Will Huffington Post Syndrome Kill Paid Blogging?
Carol Tice | 49 Comments

The new going rate for blogging?

I’ve made a lot of money blogging for pay in the past couple of years. And I’ve encouraged a lot of other freelance writers to develop their blogging chops, smarten up their personal blogs, and go after paid blogging gigs.

But a couple of disturbing recent developments have got me rethinking that idea.

I’m afraid we’re about to enter an ugly down cycle where the complaint isn’t going to be that companies want you to blog for $10 or $15 a post.

The new going rate — even from major corporations and publishing firms — appears to be zero.

Here’s the story of two recent blogging gigs I had, and how they went from great pay to no pay in a matter of months.

One was for the parent company of financial-services firm Lending Tree. Spun off from Interactive Corp. in 2008, Tree was awash in red ink and looking to rebuild its business by establishing itself as a major online finance-information portal. It would draw visitors and then advertise its products.

Last spring, I was writing for three different channels of Tree.com’s multichannel business-information portal at $100 a post, up to 16 posts a month. It was sort of a weird project — we couldn’t get much direction on who the audience was or which topics got the best traffic, and the company never put out so much as a single press release about Tree.com’s launch. But it was fun, and the editors and writers were great.

Shortly afterwards, I was contacted by Hotfrog, a heavily trafficked global business website based out of Australia and owned by venerable, publicly traded business-publishing house Reed Elsevier (owner of Lexis-Nexis). The company saw a profit of about $619 million in the first half of this year.

When I told the editor I worked for $100 a post and up, he offered me $175.

I felt like things were looking up in the world of blogging. Like skills in this emerging medium were being increasingly valued for the traffic and business they can bring to a site.

Then, in February, AOL announced it would buy The Huffington Post — millionaire socialite Arianna Huffington’s wildly successful site built on a model of unpaid blogging done for links and exposure — for $315 million.

I don’t find it a coincidence that within a few months of this announcement, both of these paid blogging gigs vaporized.

As has already been chronicled by others, Tree.com shut down its project overnight on June 30, after spending what may have been $1 million on editorial. Its big spend achieved its goal of creating a high-traffic website — the project was a total success. But the company thought it should try a new model for writer pay: Please blog for us for free — we’ll give you links and exposure, and maybe even a little ad revenue!

Three weeks later, I got the same song from Hotfrog: “We’ve decided to change the current contribution model,” my editor wrote, noting that they were unilaterally cancelling my contract midstream, leaving me out more than $500 in planned assignments. “We would like to propose an arrangement where we offer traffic and links from [our site] to your blogs or websites in exchange for your articles.”

I wished both of these major corporations best of luck in finding experienced business writers willing to go for that deal, and moved on.

On reflection, I’m concerned this is a new disease that’s broken out. I call it:

Huffington Post Syndrome

These corporations are looking at what AOL did and thinking, “I should do that, too.” Maybe I could get professional writers to blog for me for free, too.

The forecast: It’s ugly times out there for paid blogging.

I’m watching to see what happens with my remaining paid blogging gigs, but I’m not going to be shocked if they disappear, too.

What can you do?

When major, publicly traded companies think they can up their profits by convincing professional writers to donate their services — or use free writing talent to try to drive their business out of the red and start making a dime again — it’s time to branch out into other forms of freelance writing.

I think eventually, the cycle will swing back toward professional pay rates for blogging again, once enough companies have a chance to learn the hard way that they are not high-profile millionairesses writers would like to hang out with online and write sophisticated business-finance posts for, just for the reflected glamour.

But I bet it’s going to take a while.

In the meanwhile, I recommend writers:

  • work hard on monetizing their own blogs
  • start looking for gigs that aren’t blogging

There are plenty of other writing niches out there that still pay well.

Learn about technical writing, case studies, white papers, textbook supplements, grant applications, annual reports, requests for proposals for government contracts, feature articles.

