Associated Content Changing Submission Policy?


What’s Changing at Associated Content
It appears as though AC has changed its submission policy. Their new “VP for Community Development” dropped this forum bomb today around 3:45 MT. “…content submitted on a non-exclusive basis will not be considered for upfront payment.”

This is a major change in payment policy for AC. They have operated for three years by giving up-front payment consideration for both exclusive and non-exclusive work. With one forum post, this seems to be a thing of the past. If you expect anything more than the performace incentive, you’ll have to choose the exclusive option when submitting your article.

Why it’s Changing
Simply, this was just a matter of time. AC loses hits when the same articles start showing up on other sites. I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a year now that AC would do something to encourage more exclusive submissions. The pay differential between the two choices was barely noticeable. Instead of considering the carrot approach of increasing payments for exclusive articles, AC swung the other way and chose the stick approach of cutting off payments for non-exclusives.

How it Happened
In a word, poorly. A brief forum post with little explanation has left the community reeling. No other official communication was sent. This leaves the majority of the AC writers, those who never visit the forum section, totally in the dark.

Apparently, AC management failed to notify the site programmers of this unilateral decision, too. Nothing on the site has changed. The submission guideline language and FAQ remain unchanged. The submission template section where the writer selects the various payment consideration options and exclusivity of the piece still allow for any and all combinations.

AC really could have planned this better. The fallout potential is huge as unwitting writers continue to submit articles like they have for 3 years, only to have them rejected because of the allowable selections they made when submitting.

The ironic thing is, a site which solicits writers has a vested interest in keeping those writers informed of change. Pissed of writers with keyboards and blogs can do great damage to a site.

Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Watching AC scramble to catch up and/or back peddle should be entertaining for the next few days.

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15 Comments

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  1. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Watching AC scramble to catch up and/or back peddle should be entertaining for the next few days.
    You can say that again. I can’t wait for tomorrow.

  2. This is a sad day for all of us dedicated writers who write for a living and up to now have loved writing for AC. AC simply does not pay enough for us to make all of our submissions exclusive.

  3. Chris M.Carmichael January 15, 2008 — 21:43

    The way they handled this today was utterly unprofessional.

  4. You’re right, it’ll be interesting to see what Lisa G. has to say about this tomorrow. Do you think she was/is a CP?

  5. I have been trying to determine if it is true. I am assuming that because you wrote about this that you got confirmation that this is true from someone at AC? I know this was a post by someone who noted that she was a VP but couldn’t anyone post that? I’m so new to the site that I honestly don’t know.

  6. Maybe this is a sign that the recession is here or testing the waters to see if people will try to retain rights or not.

  7. jcorn, the post came from the official AC account. Not just anyone can post using that. Also a 2nd, well-respected CM posted in the same thread and did not deny the claim. We’ll see how it pans out. (note my headline has a question marks).

  8. I might wait to see how this comes out before burning my bridges completely. If I were still in business…..I would be calling my attorney! As of today…..just wait.

  9. EDITED:

    I’m sorry Pam. I feel that the AC forum posts have a “reasonable assumption of privacy” since they require membership. I’m not comfortable with repeating entire post verbatim. I hope you understand.

    ~Edited by theBarefoot 1/15/2008 3:22 CT

  10. Wow, that’s a shock!

  11. This could not be more weird! Coincidentally, I received an offer today, for a non-exclusive, up-front payment article submission. The CM wrote a lengthy note along with the offer. However, there was NO mention that this day was the last day non-exclusive, up-front payments would be considered . . . That’s the note I REALLY needed to see today! I wonder how many articles I’d have gotten rejected, before figuring out this mystery – had “Barefoot Scribbles” not come to my rescue, like the Lone Ranger! “Hi Ho Silver – Away!” :-)

  12. No problem, Randy, I should have just PM’d you. :-)

  13. Just found the forum updates – and your comments therein. . .
    On and on it goes, huh?! No wonder you ‘scribble’ here! :-)

  14. Wooooah, I was getting computer cleaned and repaired and gone only 4 days and come back to this? I have to say I am not surprised, disappointed, shocked and cynical but not surprised. If that makes sense. I have expected something like this to happen. I think they like the government( paranoia there?) have slowly tried to desensitize us. Like wow,” Gas is under $3.00 a gallon this week! Weeee!! More and more low or no offers for upfront payment, but glad to submit for page views etc.
    I think they are going to be really really sorry that they have done this, they are going to lose a lot of great writers, who wants to give them exclusive rights for nothing? Then have them sell it for big bucks else where? OH well it is there loss. Great article and thanks randy for letting us know.

  15. Thanks for cluing me in so eloquently. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.

    best,

    M.

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