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.