Friday, October 15, 2010
Is AC/Yahoo lifting articles again? What about AOL buying Yahoo?
Okay, first, I'm going to address the AOL thing. If you haven't heard this, here's the story. From what I understand, this is not concrete. There is more to the process then someone saying that AOL is bidding on or saying they are going to buy Yahoo. To be honest, I know absolutely crap when it comes to stuff like this. I don't understand the jargon and when it comes to reports like this, I don't know what to believe. What I do know is that this is just talk right now. As far as I know, we are not all suddenly going to be thrust into AOL. For right now, AC has more important things to worry about.
So moving on....
Is Yahoo! lifting DO articles again? For a bit of background on what has happened, read this. Apparently a contributor thought that a DO of hers was put on Yahoo! recently but to my knowledge, the content was actually a non-exclusive.
Okay, so as far as I know, the feed error is not happening again BUT this doesn't completely cover all the issues that contributors have over the whole Yahoo! thing. I've actually learned some things since that last post that I will share and try to explain.
First, giving $5 to contributors for the distribution of content to Yahoo! seems like a slap considering the number of page views Yahoo brings in and how many page views can be taken from the original. But contributors are certainly within their right to go with the flow of that if it suits them.
Next, contributors are of the mindset that Yahoo! can't be interchangeable with AC while at the same time being a "partner" that can pick up content. Actually, at this stage, yes, they can be both. This leaves all the rights with Yahoo/AC and NO rights with the contributors. If Yahoo! wants to pick our content and throw a minimal amount of money at us for it, they can. Additionally, according to these policies, Yahoo! can also take whatever else they want without paying us or even without notifying us. It's their site and they can do whatever they want, right? From the responses, legally, yes, they can. While AC and Yahoo! are still in the initial stages of the "merge" or "integration" as they call it, they are legally covered. They can pick up DO's or anything they want. The writers of the site, the ones who are doing the leg work for AC, apparently have no rights whatsoever. That's the way it appears anyway. The only issue that stands out is that the original agreement means that we're supposed to be paid performance for every article unless specifically arranged otherwise. This is really the only legal leverage we have.
So now comes the obvious question. If this is the case, why aren't many of the more experienced writers running for the hills? This has obviously caused many contributors to be leery; some contributors are publishing a lot less and some have stopped publishing altogether. But while the writer's rights are minimal to none while this happens, the honor system of AC is something that has enough merit to me to continue. I believe AC when they say they would never intentionally republish our DO content. I believe AC when they say they are working toward integrating page view payments for content published on Yahoo!. While my trust is leery after having discovered the feed error on my articles myself (it wouldn't have been so bad if AC had alerted us that it might happen) , AC has always paid me what they agreed to and I've not had any other outstanding payment or display problems with them.
Think about it. What good would it do Yahoo! or AC to completely alienate the contributors, to piss us all off enough that we not only look at legal options but also enough that we stop writing for them? AC would be worthless without continuous content. We are the base of what keeps the site going.
There are still matters to clear up and I doubt this will be the last of the story but here's my take on it. I would encourage contributors to continue to write, pay close attention to the rights and distribution rights when you publish, and keep an eye out on your content on any other site (which is something I hope you do anyway). Hopefully, we'll all get answers and a resolution soon. In the meantime, let's encourage the integration so we can start getting some Yahoo! page views!
This post brought to you by AC Contributor Becca Badgett.