Rupert Murdoch Sees No Need for Portals
Playing with the Enemy, by Gary W. Moore

Publishing 2.0 on “Equal Pay for Equal Work”

Scott Karp asks the question you’re going to hear a lot going forward: Shouldn’t the creators of user-generated content get paid like the professionals? That’s a great question with a not-so-simple answer. As I’ll explain later, I don’t think the answer is yes or no, but rather something in between…

First of all, I think it’s important to note that nobody is holding a gun to anyone’s head. If you don’t want to create the video, write the article or produce the podcast, don’t! The Doritos contest Scott talks about is likely to generate a lot of interest and submissions. Why? It’s the same reason so many people try out for reality TV shows: They think it’s a chance at becoming a star, or at least being “discovered.” Whether it leads to a significant contract or just a better paying gig, it’s worth the time and effort. To demand that you should be paid for your efforts is silly. Either participate and accept the pros and cons or take a seat on the sidelines.

Let’s fast forward for a moment though and envision the world of content in the year 2010. Newspapers are much more community-driven and the job of today’s professional journalist looks much different as they’re more news aggregators and editors than they are writers, for example. Local bloggers and anyone else with an interesting angle are featured throughout the hybrid print/online product. At that point, shouldn’t the amateurs get paid like the professionals? After all, if the amateurs don’t get something other than fame and glory, won’t they take their services elsewhere?

I think the answers to those questions are “no” and “yes.” If user-generated content really becomes more prevalent, doesn’t it start to affect the going rate paid for professional content? If the tried and true laws of supply and demand hold true, one would expect the abundance of user generated content to drive down the going rate for content in general. Just as the newspaper is unable to cling to the lucrative advertising rates of yesterday, thanks in large part to cheaper alternatives, they probably won’t have to pay as much for a lot of their content.

Like everything else in the Publishing 2.0 world, the underlying financial models are also highly likely to change.


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