What Writers Need to Know Regarding: About.com and Suite101.com (Part I)

Most young, contemporary writers have an interest in taking their craft online. In fact, it seems like internet publications are sprouting up everywhere on a variety of subjects. Consider one reason why, the lead time for print magazines averages about four months, meaning after an article has been accepted, it will take about four months till publication. Yet, online, the lead time is significantly less. Despite this positive attribute, I feel several online sources have taken advantage of writers.

Some smaller home-grown e-zines can’t afford to pay writers; people contribute because they are passionate about a particular topic and want to make a difference. This is a writer’s choice and the majority of these sites state these terms up front. Some offer an exchange of advertising; others provide high ranking positions on a staff list. What concerns me the most aren’t specialty e-zines but content driven, ad-centered sites like About.com and Suite101.com. These two large companies work hard to portray themselves in a positive light, all the while I believe they manipulate writers’ expectations and degrade their work. How do I know? I’ve had direct experience with both sites.

What Writers Need to Know Regarding: About.com In-depth:

This past winter I helped a family member when she expressed an interest in submitting work to About.com. She had the knowledge for content but required help in formatting HTML. Together, we worked diligently through the two-week trial period, creating categories and then content in a variety of complex templates as well as contributing blog entries. Despite encountering the rude editor/advisor that we had to push to obtain feedback, we still worked into the wee hours of the night to meet our deadlines. It was supposed to be worth it because in the end we felt they’d have to accept our fabulous work.

However, this didn’t happen. After two weeks we were rejected with no clear cut reason. They didn’t even fill the position; they left the space open for some other writer to repeat this doomed process. About.com dangled incentives, promising sign-up money and a monthly base rate. But for our two week period of hard work there was no monetary payment. I believe that About.com shouldn’t put writers through this grueling process only to reject them with no clear explanation. We deserve more than that, as writers who made a true effort we at least deserve some respect.

The sad truth is, in my opinion Suite101 is no better than About.com. They string writers along in a different way. Stay tuned for my experience and warnings in regard to Suite101.

To be continued . . .

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