Pay Per Post

If you had to pay to read this post then would you? Is that a Yes I am hearing? No! Oh well!

I expect of you your time, your energy, your attention, your engagement and if you also blog likewise you of me?

But no filthy lucre shall change hands between us!

If we were to place our blogs beyond a paywall our viewing figures would likely fall off a precipice. We would very likely be left writing to ourself. Or we might fear.

But how about it on a per-post basis? If prior to publishing there is an option for us to ask for a payment for the post to be read in full? We can still ignore it and publish it free as per usual, acknowledging that in the main we blog just to be paid in Likes, Comments, Social Media shares and general Karmic good-will.

But if sometimes we could ask for cash?

I thought I would start a post about in on the WordPress Support Ideas forum – see screenshot below. As I write this it has already received one very brusque and dismissive response so perhaps I have not struck the chord that I thought I may have, but clearly such a sample of one is no guide either!

Wordpress Forum payment proposal

If you would like to see the post on the forum itself then click here.

I would be interested in any of your thoughts, here or there!

16 thoughts on “Pay Per Post

  1. I think the way the professional bloggers do it is that they give certain things away free and then charge for the “premium” stuff. So it’s not all that unusual. But it’s interesting to read people’s reaction to the idea.

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  2. It is brave of you to throw it out there, Sam. I think something could get lost in the process with money at stake. Then, probably not enough money would make it worthwhile. I think there’s just so much free information out there, including authors who give away their books for free, that it would be a pretty hard sell.

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  3. I think that for most of us, blogging is an exercise in mutual back scratching as well as being an outlet for a love of writing. So having to pay to read would tend to unbalance that relationship. I would come to resent paying to read posts if i wasn’t able to earn an equivalent amount from fellow bloggers! I wouldn’t oppose an option on WordPress that allowed bloggers to levy a fee per read, but I doubt I would use it or ever pay fees, unless that was the only way to read some of the work of some favourite journalists one day as the printed press dies its slow death.

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  4. There are other ways to earn money through a blog rather than asking readers to pay. Sam, didn’t you write a post a few months ago about ads generating money on your site – this seems like a better option than all the fuss of paypal and paywalls.

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    • The Ads payment model generates a pittance. I estimate that if I had a million hits per month then I might make the minimum wage!

      I was thinking actually about the reader/pricing balance, that by publishing content for free on a blog it guarantees the widest audience whereas if I charge I will reduce my readership and at some price level reduce it to zero!

      But actually does this free-publishing guarantee the widest audience as I am then competing with the hundreds-of-thousands (literally) of other blogs also offering their content for free. And then there is not enough hours in a thousand life-times to read all the free content published on blogs in just one day!

      Too many writers, not enough readers!?!

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  5. As I see nothing wrong in receiving a fee for my work, In principle, I can see nothing wrong in paying to read other people´s work. But there we have have it: in principle.

    In practice, I could not afford to pay for the amount of work I read and, on the other side, not enough people read my work to make it worthwhile. I feel I would most likely get no readers at all at this moment in time if I began to charge a fee.

    As for writing for myself, that´s how I started. Best described as a closet wrtier, I was afraid of showing others my work thorough lack of self-esteem. Then, one day I woke up and realised no writing is complete without readers. It’s rather like drama in that way. Imagine actors never playing in theatres. What would be the point? Or musicians without audiences? It´s the people who read our work that make it whole.

    When I did starting showing people, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction I received. But you can’t live on positive reaction on toast; Marmite, the staple diet of poor writers, costs money, so I had to carry on slaving away at other things

    I have been fortunate enough to have a few pieces published by a national newspaper, and a couple of short stories here and there, but have never been paid enough to able to call myself a priofessional writer in the strictest meaing of the word.

    Neverthelss, the idea of holding desperate readers to ransom appeals in a perverse sort of way. As they go in cold turkey, I could even up the ante in stages. By the finale I could demand a huge sum for them to know the end of a story.

    Then again, it’s a bit like paying to watch half a football match. The first half may look promising, but paying for the second half won´t guarrantee your team will win. Perhaps that´s not such a good analogy, but I couldn’t resist it.

    Come back to me when I´ve a few thousand followers and ask me the question again

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    • Perfectly said, Bryan. I knew you’d say it for me.

      My outting my creative self in blogging was also a timid, unconfident venture in self-sort-of-belief. And I imagine it is for so very many.

