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Social News Sites Pay Top Submitters 95

Posted by Zonk
from the we-pay-you-in-puppy-laughter-and-kitten-smiles dept.
prostoalex writes "With the proliferation of social news sites relying on users to submit and vote for content, quite a few of newcomers to the industry face the need to pay top submitters or hire people away from other social news sites, the Washington Post reports. The phenomenon has also led to the appearance of the surfing jobs, where people are paid mostly to surf the Web and find out new links." From the article: "The system depends on a steady stream of contributors like Spring. Last month, Netscape said it would be the first to pay the most active contributors -- $1,000 a month to post at least 150 stories during that time to its newly redesigned Web site. The job qualifications are rather fuzzy, but an executive said active 'navigators' or 'social bookmarkers' provide a valuable service because they keep the site's content varied and fresh."
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Social News Sites Pay Top Submitters

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  • by pipingguy (566974) * on Sunday August 27, 2006 @07:33AM (#15988983) Homepage
    Cue the replies in 1, 2, ...
    • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @07:57AM (#15989041) Homepage Journal
      Why wait, why not write your own like Roland Piqupaille does. IE Flood slashdot with stories, but instead of linking to the original stories, link to a butchered summary on your ad-laden blog. Seems to work like a charm.
      • by anticypher (48312) <anticypherNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday August 27, 2006 @09:04AM (#15989165) Homepage
        I came here looking for a post like this.

        A system like this elsewhere might draw the Roland Piquepaille's away from /., leaving us with a slightly improved level of content.

        I really expect the only "quasi-journalists" to be SEO scum who just pollute systems now with even more of their junk, because they can get paid for it. I'd much rather see a reward system for policing sites such as /. and digg to keep the link farmers out. Slashdot still has the occasional good article, but digg is completely awash in bogus links that scraped content from another site and changed the title and summary. Throwing money at the problem rather than a solution sounds like trouble.

        the AC
        • Roll on Web 3.0 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @03:34PM (#15990639)

          I really expect the only "quasi-journalists" to be SEO scum who just pollute systems now with even more of their junk, because they can get paid for it. I'd much rather see a reward system for policing sites such as /. and digg to keep the link farmers out.

          Indeed. I think this phenomenon is a natural reaction to the social networking trends of the past couple of years.

          In the beginning, there was Web 1.0. The best content, for the most part, was provided by people who had a genuine interest in their field and a desire to share their knowledge. At first, much content was found through following hyperlinks on related sites, though search engines soon evolved to allow content to be found more easily.

          With today's "Web 2.0", we have two related but (IMHO) quite distinct phenomena providing a lot of the new material: blogging/social networking, and "open contribution" sites like Wikipedia and Digg. In each case, the key distinction is that it becomes viable not just for anyone to put their content on-line, but for significant numbers of other people to find it. Good content tends to be noticed somewhere in the blogosphere, and soon gets spread by word-of-blog. The speed with which information can spread is staggering.

          The problem with this, as is starting to become obvious, is that when anyone can contribute, not everyone will be an expert. Take a look at Digg, and count the number of highly-dugg posts that are reported as possibly inaccurate. Worse, just as anyone can contribute good content, anyone can also contribute corrupt it or deliberately contribute bad information. Take a look at Wikipedia, and the number of articles that get locked or otherwise flagged as controversial. How do you defeat this? You need someone to be elevated above the average contributor, to an editorial role. Here on Slashdot, we have CmdrTaco and gang reviewing submitted stories, and for all that some posters mock them, they generally do a pretty good job. Likewise on Wikipedia, you or I can't just go in and lock an article that's being repeatedly edited, but some of the admins can, and procedures have been established for dealing with common problems.

          I expect that Web 3.0 will arrive rather quickly, and in a sense will come full circle. The dominant source of valuable information will be hybrid sites, where a certain degree of automation and public participation keep the content flowing in a way that a small number of editors never could, yet there is always some oversight by those responsible for the site. Perhaps ironically, perhaps predictably, many of the sites that pioneered open contributions of various kinds -- Slashdot and Wikipedia among them -- seem likely to lead the way in the new order as well. Bloggers will carry on, at least for now, but the really important underlying thing about the blogosphere is that it represents a web of trust: if you find a couple of blogs on a particular subject that you like, and those are accurate/interesting/credible, then those bloggers will often link to others whose related content they trust/respect/enjoy. As long as you start from good sources, you'll find more.

