Revolt of the Gawkerites?

Jordan Golson doesn’t think he’s being treated fairly by Nick Denton’s media empire.

Since this plan was announced in late December, we’ve known that the pay rate is to be changed on the first day of every quarter. I expected to be informed of the pay rate before the month started, but that hasn’t happened, even after repeated requests to my superiors. We’re working in the digital equivalent of a sweatshop, effectively being paid based on how many views we can drum up — and now the goalposts are being moved mid-kick. This is unnerving and a slap in the face to the “creative underclass” that writes for Gawker’s blogs.

All very sympathetic. But as commenter Choire (I assume this is Choire Sicha, but perhaps not) explains, there’s a little more to this.

If they are lowering your pageview take for the quarter, it’s a sign of your success. (Isn’t that interesting? The better the site does, the less you may get paid for your work. It seems like anti-incentive.) They paid out for around 2 million pageviews in March. That’s a lot for Valleywag—not a lot for elsewhere. Feb and March were record traffic months for the site.

And so, if your pay rate was artificially inflated to keep you getting paid at a decent rate on less traffic, now it will be cut down to the more “reasonable” rate of other sites.

This doesn’t mean Jordan Golson is a bad guy or that Nick Denton isn’t. It does raise some questions: why didn’t non-Valleywag bloggers revolt over the fact that Golson was being paid more for pageviews? Perhaps because everyone understood that it made sense to help get Valleywag on its feet in the early stages.