Friday, May 6, 2011

Demand Media Hit By Panda 2, Ends WCP eHow Program

Panda is the code name for the massive search engine rankings overhaul performed by Google at the end of February. Panda 2 is the global rollout of the first Panda (which had been confined to the U.S., English-speaking content).

While much was made about Demand Media's survivial -- at a 20% boost in traffic for its main site, eHow -- in the wake of Panda 2 eHow suffered a near 50% drop in traffic and the corporation's stock lost $10 per share.

On May 5 DMS announced to all members of the Writer's Compensation Program through eHow that effective immediately, revenue share would cease. I have one of those accounts, and I've been offered a buyout. The buyout for my 19 articles pays me about 8-9 months' worth of residual earnings. I've decided to take it.

Writers in the WCP break down into the following:

  • Offered a buyout and take it. Writers lose all rights.
  • Offered a buyout and remove articles for use elsewhere.
  • Offered a buyout and don't take it, don't remove articles (in which case rights revert, for free, to DMS on June 1).
  • Not offered a buyout and leave content for DMS to use for free.
  • Not offered a buyout and remove content for use elsewhere.

Rev share article writing has taken a hit all around, and in the wake of Panda I read many stories from writers who claimed that DMS knew what it was doing, that the eHow WCP program was a better deal than any other rev share site, etc. And, for a short time, it looked like that was true.

But for now, thousands of writers are weighing their options, if they even have options. It's not a good day in rev share land.