          The problem of course, is where you find those good sources. In this, I think there will always be a role for mainstream sites to establish their credibility, probably through mechanisms other than just the claims they make (e.g., being verifiably written by experts in an academic field, or blogs on software products written by the guys who actually work on those products). But how do those sites know where to link to? Surely their experts will be busy enough either writing their own content or doing whatever they do in real life to become experts, and won't have time to browse the entire web themselves. Thus we come to what we see in this article: we may see a new role becoming established, for "content middlemen" who know enough about about a field to select plausible content for linking, and refer it up to the high-ranking editors

          • Thus we come to what we see in this article: we may see a new role becoming established, for "content middlemen" who know enough about about a field to select plausible content for linking, and refer it up to the high-ranking editors who run big name sites for approval.

            There are two ways to go about this. One -- yours -- is to *increase* heirarchalization by, in essence, creating a level of 'middle management'. That is last century thinking.

            A better way is to *increase* the number of potential editor

            • There are two ways to go about this. One -- yours -- is to *increase* heirarchalization by, in essence, creating a level of 'middle management'. That is last century thinking.

              I prefer "tried and tested". YMMV.

              A better way is to *increase* the number of potential editors and ensure that moderation and meta-moderation extend *all the way up*, so to speak. Good editors -- ones whose selections get large numbers of eyeballs, thus indicating that they are in tune with the Zeitgeist -- are taken more serio

              • by Randym (25779)
                The thing is, you claim this approach is better, but I don't think having editors who are promoted purely for supporting the status quo is necessarily a good thing.

                You make a good point here. It will quickly become clear to the editors *which kinds of stories get read a lot*, and so you get competition between editors to get those kinds of stories up there. Certain editors (let's call them "rolands") will always get large numbers of eyeballs for their stories. However, there might still be niches for *un

      • by Tim C (15259) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @09:35AM (#15989232)
        While he definitely did do that for a while, he appears to have stopped [slashdot.org].

        Almost as though he were listening to us - or perhpaps, he really was being paid or otherwise favoured by the editors...
      • Does Slashdot pay Roland the Plogger, or does Roland the Plogger pay Slashdot and then get paid by click-through to his website? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by aurb (674003)
      On Slashdot, the comment-posters should get paid. The stories here are posted just to organize the comments.
      • by antic (29198)
        Story approvals should be weighted to favour those that contribute quality comments too. Comments are what, IMO, would bring people back more than anything else.
    • You mean you have not gotten your cheque yet? Geez, you should follow that up!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by niceone (992278)
      Hmmm on slashdot you pay them to be a top contributer.

      Isn't that what being a subscriber is all about?

      • Hmmm on slashdot you pay them to be a top contributer.

        Perhaps this story would be more appropriately entitled...

        In Soviet Cyberspace, Slashdot pays you!

  • Social News Sites Pay Top Submitters

    As opposed to the Socialist News Sites that eschew the capitalist system.
  • by Weh (219305)
    How much will /. pay?
    • Judging from the amount of people submitting stories, and as such, dupes, I can only assume its a fair amount.
  • Journalism 2.0? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pieterh (196118) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @07:37AM (#15988991) Homepage
    Is this the start of a new type of journalism?

    I don't think simply submitting stories is enough. A good journalist needs to find stories that interest the readers, that drive up hits, and generate advertising revenue.

    Perhaps if people got a share of the ad revenue from the stories they posted, it'd work better.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      A good journalist needs to find stories that interest the readers, that drive up hits, and generate advertising revenue.

      Around here we call that trolling. And we do it for free!
    • Re:Journalism 2.0? (Score:4, Informative)

      by wfberg (24378) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @07:46AM (#15989019)
      Is this the start of a new type of journalism?

      No. It's much the same as it ever was since the newswires popped up. Your average daily newspaper is composed of hundreds of stories straight of the AP. The news editor's job is to fill up the pages with both original content contributed by the newspaper's own writing staff, as well as to place the newswire stuff to fill the blanks. Newspaper editors also get to paraphrase newswire articles (much the same as doing a writeup for a blog) when the article itself is deemed to long and boring; but they can also edit down (or fluff up) AP pieces. The latter is not an option for blogs, since they don't have a license to distribute altered content - the newspaper have licenses from the newswires to cut up pieces.

      So, no, these people would ordinarily be called 'editors' in journalism, though of the chimpy, intern-like status where they can't be trusted to actually edit pieces, just pick them out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Albanach (527650)
        No. It's much the same as it ever was since the newswires popped up. Your average daily newspaper is composed of hundreds of stories straight of the AP

        Actually this is a very US phenomenon as far as I can tell. In the States there tends to be one newspaper per city - even for small cities, usually owned by a conglomerate and employing a tiny handful of journalists backed up by ad sales staff.

