Imagine your most recent job, before you went into freelancing, before you left the cube farm. Maybe you were an Editor, like me, or perhaps you came into this field from an entirely unrelated path. Now, imagine you come to work in the morning, and your employer said that there was a possibility you’d be paid, and even then, it would be solely based on how many people looked at you. And, oh yeah, it’ll be for a couple pennies.
I’d walk away. Wouldn’t you?
Yet, this is the choice that many new wannabe freelancers make when they stumble into the job.
The web is full of content-generation sites- sites that exist to spread information and grab search engine traffic. These sites (eHow.com, Suite101.com, hubpages, AC) are high traffic and turn a buck by selling ad space. Unfortunately, sometimes the buck isn’t passed on to the new writers who fill up the pages with articles and content.
I get many, many questions about these sites. I have one answer to all those questions: divide it into hourly pay, and see if it’s agreeable.
I say this instead of simply saying to heck with them because, in reality, is About.com really that different? My site at About.com generates my pay based on a traffic compensation model and is formulated to grab SEO traffic. But, About.com has one difference (other than the super cool “New York Times Company” thing): About.com pays a base salary for its writer’s time. Revolutionary, right? I get paid for the time I work. Whoa. And, when it’s divided into hourly, it’s right up there with my magazine and print contracts, as far as pay.
So, next time you’re looking at taking a content writing job from one of these sites, ask around to other writers about the pay versus the hours. Find out the top producer for the site and see if they have any idea what it took to get up there. Find out if there’s an equally satisfying alternative that pays for articles up front.
You know, kind of how the rest of the world works. Don’t give away your wor(d)k.