Free Content is No Way to Work

Wil Wheaton’s Words Are Not FREE.

Write it? Get paid for it. So says Wil Wheaton, whose fan base is significant. He kindly blasted the Huffington Post for asking him to republish one of his posts for FREE. Wheaton – an actor, comedian, blogger and pundit – declined, then wrote about why he made that choice.

This response came from a comment thread on Facebook posted by Benjamin J. Gohs: “Huffpo is choked with a never-ending supply of awful bloggers who keep the site populated with inane rambling. They (Huffpo) don’t need to pay because the egos of the hands can be fed with the empty promise of exposure.”

Well, inane rambling probably should be free.

But in the world of freelancing, contract writing and blogging, there are ongoing debates about rates and value of the written word. And there’s a flip side to exposure and expertise (and expanding your audience). Damon Brown posting in Inc. suggests: “Making a blanket statement like ‘Never work for free,’ however, can be perhaps more dangerous than actually doing something for free.”

You can read Brown’s complete post here.

BTW, here are some stats on the Huffington Post’s value on the exposure front, according to Alexa:

238, 209 sites link to Huffington Post

Daily time spent on the site is more than 4 minutes (far above the average read time spent on my local digital newspaper)

And it ranks as the 33rd top site in the U.S. (not too far below the New York Times at 26th on the list)

You really need to decide for yourself when working for free makes sense or providing free content is worth the time and effort. Wheaton’s blog tag? “50,000 Monkeys at 50,000 Typewriters Can’t Be Wrong.”

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