        In Europe the tendency is more towards papers with national coverage with much larger numbers of journalists requi

        • by KDR_11k (778916)
          I don't think that's US-specific, looks pretty much the same here in Germany.
        • by wfberg (24378)
          No. It's much the same as it ever was since the newswires popped up. Your average daily newspaper is composed of hundreds of stories straight of the AP

          Actually this is a very US phenomenon as far as I can tell. In the States there tends to be one newspaper per city - even for small cities, usually owned by a conglomerate and employing a tiny handful of journalists backed up by ad sales staff.


          In the myriad of local, regional and national papers that appear in Europe, still most of the content is from newswi
        • In Europe the tendency is more towards papers with national coverage with much larger numbers of journalists required to differentiate their content.

          Ah, don't you believe it!

          I had the misfortune of being the publicity officer for a large local club when one of the big news wires picked up some offhand comment someone in the club probably made about one of our competitive teams. The story was entirely inaccurate, wouldn't have been particularly significant even if it had been true, and certainly didn't

      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        Newspaper editors also get to paraphrase newswire articles (much the same as doing a writeup for a blog) when the article itself is deemed to long and boring; but they can also edit down (or fluff up) AP pieces. The latter is not an option for blogs, since they don't have a license to distribute altered content - the newspaper have licenses from the newswires to cut up pieces.

        (Most) blogs don't have any right to distribute any content at all. They may be able to summarise, under "fair use". Actually, if

    • Perhaps if people got a share of the ad revenue from the stories they posted, it'd work better.

      That's exactly the model that Newsvine [newsvine.com] uses. It's a good combination of the AP wire feed with user-submitted content from elsewhere on the web.
    • I don't think simply submitting stories is enough. A good journalist needs to find stories that interest the readers, that drive up hits, and generate advertising revenue.

      You left out one thing a journalist whether a good one or not has to do, write.

      Falcon
  • by a_greer2005 (863926) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @07:38AM (#15988993)
    The whole point of social news/bookmarking is having a huge community of users interested in a similar subject submit tons of data about it, then the community weeds out the junk, and the cream rises. Pay a handfull of folks to do the submitting and you have nothing more than an "interesting stories" list compiled by staff members.
    • by texaport (600120)
      Pay a handfull of folks to do the submitting and you have nothing more than an "interesting stories" list compiled by staff members.

      Outside of searches, that's how MSN, Yahoo! and AOL envisioned themselves becoming major portals in early 1998.

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @07:40AM (#15989003)
    or subcontractors. How is this different from any other journalist/columnist paid news site or magazine? Oh... They're pretending to be social news sites. That's called marketing.

     
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      How is this different from any other journalist/columnist paid news site or magazine?

      Well, they're only paying "up to" $1000/month for 250 stories. Reporters don't get much, but that's pretty pathetic.

  • As Digg's Kevin Rose pointed out, these are community sites with many many contributors. No single contributor has a very large influence compared to the rest of the community.

    Wouldn't the sites do better spending their money to draw in larger groups of people? Like giving away prizes to every 1000th new visitor, or something like that?

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      With something like a banner that flashes "You are visitor number 1000! Click here to claim your prize!"? Because nobody's ever seen anything like THAT before.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by coolgeek (140561)
      Just because they do it for free does nothing to prevent "significant hierarchies", as digg's Adelson suggests they must avoid:

      "What's important to the community is not to favor anyone," Adelson said. "If we betray that and start compensating users one way or another, you create significant hierarchies where individuals are motivated based on compensation."

      I've read several threads on digg about 20-30 users submitting most of the front page stories. If you actually pay attention, you can easily spot this
      • by interiot (50685)

        It doesn't surprise me, I just think there might be a more effective way to spend money. Building a community is hard, and certainly companies will spend money on advertising. But advertising money into to build the next Digg is compeltely different from advertising a bottle of coke, because of the marketing effects. Certainly there are more effective ways to do that, and less effective ways.

        I don't know if Digg intentionally makes a group of contributors more prominent. Certainly for every successful

  • odd question, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @07:51AM (#15989027) Homepage
    Odd question, but... does anyone know where a guy might apply/acquire one (or two or three) such jobs?

    I could greatly use supplimental income. Especially since it's basically something I already do...
    • blogging (Score:3, Informative)

      by falconwolf (725481)

      Odd question, but... does anyone know where a guy might apply/acquire one (or two or three) such jobs?

      I could greatly use supplimental income. Especially since it's basically something I already do...

