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« Big Journalists Finally Take on Apple in Blog Case | Main | Update on "Journalist" Taking Government Pay »

April 08, 2005


Joe I.

I agree that this may be good but if they report factual errors, libel someone, do something like "fence" stolen information like the kid did with Apple Computer's info (in court and Apple is winning) or aren't fully covered by the sites insurance policies it opens the entity and owners making the "payments" to legal and financial liability.

Jim M

That's supposedly why you have editors (although there's a lot of pro-media journalism that makes you wonder what editors do nowadays).


Dan, at the time of this writing the first link needs repair.

Edgar Canon

In Response to and Tdavid:

Thanks for taking the time to critique our new system for paying citizen
journalists. It's great how the Internet creates this forum for constructive
feedback that typically would come from expensive consultants.

You said you think we "have a shot," so we figure you saw some things you
liked. We're not sure what those were because your critique focused on the
problems -- we know we're not perfect -- and ignored what we think are the
more significant positives:

1) This one would have been easy for you to miss because the CNET article
originally had an incorrect figure on the page views for our
site. It has since been corrected to say the site gets 500,000 page views a
month. For a town of about 27,000, that bodes well for the potential traffic
of the network.

2) Our system can syndicate content to any or all of our 50,000-plus local
and topical sites, so it creates a new kind of content distribution system
completely unlike blogs. We don't see ourselves competing with blogs. By all
means people should start their own blogs, and then post selected
content/articles including links back to their blogs on our network. The
blogger generates traffic and if the content is popular, it could get
syndicated, which both generates income for the blogger from us and traffic
and inbound links to the blog. I don't see how anyone is being taken
advantage of here.

Regarding your specific criticisms on design, payout amounts, and our goals:

1) Design: We agree with your basic point, that the design needs a lot of
work. In fact, that's our primary focus right now. We hope to unveil a
redesign soon. It was curious though that you'd say it was difficult to find
the articles, as they fill the center column. In any case, design needs
work; point well taken; we're on it.

2) Why pay contributors only when they have reached $25 in earnings? Why
zero out their accounts after four quarters (this last question was raised
on another blog)? Good questions. It costs a great deal to account for and
generate small checks, so we had to set some limit. We can look into making
the cut-off period longer. And remember we aggregate all the page views
generated from all of an author's content posted at any time anywhere in our
network, so the citizen journalist is building a portfolio of work that generates income as long as anyone reads it. Does this system benefit regular authors more than the one-shot
contributors? Yes, but we don't think that's a bad thing, as it's good for
us and good for our authors and readers.

3) You say, "it is obvious that their goals are not for citizen journalists,
but for advertisers." This comment shows a lack of background about our
track record. In many instances, we have put a premium on news content and
reader-generated interactivity at the expense of advertising. Example: On
our site, we allow readers to post comments in our Yellow
Pages about local businesses. We did this because we believe that consumers
should be able to hold businesses accountable in a way that can be shared by
the community. Another: Our classifieds are interactive, allowing prospective buyers to post questions and comments right there in the ad.

I look foward to furthur comments, complaints and suggestions.

Edgar Canon, CEO

Scott Mace

This site requires Internet Explorer for best experience. Boo!

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