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Help Wanted

By David Ponce

Are you a talented writer without an audience? A tech guru without a flock of devout followers? An unheard, unread, undiscovered, underestimated and unappreciated gadget nut? Well, I might have a little opportunity for you.

This site receives around 7,000 unique visitors each day with a little over 15,000 page views and it’s going up each day. We’re ranked #226 in the blogosphere, and 34,588 in the world, according to Alexa.com. And, we’re “hiring”!

Of course, I don’t mean hiring in the I’ll-quit-my-dayjob-now sense, but rather in the I’ll-finally-realize-my-dream-of-being-”published” sense. And, maybe, actually make a tiny little bit of money in the process.

So, here’s the deal. Each of our contributors is allowed to link back to their own websites. So that’s one way you can get something out of this: with a little bit of traffic. Also, you get to be part of a respected team of writers whose stories get frequently picked up by Gizmodo, Digg and even Slashdot.

But, most importantly, I’m setting up a monetary incentive. If any of your stories gets picked up by either Slashdot or Digg, I will Paypal you $25 immediately. Get six stories up in a month? That’s a $150 in your pockets. And this applies to anyone. Anyone that sends in a full story, properly researched, properly written, with a source and a destination, and gets the story picked up… can get this cash. It’s not just for our regular contributors.

Ah, and yeah, finally, a warning. Getting read by lotsa people gives you a fuzzy feeling, which can become quite addictive. Sort of like a drug. So, be careful when applying.

Those interested, direct your desperate pleas applications/story submissions to “editor” at this domain. And know that not everyone’s story will get published, and not everyone will be “hired” and not even everyone will receive a reply, due to the expected volume of submissions.








  • Carl

    $25 for a Slashdotting? ROTFL! Maybe it would be worth it if this site wasn’t cluttered with ads.
    But with so many advertisments, a slashdot-effect is worth a lot more…

  • mark666

    Yeah, even with Firefox Adblock, the ads on this site are a complete turn-off. This site is the best reason yet to discover RSS.

    Six Slashdots in a month, eh? Dream on.

  • dponce80

    Hey guys, thanks for the input. Lemme get on the record here. Yes, a Slashdotting or Digging would bring in more than $25. But I’m running a business here, and more importantly, this is my only source of income. So, no, I won’t give all the cash I make away. What sense does that make?

    And yes, there’s a ton of ads. I’m aware, and it pisses even me off. I have to draw a line between too many that it turns people off, and too little so that I can’t devote as much time to the site as I want because I have to work. I also happen to go to college full time, and yes, even sleep now and then.

    I have made sure to stay away from the more annoying ads, like pop-overs/unders, flashing free iPods and other really lucrative, but immensely annoying ads. I have tried to make sure to identify ads and separate them from content. I make sure to keep some sort of professional integrity. No one pays me to say something nice about their product, and if I ever ask you to click on something that might bring me profit, I try as much as possible to make that clear.

    I have looked at other, high traffic sites and tried to reproduce the same content to ad ratio. While I don’t presume to bring the same type of quality content as Boingboing or Engadget, I certainly don’t have more ads than them.

    That said, ads piss me off too. So I’m sorry for them. But it’s the only way that I can justify spending so much time working on this site.

  • http://www.jy.lv Jealousy

    Darn. I wish i was learning english a bit better at school, so i could apply now… :)

  • Ben

    I’m afraid I agree with Carl, David. I’ve read your site for a few months, but this “offer” is rude. A Slashdotting will bring about 40,000 visitors and a few hundred dollars in revenue, plus repeat visits. For $25? Gimme a break. And anyone who can get slashdotted six times should be running their own site, because they’ve got something absolutely massive to say. You, on the other hand, are running a piece on a plastic head massager.

  • http://www.realtytrac.com Thomas Paine

    I completely disagree. I think this is a more than generous offer. Most sites pay nothing for news submissions. We aren’t talking about a full article here, just a few paragraphs. Your are paying people for the scoop and I think that’s a good idea.

    As far as the adds go I commend you on your restraint. The adds that you do have don’t bother me at all, though to be honest I don’t see them. I’m just glad you don’t have any of those stupid “get a free xbox” or “shoot the alien” adds, I hate those.

    On another note, if you need any engineering expertise I would be willing to donate some time to your site that I enjoy so much. I’m just wrapping up 3 years with http://www.realtytrac.com (we’ve had an alexa rating close to 2,000) as a lead engineer so if you could use any help drop me a line.

    Oh, and please link your logo back to the home page. Drives me nuts.

  • http://www.cryptonomicon.net/ Matt H.

    Now now Ben… Are you really saying that you think it’s rude for a publisher / editor to ask writers to contribute texts to a website?

