Nowadays there are increasingly, online magazines and websites that accept original articles and photos etcetera, in exchange for a share of advertising revenue. Personally I think these sites are a great idea for budding writers to hone their craft and perhaps at the same time, to earn some cash. Each site has developed their own set of rules that are foisted upon the users and posters, and this is their right of course. However, in the interest of their contributors I feel that these policies must be tempered with a consideration for the owners of the copyrights of that submitted material and not just the desires of the individual website owners for a quick buck. That said, there are some sites that do things better than others in certain areas, and other sites that excel in their areas.
The issue of copyright of the material arises in the first consideration. Of course sites should not allow plagiarized material of any sort, and articles need to be the original creations of each submitter. But consider the workings of a hard copy magazine with regard to contributors. An author can submit original work to a magazine and have it published and then submit it to other publications as previously published work. In this day and age maybe sites should enable authors to publish material on their sites that has already been published on other sites. This is provided of course that the material is owned by the person submitting.
As far as earnings goes the contributor is completely at the mercy of the owners of the sites as there is no independent way of verifying earnings, save the integrity of the site itself. As has happened numerous times on several sites, earnings were at one level for certain times and the authors became expectant of getting a nice payout, only to have their hopes dashed at the last minute when they were told it was a “glitch” in the system. Once again, there is no independent way to ensure the veracity of such reports. Some websites have so automated their systems that even contact letters are answered by stock-standard replies. This makes an author feel much like a commodity rather than a valuable member of a writing community.
As mentioned in another article on earnings, http://writinghood.com/online-writing/earnings-on-triond/ the onus on the author should cease once the article has been written and posted, and depending on the quality of the written material this should generate traffic to the item. If one were to be fair in one’s dealings then the author should receive just compensation simply for generating the traffic, and sales from advertising is surely the domain of the advertisers themselves. Companies pay huge fees to advertising agencies to design campaigns to sell their products so one would expect that if an advertisement doesn’t sell then it will be pulled. The analogy is that if a commercial doesn’t sell its product, you don’t cut the television show where it was aired, as it has already been paid for the air-time.
Speaking personally, writing sites are passive in my view, and may never be the huge earners they seem to be for some. I do not have the time to sit for endless hours and read fellow authors’ material in the hope that they reciprocate in kind. Another aspect of these websites is that there are many social websites where material can be spread amongst. The trouble is that each social site doesn’t just want the article but you are required to be a member. This is more time-consuming and one could spend their whole time online tending to social networks, and when is one going to actually write. One thing I have noticed is though, that the most visited articles are the ones about how to generate traffic and make money on these very sites.
Therefore, as I have a day job to go to, and the evening for planning what to do in the day, that does not leave a lot of time to generate reciprocal views. I rely therefore on the quality of my posts to draw readers not simply from the writing community of the particular site but from the broader internet traffic as well. On the other hand, since I cannot devote the time to sites to earn the mega-bucks, I will be simply writing articles, and posting them, and relying on their content to generate views. Hopefully I can earn enough to pay for my internet account.