Hi. This is an old, unmaintained blog. You may find these sites more to your liking:

Carson Brackney: This is my primary site.

Ad Astra Traffic: Content production/article writing service.

Ad Astra Traffic Team: For those who'd like to get writing gigs with Ad Astra.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Interesting discussion with a monster who isn't...

A few days ago I received an inquiry about writing some articles for a site owner. He told me what he would need and I responded with rates, etc. Today, he got back to me and told me he couldn't afford me. In fact, he told me he planned on buying cheap articles from "a writer overseas."

Most of us have heard that before, and some people are quite proud of their pointed responses to what they term "bottom feeders." That's not really my style. Instead, we had a nice dialog about his business, what I do and whether or not we could find a way to work together.

Here's what "Hank" (not his real name) told me:

"I have over 100 content sites and the number is growing every month. I have PLR articles for each of these sites obviously cannot submit these as is to directories. My plan is to be able to submit approx. 7 articles for each site. Now can you imagine my expenditure if I was to pay $XX per every 7 articles PER website? And I'm growing by 15 websites each and every month! I'm only sharing this with you so you can see how impractical this route is for me." [I opted not to reveal my price tag here, instead replacing it with "XX."]

From there, Hank told me that he felt his only way of making his strategy work would be to use cheaper producers, even though he recognized there may be "quality concerns."

He also noted, "I've had to painfully learn to adjust my expectations to be in line with the reality of what I'm paying and the QUANTITY of writing I require."

Why do I bring this up? Because I think it is a perfect illustration of how we writers can sometimes make the error of jumping on someone's case without fully understanding their business model and situation. It would be easy to lambast Hank for offering low rates, but when you start to look at the context from which he is working, it makes a degree of sense.

In essence, people like Hank are exploiting market opportunities (Adsense and current search engine patterns) to generate an income. You can hate his kind of content site, or you might be AOK with it, but it certainly isn't a prima facie evil and it is definitely a legal way to turn a dime. If those PLR articles are as good as some of the ones I have seen (and written), his sites could be pretty valuable to users, too. In any case, he isn't phishing or plugging Nigerian gold bar investment schemes (or even 12DP). He's just a webmaster working within the current marketplace to make some money.

And he makes that money off of volume. He has a ton of sites and those sites each probably turn a marginal profit on an individual basis. If you start to multiply that small profit by 100 or more, Hank can make a living.

But it doesn't make sense for him to spend a fortune with me on content in order to enact his current link development plan (utilizing article directories). My cost for the work in support of each site would completely crush the site's profitability for an extended period of time. In order to implement his strategy, he is going to have to look elsewhere for content.

Of course, there is an alternative, and being a fairly aggressive marketer, I pitched him on a different approach. I explained why I felt he could cut down on the total number of directory submissions slightly, use one or two quality pies for each site and then a few additional "cheapos." It's my belief (for various reasons I won't go into here) that this combination approach would probably yield a better overall result. He's thinking about it.

However, Hank is not the person responsible for the importance of backlinks with respect to SERPs. He is not the reason article distribution sites work as a means of increasing backlinks. He is not in charge of Adsense. He didn't invent private label rights articles. Hank's an entrepreneur who looked at the whole mess, did some research and decided there was a way to make a living with it.

He's not a "low-baller" or a "bottom feeder." He isn't out to screw writers, as some seem to think everyone unwilling to pay higher rates is. He's a business person. His content desires and what I produce just don't match up.

He seems to be a good guy, too. We had a really pleasant exchange and he was cool with me using any and all excerpts of his comments in a blog post. I enjoyed our "conversation."

So, the next time you might be tempted to fire off a smarmy email to someone who wants to pay less than a penny per word and knows s/he can find it oversears, exercise some restraint. The next time you think about calling someone a "bottom feeder," think twice. Some of those horrible monsters are actually decent people who just happen to be making a living without our brand of content.

That doesn't mean we can't try to sell them an upgrade, though! ;-)