Or you can write for this site. Even my little ol’ blog can manage to pay $50 a post.

What’s your recent experience been with paid blogging rates? Leave a comment and share your take.

Zero illustration: stock.xchng – ilco

49 comments on “Will Huffington Post Syndrome Kill Paid Blogging?

  1. sonny on

    so what’s a blogger to do?

    Where are the paying sites these days? I sure could use some payola for my thoughts and ideas

    • Carol Tice on

      Plenty of businesses are paying bloggers, Sonny. Ironically, since this post came out, I now blog for pay for Forbes, one of the sites that’s partially adopted the Huffington model. But they retain a core of journalist-bloggers that report on particular business sectors and are paid.

      Lots of small business and large ones are paying bloggers — do some prospecting in sectors you like and find abandoned blogs, and pitch your services.

  2. Michael on

    Well thought out Carol. I’ve been a freelance blogger for 3 months now. Really, it’s a great business to be in. I usually charge $30 – 40 per article as a starter but recently, my clients decided to offer me a huge raise to $60 per 800 min. article.

    Even though this is great, it’s very rare these days and one of my clients sent me an email asking me to write for them for free, with a link back to my site.

    Your post has made everything clear to me.
    I’m glad I visited and I’ve been reading about your great works. Would love to learn more freelancing tips from you. Keep up the good works!
    Michael recently posted…Google Panda Updates: How To Improve Your Blog’s Ranking In 30 DaysMy Profile

  3. Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on

    I, too, have a feeling the trend will turn back around once the companies realize they get what they pay for. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will happen any time soon as they are probably the same companies who don’t see their ROI of paying writers as a valuable expense.

    Let’s hope companies who haven’t yet paid for writers see that the “write-for-links” site’s qualities have diminished and recognize the value in paying professionals.
    Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] recently posted…Friday Fun Day! See Also: I’m Inviting More Men To My BedMy Profile

  4. Kathryn Hawkins on

    Hi Carol,

    I just stumbled across your blog and loved this post – I wrote for Hotfrog too, and received that same “in lieu of payment” email (though my editor did send a personal apology a moment later). I think you have a point about the HuffPo model, and people who write about small biz are particularly susceptible since biz owners are always hearing about how they should publicize their companies and get back links by doing guest posts. Given that those posts always have an agenda, though, I’m not sure how useful they are to readers, and I hope the site owners will realize that.

  5. Katherine Swarts on

    Just a thought: might it be easier to negotiate for higher pay if (for clients that don’t already have blogs, or that rarely update those they have) you proposed an “open-ended series of e-articles” rather than a “blog”? An open-ended series of e-articles, is, after all, exactly what a blog is; and perhaps the phrase, though longer, sounds more professional.

    On monetizing one’s own blog: my own biggest problem (and it’s a longstanding one) is how to drive the traffic there in the first place. (I admit I haven’t been posting frequently or regularly in the last several months, but its loss of high-priority status on my To Do list was more a result than a cause of no one’s seeming to visit anyway.) The problem likely has little to do with actual content (except insofar as it relates to SEO), because what comments I have gotten have been almost all favorable.
    Katherine Swarts recently posted…But Everyone Knows You HAVE to!My Profile

  6. Erin on

    Yikes, this is dispiriting. I would have thought larger companies would be smarter about this. I have certainly been approached by small startups to write for “exposure,” but hasn’t everyone? That large organizations could be deluded into thinking they are the next Huffington Post is worrisome. Like others have noted, I hope the trend reverses itself with time. In the meantime, freelance writers need to band together and refuse to do it. Thanks for bringing attention to this issue.

