Monday, July 03, 2006

Pay Per Post: Profit Not Payola

Monetizing the Internet. It's equally considered a violation of the sacred digital highway; and a neccessity to move it from long term experiment to viable commercial medium.
Way back in the 1990s, people put banners on their pages and reaped in 10¢ per click. Then click-fraud went rampant (who thought a web site owner would click on their own links?); the advertisers found that they didn't get their dime's worth and the price plummeted to well below a penny per click. Google Adsense has come along with a refined model and a streamlined execution. Like all pyramid schemes: 1% of the people are making 99% of the money. Adsense gurus are showing off how to make $6,000 per day, but many schmoes out there are making only $0.02 per day.
If the economies of scale content (lots of people paying a little money) doesn't work, there has to be another model to follow. I have long been a fan of the patron system. Someone commissions you to perform a work for them. It's their dime and you take note of that when you do it. It's still the economy of scale concept, just far fewer people are paying much more money.
Enter http://www.payperpost.com. This is a website that registers bloggers and gives them assignments. Ironically, I found out about this via a CNet column slamming the concept (I won't burden you with a link to that commentator's drivel). It's ironic, because the blogger who is criticizing Pay Per Post, is getting paid to post his work. If people were not able to post to the Internet and eke out a living, many fewer people would do so. That's the problem with the Internet: because there is little cash in play there is no incentive to stop "regular" work and post on the Internet. Pay Per Post offers a remedy. They hand out assignments to their bloggers, the bloggers write a piece on that subject. There is a spin requested (postive or neutral usually). There is always spin in everything written. When I was doing movie reviews I knew there were two ways to spin a mediocre movie: savage it and alienate the distributor; or critique it-- show the flares and the flaws-- with the idea that all publicity is good publicity. Even if I tore it to shreds, I still got to see it for free. Indeed, if I get a book review, I usually get to keep it-- that's a $10-100 book that I might not have purchased. This isn't payola. This is monetization. I am taking what I am given and putting my opinion around the subject. I have never held my nose and given a stinker a good review.
I am hoping that Pay Per Post has a future because it promises to couple effort with money and that is at the heart of the capitalistic system were live under.

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