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Gawker slices pay of Valleywag writers & some thoughts on blogger pay

Gawker slices pay of Valleywag writers & some thoughts on blogger pay

Earlier this year, Gawker CEO Nick Denton established a new pay system for his bloggers. Unlike a typical pay per post or revenue sharing scheme, Denton began to set quarterly payrates for bloggers based on the number of pageviews that their posts generated.

Prior to this most recent pay change, the bloggers at Valleywag were being paid $9.75/1000 pageviews. As of 4/1, they’re down to $6.50/1000 pageviews.

Portfolio’s Felix Salmon pegs Valleywag’s pageviews up around 34% from the prior quarter in this post.

Matthew Ingram takes a different approach in his post on the subject:

So all this time, Gawker Media founder and evil genius Nick Denton has been pretending to be a mild-mannered blog network CEO, when in reality he is a behavioural economist doing ground-breaking research into the mechanisms of human motivation and productivity.

We’ve discussed blogger pay previously and others have discussed unions – which is a very dumb idea in my mind.

When I was the SVP of Online Services for Problogging, Inc., the previous owners of The Blog Herald, we used a number of pay schemes for our bloggers.

Bloggers at the majority of our sites were paid on a revenue share basis that was highly tilted in favor of the bloggers. Those that did well and attracted advertising were paid quite well for the work that they did.

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At the Blog Herald and a couple other sites, we paid per post. While different bloggers had different pay rates, the model held up well for sites like Blog Herald.

Both pay systems had their purpose – and both served us well.

How should bloggers be paid? What do you think of Denton’s pay system?

More information: Valleywag: It’s April 1st and I don’t know what my salary is

View Comments (4)
  • This is something I just went through with my site and my staff of bloggers. I threw out the pay-per-post first, as I think it puts people in the “I get paid no matter how good my articles are” mentality. Not true with everyone, but certainly a possibility.

    Next, I explored the pageview scheme, similar to what Nick Denton does at Gawker. While that does increase productivity and pageviews, I feel like there would be a lot of good content that would go by the wayside because it doesn’t drive traffic. A structure like that stifles innovation and limits the bloggers who want to get paid to searching for only the hottest stories.

    The final structure, one of revenue sharing, seemed like the most sensible approach. In fact, a bonus system that is based upon how much profit the site makes, seems to bring everyone into the “do what is best for the site as a whole” mentality. That, I believe, is what creates the best end-user experience.

  • Neil – I think you’ve taken a pretty fair look at things. Revenue share is a really hard one to pull off though.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts –

  • i wonder how this is working out for them now? anyone hear? also…i’m wondering how the pageviews track over time. is that a revenue share for the lifetime of the post? are you cutting former writers $3.50 checks 2 years from now?

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