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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Catching up on some writing/publishing news

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


The other day I saw a tweet from Allena Tapia, who writes the freelance writing column at about.com asking about whether or not a blogging opportunity was legit. The site is today.com, which apparently has been offering free blogging space for some time. Recently they initiated a VIP blogger program which promises payment.

The bottom line is that the site is very new and it's difficult to say anything positive or negative. One positive, though, is that a staffer from today.com responded in the comment trail of Allena's post. Her response was very professional, which is a good sign.

I have some causes for concern, mostly due to the fact that this program is new. And to be honest, my intitial conclusion is while this isn't the opportunity for me, those interested in getting paid to blog might want to watch this for a month or two.

Check out their application page. They offer an initial payment of $5 per 100 word post, with a maximum of one paid post per day. Okay, a nickel a word doesn't sound too bad. Take a look at the rest of the page. You will be required to moderate comments on the blog. Payment will be adjusted up or down after the first month depending on the popularity of the blog. Bloggers will need to do a lot of their own promotion.

So what does this tell me? First, they seem to be upfront about several things. Another encouraging sign. On the other hand, a considerable amount of work may be required (at least initially) to get that five bucks a day. You have to help build traffic, and you need to spend some time on comment moderation. If you manage to build a decent audience, then your payment should rise.

If you're considering this opportunity (or any paid blogging job), you need to ask some questions:

  1. What rights am I giving up? If it's a work-for-hire arrangement, you give up all rights. That may be fine for 100 word blog posts.
  2. When do you get paid and how often? Is there a threshhold you have to reach before they pay? Some content providers won't pay writers until they've reached $20 or $50. Of course, if you blog every day for that first month at today.com you potentially can make $150. What about other months? It's worth asking.
  3. If you are paid according to traffic, what formulas do they use? Will you be able to analyze the traffic to your blog? Site statistics are an important tool for building traffic.

One question they can't answer for you is whether or not the effort you put forth will be worth the payout. That's for each individual writer to determine for themselves. In fact, that's how I determined that this isn't the opportunity for me. I can't even post daily to my own blog, and I'm not sure that five bucks a day is enough incentive to post to a second blog. If I want to make money blogging, I'd be better off doing it from this blog as I have built an audience, even though it's small. (No, I'm not planning on ads.)

While this isn't the opportunity for me, it may be right for you. As always, evaluate any offer carefully before you accept.

In other industry news, the EFF is defending Wikipedia in Bauer v. Glatzer, et al. The press release links to several documents relating to the case. Karen posted the link yesterday, and I concur with her that it makes for fascinating reading.

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Filed under: Writing   Publishing   Legal      
5/8/2008 11:52:59 AM
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