Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Upfront Payments for Associated Content: Why You Shouldn’t Bother with Them

Many writers are captivated by the allure of receiving cash upfront for the articles they write for Associated Content. However, it is almost always equivalent or better to skip these upfront payments and submit articles for performance only payments. Here is a list of reasons why.

It isn’t that much money: Associated Content claims that they will pay up to ten dollars upfront for content submitted to their site. Most of the football players in my high school claimed that they could bench press 300+ pounds, even the ones that weighed in at about 150. The lesson is that people and internet sites both can claim anything they want. I have personally never gotten paid more than a little over two dollars for any of my articles. From my research among other writers, most of them average payments between about two and four dollars. So, even writing fifty articles per month will only net you about 200-400 dollars extra – nice but hardly enough to quit your day job over.

You have to jump through hoops: Another thing that I have experience with Associated Content, both with my own articles and those of colleagues, is that you have to have to put a lot of effort into writing an article if you expect an editor to like it, probably a lot more effort than if you were writing the article for yourself. Also, the editor can more or less dictate what subjects you write the article on (i.e. if you’re writing for the assignment desk) and concern about whether or not an editor will like your article can sometimes influence you to write an article that is good for Associated Content but not good for your bottom line.

A great example of this comes from looking over the current Associated Content assignment desk. Out of the 20 or so assignments on my desk, probably half of those are reviews of video games and movies, including some with an upfront pay offer. Now, ask yourself, is this really the type of article that will be good for generate long term cash from performance pay. The shelf life of the average video game review is probably the first few months after the game comes out. To make real money, you want to write articles that have a shelf life of years, not months, so that you can have small residuals from performance pay trickling in from your dozens of Associated Content articles, not something that will generate some clicks for a couple of weeks or months and be finished. Hence, video game and movie review articles, along with many of the other articles you get from the assignment desk, are probably a bad choice for your pocket book.

You may actually lose money: This reason is a counterintuitive argument that only makes sense if you consider something financial planners call “the time value of money”. Here, you would treat the money you make writing each Associated Content article, and the time you spent to write it, as if you were working at a job. You goal is to make a certain amount of money during the time you spend writing for Associate Content – maybe 10 dollars per hour. Also, assume that you write two articles: Article A which you submit for upfront payment and Article B which you publish for performance pay only.

After a week or so, you hear back on Article A – the editor will accept it if you do a better job citing your sources. Since you really want that upfront payment, you spend an additional thirty minutes looking up the article that you were reading online, put the citation in the article, and resubmit it. This time, you get your upfront payment – a whopping three dollars!

However, during the same period of time, you could have been pumping out another article similar to Article B. Assuming that Article A and Article B have the same performance payment at the end of the year – five dollars – you would have made thirteen dollars writing Articles A and B – three dollars ahead of where you would have been with just the performance payments alone. So, you came out three dollars ahead, right?

Not quite. The problem is that, during that same period of time, you could have also been writing Article C, which would have also made five dollars by the end of the year. In the latter case, you would have had fifteen dollars, two dollars more than in the first case where you had to revise Article A.

A two dollar difference may not seem like a lot of money, but if you’re treating Associate Content like a second job, situations like that really translate into two dollars per hour difference. Now, most people don’t care about two dollars. However, a two dollar per hour pay difference at your part time job is a big difference!

Bottom Line: Even though the prospect of upfront payment may seem like a good option for a beginning writer. However, the combination of the small size of upfront payments, the freedom of choice that comes with performance pay articles, and the time value of money should help you to forego upfront payment in many cases.

1 comment:

  1. Is it even worth it at all to write for Associated Content?



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