#SL Linden’s Blogging Offer

This is probably of more interest to bloggers than blog readers. But, opinion on the Lab’s request for guest bloggers has been the topic in many blogs. Some are outraged that Linden Lab would dare to insult them by offering to allow guest articles without offering to pay the writer. They see it as the height of arrogance and insensitivity. Others of us see it differently.

One person taking a minority stance is Gwyneth Llewelyn in her blog article: Working for free for Linden Lab’s blog. Its long 4,838 words. You won’t be left asking, ‘Wonder why she thinks that?’ You will know.

She points out the aspect several others are over looking or discounting. Having an article on the Lab’s blog has value. The systems that analyze the value of advertising and links on a site give a high value to the Lab’s blog. CWire.org gives Text Link Advertising on the Lab’s site a value of approximately $929/Link/Month. So, the link they allow in the bio is worth almost a grand. On my blog a link is worth $2… whoop! whoop!

The comments after the article are as interesting or possibly more so than the article. The comments do show that the Lab’s offer is not unique. Online blogs often have the same arrangement with writers or make a standing offer for guest posters.

Whether one thinks a link is worth as much as CWire is what the free market is about. We are all free to decide for ourselves and participate or not. But, one has to wonder why people are outraged, upset, or otherwise annoyed at the Lab’s offer.

5 thoughts on “#SL Linden’s Blogging Offer

  1. Two issues (initially):

    1. Exclusivity.
    2. LL’s reserving the right to edit articles.

    Writing of this nature should be a collaborative nature – while I appreciate that there are certain editorial requirements at LL, if I’m taking time out to write for them, then I would fully appreciate the opportunity to be privy to when / how they restructure / alter my words to suit their message. However, theitr terms and conditions deny me this; they are essentially asking for carte blanche to put words in my mouth.

    Sure, in the majority of cases, the changes may well be minor. However, as someone who has invested my time and effort in defining my particular “voice” in blogging (which I like to think is fairly neutral, given I am willing to both praise / support LL *and* wag a finger when occasion demands) – having no say in what happens to my words once submitted to LL *does* run the risk of damaging that voice.

    Similarly, there is the matter of exclusivity – articles (as you know) take time to compose and write. Maintaining my blog is not a trivial matter – I can spend upwards of 3 hours a day on the blog itself. Above that is the time spent in research – visiting in-world destinations, attending events, reviewing viewer software, and so on. Under an exclusivity deal, this is all time lost to my own blog; and I’m not convinced that a page link / referral comes close to making up for the time and effort.

    Frankly, LL dropped the ball on this one, and dropped it badly. The intent may have been good – but as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Reading about how the offer was arrived at (vis. Peter Gray’s comments on NWN), it comes across as 3:00pm office coffee break idea, rather than a clearly thought-out proposal. Far better ways of generating support and *collaborating* with the blogging community could have been put forward – including the potential for reasonable payment for services (again, given that LL *have* employed writers in the past to do precisely what they are asking the wider community). However, payment isn’t the only method – there are others. I’ve touched on some myself in following-up my initial post on this matter.

    How much better, for example, if LL had announced they’d be on the look-out to *reprint* suitable articles from blogs within their own pages. Think of the goodwill generated if, for example, you attended an in-world event, wrote-up a review on your own blog, and a day or two later, found it appearing on the SL blogs, unedited, with a link back to your blog. Any worries LL might have over potentially controversial wording could be dealt with through the use of a disclaimer – again, a mechanism that is not that uncommon (if not 100% water-tight, admittedly), in publishing.

    An approach such as this would have been a win/win situation for the Lab and for bloggers. The Lab retains the right to cherry-pick articles that broadly fit their message and needs, bloggers get to keep their words without the impact of an external editoral slant, LL gain potential readership and are seen to be doing something to “beef-up” the relevancy of their own blogs, bloggers get to benefit from the potential for increased exposure.

    • I can see your viewpoint. I understand the time needed to keep a blog up and current. But, a US$900+ link is a worth while return on the time for an article. Fortunately it is a free market.

      The key word in many of the opinions I see is SHOULD. It’s a good word to avoid as much as possible.

      Reading through you new post, you have clearly stated what might have worked better. It certainly would have made more bloggers happy.

      I will point out that the employees at LL are mostly geeks… I don’t mean that in a bad way. But, geeks no matter how bright with machines, computers, software, and game ideas are not known for their social skills. So, I’m not surprised they flub when dealing with PR and advertising and community relations. Still that is no reason to beat up on them (you didn’t, but many have). I suspect many forget the Lindens are people… all businesses are people, owned and run by.

      • A lot at LL are geeks (in the most positive sense). Others *are* marketing, PR and communications specialists or with remits that encompass these fields. Given that they are, the fact that LL persisently flub at the level of corporate communications *is* an understandable source of frustration for many users – epsecially those of us who do tend to be supportive of the company as a whole and who ourselves have similar areas of expertise (which is not to say I condone any of the more vitriolic commentary LL frequently has to face).

        As to the blogging issue, again, there’s a key philosophical difference in your view and others, which perhaps hasn’t been explored through blog posts. You seek to earn income from your blog directly – ad, etc. As such, the original LL offer *does* hold value.

        Many bloggers opt *not* to go that route – ergo, the promise of $900 or $2 (or whatever real value might be ascribed) holds little meaning other than a *possible* increase in readership. As such the matter of exclusivity does carry a heavier weight than might be the case for someone such as yourself.

        So, in one sense you’re right – it’s horses for courses. On the other, the idea of LL themselves taking a pro-active lead in the selection and reprinting of articles published elsewhere (which is, I hasten to add, an original idea on my part) gains even more relevance among a wider audience of bloggers than their original offer.

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