Paying Bloggers?

 Courtney Lambert

There isn’t a week that goes by when some PR company or other tries to get me to blog some story for their clients. PR Companies are shameless about getting paid by their clients, some like Matthew Hooton even charge clients for getting stories seeded in blogs. They also never pay the bloggers for the services that they bill their clients for.

For them they justify their poor ethics by sniffing that bloggers shouldn’t get paid, all the time billing the client handsomely.

Courtney Lambert has blogged about the propensity of professional media, who think nothing of getting paid themselves also sniffily dismissing the idea that bloggers should be paid:

So why would anyone want to pay a blogger?

Because there is a global market for quality content and people should be financially remunerated for producing good work.

The Huffington Post also has people that contribute content that aren’t paid by Huffington Post but are paid by their respective organisations to share ideas and get a viewpoint across. HuffPost provides a microphone for interest groups and politicians to speak to an audience. So John Kerry obviously isn’t paid to write a blog post but his motivations for contributing should be very clear.  Consultants and figureheads often ‘vanity blog’ to get their brands in front of people and demonstrate thought leadership. Nothing new there.

Sometimes I will write a post on this blog and have an editor contact me to produce a paid article for their website or magazine on the same topic. Does that make me a paid blogger? Or does that then make me a freelancer? What’s the difference and does it really matter? If I write an article for a magazine do I have to declare that I was paid x cents per word?

The overarching business model of media is quite straightforward and a blanket assumption that blogger’s contributions should never be paid for or that paying for blog content is in some way unethical is a bit simplistic.

A more useful question is why would anybody not want to pay a blogger?

The media poach stories off bloggers all the time, more often than not without attribution. The journalists that poach the stories all get paid, why shouldn’t we? Fairfax even stole a whole story and image from me, then had the temerity to copyright their story.

Perhaps it is just that we as bloggers need to find a remuneration model that works…for us. Certainly advertising rates need to improve as our audience improves.


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  • Mark

    Have you heard back from FF re that image (schoolgirls and cock and balls) that they nicked from you?

    • Ford


  • Positan

    Surely this blog’s range of contributors and followers is representative of a database of far greater “living” substance at ground level than anything remotely equalled by our other media?

  • Deep Blue

    Courtney Lambert is a complete hypocrite as well as being devious and ingeniousness when it comes to payments to bloggers.

    As for Hooton charging clients for “seeding and planting articles” and charging clients without paying bloggers – what a cock. With that attitude it’s no wonder he’s not liked.

    Keep up the good work WO and expose the PR wankers who try to use WO for their clients stories.

    • Yes Courtney is a complete hypocrite, but her article for once has merit.

  • alex

    I thought you were paid by Hell for advertising, and in return you published endless exposes on their enemies? Sort of an indirect payment right? (Admittedly, said enemies seem fairly slimy.)

    • Yeah you thought wrong…not the first time either.

  • Ross

     I remember reading about a guy in New York who had the idea that because it was hard for bloggers to make money on their own from their sites that he was going to approach the top ten appropriate sites in the USA and combine them as a package for advertisers. So he was going to be the broker ( or as he put it he was going to be like the rock band manager). His pitch would be if you advertise on all 10 sites then you get a viewership of X numbers etc. Not sure if it took off but I think the concept is right.

    If PR companies want you to “publish” their spin then obviously they should pay you for it. But maybe they feel they shouldn’t because the MSM don’t pay for it –most of what we read in the MSM under the name of so called journalists is just spin given to them by the “commincations people” working for various organisations

    In general this idea, pushed by many, that ” everything on the web should be free” is stark raving mad 

  • Hopefully you get called “free lance reporter” when you are paid to do columns…. I would have thought you could be paid by folk wanting to advertise their products on your Blog? Anyone approached you?

  • kos

    So if I offered to pay you to write an article that would benefit my company, would you?

    I guess it all depends on your ethics and opinion…

  • Populuxe1

    So, effectively you’re demonstrating that you are quite capable of earning money blogging – are you still claiming a sickness benefit?