For those not in the know, I have broken my vow of silence for the month of April to inform the uninformed, after having received numerous emails and thinly veiled threats concerning my non-blogging over the past few weeks, to educate those not as far out on the fringes of liberal media and activism as I certainly am. Below is a repost of an article published in late March on the FAIR website. Although it would have been a good idea to post this article before the first of April, rather than waiting until nearly two weeks before it ends, I am not in possession of that much foresight, and I guess I just naturally assumed that like-minded writers would have been privvy to the same information that I am. Oh well. I can only hope that next year's movement will be more widespread and recognized by whatever community it is that calls itself the blogosphere.
Month of April Decreed to be "No Blogging" Month.
March 23, 2006.
In lieu of recent revelations concerning published earnings reports from some of the country's largest blogging websites, as published in The Wall Street Journal on January 4, 2006, many advocates of internet self publishing, namely the blog watchdog group WRITER (Winning Recompense in The Electronic Renaissance) have opted out of publishing any work online during the month of April, claiming that large blogging websites, such as Blogger and TypePad, are systematically cheating online writers out of literally millions of dollars in compensation for their work, while simultaneously strong-arming smaller, community or fan-based blogging websites out of existence altogether.
"It is time for bloggers worldwide to stand up for themselves and their communities by recognizing their net worth in the online marketplace," Steffan Borgowski, international spokesperson for WRITER, said. "What most people don't realize is that for every 10 cents they receive for their Adsense hits, it is likely that the website that hosts their blog receives double that amount, as most of these larger sites have very lucrative deals worked out with advertisers."
Borgowski went on to note that while most blogging sites are free to users, the amount of income generated by the sheer traffic that is directed to the site by the users themselves is completely disproportionate to the services that the site provides to its members.
"Blogger reported quarterly earnings of close to 2 billion dollars last year. The average income of a blogger with Adsense on their site is $25 annually, not to mention the over 40% of bloggers who choose to keep their sites ad free. Free memberships and fancy template options are fine, but is that really fair compensation to the people who actually do most of the business for the site? We don't believe it is," said Borgowski.
WRITER is currently petitioning the major blogging websites to provide compensation to its users that is proportionate to the site's profit margins and its users output.
"For instance, if a blogger provides .001% of the traffic to a certain site, then that person should receive, at the very least, .0005% of the company's profits. We believe that this is a fair and ideal situation for all parties concerned. The site itself is still generating a more than lucrative profit, and the writers themselves are being compensated in such a way that is consistent with current market trends for writers of the printed page," Borgowski said.
WRITER is also forming a lobbying group that hopes to go to Washington later this year to present to the House a bill that would ensure fair compensation for online self publishers.
But for now, WRITER is simply hoping that the blogging community will latch onto April as "No Blogging Month," so as to send a clear message to the purveyors of the "seemingly helpful and unifying blogging websites."
"By drastically affecting the income of these conglomerate sites, if only for just one month, we in the blogosphere can achieve what it is that any writer, in any medium, strives for: not a hyper or permalink from another blogger's site, but fair compensation for our work."
I hope this clears up any confusion as to why I haven't been posting lately. If you didn't know about this, chances are that many of your friends don't either. I strongly encourage all of you to repost this article, either on your blog or through your email, to help get the word out. I'll see you again May 1.