  7. Linda Hamilton on

    One thing that came to mind after thinking on this topic and reading several of the replies was the wireless carrier industry in which I previously worked. With the millions of customers that each carrier has, , i.e. AT&T and Verizon Wireless, their attitude is that when a customer gets mad at them for the high cost of calling plans or poor customer service that customer will leave their carrier for another one. They do try to “save” the customer at times by offering deals or discounts, but customers still leave by the thousands. Their mindset, though, is that after a few months or perhaps a year, that customer will realize that their carrier was the best and come back. Then they can charge the current prices, instead of perhaps a lesser rate that was billed for long-term past clients, and the customer has learned that their service is better than the competition. It’s costly, yes, but they came back.

    The other thought I had was how many times they shut down a specific department saying it wasn’t cost-effective, moved the few remaining workers around or let them go, and operated without it for a while. Then the leadership that made this change was demoted or fired, and the department was brought back and built up because it was definitely a money-maker and valuable asset. I can’t tell you how many times over 13 years I saw this same scenario with one or two departments. And after it was shut down it was always brought back up stronger because it was needed.

    That’s what I think will happen with this situation. After a while, those companies hiring bloggers writing for free will see the reduced readership and quality of what they’re getting and turn around to hire the best writer in the group or go back to previous writers once paid with better offers. They have to learn from experience that they will get what they pay for and when they don’t pay for it, they won’t get the value that once improved their readership experience and market share. Time will tell, but based on what I’ve seen… they’ll all be back in about six months to a year.

  8. Laura on

    Thanks for bringing this trend up, Carol. I find it rather interesting because I’ve still been seeing regular job offerings for bloggers that aren’t at all this bad–granted, they’re not the $100+ posts you usually take up, but in the $50-80 range per 300-500 word post. That’s not shoddy to me, especially when none of them are requiring a large amount of specialization out of the gate. It makes me wonder if this is only happening on the large corporate scale, and smaller to medium sized businesses (those just beginning, as well) still understand that great content can get them traffic, hence it should be paid for. As you brought up, I doubt that many full time freelancers will jump on board with this when they could be getting paid living wages and getting decent recognition through other means. Personally, I’m more than content to target the businesses that still understand what writing is worth. They fall more in line with what I enjoy, regardless–HP is too cluttered and sensationalist in my eyes.

  9. Pinar Tarhan on

    Oh, there are a couple of blogs that I’m willing to write for free. They are all MY blogs:) And even then, it is not exactly for free. I get affiliate income and advertising income.

    Exposure, traffic and a little side income are all very well when I am the editor and I am calling the shots. But when I’m working for someone, abiding by their rules, generating a post targeted for their audience, I want a decent paycheck.

    I’m really happy that you are opposing to this model publicly, and I really hope all writers, struggling or well-off, reject the idea all together.
    Pinar Tarhan recently posted…Productivity for Writers: Tips to Increase Your Productivity During Hot WeatherMy Profile

  10. Kimberlee Morrison on

    Carol,

    I agree that this trend will probably reverse itself. The freelance community is NOT happy about being expected to product quality work, but being paid less than a working wage. When I think back though, to my days as a blog network editor, I have to say that $100/post would have been considered high-paying. We didn’t pay anywhere close to that, and we always had people willing to crank out 5-10 posts per week. This was a tiny publisher though, not a multi-million-dollar publisher like Huffington Post. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If a company is making a profit on your work, you should reap the rewards. I was part of a community that shared a huge part of its ad revenue with me for writing posts, posts that would get lots of traffic if picked up by MSNBC. It worked out to about $100/syndicated post, but somewhere along the way, the revenue split was restructured and one of my most popular articles only got $10 for almost 20,000 pageviews. I decided that the revenue split deal wasn’t working anymore and haven’t shared any original content on that site in a long time. In fact, most of the sites best contributors left around the same time and the quality of the content has never been the same. I’m thinking the adage “you get what you pay for” is absolutely at lay here.
    Kimberlee Morrison recently posted…Stay Low, Keep Your Head Up and Keep Your Feet MovingMy Profile

  11. Linda Hamilton on

    Although I honestly don’t remember what blog I read (which may show the impact of the author behind it), a writer posted that she has been accepting blogging projects that pay $15-$20 a post and writing prolifically for several months. Said she’s laughing all the way to the bank, and while it’s lots of work she has other writers helping her keep up with her constant demand. Her point was that these low-paying gigs were generating enough monthly income that she was always busy, always getting new similarly-paid gigs, and had plenty of freelance work. Her response to those who shook their heads at her for writing for such low pay was at least she was working, making lots of money, finding greater demand and many others she knew were struggling.

