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Going rate for web writing?
October 12, 2010 8:45 AM   Subscribe

I have a job opportunity to write for a blog--a web site somewhat similar to Gawker. The founder of the site doesn't know what the going rate is per post and I don't either. Any insight?

Each post involves doing a brief phone or email interview and describing the interviewee's products--about 1000 words. I'd be expected to do about two posts per week.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are some estimates at Gawker's numbers here. But it's a well-trafficked site; your rate likely should be discounted accordingly.
posted by dfriedman at 8:48 AM on October 12, 2010


Gawker's compensation is heavily tilted to page views which translate to ad revenue. Perhaps yours should be similar. I don't know what that rate is, but the founder surely has an idea of how much revenue he'll get per page view, which will give some context.
posted by oreofuchi at 8:48 AM on October 12, 2010


I did a brief stint at Gawker over 5 years ago. I think that it was like ~$12-15 a post.
posted by k8t at 9:00 AM on October 12, 2010


Two posts a week isn't bad, but I can guarantee you that the site owner will expect you to promote the hell out of the site (tweeting, FB, sending emails alerting others to the post and asking for links, etc.) Your hourly rate will end up around minimum wage. If you're into the subject matter, that could be a plus, but don't expect the posts to translate into freelance writing work, etc. Most corporate blogs pay around $25 a post, but Gawker, Medisbistro, etc. pay around $12-15.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:11 AM on October 12, 2010


I was going to say $12-15 per post, based on some experience I've had with the Gawker empire and similar sites.
posted by Buffaload at 9:34 AM on October 12, 2010


Wait, so you have to prepare for the interview, conduct the interview, and then write two single-spaced pages of text? Twelve to $15 seems ridiculously low for what must be a few hours of work. I would ask for $25, or at least $20.
posted by amro at 9:58 AM on October 12, 2010


I can't speak to "the going rate" for exactly this kind of thing, but I'll throw in a few observations.

Firstly, it sounds like in your case it's going to more a case of negotiating a deal that both of you are happy with rather than discovering some theoretical going rate anyway. Having an idea of rates is at most only an input into those negotiations.

For what it's worth there are a number of sites that seem to pay casual writers about $10-$15 for short articles, of say 300 to 600 words. Also those writers vary a lot in ability and in subject matter knowledge, so that rate is generally for articles that most anyone could write, and the low rate is a function of supply vs demand.

So, depending how far removed you think you are from that, e.g. writing longer articles with more prep and requiring specialist knowledge, you could apply some multiplier that you think is appropriate, which meets your needs, and is acceptable to the client.

Given that your articles will be quite long (by net standards) it sounds like you should aim for at least $20-$30, and possibly a lot more.
posted by philipy at 11:38 AM on October 12, 2010


1000 words is a lot. $12-15 per post seems low to me, but that does depend on the site. Most blog posts as someone mentioned are shorter than this. What about setting an hourly rate, especially if you're doing interviews? I've done work in this field, and I probably wouldn't do it for less than $30-$45. (if an interview is required?)
posted by Rocket26 at 11:47 AM on October 12, 2010


I didn't meant $30-45 per hour. I meant per post.
posted by Rocket26 at 11:48 AM on October 12, 2010


I didn't mean $30-45 per hour. I meant per post. Or possibly $12-$20 per hour.
posted by Rocket26 at 11:48 AM on October 12, 2010


The founder of the site doesn't know what the going rate is per post and I don't either. Any insight?

like k8t, i too did a brief stint at gawker media 5 years ago—at the time the going rate was $12-$15 per post BUT they were pretty short posts for the most part (you could knock one out in ten to fifteen minutes), you could write as many as you wanted a day AND more importantly you got traffic bonuses + quarterly bonuses + gawker pays for insurance, so it was a decent living. gawker media writers now draw regular salaries and still get bonuses; they're probably among the best paid full-time online writers now. gawker is not really applicable to your situation, since you're just trying to get paid for two items a week.

honestly, as someone that has done this kind of thing for a LONG time, my advice is to not get involved with this company if they genuinely have no idea what they should be paying you. but if you insist: figure out how much time you'll spend researching the person you're interviewing, how long you're going to spend actually talking to them, and how long it'll take you to transcribe the interview (triple this last number because transcribing sucks donkey balls and always takes much longer than you think it will). if it turns out you're going to end up with around minimum wage or less than minimum per hour of your time to write these posts, DON'T DO IT.
posted by lia at 12:08 PM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oy, no. Minimum $100 a post for an interview and 1000 words. More like: ask for $300.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 12:14 PM on October 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oy, no. Minimum $100 a post for an interview and 1000 words. More like: ask for $300.

You may not even be able to get $50. You're limited to what the web site owner can afford to pay, and that depends on their revenue model, how well they're carrying it out and how well established they are. In this case it may also depend on how much start-up capital the owner has.

If they're completely dependent on revenue from Google adwords, or similar advertising, that may be only $12-$30 per post. If they're selling more lucrative products, advertising or subscriptions then you may be able to get much more. But from what I've seen, writing for the web usually pays much less than other kinds of writing.

I pretty much agree with philipy, Rocket26 and lia's advice.
posted by 14580 at 10:44 AM on October 13, 2010


as in all things, i highly cosign RJ Reynolds in this.

You may not even be able to get $50. You're limited to what the web site owner can afford to pay, and that depends on their revenue model, how well they're carrying it out and how well established they are. In this case it may also depend on how much start-up capital the owner has.

if the site owner can't afford to pay a measly $50 for what is a few hours work, then they need to just do the damn interviews themselves, because clearly they cannot afford to be hiring people to write for them yet. there's nothing wrong with not being at the point where you can afford to pay and having to do it yourself, if you're trying to build your business, but writers should not be expected to work at a loss, and should refuse to work at a loss, especially when the business in question is centered on the content they provide.
posted by lia at 3:09 PM on October 13, 2010


Ultimately in any negotiation if the minimum you are willing to do it for is less then the maximum they are willing to pay, there is a deal to be done. If not, there isn't.

All other considerations just feed into that. For example, if you have no other options for work, and you need the money, then it probably makes sense to do it even at a pretty low rate.

The idea of a "going rate" comes into the equation in the way it influences what both parties options are. If the site owner can find plenty of people who'll do the job to their satisfaction for $15 then it's not likely you will get offered $100 for it. Likewise, if you can easily find plenty of gigs that will pay you $300 for the same amount of work then there's no reason for you to take the deal even if you're offered $200.

People's circumstances vary, and what makes sense for one person to accept often does not apply to others.
posted by philipy at 11:28 AM on October 14, 2010


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