      This is a valuable enabler – blogging – for the deeply wounded artist. Blogging, being free, enables the wounded artist to reach the wounded audience who would benefit from their tellings and expressions. The wounded individuals of society who cannot express their ache so, are relieved of ache in reading of another’s and realising their spiritual torment is not unique. They reach out through the blogosphere to touch the wounded artist, and this they do simply by reading that artist, honouring their words by their audience. Then the artist is touched on another level, to realise this ache they express is not unique to themselves, but others are out there and suffering also; and naturally, the artist wants to reach out more, and more. This connection worldwide by blogosphere, to me, must never be commercialised in transaction between reader and blogger, because that transaction of deliverer of heart and audience of heart, too with wounded heart, is too precious to mess with – it gives voice, freedom of heart, release, to many lonely a passtime, connectedness, gives a stage.

      Sam, you are a brave man to commence stirring such a pot in the wordpress forum.

      I think it is offensive to seek money for blogging because blogging to me is ‘free writing’, ‘free delivery’ – freely giving & receiving unpolished thoughts and ideas knocked up on the go on blackberries and on home porches after work. I don’t know the definition of blogging, but I have the impression it is a freeshare of lives international, and I like that. I don’t want that definition in my head to change.

      I have heard the term ‘professional blogger’ and I imagine these people are paid. I would hope they are not paid by readers but by advertisers. Being paid by this method, to me is not offensive, for advertisers ache to exist everywhere and if you are going to indulge them on your site, you ought be paid. However, you never indulge readers on your site: you welcome them, and I never wish to unwelcome them. I like the door open and free to readers because like Bryan said – just as a drama on stage played to no audience…the written begs to be read.

      I am a writer outted from the closet in literally only the last couple of years. It was very, very torturous writing to no-one nowhere so long, not believing myself worthy of reading. I do say torturous – it was torturous. But I still wrote, because I could not live the day to day without so doing. To be paid to write, to pay my average life bills by writing, is a dream. But Ii would not like my blogging readers to pay. The advertisers may.

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      • As you have made the same point on the Forum Noeleen (and thank you again for that) I am just going to hit the copy-paste too!:

        “My suggestion I should remind would be optional! Anyone wanting to make all their content free would still be able to continue to do so.

        My writing is my writing – others can read it, like it, dislike it, comment on it, share it on social media or ignore it – but it remains my writing.

        If I want to make it available to read for free or at a price it is my decision to make not my readers.

        And if I can make a living from my writing I can spend more time writing – and of greater quantity and quality. I cannot make a living from it giving it away for free.

        Of course there are many other avenues open to me where I can do this but I do not think that blogging necessarily has to be exempt from the paid market.

        And yours Noeleen is one of the few blogs that I would pay to read!”

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    • Thanks for your thoughtful response Bryan.

      Blogging is of course a fantastic way to share your writing, art, photography with the world. A living, breathing portfolio and CV of all your various talents. A fantastic way up to a point, then it is just a free lunch for your site visitors….as you continue to toil away with your blood sweat and tears living on fresh-air and hope!

      I don’t share this sympathy for the reader who wants all their writing for free. Would a mechanic or plumber give away their services for free – would they hell!

      And to finish by paraphrasing a paragraph I used in reply to Noeleen on the Forum:

      “Of course there are many other avenues open to me where I can write and get paid for it but I do not think that blogging necessarily has to be exempt from the paid market.”

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      • I´m pretty much with everyone on this.

        A good subject for debate, Sam, let’s hope you attract lots more comments.

        Making money from writing is very difficult, and made even more difficult by the mainstream media at times.

        One of the worst things I discovered was that national newspapers sell published articles on to paywall subscription sites without paying writers the extra fee they are due.

        An article of mine on Edvard Munch, published by The Independent under the tirle ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’, was sold to a subscription site, Highbeam, and removed from Indy’s archives to make it unavailable without payment.

        Not only do II believe this to be illegal, but a clear breach of copyright. As a freelancer I still own the copyright to that work. Even worst, I was not under contract to The Independent at the time, as I had not been sent a contract, even though the work had been published. In alll my correspondences with their legal department they have yet to convince me otherwise.

        Practices like this make it completely unprofitable to wrte articles where foreign travel and a lot of research are involved. No wonder the quality of the ‘quality’ press is deteriorating so much.

        I am updating and editing the article to publish on my blog so anyone can read it for free.

        Nevertheless, to those charitable souls who feel a desperate urge to slip me a tenner in an envelope and post it off, please don’t let my humbleness prevent you. Please don’t. No, please. I mean it. Please, please, please don’t.

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        • The Stingy!

          I know The Independent is making big losses and due a merger with The Evening Standard (and I don’t understand this marriage proposal at all given their respective political preferences).

          Though I don’t suppose they are alone in such penny-pinching practices.

          When even newspapers hold writers in such low-esteem…

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  6. An interesting idea, definitely. I don’t know that it would go over very well, though. I know for one that I would not be willing to pay to read a blog post — the whole point of blogs is that they’re free ways to share your thoughts and opinions with the world — but other people very well might be willing to fork over the cash. Keep us posted on how your suggestion goes over with the forum folk 😀

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