>Saturday, January 10, 2009
If You’re a Writer, Associated Content Can Help
Is discrimination always a nasty, illegal act designed to hurt someone? What might appear to an outsider as discrimination sometimes is done by a person or a company for perfectly honest, reasonable, and understandable reasons.
There was some controversy over the presence of Tim Armstrong, head of advertising for Google in North America, when he was on AC’s board. According to Elinor Mills, some marketing professionals have suggested the tactics used by AC in attempting to gain revenue, such as ensuring keyword placement in articles, are gaming the system and that Armstrong’s presence was a gray area. However, others contend that these are legitimate tactics used by many content providers.
In addition to text content (articles), AC has categories for video, audio, and slide shows. There is also an online community where users share their expertise, network and voice opinions.
In contrast to many user-generated content sites, AC does pay many users for content up front. Articles are usually required to have at least 400 words, and may include pictures from approved sources. “Calls for Content” are another source of article ideas and income for writers. AC displays predefined article titles and users can “claim” the article, possibly for pay. Other content producers can also suggest article ideas to a user.
Only authors who are over 18 years old and are US citizens or legal residents are eligible for up-front payments. But in my view, that is not discrimination. I have a law degree and tons of experience, so I should know. The inordinate expense of keeping track of multi-country taxes is the reason foreigners can’t get upfront payments. That’s a business decision, not discrimination. Neither is the way AC pays its writers, because users get to choose to convey exclusivity and receive up-front payments plus merit payments or to just receive CPM (cost per thousand), retaining the right to re-publish, or just display rights..
AC writers may submit content for publication without an up-front payment. Slide shows and fiction submissions generally do not receive up-front payments. All articles written by users who agree to the contract are eligible to receive payments based on the number of times their content is viewed.
This is an American company that organized as an open content network and their dollar-and-cents reason for only allowing American citizens to receive upfront payments is not a violation of any laws. I would operate exactly the same way if I were Luke Beatty. AC’s platform enables anyone in the world to participate in the new content economy by publishing content on any topic, in any format (text, video, audio and images), and connects that content to consumers, partners and advertisers.
If you’ve ever tried to get a magazine or newspaper to publish and pay for your articles, you must agree, AC is a godsend.
But to keep taxes simple, AC offers U.S. citizens one advantage foreigners do not enjoy, upfront payment for content. Some say upfront payments are almost always $7 to $15, but it must be content they want to publish. I accepted $2.24 as my first upfront payment on a very good article, but at that time I didn’t understand what others were getting and it lacked photos. I won’t complain, unless that happens again. And the way I will complain is to submit the content to Idea Marketers or Hub Pages or someone else.
Again, that is not discrimination. It’s a business decision and I’ll leave it at that, though in my case I believed the story was worth a whole lot more as you would for your material. If I were a foreigner and couldn’t survive without upfront payments, I would take my business elsewhere. That’s the essence of our free enterprise system, isn’t it? No one owes us a living. If content is viewed by others as great, it will be properly rewarded. That’s my view, though some may say that is naive.
AC’s platform enables anyone to participate in the new content economy by publishing content on any topic, in any format (text, video, audio and images), and connects that content to consumers, partners and advertisers.
Content Producers benefit in three major ways beyond the opportunity to publish: fair payment compensation, online discoverability and distribution through AC’s partner sites. Anyone can become a Content Producer. If you like to write articles, take pictures, or use content of others in magazines, ezines, advertising, or other purposes give AC a try. Click here to learn more and sign up with AC.