Bloglovin' and unpaid contributors

Bloglovin' are looking for contributors.

Here, they say they're after a 'wave of talented food writers/curators' willing to contribute '1-2 articles per week [unpaid]'

Here, more recently, they're looking for a 'wave of talented home decor writers/curators' willing to contribute '1-2 articles per week [unpaid]'.

Having secured $7m investment a couple of years ago, I thought it fair that I should ask them - on Twitter - whether there was any of that money left to pay their contributors.

After a week, no response.

I retried, cc'ing the account of their co-founder, Mattias Swenson.

After a week, no response.

Lately, perhaps it's just a consequence of getting older, I've been losing my patience with non-payers. (See my frustration at an Archant publication here on my food allergy and intolerance blog.)

There are times when writing for free is OK. I've contributed guest posts or free copy to small websites in the past, for example; I've written an article to help promote one of my books. I've even asked - and still ask - potential contributors to write posts for this blog (thank you, Lucy - your post is still proving popular!). I have written previously about writing for free - on Mistake No. 75, and Mistake No. 99 - and I think my thoughts then remain mostly the same now.

There is, I think, now a line to be drawn under those who ask for regular contributions almost as a matter of routine, or as policy, or who ask journalists to provide quality articles without pay - and who are a money-making venture - or clearly have sufficient funding to pay should they wish to pay. For me, the line should be about finance - can they afford it? Are they looking to profit from the endeavour to which they are asking you to contribute?

Every case must be judged on its own merits, and I'm quite prepared to give individuals and organisations the benefit of the doubt, but my alarm bells will be ringing loudly and my dissenting response will likely be triggered at any future request for work accompanied by ostentatious promises of - urgh - exposure, or, as Bloglovin' offer, the promise of "feedback on how you can improve & grow your blogs [sic] audience".

It will not get better if we continue to put up with this crap, or indulge it to the degree with which we have until now, which appears to have normalised this sort of treatment of writers and aspiring writers.

I have deleted my Bloglovin' account.

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