Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Debate Continues: To be an Examiner?

When I drove to a noon hour meeting of an engineering organization, I had time to thing about pros and cons of applying to I'm no where near making a decision yet, but more arguments concerning it are buzzing around in my head, and I'd better get them out in this hour I have before I'm due at church.

For: The visibility will be great. Since is like a newspaper, it will have people subscribing to the topic and checking it out daily. Traffic is not based on search engines alone.

Against: Since it's like a newspaper, the writing work will be more journalism than essay and general articles. It will involve interviews, perhaps sometimes attendance at events, variety. At variety is of less importance than conforming with the house style.

For: The position I would apply for is Christianity Examiner for Northwest Arkansas. This would be a great position. I believe, with the right combination of articles, I could really impact people. I don't know that it would lead to conversions, but it would likely strengthen Christians, even if in just a small way. I would have no shortage of articles. It could include: church news, interviews with clergy, news of events, devotionals, Bible analysis, Christian issues, perhaps some editorials. It would not really have to be exclusively about northwest Arkansas. I could write about almost anything Christian that would be of interest to northwest Arkansans. I could even invite local pastors to provide guest devotionals and sermons. I would think with the right mix of articles, and with a good posting frequency, I could establish a popular site.

Against: The work would almost be more that of a reporter. I'd have to learn new skills. I'd have to do interviews. I'm not sure that's what I want.

Against: I would be quite exposed. I'd have to make sure, really sure, I was right in what I post.

Against: Examiner doesn't have a site for northwest Arkansas.

For: They would probably let me piggy-back on the Little Rock site for a while, perhaps a long while, until we had enough examiners to justify a local site.

For: The pay would likely be better than Suite 101, and probably more consistent. Since the traffic will be more predictable, I suspect I would make more total money, faster than at Suite 101. Examiner pays about 1 cent per click, or $10 per 1000 page views. Right now at Suite 101 I'm in the neighborhood of $1.45 per 1000 page views. The Suite 101 income will likely continue to rise with time, regardless of whether I have more posts or not.

Against: With the pay being better, you have to wonder if Examiner has a long-term business model that can sustain that rate of pay. With Suite 101, since my income is based on Suite's income, which is all on advertising dollars, the long-term prospects for continued pay seems viable, so long as the entire Internet advertising scene doesn't collapse. But Examiner's paying per click, the payment is based on traffic not revenue. Can it be sustained?

Against: What happens when I want to quit Examiner sometime in the future--if I want to quit? Since the site would be based a lot on current events and less on "evergreen" content, the clicks might stop and with them the revenue stream. At Suite 101, if I quit today my articles, which I've tried to make "evergreen", would continue to earn revenue at their slow pace, even increasing at least for a couple of years.

For: Not everything on Examiner has to be current events. I can mix in some "evergreen" topics and keep some level of page clicks coming.

That's about it for now. More debate coming later.

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