First it was Martin posing the question of whether or not blog networks are right for you, which was then followed up by Darren with commentary from Jason Calacanis. Martin emailed me a couple of days ago when he posted the entry and asked if I could offer my opinion. Well I checked back a little later and the conversation had exploded with thoughts from Jason Calacanis, Jeremy Wright and other blog network owners.
I read every comment and thought every single one was a good analysis of what a blog network should do with regards to paying their writers. People forget that Calacanis didn’t start WIN with $0 in the bank. The guy had money before so his ability to switch from a % share model to a straight pay model was much easier. Same reason why Denton could start with straight pay. It seems everyone else who starts a blog network doesn’t have that luxury and they are all just playing catch up.
Engadget and Gizmodo do over 40 entries a day. Do you think your blog network can keep up with that and get the scoop on the gadgets instead of just reposting what the two sites have already said? Probably not.
Joystiq receives over 94k visitors a day (Kotaku, it’s “rival”, doesn’t come close with 23k visitors a day). Joystiq posts more and they post the new stuff before Kotaku so they win plain and simple. How does another network compete? Maybe you don’t start a gadget blog or video game blog, but every network needs its own Heavyweight Champ. The one blog that gets recognized. If you start a network you better have that blog or at least have in your mind which blog that will be. For Fine Fools, of the original 7 my money is on Damn I’m Cute, but the traffic leader right now is I Like Cameras (those guys are killing it!) followed by It’s Useless and Insert 25.
So really should we be asking how writers in these networks should be getting paid? I don’t think so because you can find people to write for you in almost any model. The question you have to ask yourself is what type of model do you need to bring in the talent to help you succeed?