With the folding of daily newspapers and an overwhelming number of other commercial print publications, the bulk of paid published writing has shifted to the Internet. In the world of Internet publishing, we have seen the rise of Content Farms claiming to offer desirable writing assignments. These companies, owned by AOL, Yahoo and Demand Media among others, pay writers very little—such as $50 dollars for ten or more 500 word articles, pay by amount of web site page clicks—and other nonspecific methods with no guaranteed amount or very low payment. Demand Media, which has contracts with the San Francisco Chronicle, the National Football League, The Houston Chronicle and more, boasts of having 10,000 freelance writers that they pay a penny-a-word!
At our recent National Executive Board meeting in NY, the National Writers Union agreed to set up a task force to lay the ground work for organizing writers who work for these low-wage Content Farms [Plantations]. If you have written for one or no someone who does, and want to get involved, contact us today. We are not telling writers to refuse to accept assignments. We are trying to build a campaign that can over time set a new minimum standard in this industry. We do also strongly advise you to consider carefully all details in an agreement for professional writing and we offer free contract advice and grievance services for paid members in good standing.