Bulletin of Intent
First things first:
Okay this will be spectacularly opaque for now, but it’ll clear up in a minute.
In this article I’m going to talk about the Publishers’ Module in TendOrama, which benefits you after your employer signs up.
But! Readers can use TendOrama to reward you directly right now.
1) Add “At Work” to your My Places section. When people value your work, they can open TendOrama and find you through Tending “At Work.” (This part applies to TV reporters, too.) These Tends come to you directly and don’t go through your employer.
2) Twitter. You’re likely on Twitter, so people can spontaneously reward you through any of your Tweets. (This part applies to TV reporters, too.) So make sure to Tweet all your stories. These Tends come to you directly and don’t go through your employer.
So this article is about the Publishers’ Module in TendOrama. That’s where your organization adds a TendOrama widget to your online story and readers click that to reward you. The main advantage for you is this: when your employer (salary, contract, or freelance) adds the widget to your stories, every reader sees they can easily reward your writing as they read it. Readers choose to direct that reward to you specifically or to your organization as a whole. Each month, TendOrama sends the revenue from the Publishers’ Module to your organization, which then pours your river of cash to you. (We don’t know if it’ll be a river, but it’s fun to imagine.)
That’s the end of “First things first.” Maybe come back here afterwards and that murkiness will clear up.
Okay here we go:
The Successful Future:
When journalists get paid more because their employers generate enough revenue, then journalists will be happier and less stressed.
The Dismal Present:
Advertising often results in insufficient revenue and creates additional problems for news publishers, including an emphasis on page-views as a driver of editorial decisions. Nothing like having your story proposal spiked because, “it won’t make clicks.”
Subscriptions are not providing enough revenue for the vast majority of news publishers. And you don’t control the marketing department’s success at generating more subscriptions.
A New Part Of The Solution:
We at TendOrama intend to free journalists and their publishers from the constraints of insufficient revenue from advertising and subscriptions so they have greater freedom to produce the amount, type, and quality of content they want — and so journalists get paid more.
Advertising is almost universally hated. But you rely on it for your paycheck.
You know these things: Adding advertising and trackers to a news publisher’s site or app degrades readers’ experience. Ad blockers are common. The portions of ad revenues remitted to news publishers by ad brokers are small. The advertising model has failed online news publishers.
Subscriptions are also failing. But you rely on them for your paycheck.
You know this, too: For most readers, the emotional commitment to a subscription is a greater barrier than the financial commitment. People have to commit to paying into the future; that means they must commit to liking a publication into the future. Worse, they are being asked to pay for value they are uncertain they will receive. Avoidance of a premature emotional commitment is the primary reason people choose not to purchase subscriptions, even when subscription prices are unsustainably cheap.
There are a thousand important stories. Maybe you tell them pretty well.
So how will you increase your income?
TendOrama is a middle ground for readers between buying a subscription and receiving value without paying at all. Through a TendOrama link in any article or post, readers can reward you specifically for your great work.
Remember, humans are born with an aversion to not reciprocating after receiving something of value (though many learn to overcome their aversion). Using TendOrama is fulfilling for readers because they get to reward quality content they receive from you. They reciprocate that value without barriers, commitments, or expectations. Restoring a sense of fairness makes readers feel good.
We realize when you and your employers, as news publishers, have the resources to create more content you are proud of (you know your wish-list), then your readers appreciate you even more, which results in even greater revenue, including through TendOrama.
So although TendOrama definitely isn’t suitable for every journalist or news publisher — maybe you don’t want to get involved — is it at least clear that adding TendOrama to a site or app can benefit those for whom it is suitable?
Finally and importantly, readers themselves suggest how funds from their Tends/rewards should be used. Readers can choose to reward you specifically or to support your organization generally. Either way, your whole enterprise gets stronger. But let’s face it: you’ll like it if a good number of Tends get directed straight to you.
We at TendOrama intend to fulfil the commitments we make to journalists and their news publishers here and we hope you join us, either just by yourself or by getting your organization to sign up, too.
One last thing: We think we have a good offering and that makes us happy; but we’re also grateful you took the time to read this far. Thank you!
(Now might be a good time to review that spectacularly opaque part at the beginning. Let me know in the Responses if it’s still not clear.)
Warrick Harrison, Founder, TendOrama