    As I read this blog I thought of her. She and her team may be people who accept the non-paying gigs and think they are doing themselves a favor. Meanwhile the rest of us look of higher paying gigs that require less work, better quality writing and perhaps a more professional attitude at blog-writing itself. I truly wonder how many such writers the Huffington-Post Syndrome will generate? I must admit I wonder about the quality of the writing. Within the first three lines of the post I found three typos and several extra words. Most of the content was okay, but throughout I did find other errors.

    I’ve got a resume writing business that’s growing and taking up a lot of time, but still looking to build an additional freelance career. Earlier this week I tried my hand at SEO content writing for a personal ad and while it took a while, it worked! My finished ad listed directly below the #1 ad and was getting clicks. I’ve focused on more such writing within my web site and other online ads. Knowing I can do that will truly help when writing my blog and looking for future work.

    Thanks for this heads-up Carol.

    • Carol Tice on

      I often find when bloggers getting those type of rates brag about how they’re making ‘so much’ money…if you can nail them down about what they mean by that, it’s usually a figure half or less of what I want to earn. And how long can you grind out 10 articles an hour?

      As Sean Platt said in his great Open House call with me recently, if you can write things that make people buy things, you can be well paid…so way to go on the ad writing!

  12. FutureExpat on

    Carol, I think you’re absolutely right. And it’s not just writers. I’ve been seeing a trend for years of companies expanding their profits by forcing their employees to bear some of the risks of ownership. For example, my husband worked as a courier when he was in grad school. He could fit working hours around his class and study schedule, and it seemed reasonable. However, the company controlled all the work and struck all the deals with customers, but the drivers had to supply their own vehicles, put the gas in them and maintain them. We saw a reasonable cash flow during that year, but when I did our taxes I discovered that he only kept about 15% of what he was paid, the rest went into vehicle expenses. And for that he worked long, hard, stressful hours.

    If the company had to provide the vehicles, maintain them and put fuel in them, they would have to charge many times more for services. In fact, if they had to charge what the service is actually worth, they probably wouldn’t have a business.

    But their “business model” is to pay the drivers 50% of whatever the job takes in. So if they make a bad deal with the customer, it’s really no skin off their nose, it’s the driver who bears the loss. (Driving 25 miles — one way — to deliver a package for $4, for example).

    And that’s just one example.
    FutureExpat recently posted…Best Countries for Quality of Life in 2011My Profile

  13. Karen on

    It will be interesting to see how this goes in the future. Huff Post is Huff Post (= massive exposure) and still a lot of quality writers don’t want to write for them for free. (A lot do of course). I guess in the end it will come down to: are you a writer or a marketer (or both, in which case you have two different careers and two different strategies)? I will continue to write for pay BUT I would never rule out the possibility of writing for Huff Post (or similar) as a marketing tool, especially if I needed to get a lot of traffic to a highly monetized site. Writing for ‘exposure’ when you don’t have a highly monetized site to send traffic to? I don’t get it. As someone wise (I forget who) once said: You can die of exposure.
    Karen recently posted…Ten Freelance Writing Tools for $10 or LessMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Karen —

      Few businesses are going to acquire the HuffPo’s cachet as a place to appear, much less their traffic. But it will take businesses a while to test out and then have to admit this model isn’t going to work for them.

