At Business Insider, Dave Smith has an interesting (if a little long) story on the Apple news site 9to5Mac and its founder, Seth Weintraub. (Online publishing about Apple has long been an interestingly warped mirror of the online publishing world as a whole, from the rise of independent stars to the decline of print.)
If you don’t like the idea of tying journalists’ salaries to their pageviews, you won’t like this — but it’s nonetheless interesting how Weintraub pays his reporters:
Weintraub has a unique pay structure. Every writer has their own Google AdSense ads on their posts.
“It just started when I was like, ‘How do I pay these guys based on my advertising?’ and I thought, ‘Just give them an ad,” Weintraub says. “It’s like, ‘What’s the fairest way to pay a writer?’”
Some people get more or less ads — [star 20-year-old reporter Mark] Gurman, for example, contributes more than the average reporter so he gets an extra ad on the homepage, whereas copy editors don’t publish nearly as much so they get paid in cash. But Weintraub says this system is “huge” for his staffers, some of whom make over six figures. Gurman, for example, has “never had a sub-$10,000 month,” Weintraub says.
“I’m honestly surprised more people don’t do it because it actually takes away a lot of the complexity, because if people say ‘I’m not making enough money,’ I’m like, ‘Write more stories, get more page views.’”
Interesting reading if you’re interested in how at least some kinds of original reporting can be sustainable online through advertising.
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