Apr 6, 2011

AOL puts the "free" in freelancing*, **

AOL plans to fire all of its freelancers at Moviefone and Cinematical, but wants them to know they're still welcome to write for the sites - for free. In other words, the Huffington Post blogger model. Here's part of the email (via fishbowlLA) to the freelancers:
We will, indeed, be moving away from a freelancer model and toward one relying on full-time staffers. Sometime soon -– this week, I believe –- many of you will be receiving an email informing you that your services as a freelancer will no longer be required. You will be invited to contribute as part of our non-paid blogger system; and though I know that for many of you this will not be an option financially, I strongly encourage you to consider it if you’d like to keep writing for us, because we value all of your voices and input.
AOL-Huffington, redefining "value" one website at a time.

*Update: I'm told AOL Patch freelancers still get $50 a pop, so this policy has not hit them yet.

**Update II: The AOL editor who sent the above email was fired for its "erroneous" tone, the Wrap reports. Apparently, freelancers aren't being invited to become unpaid bloggers. They're being invited to apply for paid positions. However, if they don't get them, and they want to continue writing for Huffington Post or another AOL platform, they are free to do so. For free.


Anonymous said...

By no means are AOL's fired freelancers being invited to blog for free. That would be preposterous! But if they want to blog for free, well that's just fine with AOL.

Anonymous said...

I would encourage all former AOL freelancers to seriously consider moving away from writing for AOL. I can say with a great amount of certainty they will be much better off.

From what I understand, the Patch freelancers have not been affected because it's the page editors who decide what to pay a stringer. Meaning they can pay them $100 per story if they want.

And they can continue to do that for as long as the paltry budget they get per month lasts.