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Gawker Adds Performance Plan for Bloggers — Calling Dan Ackerman Greenberg!
Valleywag posted an internal memo from Gawker Central to its army of bloggers about a new bonus program based on traffic. Most large organizations in corporate America have some type of individual incentive program on top of any base salary. But is this type of bonus a way to infect the Internet with a new type of virus?
In my former life, I met people who worked on industrial product lines for 40+ years doing exactly the same thing for nearly all of it. Whether it was making a paper cup, creating a new batch of cole slaw or perfecting the perfect fragrance, everyone of them had quotas to meet everyday. Passing those quotas meant a bonus in their paycheck. And the smart ones mastered the system and found the tweaks to optimize performance to get large bonuses.
Let’s move into the world of blogging and look at both sides of pay for performance blogging. Many of the blogging networks already have pay for performance systems in place. In an email to the bloggers, Gawker head Nick Denton notes, "One guest editor on Wonkette landed a huge exclusive and walked away with an extra $3k in his paycheck."
Last month we saw what a "Dan Ackerman Greenberg" can do with his company in helping a potentially worthless piece of content go viral and drive views. Will the Gawker bloggers now spend time pushing content onto social news sites like Digg and Mixx more than ever? Sure, why not. Will they write content to get better rankings in Google? Sure, why not. If they can take a story that would normally have x views and increase it to 25x, they are one step closer to a bonus. They’d be fools not to.
The flip-side of pay for performance is that we may see better content coming from the Gawker blogs (I am not suggesting the content is not good now). This is great. Push your employees to get better stories and get rewarded for the hard work.
The bottom line is that pay for performance is overall a good thing as it helps those who work harder and smarter earn more. What it also means is that bloggers in a network are no longer only writers, but instead, marketers as well.