There are a lot of things I wish I never did. But as far as my writing goes, there is little. I think I have worked hard and struggled and I’m happy to be where I am. But there is one decision that bothers me, and I hope other writer’s can learn from my mistake. Today I pay for that mistake every time I try to follow up on my stories.
I have begun measuring my success by google rankings. If you google David Cohn, you will find me 7th, sometimes a little lower sometimes higher. I also google.blogsearch myself (better than technorati) to see what blogs have mentioned me by name. This not only serves my raging ego, but I think it’s important as a writer to see where your stories go, who interprets them, adds to them etc etc. You’d be surprised what you find out when tracking your stories. But mostly it’s for the ego.
Point is, if you keep looking for David Cohn a little further on the google search you’ll also see something I’m not too proud of; the articles I have written for Associated Content. At times this site even outranks my Wired stories, causing mad flames to burst out my ears. I simply don’t understand how this site ranks so high for the google term “David Cohn.” I mean, Wired is a huge media-outlet that tons of people view every day. How does this start-up compete? It even ranks in the top five when I google “David Cohn, Wired.”
Today I’m not sure why I started writing for Associated Content, especially under my real name (I have since changed the name, but Google hasn’t updated those changes). I was really eager and ready to do as much work as possible. I was responding to as many Craiglist ads as possible and when I received a personal phone call from one of the site’s managers, I thought: wow dave your work is paying off and this site wants you personally to write for them.
Little did I realize that AC is one of many content aggregators. They don’t pay very well, $40 dollars a story at best, but worse off, they build the site into something it is not. Associated Content is not, as they say “reinventing the way individuals and enterprises publish content, developing proprietary Publishing Platform and organically building a collection of multi-media Content Producers that add to Our Content library.”
It’s just a hyped site to blog. They aggregate the content and pick up the advertising dollars, dishing out little pennies here and there. Furthermore, I suspect the majority of their page views comes from different content contributors eyeing each other, it’s just internal traffic.
So yes, I do regret writing for Associated Content. Not so much that I wrote for them, but that I did it under my real name and now I have to look at it every time I do a little research on my current stories. What I wrote for them wasn’t paid very well and I wrote for it accordingly. It’s not my best work. I suppose it’s not a bad thing to have around. Maybe when I am short money I can fall back on grandpa AC for spending money. But for the most part I’m not in this business to rant and whine (the quality of most AC articles is sub-par at best), I’m here to make a contribution dammit and I just don’t think AC is the place for me to make that happen.
Lesson learned. Before you start writing for a new organization, do your homework.