“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”
Online websites that pay writers to submit content were doing very good business, and writers were making money just a couple of years ago. Writing sites like Helium, Yahoo! (used to be Creative Content) and Bukisa would pay writers a premium, upfront payment for every piece of work that they submitted. The good thing was that they were popular and they were making money. The problem was that they were popular and they were making money. See how that works? Something becomes popular, it sells (think Google, MySpace, Facebook). Something sells, someone needs to make a whack o’ cash, the second cousin of the whack a’ mole.
Websites get sold. Shareholders ask, “Why?” Owners decry that their better writers are all leaving.
Writers make money writing articles online for websites. Others learn about this due to exhaustive recruiting advertisement campaigns. Others join said sites and start writing words. Writers earn less. Writers get mad. Writers leave, go write blogs. Forget about things like structure. Concentrate on getting point out. Author digresses. Writers find blogs, start to earn money again. Hobbyists join websites. hobbyists make money writing articles online for websites. Hobbyists write crap. Shareholders get mad. Writers start to make more money blogging. Hobbyists keep submitting crap. Site fills up like overflowing septic system. Publishers flock off. Owners lose their shirts. Can’t understand why.
Is anyone in charge listening?
All you need to do is to have two separate sections; one for established writers, say no less than 1,000 articles and 100 sales – a second section for all others. Writers in the first group get $10 per article submission plus an increase in revenue share percentages, and the writers in the second group get normal revenue share income. Problem fixed. See? Easy, wasn’t it?
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
“The exodus is here, the happy ones are near.”
Now, the new bosses have a lot of articles being submitted for the much cheaper, more financially prudent (read; frugal) cost of nothing at all. And, they’re getting exactly what they pay for.
If you’re going to ask a group of professional writers to submit articles for $1 and a small share of the revenue that their articles generate, then expect to see an exodus of said writers to somewhere that they may feel more wanted, respected and valued. To evaluate a writer’s skill based solely on what other writers, contributors and visitors alike prefer is to invite disaster into a writer’s market. Let the publishers decide which writers are worth paying and which should be sent to Siberia to pick winter berries. The writers who sell articles are more than likely the ones that you would want to stick around, just in case you weren’t aware. And, by the looks of things, you may have slept through that class in economics 101.
Now, all these article mills need to do in order to make their sites both profitable and sustainable is to get the good writers back. They need to find a better way to rank articles than to have writers and visitors rate their quality against other articles. They need to pay the good writers a better stipend in order to fill their sites with recent, quality materials. You can only sell so many Sega Genesis Cheat Tips articles.
The only real answer for a site like Helium, and other peer-rated article rating sites is to change the way articles are rated. They need to get rid of their current star systems and decide with a more keen eye which writers are more beneficial to the site. An easy example would be to keep the writers who sell the most articles to publishers and get rid of the story tellers. There’s just no room for story tellers on a fact-based, knowledge article provision site. The publishers will thank you, the good writers will flock back and the universe will be properly aligned again.
Meet the new boss indeed.