Where do I sign up for the cartoonists and bloggers union?
The Huffington Post, capitalized to the tune of $10 million, employs 43 full-time employees, all of whom presumably receive actual cash money, and health benefits, and maybe even a 401(k), for their efforts. But, USA Today reports, "it has no plans to begin paying bloggers. Ever." Ken Lerer, company co-founder, former Time Warner executive, and probably himself in it for the money, says: "That's not our financial model. We offer them visibility, promotion and distribution with a great company."
It's hypocritical for moneyed and supposedly progressive outlets like HuffPo asking writers to opine on subjects such as labor issues for no money whatsoever. (Smaller blogs run by unpaid editors are another matter). What would Arianna Huffington say if she heard about a factory in which workers were paid in internet exposure? Some other choice points:
Hardly a day passes without finding a pitch from some wannabe freeloader in my e-mail. "Our magazine doesn't have a budget for content, but we'd love to use your cartoon about…" "We can't offer a salary per se, but you would get amazing exposure to thousands of discrete users if…" Content is still king. Online leeches just don't want to pay the kingmakers.I can relate to this 100%. Outlets seem shocked that I don't want to work for free--after all, don't I want exposure FOR MY CARTOON ABOUT OPPRESSED WORKERS?
Finally, Ted tries an experiment:
I called the bank that holds my mortgage. "I don't have a budget to pay you per se," I cooed. "But think of the awesome prestige your corporation receives just by being associated with a cartoonist and columnist whose work is literally read by millions of--" Click. Citibank (Bangalore), Ltd., signing out. Back to work!The only reason this website doesn't lose money is my Google Ads. I did have hopes when I first put out Attack of the 50-Foot Mikhaela! that all that magical exposure I've been getting would help me sell enough books to make up for the work I put into designing it, but so far, I haven't quite broken even. Hint, hint...