Longstanding problem. I mean, rock.com went through the exact same sort of can’t-monetize cycle 20 years ago. There was a sense that either it would be a snap — a zillion websites would be able to make enough to pay a decent wage to a small staff — or impossible except for giants.
And this is what’s panning out.
But I’m as guilty as the next clonk. I knew about Wondering Sound and that it featured writers I always enjoy, like Morthland and Whitehead, but I didn’t drop by nearly often enough. And it really lasted only a blink. Now, Cokemachineglow was a rather different case. Indeed did remind me of the ancient Internet days in that it sure was freewheelin’ alright, but you got what the writer’s weren’t paid for — way too long pieces that buried their points. Too much of the time I wanted to put on my editor cap, set the reviewer (or even interviewer) down and ask “what are you trying to say here?” Contrary to what some believe, even the most intricate pieces should be possible to summarize in a few sentences and then the rest is artful elaboration and get rid off all the useless sidetrips (keep the essential ones) and throat-clearning. Still some good pieces when I checked in every once in a great while, but more of a chore than it should have been. And I still insist you’re not going to get the right people unless you pay for writing.
Worse, I’m still convinced that if I set off to make even pocket pickin’s from Miles To Go it would collapse into such a small, claustrophobic circle that I might shy away from doing it regularly enough.
For now, I’ll take the rewards as being a place where I can find a home for my work that was impossible to find elsewhere.