  14. Jason on

    This is great advice. I’ve recently been working on building up a second blog to capture some close-to-exact-matches for the niche I write in (my personal blog ranks well but my domain has nothing to do with the terms I’m going after – live and learn), and I’ve also started writing for other blogs. I’m still new to the whole pro-blogging thing, but I am learning to diversify. 🙂

    -j
    Jason recently posted…The 7 Best 4HB Blogs You Should Be ReadingMy Profile

  15. John Soares on

    I’ve been approached by at least a dozen hiking/outdoors websites, some very large, to write free content in exchange for exposure and a link to my site. I’ve always said no.

    Smart businesses try to maximize profits (or minimize losses). I wonder how many of the sites that have paid $100 and up for blog posts were able to measure or estimate the long-term income/benefits from those posts and saw they weren’t getting a $100 or more in return.

    And from a similar perspective, they may see a better return on their investment of much lower fees to blog post writers, or even zero fees.
    John Soares recently posted…Write Faster: 12 Top Tips for Freelance WritersMy Profile

  16. Steph Auteri on

    I have to admit, I have been seeing this downturn. One site I used to write for regularly (at $100/post) now pays only $50/post. I felt discouraged when I heard that, because it’s incredibly tough to find well-paying web mags these days, and they used to be one of them. At this point, I’m like you. If I can’t get them to go up to at least $100, I walk away. And I find myself walking away more and more these days.

    On the other hand, I have one client paying me $100/post to ghostwrite content that goes up on HuffPo. Luckily, he sees the value in what I do, and doesn’t agree with their pay model. And I just landed another client who’s paying me $300/post.

    So has there been a downturn, yes? But I don’t think all is lost. You just have to look a little harder for that blogging gold.
    Steph Auteri recently posted…Need New Material? Try Living Your LifeMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi Steph —

      Thanks for sharing that fascinating story about possibly a new good niche for writers — ghostwriting the posts CEOs want to put on HuffPo! Hadn’t even thought of that one.

      It’s always been true that you can take a low-paying or free market and work your way back up the chain to companies that want to appear there, and then pitch that company instead of the portal directly. I had one long-running client where I wrote $350 articles that they put on Yahoo and AOL’s job sites…while the portals directly I think paid $50.

      Follow the money, people! Sometimes you can write for the same outlet and get the same great exposure…but get better paid by looking to a different type of client to pay you, instead of that portal directly.

      • Ruth Terry on

        This is the first time I’ve checked out the comments on Carol’s blog (usually read it via email). Loving this conversation!!!

        Seems like a lot of companies have blogs because “Oh my God! Everyone has a blog! We need a blog!” But many don’t know how to effectively develop/market content—a need I try to meet.

        After I connect, I always pitch a series, rather than/in addition to a single post. I ask if they have an editorial calendar and how they tie the blog to other social media—other things I can help with.
        This strategy has worked for me as a consultant, we’ll see if it works for blogging…

        Random aside: I’ve noticed I get WAY better results by *asking* to see, say, an ed cal or mktg plan than by offering to help up front. Asking seems to increase buy-in by making folks think everyone else has whatever I asked about, but if they get some help now, no one will know they were out of the loop. Offering, on the other hand, seems to put folks on the defensive.

        • Carol Tice on

          After watching a lot of small-business clients put up blogs without much result, I now have a minimum of one hour of social-media consulting in my basic contract, where I teach their team how to socialize and promote their posts. Made a big difference.

          And yes, doing one-off posts for pay isn’t the way to go. My minimum is four a month and a two-month contract…it’ll take that long to start getting some traction, so I want them to persist long enough to see it pay off.

      • Karen on

        This really is interesting. Of course if Huff Post is a valuable marketing tool it makes sense that there will inceasingly be freelance jobs ghost writing content for it. Just goes to show, you have to roll with the punches… As one door shuts and all that. Not sure where all these cliches are coming from. I usually avoid them like the plague… Oops. 🙂
        Karen recently posted…Ten Freelance Writing Tools for $10 or LessMy Profile

  17. Anne Wayman on

    I suspect David Worrell is pointing to the real trend… back to paid when the quality goes down. Remember Huffington Post attracted a ton of people who were so glad to have a highly visible mostly progressive place to write they jumped on it for free. I doubt there are many people passionate about LendingTree offers to be happy to write for free.

