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15 years ago, the public paid for media. Media, in turn, paid writers. And advertisers advertised. Now, advertisers spend money on cool videos, the public expects to read for free online, and so most websites can’t afford to pay writers.
This is serious stuff. Journalism is meant to serve as the fourth estate—the watch dog of government, and our corporations, a check of power and a beacon of honesty or transparency on behalf of the commonwealth.
As a writer, I believe in paying writers for quality work, and elephant subscribers make it possible. Despite the fact that we make very little off of ads—about 1/40th other sites our size—I voluntarily pay the equivalent of several staff salaries each month to writers who are:
2. quality and
Our system, detailed below, is intended to:
1) establish clear goals for you writers every month and
2) create a cooperative, team-effort system that encourages writers to support one another through commenting, sharing, community.
Elephant Journal’s Writer Payment Plan:
Our incentives are founded on
2) consistency and
not just one of the three.
We’re paid as a group for group success, so there’s direct financial incentive to support one another with advice, likes, tweets, comments and shares.
We measure total elephant readership numbers (we’ve reached 9.3 million sessions/month) through Google Analytics, not individual numbers through WordPress (WP numbers can be fuzzy) to ensure that our incentive payment system rewards both group effort and individual achievement. Writers are directly incentivized to support one another with comments, shares, tweets and likes, shares to reddit, stumbleupon.
If elephant grows at least 10 percent:
> Everyone who writes and shared five or more blogs (with quality sufficient that our editors accept) in the month gets paid $50. The most popular among you will qualify for the bigger most popular writers bonus below, instead.
If elephant doesn’t grow at least 10 percent:
> Everyone who submits five or more blogs in that month gets a year-long gift subscription for that month to use or give to a loved one, and the most popular among you may qualify for the most popular writers bonus below, instead.
Most Popular Writers.
I’d like to reward our 15 top writers beyond the above-mentioned unlimited incentive of $50 or gift subscription for all writers. I’ll be able to pay
10, then 15, then 20, 30 popular writers, etc., as elephant makes more money.
To qualify for one of our 10 monthly bonuses, fulfill three criteria:
1) consistency: five quality blogs, or more, published in the month—note: do not wait to send in blogs toward the end of the month as we may not get them up in time,
2) quality: not only do you blog consistently, but they are of sufficient quality and merit that we share them up.
3) popularity: reach beyond the choir to keep individual incentives alive.
I’ll pay the top 10 most popular folks who submit view counts by noon MST on the last day of the month—if you submit your view count even one hour late, no payment. No excuses, no exceptions.
> If we grow,
#1 writer gets $1,000 for that month,
#2 and #3 get $450, and
#4 – #15 get $108 each.
> If elephant doesn’t grow,
#1 gets $250,
#2 and #3 get $108, and
#4 – #15 get two free subscriptions for themselves or a loved one.
If you think you may qualify for a payment or bonus this month, you must submit your total WordPress view count for that month (as in the past) by noon of the last day of said month. Be on time or early: no exceptions.
PS: no exceptions.
Here are September’s Winners:
Michelle Margaret Fajkus: 10 articles, 16,950 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Hannah Hilton: 6 articles, 6,032 views for a free gift subscription!
Jennifer White: 12 articles, 51,653 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Saraswati J.: 8 articles, 31,2314 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Yoli Ramazzina: 6 articles, 1,736 views for a free gift subscription!
Yaisa Nio: 5 articles, 9,933 views for a free gift subscription!
Kimberly Lo: 12 articles, 65,581 views for $108
Megan Ridge Morris: 7 articles, 6,122 views for a free gift subscription!
Jes Wright: 8 articles, 5,453 views for a free gift subscription!
Sarah Harvey: 12 articles, 19,783 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Brenna Fisher: 5 articles, 57,532 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Kathryn Muyskens: 15 articles, 98,471 views for $108
Michael Mark: 6 articles, 17,475 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Toby Israel: 5 articles, 23,356 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Rachel Astarte Piccione: 8 articles, 105,497 views for $250
Phil Watt: 7 articles, 10,983 views for a free gift subscription!
Ashleigh Hitchcock: 5 articles, 18,587 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Tammy Stone: 7 articles, 6,278 views for a free gift subscription!
Victoria Fedden: 5 articles, 10,888 views for a free gift subscription!
Daniel Scharpenburg: 7 articles, 35,603 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Tom Grasso: 9 articles, 42,268 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Ruth Lera: 10 articles, 14,604 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Laura Kutney: 5 articles, 25,609 views for two free gift subscriptions!
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