A few days ago, I wrote a post here ("The market has spoken...Again...") discussing Misti Sandefur's decision to close her Article Distribution Services site.
Misti took the time to note my comments and to write a wonderful post further detailing her perspective on the closure and her motivations for starting ADS in the first place. You can read her response here.
I wanted to take a moment to address her response. If my original post seemed to be an attack on her motivations, that was completely unintended. In fact, I wrote "Let me preface my views on what happened with ADS by noting that the project certainly seems to have been well-intended. Everything I have read about ADS echoes that sentiment. Its creator felt writers were underpaid and wanted to help them find a way to earn more."
I stand by that statement and now have even greater appreciation for Misti's altruism in launching the site.
The point I was trying to make is that the best of intentions cannot change the overall nature of the marketplace. Simply because a contingency of writers believes they should be paid more will not translate into the rest of the world adopting a similar perspective regarding the value of their output.
"Fair pricing" is in the eye of the beholder, and as content producers we often behold the matter very differently than do buyers. Some don't like current prevailing rates and feel they are worth more. Their sentiments are duly noted, but do nothing to change the fact that writers are operating in a cut-throat international marketplace and are dealing with buyers who understand the kind of ROI necessary from content to justify increased expenditures. They are also often dealing with buyers who simply cannot afford substantial increases in content costs and who will pursue other methods of search engine optimization and marketing in the face of higher writer rates. Most sites are not artistic outlets designed to showcase a clever turn of phrase. They are elements of business, dedicated to producing profits, after all.
To further complicate matters, it is very possible for buyers to find quality content at lower rates. This further undercuts the potential for any amount of marketing or explanation to significantly alter prevailing rate structures.
In any case, I just want to make it very clear that I appreciate Misti's efforts and her dedication to helping others. It is admirable. My only point was that, for better or for worse, it seems to me as if the market is telling us that purchasers will not embrace significantly higher rates.
Misti maintains that part of the problem with Article Distribution Services may have been marketing related. She wonders if she was targeting the right potential client base. I have seen a few others speculate that part of the problem may have been related to site design. These factors may have played a role. However, it is my opinion that even an optimally-marketed and perfectly designed version of ADS would have met with a great deal of resistance on the issue of price point.
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