Anti-Publishing Site of the Week: The Internet

Imagine my disappointment when, after applying to become a blogcritics.org blogger and receiving the go ahead, I read this in the guidelines for writers there:

“You must LINK TO AT LEAST ONE AMAZON PRODUCT in every article you submit.”

Blogcritics.org does not pay its bloggers and I could find no strategy for developing a system of remuneration. I guess the strategy boils down to you building up a huge congregation in the hopes that advertisers will seek you out. That’s fine if you want to blog on the old standbys: sex and violence, or even better: sex and violence amongst the famous, but what if your topic is weird or esoteric?

So what we have here is a model for Internet publishing: you provide content for a megasite containing free advertising to yet another megasite, thereby joining the thundering herd of 12,000 bloggers with witty posts that hope to one day quit their day jobs and become the next Garrison Keillor. You won’t get paid for it, nor will you get a kickback from Amazon, but you must shill for Amazon none the less.

The Internet will probably always have a thundering her of naïve bloggers giving content away on their way to “branding themselves.” (Q: What are we cattle? A: yes) But one hopes at some point we’d realize that not everyone is going to make a living at this pyramid scheme called epublishing. And Amazon is no longer a young maverick, fighting the establishment as the little guy and deserving of as much support as you can give. It is the establishment. Of all the entities in the world deserving of volunteer efforts, they are the least needy. If you want to give of yourself, I suggest Writers Without Borders , The Red Cross, or your local soup kitchen.

I don’t mind not being overly popular or not getting paid for my rants. I get to do and say what I want in the way I want to do and say it. That’s what the Internet is for. But, If I have to write what someone wants me to write, I need to get paid for it. That’s the way the world works: in order to get paid for something you do what someone else wants you to do and you do it the way they want you to do it. Doing something for someone else in their way without getting paid makes no sense. This model is unsustainable.

How disappointing this Internet thing is. And writers are concerned about Google? You need to keep your eye on your contract with Amazon.

Sue Lange

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Anti-Publishing Site of the Week: The Internet — 2 Comments

  1. Regrettably, it’s a model that’s worked for years. Yesterday, while out with my younger daughter, we passed a store filled with cute little T-shirts emblazoned with the store’s name and logo. Daughter mentioned that she’d like one. “You can spend your money on it, but I’m not spending mine,” I told her. We had a discussion about paying money to become a walking billboard advertising someone else’s product. She thought about it for a few minutes and decided, No, she didn’t need one of those shirts.

    Make it a status symbol and Amazon gets all the links it wants…

  2. I’ve always felt that way about t-shirts. I’m not that crazy about them to begin with because they’re so sloppy, but advertising for someone that doesn’t pay me? I don’t think so. I never wore Izod, I won’t wear Tommy, and Nike can just go…