      If you're really interested then you should check an article in the current, Sept 2006, issue of "Business 2.0 [cnn.com] magazine. In the print edition the title is "Blogging For Dollars" but the online one is titled Blogging for Big Bucks [cnn.com].

      Falcon

  • by telchine (719345) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @08:05AM (#15989050)
    I have an insigtful response to this Slashdot article. However, I'm not responding until someone stumps up the cash.
  • Awesome, new revenu (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Acid-Duck (228035) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @08:21AM (#15989075) Homepage Journal
    I think this is great. Anyone who's self-motivated and wants to startup an online business, knows that you have to running not one or two, but four, five and six websites to be profitable. This type of business is just another addition to your arsenal. Don't have time to do this y9ourself? No problem! If you've got marketting skills, or know where to get great such ressources, you can run a posting team, kinda like running an auction to see what's the cheapest submitter is willing to pay and they'll try to match it up to a site with that specific type of content submitter is interested in who's pay-out is obviously way more then what submitter requests to write the article.

    So myself, I welcome this.

    Erik
  • by chemindefer (707238) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @08:34AM (#15989105)
    Netscape is hiring Navigators...and they used to give them away.
  • by isorox (205688) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @08:36AM (#15989111) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if the submitter "prostoalex", was thinking slashdot would do the same. Now, lets see, who has submitted [slashdot.org] the most number of stories?


    Most Active Submitters
    496 prostoalex


    Ahh
    • by yusing (216625)
      Many "social" sites rake in the bucks and pay contributors with bupkiss. Yahoo's "answers" pays with -wallpaper with an embedded Yahoo ad-. WOW!

      It's obvious, but ... communities with longevity have always found ways to reward quality contributors substantially. Ego strokes don't spend.

      "Jay Adelson ... said his Web site will not pay contributors ..." ??? Not THIS month, maybe.
  • Didnt some pundit predict this would happen? I cant find the article about it now, but he'd predicted this and a fwe other things about the internet. If I could find it, I'd start betting on the other things mentioned in the article...

  • Think about it - most of the time, they would get paid atleast twice :-)
  • by ylikone (589264) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @10:18AM (#15989343) Homepage
    For about half an hour every weekday morning I add links to a certain website (can't name it). I get paid about $350/month for this simple task.
  • Nothing new, IMHO. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chatmag (646500) <editor@chatmag.com> on Sunday August 27, 2006 @10:35AM (#15989399) Homepage Journal
    That works out to five articles a day. Most journalists spend days or weeks on one article, doing research and interviews, if needed. A person banging out five a day won't have time to do anything else (kiss the marriage goodbye, if applicable).

    I don't see how a person can do five a day, and have some semblance of quality content, unless they are very knowledgeable and can produce fresh articles every time, in which case they could most likely get a position with one of the print publications. The people being hired are 'bloggers, and most 'bloggers are not professional journalists. I know, I 'blog :) A very small percentage of 'bloggers are what I would consider professional, IMHO.

    Another aspect is the pay. A person submits 150 articles a month, for $1000.00. That works out to $6.66 an article. What is the salary for a writer over at the Post, or Times? At that pay rate, dinner will either be beans and rice, or rice and beans, every night.

    Most topics of discussion are news driven. I can check the referring search terms in Chatmag, and tell what's hot by the number of hits to a particular term. Keeping up with the hot topics is not an easy task, and in some cases, it takes some guesswork to determine what will be hot in order to provide links to those discussions. They can pay for articles, but will they be something people want to see, or just take up server HD space?

    According to Alexa, news.netscape.com has 1% of total viewers to Netscape.com Still a large amount of eyeballs on pages, but will it work in the long run, I doubt it.

    This whole thing is another example of Web 2.0 mania. What is it they are trying to do? Create an article and open it for discussion. That is being done now, in hundreds of thousands of discussion forums. The format is slightly changed, rather than posting a topic and commenting, a short article is created, and discussed. There is little difference between the two, and in the end produces the same result. Nothing new has been invented.
    • by symbolic (11752)
      This whole thing is another example of Web 2.0 mania. What is it they are trying to do?

      I get the impression that they're trying to short-circuit the process by attempting to *buy* user participation. There are, however, two sides to this equation. First, are those who post articles. The other half includes whose who actually *use* the site, and deem it worth their while to participate. I'd say the quality of user can have every bit as much influence on the overall success as the articles themselves. It beca
    • by Quixote (154172) *
      I think you misread the article.
      The idea is not to submit 5 original stories a day, but to submit 5 interesting links per day. These submitters won't be writing original content; just identifiying interesting content on the web and submitting links to it.

