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August 08, 2005

Pajamas Media: Rates May Increase If Traffic Does

A big drawback with PM is the flat rate of payment, which keeps anyone who thinks their blog might increase in readership (which is every blogger, pretty much, except me; I'm resigned to being eternally almost-big-enough-to-be-taken-seriously) from signing up.

It turns out there may be increases in payments. According to a spokesman for PM:

At the end of the contract period, if your traffic has gone up, which we believe it will significantly due to our promotion via our portal, your contract will change to reflect the new readership. Moreover, if your daily visits go up significantly more than the rest of the bloggers we are promoting --if you grow by 25% above the norm in the group's increased traffic, and your 25% jump is sustained over two months' time--you will get your new contract and more money mid-term to reflecting your readership growth.

Sounds... well, chancy, but if your traffic does rise for a sustained period of time you'll get more money. The suggestion is that you'll be paid according to the standard formula, but that's not actually said. Maybe you'll get less.

On the other hand... one beef I have with PJ's standard contract is that it's for 18 months, which takes us right through the 2006 midterms. Political bloggers know that traffic spikes during elections. A midterm won't goose readership like a full presidential election will, but still, one could imagine a 10-20% rise in traffic for the few months before the election and the month after. There's just a lot more news and a lot more interest in the news.

The standard contract doesn't seem to take into account that this period is a windfall for bloggers selling ads. I'm not going with the standard contract because I won't be able to get that little bit of extra ad money if I'm with PM, rather than with BlogAds.

I'm just not sure of this entire business model. Honestly, I could sign up for PM tomorrow, take the 18 months of not-so-crazy blog-money, and then never post again. As others have pointed out, this seems to be a strage and very counterproductive (dis)incentive system. I understand their desire to fix costs, but really, they ought to have some kind of fixed formula for higher or lower payments based on rising or falling readership.

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posted by Ace at 08:49 PM

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