Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My beef with Associated Content

I've discussed Associated Content before, so you may know that I have very mixed feelings about this content mill. One of the biggest negatives I see is the way the payment system is set up: You get paid peanuts until you 1) write for peanuts for a while and prove that you are willing to do anything -- even starve -- for your writing, and 2) get lots of people to rate, comment, and pay homage to your content.

The unfortunate thing about this system -- and here I get to today's point -- is that it turns would-be writers into a new breed, a unique blend of used car salesman and spammer, forever trying to get more people to read their crappy content.

This morning I found in my inbox an email from an Associated Content writer. It reads:

Appreciated your entry, How Society Supports Low-Paying Writing Jobs By Katharine Swan.

Just getting into writing in earnest, after Hurricane Katrina. I don't know thought I'd leave a link.

Have a nice evening.

At the bottom of the email was a link to his content producer page.

I can't help but wonder, does he think he's being clever by putting it that way: "I don't know thought I'd leave a link"? (And does he realize that sentence makes him seem not just an amateur, but a pretty poor one at that?)

It annoys me that Associated Content would set up a system encouraging their writers to harass other people for hits. It annoys me even more that since most people probably don't feel comfortable emailing complete strangers and inviting them to rank their articles, this system is probably nothing more than Associated Content's way to justify paying their "less ambitious" writers peanuts.

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