AhmedF over at Tech Soapbox discusses the virtues of paying a flat rate to network bloggers, instead of the usual pay-per-post setup common among most blog networks. He argues that with a flat fee, bloggers are able to focus on creating good content, instead of focusing on quantity because they have to churn out posts according to schedule, usually without adequate time to do the research and without a good topic to work on.
[W]hen it came to Bloggy Network and our paid bloggers, we never took on a pay-per-post model. I absolutely hate it. Successful blogs produce compelling content. They are insightful, interesting, and require some research. When a person is being paid per post, what motivation does he/she have in producing excellence? A pay per post model, imo, simply encourages people to post as often as you want. Of course there is a certain level of editorial control, but defining requirements is a non-trivial task. It isn’t fun.
The other model, a flat-fee, is working very well for us. It was stressful at first, but the fantastic growth we have been experiencing validates our model. We hired bloggers based on their ability to write interesting and compelling content, not because of their ability to churn out post after post (great for search engines perhaps, but really a shitty solution). We did of course put in certain conditions (you have), but they also meant the stress factor was a lot lower. Our writers knew they would get paid the same, be it with 5 posts in a week or with 50. They also knew that by working harder on each post, by ensuring a higher quality of work, the long-term potential and upside were far better than a post-churning blog.
I guess I would be one to agree with Ahmed, having actually worked for Bloggy Network for quite some time. While people would consider a lot of factors in determining the best blogger payout scheme, being paid a flat rate (which is quite competitive, in my opinion) takes a load off one’s mind, since you won’t have to worry about quotas and deadlines.
Indeed, it’s like a shotgun vs. sniper approach.
The pay-per-post is shotgun-like – keep scattering fire and hope one hits. The sniper approach, far more deliberate and slow, yields much more positive results. A person with a shotgun can get to it right away, but a person with a rifle takes time to gain proficiency. Just need to be patient (and that patience is being rewarded now).
So would this mean every other blog network should change their blogger payout schemes? I would think it’s something to be looked into, but it may not be doable for everyone. It’s certainly expensive at first, and it will most definitely render your network unprofitable, at least in the short term. But I think it’s a long-term solution that will let you reap the benefits in time, if you do it right.