By MATHEW INGRAM
Monday, July 7, 2008
If you're any kind of online publisher - a traditional outlet looking to learn about online media, or a blog network looking to grow - you could do a lot worse than to follow the career of Nick Denton, a former traditional journalist who has become a new-media mogul thanks to the Gawker Media network of blogs. Denton has been conducting a kind of ongoing media workshop for the past couple of years, right out in the open (more or less).
In the latest instalment, the Dark Lord of the blogosphere has chopped the pay rate for bloggers at Gawker, for the second time in the last six months. It's not quite as bad as it sounds, however. Since the beginning of 2008, bloggers at the various Gawker properties - the flagship celebrity-obsessed blog, geek oracle Gizmodo, gossip rag Valleywag and so on - have been paid in part based on the traffic their posts attract.
What Denton has done, according to a report in Radar magazine - written by Choire Sicha, the former editor of Gawker - is to cut the bonus rate to $5 per thousand pageviews, from $6.50. That previous rate was itself a reduction from the original rate of $7.50 per thousand (all of the Gawker blogs have their own rate structure, but all have seen reductions).
But that's not their only pay - they still get a salary. The traffic-based payment is effectively a bonus - an incentive program (although whether it encourages bloggers to go for the cheap and titillating is the subject of debate). In other words, bloggers have to "earn back" their base salary first, and then whatever traffic they get after that is a bonus. And even with the cuts, Gawker bloggers still do pretty well. According to estimates from Felix Salmon at Portfolio.com, some staffers at Gawker could make six figures.
For more details and links, please see the Ingram 2.0 blog at http://www.globetechnology.com.