b5Media Realigns Blogger Pay, Encouraging Community Building

TechCrunch reports on a topic close to my heart: blogger pay, specifically a pay restructuring at b5Media. Based out of Toronto, b5Media is Canada’s largest blog network, with 200 writers contributing to 300+ blogs. The two core changes seem to be the end of base pay, and the move to a new stats tracking system. Writers were being compensated partly based on traffic, but the stats system was inaccurate and overreporting traffic. TechCrunch kindly prints in full a memo from b5Media CEO Jeremy Wright to the network’s writers:

When we designed the current pay system, it was in response to our previous model of doing a type of revenue share. The details of that don’t matter too much. What matters is that the current pay system of base pay + traffic bonus was really designed to encourage bloggers to build a community around their blog and to be a part of the larger community within which their blog sits. We felt that ultimately these things would drive traffic and so while traffic in and of itself wasn’t the goal, we recognized that more comments, links, posts, participation in other blogs, etc all drove traffic … and as a result felt that keeping it simple and rewarding traffic was the easiest way to go.

Sadly, as would have been obvious in hindsight, by only rewarding traffic and length of service what we were in fact encouraging was “traffic for traffic’s sake” as well as pure longevity. While we’d hoped to create a striving for quality, because we weren’t specifically rewarding quality it became harder and harder to push for it in any systematic way.

For your interest, the raw numbers:

1. Tier 1: 30,000+ pageviews/month – $4CPM

2. Tier 2: 10,000 – 29,999 pageviews/month – $100 flat rate ($5-$10 CPM)

3. Tier 3: 5,000 – 9,999 pageviews/month – $50 ($5-$10 CPM)

4. Tier 4: 0 – 4,999 pageviews/month – $25 ($5 -$50 CPM)

Former b5media Accordian Guy Joey Devilla, defends the change and points out that the network’s pay still beats going it alone.

Even under the new pay structure, blogging under the b5 umbrella is a pretty sweet deal. A guaranteed minimum CPM of $4? That’s awesome compared to the alternatives out there. Consider my personal blog, The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century, which has been averaging about 200,000 pageviews a month (outperforming most of b5’s blogs) and has had over 2 million pageviews this year according to StatCounter. I do a big happy dance when my CPM makes that rare climb over $1.10. $4? Sign me up!

Blogging has never been a well paying gig, and that clearly isn’t changing anytime soon. It’s a big blogosphere, and typing text into the internets is easy. Selling ad space isn’t. Gaining and retaining readership requires post quality, frequency, luck, and a voice that appeals to readers above others. Hopefully this change ensures the viability of the b5Media network into the future.