Jeff Sonderman of The Poynter Institute examines the onlne business model of Forbes, which relies heavily on contributor content.
Sonderman writes, “Conflicts of interest are another potential weakness in the model. Especially among unpaid contributors who are writing to promote themselves, their books or their businesses, you have to wonder how their ‘other motives’ subtly frame their writing. (When they join, contributors are required to disclose to Forbes, in writing, any conflicts of interest.)
“And for the working journalists out there, the success and potential spread of this model is both good and bad news. Good because a sustainable, scalable business model for journalism is needed. Bad because this is a tougher way to make a living.
“It’s a nice income stream, and it may grow if you stick with it. But few of the paid Forbes.com contributors can make a living there alone, and of course as independent contractors they have no health or retirement benefits.
“If this is the future, journalists may need to prepare for living every day like a hustle — leaning on their personal brands and piecing together a multi-stream income. But then again, we were never in it for the money.”
Read more here.