I love accountability, but I hate sordid rubbish that just panders to people’s demand for titillation rather than tackle the important issues of the day. This is what I fear for the ostensibly good move that Reed Business Information appear to be considering in a potential move to paying their journos on a CPM model.
Affiliate marketing was borne out of the need for accountability and transparency about the true ROI of marketing spend. You may say that with the current economic climate, every single business owner/board should be looking to squeeze every element of value of their operations, but I am worried that if this CPM model will spread to other online “news” sources and reduce online publishing to a pure “eyeballs” game rather than the value of the information contained.
You could say that this is the perfect model for these organisations. Many of them aren’t as upfront about their editorial motives as the Beeb, for the rest it is actual fact a numbers game. Their goal is to get as high a readership as possible in an attempt to show value to potential advertisers. But surely there’s too many variables for this approach to be the a desirable solution?
Just as I have a complete and utter dislike for Pay Per Post, surely this is just the same? In that process blog owners say they have a certain amount of traffic, their site is about a certain topic and they’re paid accordingly – regardless of the actual traffic level and the propensity of those readers to take an agreeable course of action.
Currently RBI offer their bloggers a performance related remuneration package where the total fee is increased when a threshold is reached. This just sits uneasily with me as a fantastic journo / content writer / blogger can write great stuff but the publication they are writing for may have terrible SEO, no social bookmarking facilities or is designed poorly – all of these factors will affect the journo’s income to some degree.
I believe it’s a cop-out to be cut-throat. Media owners should build tighter editorial controls from the get-go, they should look at the traffic stats and use them as a guide to performance, not an indication of them.
These media owners should look at assessing the true value of the each individual’s contribution by establishing KPI’s such as “average time spent on the page”, “bounce rate”, CTR to advertisers, a loyalty index, rss feed subscriptions, referrals etc etc.
A mate of mine got 18,000 UPV’s a day as he hit the front page of Google news with a news story of no great intellectual value and how much did he make from it? Yep from CPA and CPC stuff he made didly squat – on this new model he’d make loads!
As affiliates are we really worried about the quality, truthfulness, accuracy, relevancy of what we write – not always! We’re back to the “pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap” approach. As affiliates we’re generally awarded for writing engaging, sale-inducing content – journo’s should be to!