    It’s another shakeout period and as pros stand firm, learn to make money with their own blogs etc. it will shift again, and again… change really is the only constant.
    Anne Wayman recently posted…Of Rejection And PersistenceMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      My point exactly…these businesses are fantasizing that writers would be inspired to blog for free about…car insurance or ratio analysis of your balance sheet. These aren’t somebody’s passion project. They need to pay, and they will figure that out…but I think it may be a while.

      • Ruth Terry on

        Right on, Carol!

        I’m actually seeing this trend in other markets I write for. I used to make $200-$300 a story for the regional business mag I write for. Not a ton, but my past editors taught me SO MUCH! Without warning, I now make $150 a story (on spec, no less!) and I’m not learning as much. I think ad revenue dropped… It’s SUCH a vicious cycle though. There’s no incentive for freelancers to continue writing or improve our writing for this mag, which means fewer readers, which means less ad revenue.

        P.S. By the way, Carol, I haven’t forgotten your invitation to pitch a blog post idea! And I want to say that I really, truly appreciate the way you walk your talk! That seems to be a rarity these days…

  18. Ruth Zive on

    The pay is excellent for white papers and case studies, which is why while I am trying to establish my place in the Blogosphere, I continue to nurture relationships with my technology clients. I know where my bread is buttered.

    That said, I was recently offered links to do a blog post, and unless the exposure I’m going to receive rivals that of The Huffington Post (or is strategically positioned within my niche industry), frankly, I’d rather walk away.
    Ruth Zive recently posted…Breaking the rules will make you a better writerMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Right on, Ruth. When they say ‘blog for exposure’ you have to ask yourself — how MUCH exposure would that be, exactly? And is it the right KIND of exposure — to readers who would be my prospective clients? I’ve been on the front page of some HUGE portals that never got me a single client…not the right kind of audience.

      And also, do you really need exposure, or do you need paying work?

  19. David Worrell on

    Thanks for sharing these data-points Carol. Frankly, I think you are right that most blogs will eventually TRY this no-pay model. Without wishing them ill, I think they will fail … for the simple fact that even excellent un-paid bloggers will not take the time to do great work. Anything short of a great post lacks the SEO punch — and the reader interest — to drive traffic (and reader value) over the long-term.

    Actually I have ALREADY SEEN IT HAPPEN. In fact, I was recruited to blog on http://www.AllBusiness.com, for the grand sum of 25 bucks. I took it because it was dead-simple for me, fun, and many of my colleagues from other assignments were involved. Then, to my shock, I realized that they had over 50 other bloggers! (Many working for $0)

    Within 4 months, the editors called and told me that they were firing more than half the bloggers, but they would like me to stick around… writing just 4 posts a month at $75 each. (Triple the former rate.)

    The reason? Post quality was down. Post regularity was spotty. In short, they were getting the quality they were paying for…. which was not much.

    These days I put a lot more effort into my AllBiz posts. I look harder for timely topics. I write with SEO in mind. I tweet and FB my own posts to get some buzz going. And I just care more.

    Time will tell whether AllBiz made the right call, but I think it’s a good sign.

    Best to all (underpaid) bloggers!
    David
    David Worrell recently posted…The Internet is Making You StupidMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Hi David —

      I’ve written for Allbiz as well, and they have been one of the trailblazers who realize paying a premium for higher-quality content can be their differentiator that gets them a LOT more attention and traffic. All their articles used to be $100, and then about 18 mos-2 years ago they started assigning a few features each month at $1 a word. Hopefully they will not be infected with HPS.

      I had seen rates go up at several business websites…but now this. White papers and annual reports are looking good to me these days.

