Friday, January 16, 2009

Cliterature Redux

This blog is a continuation of a blog on the Today.com network. I initially started on Today.com to experiment in the arena of paid posting. I don't really want to take part in 'pay-per-post' activities that push certain products. But Today offers a low 'per 1000 uniques' rate and a flat per-post rate regardless of content. Previously the typical rate was $1 per daily post, but currently new blogs start at zero and are only considered for this plan after a month.

I first considered leaving after I mistakenly believed that I had been dropped from the pay-per-post plan--leaving the earnings roughly equivalent to what I could do on my own. The added factor being the uniform blog template Today.com uses, when I prefer to have a little more leeway to tinker and personalise. But hey, it is their show. Even after clearing up that misunderstanding I was rather on the fence. Here is what I posted on the Today.com forums in response to a user suggesting that people in the program for the money are there for the wrong reasons.

I am not sure you can say people are here for the wrong reasons when the deal was a dollar per day, with changes based on blog quality. If you offer a dollar a day, you will get at least some people here for the dollar a day--with they idea of doing well and possibly getting more (c.f. getting less just because the market plan isn't panning out).

My own blogs may not make a dollar a day, but several of them make more than 2$ per 1000 uniques. I have one that makes about 10$ per thousand uniques. So, a precipitous drop in interest in blogging here seems only rational--not foolish or selfish.

That is just the free market. To continue here I would need a non-monetary reason like a relationship, a commitment to the purpose of Today etc. And although I like my blogging peers I can't say may communication with the company in general has been frequent or supportive. In fact that last locked post from the owner was negative and not very coherent.

I understand the free market and what needs to be done. But that doesn't just apply to Today.com--it applies to me too.


The response from the owner was a seven day ban from posting on the forums: "due to negative posts directed to owner".

To be frank I don't blog primarily for the money. I have a career, and a supplementary income from my erotic romance writing, which provides more than enough money for my less-than-extravagant lifestyle. But I find money to be an interesting metric, and economics to be a difficult game with complicated rules that is fun to play. Of course I recognise that as an over-analytical, financially comfortable dilettante I am not a dream employee--in fact I am rather "uppity". But my employer and my publishers don't seem to find this a negative quality because they have good answers for every question I ask them.

I am reminded of the times when I was lecturing at university, and the other lecturers would complain about "adult students" (older people returning to university). These people had lives, experiences, opinions and confidence in themselves. I found that if you knew your stuff, explained what was reasonable, and--hell--explained what was arbitrary and unreasonable but a fact of life, older students were the best students of the lot. I would take them over a bunch of "will this be in the test?" kids any day. But I digress.

I notice the owner went back and edited and corrected the forum post I was referencing, which due to the private nature of the forum I will not share. Needless to say that if I did share the original, the negative emotional tone and distinct lack of correctly spelled words or punctuation would support the point I was trying to make. When I did well at Today I got a $150 bonus (just the money, not even an email saying what it was for), but when I objected to an angry, garbled, locked-against-response rant from the owner I got banned from the forum.

I notice, especially here in the States, that people talk a lot about the importance of having 'leadership qualities'--but perhaps we need to talk about the qualities of good follow-ship too. All an employer needs to do is pay fairly and behave calmly. When monetary motivations are lower, or approach nil, then other factors come to the fore: transparency, a higher purpose, an amicable relationship.... in the absence of that, I am sorry, no loyalty is due. In fact, following without good reason is probably a much greater problem than leading without vision--because without followers there is no leader.

The day were anyone, man or woman, just took what they got and was grateful for it are long gone. I am not required to be positive about "the owner" if he is not being positive in treatment of his content providers. And an almost total lack of communication, widespread cuts in pay, and snarky comments on the forum don't do it for me. Although I would be remiss not to mention that Today staff are for the most part very helpful and easy to work with, and payment has always been as promised and on time. But in the long run, sub-minimum wage payment is a tenuous thread to hang loyalty upon and a ban on any "negative" comments, no matter how accurate, snapped that thread entirely.

So long Today, hello tomorrow. I hope you will come and visit me at this new address. Please let me know if there is anything about the format that doesn't work well, or any type of content you would particularly like to see.

3 comments:

flit said...

Well, I am sorry to see you leave today.com ...but since I know where you are, I shall continue to read :)

Love your thoughts re: not-traditional students... don't s'pose you'd consider doing a guest post on Back to School for Grownups about that?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Veinglory...
I missed all the brouhaha. Best wishes on your new venture! I'm pretty new at today.com but am seeing everything you mentioned in the above post. I'm taking the philosophical approach of it being a college lab where they (hopefully!) pay me instead of me paying them. Frankly, I don't expect to stay either; reference my 'rented mule' comment in the forums, LOL!
Wish they'd treated you better---and everyone else, too.

ourright2selfreliance

Emily Veinglory said...

I will still be posting very occassionally over at Today