Wow… what a response! TechCrunch hates that we’re paying top users (they call it a red flag!), and the comments show many folks out raged by the concept of paying community members. How ironic that in the meritocracy of the Internet folks have no problem with the elite getting paid, but when you offer to pay the masses some folks get all bent out of shape. You know what the difference between the so-called “elite” and the top users in the masses are? One group gets paid and one doesn’t–that’s it.
When we offered to pay bloggers people were freaked out, and now that we’re offering to pay the top 12 social bookmarkers some folks are upset–it’s no different. The top 12 users in this space spend 2-3 hours a day cool hunting for free, and have done so for over a year. We’re gonna pay them for doing exactly what they are doing now without filtering them in any way (just like we did at Weblogs, Inc). If they worked for us last year they would have $12,000 in their pockets and would be able to justify spending even more time doing what they did for free. If that was the case the audience would have gotten even better (and more) free content. Everyone wins.
WIRED News just asked me why they think some folks get upset by this change and I told the reporter the story of people threatening to boycott WIRED’s HOTBOT because it had a banner advertisement. Then folks realized that they couldn’t get a free service if it didn’t had advertising and the vocal minority changed their tune. It’s like when an indie film directory gets their first pay day, or a band gets signed, some of the original fans feel they are selling out. However, artists deserve to get paid for their work, and getting paid does not mean compromising–especially in our world where people have so many options.
Bottom line: I’ve got 20-30 emails from DIGG, REDDIT, and NEWSVINE members in my GMAIL asking me for more details and how they can get involved. I know I’m 110% right about this one.