Content Creators Aren’t Worth Being Paid

Or, at least, that’s what people are starting to think about “professional” content creators.

There used to be a time when content creators — be they journalists, photographers, or bloggers etc — used to be able to make a living solely from their craft. Well, that’s what I’ve been told, anyway; by the time I earned my journalism degree, these positions of financial security in the content creation community seem to have been all but erased.

Instead of a steady stream of paid content creation positions, there’s a steady stream of under-paid — or unpaid, as is often the case — “internships” and opportunities to “build your portfolio.” While many of us would easily laugh in that “employers” face and walk away, there looks to be a vast number of writers, photographers and others who’ll happily take the “job,” leading to an everlasting cycle of working for free to get another opportunity to work for free.

This wasn’t an overnight change — it’s happened over the course of years — and content creators only have ourselves to blame. The naive writers just entering the content creation business — of which I could be considered a part — have been left with egg on our faces due to the decisions of the few starving artists before us who unwittingly helped create the position we’re in now. That’s not to say that all of the blame lies on us, companies looking to underpay content creators are just as much to blame.

Over the course of the last several years, freelancers have said ‘yes’ to countless unpaid or underpaid gigs, leading to a culture where many are surprised that content creators actually want to be paid. These days, many think that content creators don’t deserve to be paid, let alone be paid a livable wage. Which ended up leading us to the inevitable; sites like iWriter sell content for as low as $2.00 per 150 words, giving content creators a measly $1.50 for about half an hours work — well below most developed countries’ minimum wage.

And then there’s what have been called Social Blogging Platforms, such as Virily, where content creators can make money for creating content, as well as being sociable with other content creators on the site. By “make money,” this obviously amounts to a pittance over the course of a month. And yet, many of these companies offer themselves up as saviors to content creators, offering a place where you can work eight hours a day, for about $10 a day, if you can get that much. Some savior. And that’s not even taking in account sites like Fiverr, where content creators actively attempt to underbid their peers for work, driving the already low prices downward.

Let’s face it, if we’re going to cripple ourselves financially to ensure that we can get a pittance more than our competitors, then content creators don’t deserve to be paid. Unless we all stand up with a collective ‘no,’ then we might as well just get in line for Social Security.

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