AC · Associated Content · web writing · writing · Yahoo

A Difficult Decision: Six Years Later, It’s Time to Change

Friends, readers, and accidental internet tourists,

It is with a heavy heart and sober mind, I make the following official and permanent. I will no longer publish articles with the Yahoo network. I will continue to write and publish mainly here on the old blog.

There were many factors weighed before coming to this conclusion. This in not a decision that was rushed. It started back in May 2010 when Yahoo bought Associated Content (AC). The assimilation of the old AC into the Yahoo network took from then until now and was done in incremental steps. The changes along the way made Yahoo a site that no longer fits my publishing needs. We have grown apart.

Associated Content was a platform where any writer, with anything to say, could publish their work in a supportive environment. Yahoo changed that. They are interested solely in work that aligns with advertisements. It’s a simple case of following the money trail.

My writing was never about ad-alignment. The type of articles I write are either too introspective to find ads to fit them or are humor/satire for which Yahoo has no appreciation. Frankly, AC had no interest in them either, at least not from a monitization aspect, but AC tolerated them and provided a easily accessible platform with good exposure. In my opinion, Yahoo has reverted to site with such tight controls, there is just no sense in my continued use of their platform.

Other changes are just plain annoying. For example, the ability to instantly publish an article for which I was requesting no up-front payment was a bonus with AC. Yahoo is requiring all articles, regardless of payment terms, to go through their “editorial” review process unless you go through some bizarre qualification process of obtaining a certain rank within their contributing masses. I use “editorial” in the loosest sense and with quotation marks because they provide no editorial support. Yahoo content managers simply check the article for viability and give it a pass/fail.

Then there are the technical bugs that remain unaddressed and which make publishing with Yahoo a chore. For example, hyperlinks put in by the author are regularly mangled and even removed by their software before the article reaches the content reviewer. The article is summarily rejected for having dead hyperlinks. It is simply easier to write here, where I know I control the finished product and have more flexibility in the final format. Yahoo still doesn’t support simple HTML code like tables which I find handy on occasion.

I could go on, but I let it be sufficient to say, “We have grown apart.” The spirit of the site that was AC, the spirit which appealed to me, drew me in, and gave me 6 years of satisfying publishing experiences, is gone. The final, symbolic act was the leaving of Luke Beatty, AC’s founder, from Yahoo’s management. Though the changes that make Yahoo no longer a fit for me were already in place, Luke’s resignation was the virtual wax seal on the document of change. The spirit of the old AC site is finally and officially gone and now, so am I.

I am grateful for the opportunities AC, and to some extent Yahoo, afforded me during the last six years. It helped me find my voice as a writer. It helped me make contact with other writers, many I consider my friends to this day. It helped me reach out to a broad audience and interact with readers of all stripes. I will continue to nourish those connections I made. I will just do it outside the confines of Yahoo.

So now begins theBarefoot 2.0 wherein I concentrate on the writing and not the trappings and politics of the site that simply distract from the content’s message. I even have the skeleton of a book in gestation. Here’s to learning when to say when and knowing how to move forward gracefully. My greatest solace is knowing that my readers can still choose to enjoy my writing here or where ever life brings us. We’ll move forward together to hopefully better writing to come.

P.S. The only bitter taste left in my mouth is the forums. I guess because when I found the AC forums, they were little-used. I jumped in with both feet and energized that community. When I started using the forums, multiple people independently contacted me to express their appreciation for my participation, humor, and helpfulness, a trend that continued until my last post, but which is not appreciated by the new owners.

I feel responsible for making the forums the vibrant, fun community it was. Sure, I had my moments of deliberate trollishness, but those were calculated responses to obvious malcontents and trolls. I still take credit for ridding the site of at least two particularly nasty personalities who disrupted the harmony of the community. Under the new regime, I am told that I am the disruptive influence. I’ve seen the same accusation made toward a few others who did nothing than freely contribute their time to mentor new members and answer the many question left moldering by the paid staff. Frankly, that hurts.

I poured my heart and soul into the community forums and there is no clearer sign that it is time to move on than when the place you nurtured tells you your services are no longer required. Being able to read between the lines, I can see that the current staff is too busy trying to keep their jobs among the hundreds of layoffs Yahoo has initiated, that they are unable to actually do their jobs. That is my one and only sour grape. The rest of my time with AC/Yahoo was a positive and productive experience.


11 thoughts on “A Difficult Decision: Six Years Later, It’s Time to Change

  1. I joined AC during the forum’s glory days. They were a fun place to be in. I don’t frequent them anymore because the good times are not there anymore. I will follow your blog like I do the YouTube channel for my regular dose of Barefoot goodness.

  2. And now, the man I always revered as “Mr. AC”, has finally sang his own “AC Swan song”! Bittersweet indeed, but alas, ’tis no longer the awesome little community of brilliant and helpful hopefuls it once was (and I saw this coming before the proverbial ink was even dry). Good Riddance anyway, bro. It is now officially a content mill (“Those people don’t write, they type!” – Gore Vidal)

  3. The company lost one of it’s best contributors today. You and a few others made AC grow by leaps and bounds with your encouraging words and helpful critiques. But, alas, this is what happens when a business cannot see the trees for the forest due to the greenery.

  4. Change is difficult, but change we must. I too left AC/Yahoo awhile back, for some of the reasons you noted and some of my own personal. I continue to follow you and will because I enjoy your sense of honesty and humor. You did much for me and others during the AC ‘hayday’ and that will always be appreciated! I want you to know that. May God bless you and yours in your future endeavors. With much respect, I look forward to your future works.

  5. Everything you said makes perfect sense and I hope that this will be a better and happier place for your writing… and, write the book!

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