Demand Media Can Go To Hell
No magazine should partner with a company that disrespects content like this.
EARLIER: The Value of Online Content: Practically Nothing
I used to scoff at what newspapers paid freelance writers for stories. Then I heard about Demand Media.
In the magazine industry, somewhere around $1 per word has been the going rate for most magazines for at least 20 years. Write a 1,500-word story, get paid $1,500. Large consumer magazines pay significantly better, going as high as $4 per word for the large magazines. Thereâ€™s been no increase in fees in 20 years, but you can make a living.
Newspapers traditionally were much worse, paying $250 or so for that same 1,500-word story.
But Demand Media trumps newspapers for cheapness. Demand pays its contributors $15 per story, or 3 cents per word on a 500-word story. Demand, a four-year-old company, creates a huge amount of content that goes on various how-to sites, and is designed in part to attract Google ads. In a story yesterday on Vanityfair.com, author Matt Pressman describes the process.
He says Demand Media employs 7,000 writers, editors and videographers and produces 4,500 pieces of content a day. He adds that writers are flocking in droves to Demand Media. Pressman quotes Steven Kydd, Demand Mediaâ€™s executive vice president in charge of content, as saying that writers have the benefit of steady reliable work and a quick turnaround on payments.
Please. Spare me. Getting a quick turnaround on nothing is meaningless because itâ€™s still nothing.
Demand Media isnâ€™t really a new idea. Sites like About.com and Themestream relied on freelancers and non-professional enthusiasts. Thereâ€™s a site used by the newspaper industry called Helium that pays writers something like $25 per article. Kydd, who spoke at an MPA lunch this week, wants to partner up with magazines.
I hope no magazine ever partners with Demand Media. In fact, I hope Demand Media and any site like it goes out of business. They demean and abuse professional content creators, leveraging them to generate revenue from Google ads.
Theyâ€™re sweatshops. No magazine should accept content from a company that treats content with such disrespect. In the end, too, you get what you pay for.
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