Journalist slams per-click payment model


let’s be honest, I’m super smart and seriously good at what I do. I can write and report a kickass story with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back.

… and that’s were I stopped reading.
I know boasting is widespread and normal in the US but where I live it’s considered bad form, not classy and crude to toot your own horn (and that’s a mild description of what she’s doing here).


Can anyone provide some metrics for context here? $0.025/click (which she admits is high, for Medium) might be great if they’re getting 10,000 clicks per article and it’s something that only took a few hours to write. Then again, maybe most sites don’t get that many, or aren’t paying at such a rate, or what have you.

Anyone have a sense of what might be typical? I’m not asking to be convinced that it’s hard as hell to make money this way, just curious how the numbers typically shake out.

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Yeah, she got my 2 1/2 cents, but her post was a real turn off. God forbid she should be paid based on the same economic basis as the company she works for…web traffic. While I’m sympathetic to the position that is buried under all the snarky, egotistical entitlement in her post, the way she went about doing it was a bit of an own goal, a post written to get clicks all while she complains about getting clicks. I suppose she can claim that her post is meta, that she’s showing the downside of click based writing, but I could equally say she’s showing the downside of her own supposed skill.

She should have wrote “One weird trick to toot your own horn”. I’d be clicking on that for sure.

For intellectual reasons.

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Her article is 607 words long. By my calculations, to make £25 (about $42) per 100 words she needs about 10,000 clicks.

Judging by her words and actions I’m guessing she may not typically be getting that many. Of course that was before she got featured on Boing Boing. Her Twitter feed suggests she’s still only earned a tenth of my suggested reasonable amount though.

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In response to the above article, here’s a great little article I found written by someone who is also a freelance writer. Rather than wantonly complain about a pay model he doesn’t like, he explained the various types of jobs available, then provided source links to a few different sites where jobs could be had for different forms of pay. He also gave fair warning that this type of writing is not a way to get rich (no matter how you’re paid).

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If you are paid, you are never going to be rich from it.

Apparently this “super smart” writer with all her “critical thinking” and “skill in explaining super complex topics” doesn’t understand how markets work. The worth of her work is not set by the website owners, operators, or coders. It’s determined by how eyeballs are valued (a function of things like data on advertising effectiveness), by how many eyeballs her writing attracts, and by how desperate other writers are for money.

I realize that this is the same argument made by people who oppose the minimum wage. The argument is invalid when applied to greedy business owners/managers whose profits far exceed their payroll expenses. But when it comes to low-margin websites where profit is in fractions of a penny, it might actually be true: Paying this writer something like a minimum wage (if we agree that a writer’s time is inherently worth so many dollars per hour) might make it impossible for websites like Medium dot com to make a profit.

Bottom line: If society doesn’t value good writing enough to make it profitable, and if web advertising is so ineffective that making money off of websites is practically impossible (which are two very big "if"s, but let’s assume they are true for a second)… then it might be impractical to be a full-time professional writer. I’m not saying that this is the case: Clearly, full-time professional writers exist. But just because you want in on that job market, doesn’t mean you get a spot. I know people who play basketball amazingly well, arguably comparably to NBA players, but I don’t see them writing entitled rants about how they should be able to make a living off of playing basketball… Sometimes the economics just doesn’t work out.

I wish I hadn’t given her 2.5¢ just by reading her complaints.

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Yeah…I saw this when Maggie tweeted it yesterday.

I’m sure the writer has a point and we probably should subscribe to more paid magazines to keep professional writing alive, but the article was a big turn off. The boasting really put me off. Can’t stand anyone that goes on about how awesome they are.

It’d probably make me want to avoid her writing in the future but luckily for her I can’t remember her name.

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I haven’t read the article yet, but I want my 2.5 cents back after reading all the complaints here.

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No, that type of boasting is bad form here in the U.S. too. Flagrant boasting has to be funny to be acceptable — think Muhammad Ali.

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