    I have to agree with Mr. Paine on this one, it’s not a rude offer and even a little generous. I ran a site (cryptonomicon.net) that was a Google news source and in the Alexa top 50,000 for about a year. We were nearly completely focused on cryptography and internet security and we weren’t one of those sites that simply republished vulnerability announcements. With such a focused topic, it’s not especially easy to get and keep eyeballs. And I hate to say, it wasn’t lucrative enough to be my main moneymaker. (BTW, I have since returned to grad school and closed the site.)

    So I’m in the position of having neither the time nor the interest in doing the work required to keep a good content site up and running day after day. I am interested in ocassionally publishing a thing or two to a forum that has more eyeballs than cryptonomicon.net right now.

    I’m a fan of OhGizmo and the ads don’t frighten me away. Is it the only site I look at? Of course not; but I rank it up there with Engadget and Gizmodo.

  • alec

    I think its great that you leave your comments open, regardless if some of the comments are negative, it says alot about and shows you have integrity and honest. keep up the good work

  • http://www.ilikecheapstuff.com Mike Panic

    I’m an avid reader of this blog, however I use google.com/ig as my homepage and have the RSS feed in there to view articles. As someone who blogs and runs forums and websites, I understand what advertising must be done to make a living. I also understand that content rules. That said, I don’t mind getting paid $35 per post, but not per post that is slashdotted. I can’t really see 6 posts per month getting picked up. Not trying to diss you or the site, but I searched slashdot and only came up with 3 total stories that linked back here. Realisticly, if you are looking for someone to help post content, pay for them. That content will bring more readers, regardless if its dugg or dotted and that in tern means more money from adverts. Not that I’m comparing you, but check out this article about Gawker Media on Wired.com and what they pull in. The average pay according to the article is $200-1200 / month for a full-time staffer.

    As for all the Alexa talk, thats fine and dandy but who do you know who really has the Alexa toolbar installed? To add fuel to the fire, it is a proven fact that those numbers can be extremely manipulated.

  • http://www.ohgizmo.com dponce80

    Okay, let’s lay things out in the open. You guys seem to think this site is printing money. It isn’t. I’m going to give you some figures, and you’re going to have to trust me that they’re accurate. I can give you screenshots, to prove things, but really, it shouldn’t get to that. My word should be enough.

    So. How much does this site bring in? Last month, November, Google Adsense revenue was close to $700 (not allowed to give you actual figure), Blogads revenue was around $121, DU Network stipend was $150, Chitika was around $212, direct ads were $410 and Vibrantmedia was $140. That makes for a total of $1733.

    On that same month, I was able to find the time to make 90 posts. Pathetic, but there you have it. I’m burning candles at boths ends, I also go to college full time, and barely have the time to do anything. Now, that works out to around $19 per post.

    Now, Mike, you say you wouldn’t mind getting paid $35 per post, regardless of whether it gets picked up or not. I, myself, don’t even get that much. I worked for Gizmodo for a while. THEY don’t even pay that much. Matter of fact, they don’t even pay a third that much. You’re telling me that you think $35 a post is reasonable?

    The only way that I’m able to offer $25 per Slashdotted or Digged post, is because at those times, revenue increase about threefold. The first time, I made an extra $65, the second time, an extra $70 and the third time was not a direct link to my site, so I barely even noticed it. You can dispute those numbers if you want, but I’m being completely honest.

    Yeah, maybe $25 is too low. I can understand that. I’ll get repeat visitors, my overall traffic will increase, and on the long run, it’ll be worth more to me than $25. Sure. It’s true. So, if it’s the consensus that I should raise the “incentive” to more than that, then I’m willing to listen.

    As far as actually paying my writers… yes, of course I’ve thought of that. I would love to turn my website into a real business, where I can pay employees and boss them around. :) But the sad truth is, I use this revenue to sustain myself. My revenue is going up, slowly, so eventually I will reach the point where I can actually hire someone, for real. But I’m not there yet. For now, all I can afford is to offer these incentives. And maybe I’ve set them too low.

    I’m open to that. Maybe it’s too low. So. People… chime in! Tell me what you think is fair for a Slashdotting or a Digging. Tell me what you’d be willing to go out there and find stuff that’s worth being Slashdotted for.

  • Thomas

    To everyone who thinks Slashdot is some producer of massive traffic, your mistaken. And to Mr. ben, where are you getting this bullshit 40,000 number? I’ve gotten stories published on Slashdot, Boing Boing, Engadget, Gizmodo, etc. and none of them has ever brought traffic anywhere even remotely close to that number. You know what’s “rude” ben,
    1. you complaining about ads on a site that you read for FREE 2. talking about things you clearly have no authority on, such as a slashdotting bringing in hundreds of dollars in revenue. People absolutely do hate these ads, and as a result people ignore them and don’t click them. 3. that you would insinuate that the products on this site are somehow subpar or have nothing to say or whatever the heck when you don’t have your own blog to back it up.

