media used to pay 40% of monthly revenue (after the first $100) to its bloggers. That’s $100 + 40% of (total blog rev – $100). They now changed that to $50 (for new bloggers) plus $1.50 for every 1,000 pageviews. This formula may have been tweaked a bit by now.
- Other networks for the revenue sharing — the tip of the lever ranges between 20% to 80%.
Last February, I wrote an entry “What’s the perfect formula for blogger payouts?” over at the Blog Herald. As a follow-up to that, I also wrote here “Going Pro: Network or Indie?” and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of problogging for a network vis-a-vis being totally independent. Also read “Problogging: Business or Career?“.
The leaked memorandum from Gawker Media explains the new pay scheme for the entire blog network and I’ll sum it up like this: Base Pay Rate or “Author Pageview Traffic x Pageview Rate“, whichever is higher.
It goes like this. A regular bloggers gets a base pay of $2,000 a month. However, he may get a higher salary at the end of the month if the total pageviews he got for the month, multiplied by the pageview rate, exceeds that amount. Let’s say the pageview rate for his assigned blog is $5 and his total pageviews for the month is 700,000. That nets him $3,500 ($5/1k pageviews x 700k pageviews).
What does this mean for the blog and the blogger?
- This would encourage bloggers to write better and more interesting blog posts. Engadget churns out 24 posts a day and Gizmodo only has 12 posts/day. Gawker wants more of quality over quantity so Gizmodo might actually have lesser, but more interesting, posts per day.
- Bloggers who are already veterans on the blog will get more as their archives will continue to pull in more pageviews for them. Newer ones will have to do some catching up. It will also be harder for a veteran blogger to leave as his archives are still raking in some dough.
- Expect more scoops, exclusives, top 10 lists, and link baits to Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon.
- For gadget blogs, expect more posts about commercially popular topics – Apple, iPods, iPhones. Oops, same company.
- Bloggers will link more to their previous posts in order to push more pageviews in the archives.
- As Nick Denton would have it, expect more high quality posts. No more factory-style entries, at least for the Gawker Media network.
But Denton might have overlooks a valuable segment of his network’s readership. It’s the hundreds of thousands of RSS subscribers who are loyal to the blog and who are actually the ones who consist of the baseline readers. Should they not count as a bonus to the bloggers? Well, unless you put out partial feeds (as opposed to full feeds) in order to romp up the pageviews, they don’t count at all.
It’s by no means a perfect formula. Nevertheless, I still think this salary scheme is still a good move. No more posting quotas. No more half baked posts. No more keyword-rich titles, two pictures and a caption post. Just quality content. Hopefully.