I very rarely write about blogging, mostly because I don’t tend to have a whole lot to say about it. After all, blogs are like assholes; we all got one, and they all stink — it’s just that some assholes are so nice and pretty that you don’t mind the stink so much. However, I’m going to touch on the topic now — kinda, anyway — since I just spotted an ad on IMDB that said “Write, be read and get paid.” That in itself wouldn’t make me click on anything, because first of all, I already write, am read and get paid (though, as always, not enough, but anyway) and secondly, I’m not quite stupid enough to believe what banner ads tell me.
However, the URL being advertised was www.blogit.com, which got my attention simply because any scheme where random people on the net are promised money for blogging is a fucking scam, and I wanted to see what the scam was.
Turns out that it’s a fairly simple one. You sign up with blogit.com, and then you start writing. Whenever someone reads what you write, you get paid — the more people read you, the more you make. According to the site, “popular writers have already earned more than $1,000 at Blogit”. Well, a thousand clams is pretty good money, but how long did it take them to earn that? A week? A month? How many members are there in total? How many of them are actually turning a profit?
Oh yeah, profit. That’s actually a pretty important concept here, because from the first word you write, you’re already in the red, and you’re going to have to work hard just to break even. You can’t write for free. In fact, you can’t even read the blogs on the site unless you shell out some money — so you don’t actually get paid whenever someone reads what you write, you get paid whenever a member reads what you write. Which is a whole different ball game.
And how much does this cost? You can get Blogit Basic for $9.95 a month… if you pay for the entire year at once. If you want to pay by the month, you get to cough up $12.95 a month. If you actually want to use pictures or publish several blogs or have some control over what your blog looks like, it can go up to $15.95 per month if you subscribe for a year, or $19.95 for a monthly subscription. Twenty fucking bucks!
The guy running the place makes a guarantee, though: “if you find that you aren’t being read at Blogit, simply cancel your subscription and you will not be billed again.” That’s the guarantee! If you cancel your subscription, they will stop billing you! That’s like walking past a McDonald’s and Ronald McDonald himself running out of the joint and screaming after you that he’s not going to make you pay for that Big Mac you didn’t order and then expecting you to hug him for being so goddamn nice about the whole thing.
Anyway, what with the abundance of free and very, very easy-to-use blogging sites out there (not to mention free and dependable blogging software that is ridiculously easy to install even with fairly minimal computer skills), this is a terribly, terribly bad deal. It is being offered by people who want to take the money of those who’re desperate to call themselves writers, and the rhetoric on the site makes it clear that they’re very much aware of their target audience’s weakness on that front. Some people are willing to do all sorts of stupid shit if it gets their name somewhere, and the less often their name has been somewhere, the more eager they tend to be see it in print — or even on the screen — for the first time.
It’s exactly that desperation that makes this a pretty sweet deal for Shaycom Corporation, the company behind the service. Apparently, they get half of your fee and use it for further evil. The rest of it is divided between the people you read on any given month — so if you read four blogs, your money’s divided four ways and sent to the authors of those blogs. But chances are you’re going to be reading a lot more people than that, so a lot of micropayments are going around, and since everyone who gets paid is already paying for the privilege of getting payments, the only ones with a guaranteed income are the guys running the show. Even those writers who do make money off the scheme aren’t likely to be making a whole lot, and they certainly aren’t getting their voices heard particularly well, since only members can read them.
Admittedly, some writers just might be good and/or lucky enough to become very popular and make out like bandits, but just the same, most people are going to lose money — which is kind of adding insult to injury, because if you’re losing money, that’s hard proof that no one wants to read your shit… and if you’re paying just so that you can finally be read, but aren’t even guaranteed the exposure you’re paying for, that’s not a very attractive business model.
Except for the guys running the show, of course — the ones who make money out of wannabe writers who are desperate or dumb or optimistic enough to pay for a crappy version of what they could get for free.
I dislike them not for making money, but for the misleading, ugly and dishonest “I love reading online writers, but it’s hard for them to find readers, let alone earn any money. Wouldn’t it be great if I could find a way to help?” crap they spout on their site. As if they really gave a shit. Rabbit punches to the kidneys are in order for these douchebags.
Edit (February 7, 2013): As this post has turned out to be a spam magnet of spectacular proportions, comments are now closed. Sorry.
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