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Each month’s top 15 writers get paid. We’ll be able to pay the 20 top writers if elephant makes more money. Our incentives reward writers whose articles are:
3) and quality
…not just one of the three.
Secondly, we pay team players: those who support one another with advice, likes, tweets, comments and shares.
Here’s how we figure if you “win” and get paid. If your article:
…was an editor’s pick, tell us & we’ll “add” 10,000 views to the final value that we use to qualify. We will not add actual views—those you earn.
…was on a desired topic, tell us & we’ll add 10,000 “views” if we agree 108%. If it’s on the edge, spare us the time:
green (eco/environment/sustainability/gardening), politics, non-new agey spirituality (meditation/buddhadharma/mindfulness), gentlemen (for and about, excluding relationships), yoga, equal rights, animal rights are issues we don’t have enough of and want more of.
….has 15+ real comments (on the blog itself—your own are appreciated and can spark further comments, but aren’t themselves included), tell us & we’ll add 10,000 “views.”
We measure all readership numbers (10.2 million readers/month) through Google Analytics.
To qualify for one of our 15 monthly bonuses, fulfill three criteria:
1) Consistency: eight or more blogs a month.
Note: do not wait to send in blogs toward the end of the month as we may not get them up in time and they won’t count. Turnaround from receipt of your submission to posting will be a few days or more, unless labeled “timely” in the submit form.
2) Quality: not only do you blog consistently, but they are of sufficient merit that our editors accept them and share them up.
3) Popularity: reaching beyond the choir to all those who don’t yet know they give a care about “the mindful life” is a part of our mission. We don’t look down on clicks or views: they represent readers, and communicating with readers is our reason for being.
We pay the top 15 most popular folks who submit their list of articles and view counts by noon MST on the last day of the month—a little early is fine. If you submit your view count even one hour late, no payment. No excuses, no exceptions. If you ask for an exception and it is granted, you will be booted from the program for the next month.
Update from Waylon:
“We pride ourselves on paying writers for quality. But it’s hard to measure quality. We don’t hate astrology, it’s fine, but it’s not core to our mission. Neither are unicorns or crystals. That said, seasons do happen and stars move around. But we will no longer pay for astrology articles, so please focus your energies elsewhere if you’re competing to get paid by elephant each month. Astrology articles are still welcome and will do well and we’ll share them, but we won’t count them toward our Incentives, since the top writers are winning by sharing astrology to our enthusiastic readers, and that’s become confusing to our mission.”
> If our team of writers helps elephant grow in any given month,
> elephant’s #1 writer for the month wins $1,000. If the #1 writer gets more than 2,000,000 views, a bonus of $1,000.
> #2 wins $750
> #3 wins $500
> #4 – #5 win $108.
> #6 – #10 win a free gift subscription to give to a friend or family
> If elephant doesn’t grow in any given month,
Everyone gets the above, except the #4 – #5 who would have been paid $108 gets a free year-long gift subscription to elephant journal to give away instead, and the top three tiers get $250 less each.
Alex Myles: 17 articles; 559,909 readers + 50,000 bonus views for $2,000 and a big smooch, mwuah!
Kate Rose: 16 articles; 346,250 readers for $1,500 and a we heart you!
Sarah Norrad: 9 articles; 145,096 readers + 90,000 bonus views for $750 and a Shambhala bow!
Michelle Margaret Fajkus: 8 articles; 94,035 readers + 70,000 bonus views for $300 and a peaceful bear hug!
Elyane Youssef: 16 articles; 120,959 readers + 30,000 bonus views for $300 and a back flip!
Carmelene Siani: 21 articles; 51,176 readers + 80,000 bonus views for $125 and a high five!
Lindsay Carricarte: 9 articles; 37,017 readers + 70,000 bonus views for $125 and a keep it up!
Crystal Jackson: 15 articles; 56,904 readers + 40,000 bonus views for $125 and a hallelujah!
Jerry Stocking: 8 articles; 64,211 readers for $108 and well gaddamn!
Monika Carless: 8 articles; 21,711 readers + 20,000 bonus views for $108 and a back flip!
For a grand total of $4941 (not including what we pay elsewhere) and a big, sincere, appreciative thanks to Waylon. ~ Waylon
Via Waylon Lewis: 15 years ago, the public paid for media. Media, in turn, paid writers. And advertisers advertised.
Now, advertisers spend money sponsoring cool videos, most of us expect to read for free online, and Craigslist killed classified revenue…so most websites can’t afford to pay editors or writers, because readers don’t pay to read and advertisers don’t advertise and classifieds don’t exist and…
This is important because it reduces quality original information—real journalism—for we, the people.
Journalism is meant to serve as the fourth estate—the watch dog of government and our corporations. A check on power and a beacon of honesty and transparency on behalf of we, the people.
As a writer, trained journalist, and founder of elephant journal, I believe in paying writers for quality work—and my “paygate” (“Reinventing journalism in a new media context,” which I created in 2009, before the nytimes.com model was launched), which allows readers to read free then pay optionally, and which has since become the popular meter all over the US—enables most elephant readers (subscribers) to pay our best writers and editors to do good work for you.
Despite the fact that we make very little off of ads—about 1/50th other sites our size, because we only want to work with mindful advertisers—I pay the equivalent of several staff salaries a month to writers who are consistent, quality and popular.
Photo: Ben Sutherland/Flickr