This is an attempt not just to inspire more bloggers to sign on with the service and reward the best ones, but also to silence critics of the service, many of whom were upset about the lack of payment among other variables.
What remains to be seen is whether or not bloggers will understand and accept the unorthodox reward system and if it will inspire more bloggers to sign on.
A Different Approach
Unlike other syndication services such as ScooptWords that offer a more direct payment-for-use reward system, BlogBurst opted for a leaderboard system that rewards the top 100 bloggers in their program by a set amount, regardless of how much their content was used.
Under the BlogBurst system, headline views for a particular blog will be counted and, at the end of the quarter, the top 100 bloggers will receive between $50 and $1500 for their efforts. The combined payout for the top 100 bloggers under the current structure is a little bit over $20,000 per quarter.
According to Pluck, the system is designed to ensure that the best bloggers are paid at least something for their efforts. Though it does mean that some bloggers who have their material used will not be paid, those who get the most use will receive a decent check, even if it might have only been worth a few dollars under different conditions.
Needless to say, some bloggers will benefit from the leaderboard system and others will lose out. That will depend largely on the blogger, how much their work is used by BlogBurst publishers and where they rank on the list.
Pluck emphasizes that the current model is a temporary solution. The money that can be earned will grow and the entire system may change as BlogBurst becomes more successful.
Still, this hasn’t stopped a few snafus from putting a damper the debut of the plan. At least two bloggers who posted comments indicated frustration, not joy, at the announcement of the new system.
Though bloggers were generally glad to see some form of payment system come down the pipe, many had been BlogBurst members for months without any payment, the enthusiasm was tempered some by a pair of problems that quickly came to light.
First, as two international bloggers pointed out, there are no payments, at this time, to individuals outside of the United States. Pluck says that this is only temporary and is caused by complicated tax issues when dealing with foreign countries. According to Pluck staff, they did not want to delay the reward program any longer in order to work through those issues and chose, instead, to expand it later.
Despite that, the two bloggers, both who are within the current top 100, were upset by the revelation, one saying he felt “led up the garden path.”
The other issue revolves around bloggers not currently within the top 100. According to commenters, they could not see their ranking to know how close they were to making it onto the leaderboard. Pluck has said that they are working on this issue and expect to have it fixed sometime this quarter.
However, most people expect initial glitches with a new system and the real test of Pluck’s experiment will be how it is accepted over the long haul. That’s a question I will be following closely.
BlogBurst has been a controversial service for a long time. However, it has gartered a great deal of attention from the mainstream media, inking deals with the San Francisco Gate, Houston Chronicle, Washington Post and many other big name papers.
It has also, overall, done a decent job of listening to bloggers and making compromises to appease them. They have not always given bloggers exactly what they want, but they have made concessions to the best of their ability.
Still, there is no doubt that this new reward program is something of a gamble. It is unusual and, though it may mean more money for some bloggers, it does not follow the traditional pay-for-performance reward model most Webmasters are used to.
Though most current BlogBurst members will likely embrace it simply because most have been perfectly comfortable participating in the program with no financial incentive at all (preferring instead the increased publicity it can provide), whether it will silence the service’s critics or entice new bloggers remains to be seen.
The answer to that question could play a major role in how blog content is reused and how bloggers are rewarded for their work in the future.
Disclosure: I have done consulting work for Pluck regarding BlogBurst.