      Churning out 5 new (quality) articles per day is exceedingly difficult; but 5 new links/day is quite manageable, if you surf the web a lot.

    • by ceejayoz (567949)
      Go take another look at digg.com.

      An "article" includes:

      Red-Hot and Filthy Library Smut
      Library pics like you've never seen before...


      I'd say $6.66 for that isn't too bad.
  • ...but I am not getting paid to do it.
  • >wrote someone with the screen name Wayne Kerr

    I bet he's pleased with himself for getting a mention. Bart Simpson would be proud.
    • by coolgeek (140561)
      Netscape's top submitters do it for the money.
      Digg's top submitters do it to get their ego stroked.

      Which do you think is healthier?
  • There are companies, such as Blogitive, who pay bloggers to blog about their clients ... it's easy to spot because most of them just barf out the company press release.

    But sometimes the blogger gets the money and the Last laugh. [writingup.com] Mitch says that Blogitive paid him for that snarky tirade AGAINST the law firm.

  • Do you need to sign up someplace special to get paid? Or is it just ANY registered Netscape users who submit? Heck, I've submitted 100 stories in ONE day before at DriverHeaven.
  • Sure Taco owes him money, he posts way more than everyone else!
  • by sulli (195030) *
    this is just Netscape wasting Time Warner's cash on a stupid idea. I doubt very much this will last more than 6 months.
  • This is old news ;) Netscape is not the first to pay for this. There are several sites out there that have been paying for a couple of months now. I will post the names of those sites here, for about $50 a link.
  • This reminds me of those datacollectors that video everything and are constantly selling data to news/corp companies.
  • by Hosiah (849792) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @12:37PM (#15989914)

    This whole thing started when one - ONE - person came to Digg offering to buy away it's top contributers. That was the guy running Netscape, it's not a new industry if one clown has the stupid idea that it will make money. Digg nearly unanimously made fun of him and it hasn't popped up again since. The details are "kind of vague" because it's kind of stupid.

    Using common sense, we can see that this would in no way be feasible. How could you make $1000 a month profit out of simply acquiring links? Even if you could, all you'd have to do is set up a bot that scrapes popurls, digg, reddit, daily rotation, etc., and compares the links with the list from last hour's scrape, submitting the new links. We're talking twenty lines in Bash using wget, sed, and grep; I wrote one myself for my own use, and it filters out dupes as well. That's pretty much all you see the results of these days anyway; a story will pop up on Digg, and then two days later on Slashdot, and then it will run down the LXer feed for a couple days and then head over to Mad Penguin...

    The craze for RSS and social bookmarking have produced an over-inflated information economy where the same story gets blabbed on every blog just like the same story shows up on all the TV news channels at once. Compounded by the link to a blog that links to a blog that links to a blog, etc. ad maximus infinitum, that links to the same damn story you read two weeks ago.

    There's too many linkers out there and not enough original reporters. And let's face it, when the entire world becomes bloggers, the only way you're going to have originality is if everybody blogs only about what's going on from their own view out the window by their computer. And won't that be FUN?

    • by willabr (684561)
      Life imitates art.

      EPIC 2014
      http://www.robinsloan.com/epic/ [robinsloan.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think having 'linkers' as opposed to 'original reporters' might be the saving grace, in a way, of the internet and social networking. I was an election hotline volunteer in Ohio in the presidential election 2004. What everyone in Ohio saw, and what even the 'original reporters' in Ohio reported, was one thing; what was actually reported by the "original reporters" from the mainstream media was something quite different. It was quite evident to all of us who had been there that there was a concerted effor

  • They called people who helped manage content in a publication - EDITORS.

    News Flash! - Wheel invented again! Link at 11.
  • by mjtg (173905) on Sunday August 27, 2006 @11:53PM (#15992124)
    According to the article, Netscape paid someone for an article that ended up causing huge embarressment to AOL, and forced the resignation of AOL's CIO:

    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/21/21 7203 [slashdot.org]
    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/22/13 7226 [slashdot.org]

    Isn't Netscape a subsidiary of AOL ?

    Or is this a different story ?
  • I know I'm a bit late to the party, but I wanted to point out that MMO games used to use paid volunteers like this. Then there was a lawsuit which ruled that because they were being paid (even if only with free game time), they were actually employees and had to be granted all the mandated perks true employees got. That was the end of using volunteers.
  • A grand a week to post articles that other /.'s can bitch about; what more could I ask for.

The person who's taking you to lunch has no intention of paying.

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