If all of the rumors and “leaks” are to be believed, it seems that the tabloid-like blog network, Gawker, may be tightening up their belts some for the new year.
In a leaked memo appearing on ValleyWag today, it seems that Gawker is changing their entire payment structure for their writers, and while it doesn’t look that bad on the screen, RatDiary.com has done the math for us of just how bad it is.
To get an idea of what a prolific editor could have been earning under the old and new pay regimes, I counted the bylines and pageviews of one of the soon-to-be departing editors for the month of December. This is what I came up with:
Old Pay Plan
Number of posts: 93
Pageviews: 509,019 (range: 209 to 28,432 mean: 5,473)
Estimated monthly earnings: $2000 base + 93 posts * $12 per = $3,116 per month
New Pay Plan
For a site with a “pageview rate” of $5/thousand pageviews
$2000 base fee demands 400,000 pageviews minimum
Number of posts: 93
Pageviews: 509,019 (109,019 above required pageviews)
Estimated monthly earnings: $2000 base + ((109,019 / 1000) * $5) = $2,545 per month (18% decrease)
One can’t imagine that too many writers are going to be happy under this new payment structure. According to the aforementioned memo, Gawker is now changing their focus “to what’s in heavy demand, and short supply, is linkworthy material”. Coming up with “linkworthy material” is nowhere as easy as it sounds, and this change to the Gawker payment strategy proves that. Unless writers can come up with social bookmarking worthy posts, they could be facing a severe pay cut in 2008.
With some employees already leaving Gawker, and more are likely to follow, one has to wonder where this mainstay of the Manhatten blogosphere will find writers, let alone content, in the coming days with all of this happening.
The other thing this shows is that in the day and age of the Internet, nothing “internal” stays that way for very long. As we saw last month with the TechCrunch/BlogNation situation, things are happening at blog networks left and right, and none of it stays quiet for very long.