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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 (with links to the articles) 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 November’s Winners:
Jenny Spitzer: 5 articles, 13,582 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Lucy Animus: 7 articles, 266,222 views for $250!
Yoli Ramazzina: 7 articles, 4,153 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Kimberly Lo: 13 articles, 27,981 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Erica Leibrandt: 8 articles, 60,907 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Megan Ridge Morris: 6 articles, 2,950 views for a free gift subscription!
Alex Sandra Myles: 22 articles, 254,720 views for $108!
Janne Robinson: 5 articles, 121,181 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Daniel Scharpenburg: 5 articles, 9,048 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Jes Wright: 5 articles, 3,756 views for a free gift subscription!
Saraswati J: 7 articles, 33,411 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Sarah Harvey: 8 articles, 76,319 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Toby Israel: 5 articles, 26,018 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Stacy Porter: 5 articles, 1,800 views for a free gift subscription!
Kathryn Muyskens: 18 articles, 81,558 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Rachel Astarte Piccione: 8 articles, 84,831 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Heather Grimes: 5 articles, 1,489 views for a free gift subscription!
Yaisa Nio: 10 articles, 22,672 views for two free gift subscriptions!
Tammy Stone: 10 articles, 170,866 views for $108!
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