    People don’t realize how very difficult it is to find a bunch of great new products day in and day out. It is quite tough indeed. I would also like to say to everyone that $25 IS a generous offer for a blog story. Industry standard is 15-20 bucks. Your only writing about 40 words!!! Lots of people work for free merely to get a byline. Not to mention that SlashDot is completely user driven and they don’t pay one cent!

  • http://www.ilikecheapstuff.com Mike Panic

    My apologies for thoe horrible grammer in my first post, I worked an 11 hour straight shift at my day job on 4 hours sleep.

    That said, I appreciate your honesty with your figures. What I also want to point out is that $25 per post isn’t accurate (my $35 was a typo). Maybe, maybe 1 in 250 posts gets picked up by slashdot that a contributor makes. that means that poster is working for 10 cents per post. You only made 90 total posts last month, so at that rate, one would need to wait nearly 3 months to get $25.

    I can’t make the world go round any faster, I can only offer suggestions. Consider giving something away for free that you can for someone who posts quality work, like ad space. Ad space costs you nothing and carries a good deal of value to it.

    Pay $5 per 10 posts, regardless if they get picked up. Give a bonus of $5 if that person makes more then 100 total posts per month (more then you did last month).

    Lastly, and I will do this as gently as I can, look at your business model and advertisiment model. My 2 cents is that your blog is about 400 pixels wide and justified on the left, ads are about 375 pixels wide and justified on the right. As a reader, I am tending to block out the ads. Consider consoladating your ads down and working them into posts / between posts. Consider loosing some of them so it doesn’t look so clutered and focus in on the ones that are really making money. Sell ad space outright. For me, this has always been the best payout, although it does require more work on your end as you need to solicit (spelling? its early, lol) other forums for it like WHT or sitepoint, but it could give you a more steady income.

  • http://www.ilikecheapstuff.com Mike Panic

    To follow up, I just saw the poll for too many ads. I don’t think it’s too many persay, I think it’s too many in one section of the site. Your menu is after the fold and I’m running 1280×1024. I shouldn’t have to scroll down to find the site’s menu. Try moving them around a bit, I think you’ll find the CTR will go up, users will find things easier and they will in turn spend more time on the site.

  • http://www.ohgizmo.com dponce80

    Hi Mike. I hear what you’re saying. My site is definitealy not optimized for ads. I will move them around and see what works best. To be honest, the only reason the menu is below the ads is because I went to Engadget and noticed that theirs was halfway down the page, after a truckload of ads. So I thought… hey, if they do it, why not me? :)

    As for the Slashdot business… I don’t know where you get your figures. In total, I’ve submitted fifteen stories to Slashdot. Three were picked up. Had I gotten $25 for each story that got picked up, that would still have worked out to $5 a submission.

    And Thomas, I really appreciate your support, but I do need to put some things out there for the sake of full disclosure. A Slashdotting is quite possinly the most frightening experience, traffic-wise. Each time I saw a spike of around 60,000 visitors. Each time, my server crashed.

    Also, $15-$20 might be industry standard, but I’m not offering that, even. I’m offering that per post that gets picked up. You might write me ten posts and not make a penny. I hate to say it, but I can’t afford industry standard just yet.

    That said, I still think it’s not a completely unreasonable offer. I know, for one, that when I started blogging, and for the first five months, I would have LOVED an opportunity to make that money.

  • http://robotfrank.com Guse

    I know that my current position won’t pay me bunk for writing an article or doing research, which are 2 things I like to do. I’ve been looking for incentive to create my own blog. 25$ a submission sounds awesome, thanks for the opportunity!

  • Master yoda

    As far as the ads are concerned they are actually less then Engadget and Gizmodo. It is obvious that will try to monetize his site to the max and not provide information for free.

  • Andy Neal

    I think your a bit mad, this is a good article about what a recent slashdot/digg effect has. Note the comments about ads and revenue, people looking at these sorts of tech community sites should be your worst nightmare.

    http://ifakedit.com/log/2005/11/09/what-its-like-to-be-dugg-a-detailed-graphical-report-of-what-happens-to-a-site-on-digg/

  • Mike

    I don’t know much about being a writer but I do assume they have to pay rent and eat. If they could get 6 stories a month on / or digg that would mean they would be able to have one nice dinner.

    I find it hard to believe it is worth doing much more than writing “google, apple apple apple mac google google mac mac google.” Which is, incidentially, enough to get dugg to the fp. /. is a little tougher and you have to know who to bribe but that would cut into profit margins here.

    I’m surprised your site rakes in over 1,700 a month. It makes it more clear to me why people seem like that will do absolutely anything to get eyeballs. I had no idea that even fairly small sites can earn that much.