    • Ruth on

      Hi David,

      I totally agree. As a former volunteer coordinator and an unpaid editorial mentor for a hyperlocal cit journo project, I know how hard it is to get people to do things for free, indefinitely, without any incentive.

      I actually just resigned from editorial mentoring this week—which, incidentally, I started doing because I felt I’d learned all I could as a citizen reporter—because there was just no structure to advance with increased responsibility or exposure.

      Ultimately, I think these companies are going to find that unpaid bloggers are working for free to build skills, get clips and eventually transition to paid work. When those incentives dry up, so will content quality and their ability to effectively reach their consumers.

  20. Julie on

    I’m not surprised Reed Elsevier would think it can have extremely competent writers writing for free. After all, they’re one of the biggest academic publishing houses, and the extremely profitable business model of scientific journals is as follows: as an academic (university professor, postdoc researcher, etc.), you write articles to spread your ideas (also to try and “copyright” them – first published, first credited, or something like that).
    Your articles are proof that you belong in the scientific community, they are a way of getting accepted by your peers. They’re essential items on your CV. You try to publish these in a scientific journal, and Reed Elsevier owns hundreds of them. You write for free, since you’re trying to get “links” (citations) and “exposure”. And this is all you’re ever going to get.
    You HAVE to publish (remember, in academia, it’s publish or perish!), but you are never, ever going to get paid for your article. Even better, all (ar at least most of) the editors and review committees also work for free, on top of their already existing academic commitments.
    And when you publish an article in such a journal, you have to sign (true story!) a contract saying you forfeit ALL RIGHTS to your article. You are not even allowed to circulate your article privately to peers, or to send it along other material to apply for a position, or to publish it on your own website.
    I’m in the process of transitioning from academia to freelance writing, and, well, on behalf of academics, I’d like to say “Sorry!” to all the writers out there… If Reed Elsevier thinks it can get away with this, it’s because, well, we let it get away with it for so long…

    • Jeanne on

      My favorite part about academic/scientific publishing is the way in which your taxpayer-funded research must be published in a peer-reviewed journal, which requires you to pay the publisher, who then turns around and sells it to taxpayer funded libraries in extraordinarily overpriced journal packages and then restricts access to the research with licensing agreements as they please. Fun times!

      (I’m an academic librarian working with open repositories and digital collections.)

      • Julie on

        Jeanne, that is so, so true! They’re one of the reasons I got so fed up with research. Not research per se, but the fact that both researchers and librarians keep facing budget cuts and layoffs while those publishing houses make huge profits!

  21. Jean Gogolin on

    Good advice, Carol. But I’d leave out annual reports as good gigs. I wrote and produced them for years for major companies, but today most of them are doing “wrap 10Ks” instead. Much cheaper for them, and nobody (read financial types, which is the only audience that counts) reads the coffee table books anymore. They don’t need top-notch writers for 10Ks.
    Jean Gogolin recently posted…Swim with Sharks, Save Them From SoupMy Profile

    • Carol Tice on

      Plenty of big annual reports are still being produced in my experience…I was at a client meeting yesterday with a government agency that just did one so beautiful it looked like a consumer magazine.

      Maybe some have phased it out, but certainly at the big-company and agency level annual reports aren’t going anywhere…if anything they’re getting bigger. Also now they often do a corporate responsibility report separately that can be 50-60 pages itself.

  22. Karen S. Elliott on

    I hope this is not a trend that accelerates! I’ve turned down a couple of blog-for-free gigs (from blogs that had ads on them). I feel I’ve already got enough “exposure.” If you really like my writing, then you should be willing to pay for it. I feel the same way about my proofreading and copy editing. While I’m happy to give you a couple pages for skill assessment, I’m not doing the whole novel for the experience – I need to pay the bills!
    Karen S. Elliott recently posted…3 hauntingly simple steps for kicking writer’s block to the curbMy Profile

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