The Online Journalism Review has a revealing article on the compensation structures of the two biggest blog networks: Nick Denton‘s Gawker Media and Jason Calacanis‘ Weblogs, Inc. (via The Blog Herald).
Nick Dentonâ??s Gawker Media runs on a â??Complex system of compensation based on traffic, with a bonus is â??bankedâ? on good months and canâ??t be taken out in one monthâ?¦leaving it to drop as the traffic drops in future months. traffic bonuses are weighted according to a multiplier depending on the subject matter of the blog.â?
Jason Calacanis of Weblogsinc is reported to have dropped the 50/50 model and has instead adopted a flat fee structure for bloggers ranging from $100 to $3,000 per month, and is now signing multiple bloggers per blog to accommodate part time workers.
I’m not quite sure either of these compensation methods for authors is optimal. It seems to me that authors need to have some skin in the game. Compensation has to be tied in some way to the number of posts, quality of posts, and the subsequent traffic they drive. Paying per post or paying flat monthly retainers will not necessarily ensure quality posts. These three elements need to be nicely balanced in order to have the best blog authors working hard for the good of the overall network.