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Blog Networks and How They Pay Bloggers

It’s always interesting to see how different blog networks pay their bloggers.

Valleywag today has a post on Gawker’s new blogger pay structure – they’re moving to a system where their bloggers are paid based upon traffic levels. It’s a smart way to go – we’ve been doing a similar system (base pay which is based upon how long you’ve been blogging with us plus traffic bonus) at b5media for a while now.

I think it’s good because it guarantees a minimum level of income that a blogger can expect to earn in a month but gives incentive to write the type of posts that get traffic.

Other systems that I’ve heard other blog networks using include:

  • Payments Per Post – a flat fee per post (I’ve heard of anything from a few dollars up to hundreds of dollars per post – depending upon the blog, topic, blogger profile and post length)
  • Revenue Share – where the blogger earns an agreed upon percentage of their blog’s revenue (I’ve heard anything from 20% to 80% splits)
  • Revenue Share of Certain Income Streams – where the blogger takes a % of one or two income streams and the network takes other income streams (for example a blogger might take 80% of AdSense revenue and the network takes the other 20% plus any other income from the blog). Another variation on this is where the blogger is allowed to use affiliate programs and the network takes advertising revenue.
  • Traffic Payments - some networks pay purely on traffic levels – a CPM model (ie blogger is paid $X per 1000 page views)
  • Flat Monthly Fees – the blogger is paid a certain amount per month if they reach certain posting goals.

I’m sure there are plenty of other blogger payment models used in other networks (there are plenty of variations and combinations of the above too). I’d love to hear of others you’ve heard of or used.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. …Paying by traffic???

    Does this mean how many pageviews or unique visitors a post brings?
    While this is understandable, it has a potential harmful affect in basically dumbing down posts and making them more DIGG-Like in their titles and wordings.

    This does not fare well for the esoteric poster seeking to post complex material of substance that may not be as sexy or easily digestible.

  2. Michael Kwan says:

    As a freelance writer myself, I prefer the guaranteed payment per post, especially if it’s work for a smaller blog. It wasn’t a blog post, but I did have one project that had payment based on whether the article got Dugg and the client said that a Digg was “guaranteed”. It never made it past about 20 Diggs, so I didn’t get paid. From then forward, I’ve refused to do anything but a pay-per-post basis. I would be open to base pay + bonus based on page views though.

  3. LongJohn says:

    first comment ;)

    hm i think “payments per post”. this motivates the blogger to write more articles. and this would increase the traffic, if the articles are good.

  4. techcrunchie says:

    As what I’m glad to be, the basic flat rate wage + bonus will be a fair and mostly, the good system to implemented. As now I was a freelancer, pay-per-post just such a good deal.But working in media network with a wage could encourage more.

  5. One of my clients is leaving a rather large blog network that pays her fifty cents per post. Yup. Fifty cents. That’s $15 in your average calendar month, if she works weekends.

    Yowza.

  6. lornadoone says:

    I was just searching your archives a couple of nights ago for more information on blog networks. It’s something I’d like to learn more about for the upcoming year. Thanks for the info.

  7. Allen says:

    That is great to hear bloggers make money from networks but if they had a reason to blog to free thierselves from work they have just killed it I also think if you are free you can come up with better content .and you cant be the best blogger with neworks above you

  8. mahdi yusuf says:

    a list of each type would be extremely useful! good post darin!

  9. Darren, I was wondering if you’d do a sort of cost vs. benefits analysis of joining a blog network such as b5media etc.

  10. Michelle says:

    I worked for a CPM model. Shortly after I started, the blog network implemented a pop-up ad campaign without letting the bloggers know. Many bloggers took a serious hit in traffic after working months to build an audience.

    I believe revenue plans can work, but it has to involve strong communication about the planned development and growth of the blog.

  11. Darren Rowse says:

    Blogging Experiment – I’ve done that a while back in these two posts:

    Why You Should Join a Blog Network

    and

    Why You Shouldn’t Join a Blog Network

    Hope that helps.

  12. Laura says:

    Interesting post! I went back and looked at Valleywag’s post. It looks like they are talking about paying a bonus based on page views which is over and above a monthly base pay.

    The base pay that I saw was $2,000 to $3,000.

    So, it appears they are not paying bloggers based solely on traffic.

  13. jhay says:

    Going a little further, I wonder what it takes to create your own blog network and grow it. We’ve been talking about growing our own blogs all these years, maybe it’s time we get to know how to grow a network of them.

  14. CatherineL says:

    It is good that there’s different options. I would probably prefer to be paid per post – unless it was an extremely high traffic blog.

  15. If I owned a popular blog I would pay someone per CPM. If the blog was making like $3 dollars per CPM I would offer the poster around $2. Although the blog would have to be extremely popular

  16. I have one of my blogs in a Blogging Network and it pays a percentage of all the Revenues.

    The Network gives us hosting, Technical Support and advertising cross the network and you are ina a Blogger community.

    Pretty good experience.

  17. Dom says:

    I pay my bloggers a flat fee, so they always know what they’re getting – but I do increase that amount regularly as traffic increases.

    In the end, I’m not sure it matters what model you use – just as long as people get paid a fair price for quality writing.

  18. simon says:

    i do like being paid per post, as you know what you will get for your effort…

  19. Mark says:

    Hi Darren – THANKS for posting this article!

    I am just now drawing up the business plan for a new blog network that I hope to launch VERY soon. My business model is completely different to anything that currently exists, so I will keep you posted on my progress (and success).

    Kind regards,
    Mark

  20. Sangesh says:

    Well for me, I guess I’d stick the non-flat fee. Since regular blogging is what I would not be able to do, due to all the time constraints.

    Cheers.

  21. Mallory says:

    In addition to my own blog, in the last year I wrote for one blog in a fairly big network owned by a large media corporation. For that blog, I was paid $10 per post. I’m about to start writing for that network again, but for a different blog. I’m sure I’ll be paid per post again, but not sure if the payrate will be the same.

  22. BlogCes Team says:

    Good info for me as part time blogger.I will use this info to increase my income

  23. Ruchir says:

    Hmm…that gibes me some idea on how to pay writers when I hire some for my blog…

  24. Ruchir says:

    By the way, Darren, for networks paying only by traffic, don’t you think they’ll have to pay a fortune if a post hits the Digg frontpage?

  25. Trent says:

    Ruchir: if all of their ads are CPM, they would still welcome the Digging.

  26. Matt Jones says:

    How does the blog network track the number of impressions? Have some code developed for them to add? I’m wondering how easy/expensive this is to create.

  27. We run a WordPress plugin that allows us to display the adsense code of the writer on their posts 90% of the time, with the the network code being displayed 10% of the time. On archive pages or the front page, the blog network’s adsense code is displayed.

    All other revenue from the blogs go to the blog network.

  28. I’ve long supported the page view bonus system being used at Gawker. But folks are giving me a lot of heat for it back on my own blog, where I’ve advocated adapting a blogger-like pay system for traditional journalists at newspapers.

  29. Richard says:

    Revenue share seems to be the most equal, but it would not make much sense to pay low-performing blogs the same as high traffic/converting blogs…

  30. Coryan says:

    This is a great discussion. There are so many pros and cons to each of the payment formulas. Thanks for another intriguing post with excellent reader comments.

  31. @bill – I’ve tried to find this plugin as I have a couple of blogs I would really like to expand but don’t have the cash to front paying bloggers for month and months in advance of seeing any revenue. Can you tell me its name or give me a link? Cheers, Mark.