Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Change in Associated Content's Featured Contributor Program

Yesterday was a pretty bad day for me.  Y!CN announced that the Featured Contributor program for Associated Content from Yahoo! was dramatically changing and that Featured Contributors would have to reapply for the program beginning March 1.

This change is understandable as Associated Content is no longer the main platform for Y!CN publishing.  Associated Content, while still a viable publishing platform, has become what I'd like to call the rejects of Yahoo!.  Yup.  It's given me a complex to say the least.  Since the change over to the Yahoo! Contributor Network, I've rejoiced in the fact that many pieces of my content have been used on various Yahoo! sites.  But then when one of my featured assignments would be reviewed and published on Associated Content instead of a targeted Yahoo! site, I almost view it like a failure.  I thought I was doing really well on Associated Content until Yahoo! came along.  I was just mediocre again.

And this is coupled with the fact that this was my first month as a featured parenting contributor.  Now I have to change all my damn bios again.

Forgive me for being doom and gloom today.  If you read back through my blog, I'm not usually like this.  While I have been hard on Y!CN at times, I am generally one of the first to ask that contributors take it in stride and give things a chance before they start drawing storm clouds above their heads.  I usually point out that AC/Y!CN has shown themselves to be above game in times like this.  But I'm not going to say that this time (although keep in mind, I'm not dismissing it either).

The main thing I have to take into account how things have worked at Y!CN since the change over.  Even though there are great higher paying opportunities, there are a ton of tech/help issues, some of which are costing contributors page views.  Everything from botched notifications, to lagging page view updates, to articles in limbo, to having to sign in sometimes two or three times (and then click back to the article) to leave comments, *to not being able to switch from one site to the other on our profiles, and more... never, since I began writing for this site have I seen such a dragging of issues not being fixed in a timely manner.  Let me reiterate; issues addressed, yes.  Fixed, no. 

*ETA: Since I published this post, I can now switch from one site to the next on my profile page. Hurray!

Second, I don't see where this is the best solution.  The troubles with the old FC program was that there were too many people who weren't following the guidelines as an FC (not a professional byline or picture, not submitting assignments, etc).  You don't have to shut down the entire program and start from scratch to weed out the ones who aren't doing what they are supposed to.  This, in my opinion, is a complete waste of time on both the staff and the contributors and it's caused an unnecessary amount of frustration and worry.

Third, and this was the kicker for me yesterday as I read through post after post of discussions on the subject, there were people who were/are FC's who were told that they didn't have to reapply for their positions.  Everyone else would.  While I'm happy for those contributors who do not have to reapply, I did NOT receive such a message and I am pissed about it.  As if I didn't already have doubts when my work isn't chosen for a Yahoo! site, here I'm going to have to reapply for positions that I already have.  So here's my funk; I've never missed an FC assignment.  I may have had one decline toward the beginning of the program when I got categories confused but have otherwise done very well... or so I thought.  I write consistently, I write well.  I get descent page views.  I realize I don't write as much as some because I have two little ones still under school age but I have always thought I was doing pretty good.  Shows what I know.  To sum it up again, I suppose I'm not as much pissed as I am crushed.  I know there are others out there who feel the same way.  In a way, it's degrading.

I don't think I would be so upset had events unfolded differently.  When AC still had category editors, I was specifically asked by a staffer to be a category editor; I didn't even know that I could be a CE.  Only a few short months later, they scrapped that program and introduced the Featured Contributor program.  I didn't apply for awhile but I kept getting messages urging me to do so.  So finally I did and was accepted very quickly each time I applied.  Now that's being scrapped and I have to reapply... while others are able to write without having to worry.  I guess I'm so upset because I feel like I put so much effort in, I work my ass off, but it seems a bit in vain now.

I am very fortunate and thankful for the TV beats and the new news beats that I've gotten.  That is probably the only thing that keeps me from being a total gloomy gus about this whole thing.  I'm going to apply for what I can when March rolls around and just sit and hope that it's good enough to go through.

So I leave you today with this final thought:  In order to have (and keep) some form of happiness writing content for any site, don't expect anything.  If you have beat assignments, enjoy them while they last because you never know when something will change.  If you don't expect to keep them forever, you won't be so quick to be down when they are pulled.

And that's all for now.  I'll update when more information comes my way.  Thanks for reading.

This post brought to you by All Holidays Fever.


  1. I was just accepted as a dating and relationships FC this month too! So it's a real letdown to have changed all those things to reflect my new position and now it's going away. I plan to apply on March 1, but I'm not overly confident that I will be accepted. I've never had anything published on one of the Yahoo sites.

  2. I understand change and moving forward, but I don't like the way it was handled either. Hoping things settle down soon and we see the opportunities we've been promised.