August 06, 2007 |
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the possibility of a labor union for bloggers. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal found that there is a "coalition of left-wing bloggers" trying to form a labor union with hopes that such a group will aid them in the process of receiving health benefits and conducting collective bargaining.
The biggest concern and cause for the "union talk" is probably best described by David Krug who writes that "one of the issues that particularly has troubled me in the last few years is how blog networks pay their bloggers. Most of them offer a percentage of profits that a blog makes rather than paying by the post, or one of many what I consider more ethical alternatives."
Here at Profy, writers are lucky enough to get paid per post, but, in my recent search for blogging positions, there are several out there that do not pay in this way. A few of the blogs that I came across only offered to compensate writers with the revenue that the ads on each of their article's pages generates. This is not a very lucrative method and does not entice potential bloggers to choose these sites to write for.
I agree with Tony Hung of Blog Herald who believes that "there is a certain level of personal maturation when it comes to blogging. That is, if you’ve been doing this for any amount of time at all, you’ll realize that its a very time intensive activity." For the amount of work done, the pay that bloggers receive is no where near comparable to the pay of, say, a journalist.
So why then is the pay rate for bloggers so low? Right now, I believe that it is because there are so many blogs and bloggers out there who do it all for love and for free. Keeping in mind the fact that the majority of bloggers do it for a hobby, most people are willing to accept any amount of pay that they can receive for something they do not consider work. It's just a side job for extra income.
According to TechCrunch , "Most people contributing to new media sites, including user generated sites such as About.com and Mahalo do so on a contractual basis. Most content creators do not work under employer/ employee relationships, most are paid without tax being deducted; in the most these are not regular style jobs."
As a freelance worker for both Profy and Mahalo myself, I believe that there is a bigger market for full-time, telecommuting jobs such as blogging. The blogosphere is still growing and there are numerous networks that have already established themselves as companies. These facts alone should show that blogging has the potential to become a valid profession with a paycheck to match.
Hopefully a bloggers union would make blog networks and companies more aware that benefits and better pay could result in better employee loyalty and, therefore, more interesting content from satisfied "full-time" writers.
Duncan Riley said it best by stating, "As long as the supply of labor that will accept low rates exists, no amount of organization will create a marketplace that provides pay rates that are equal to that of comparable fields."
I am all for a bloggers union… or at least Ryan Caldwell's idea of a "Premium Blogger Collective."