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AOL launches user-generated sites - and pays

AOL, formerly America Online, formerly owner of old-media giant Time Warner, is pushing ahead with its focus on creating content by launching two websites, Owl and Seed, which allow users to post "expert" advice and get paid for submitting essays and photographs - reports Mediaweek.

"Despite being in the midst of a major redundancy programme," Sarah Kimberley writes, "AOL is pressing ahead with new launches as part of chief executive Tim Armstrong's strategy of doubling its content properties in the next 12 months."

"Content properties"? Ouch.

So let's look at the terms for www.owl.com, a "living, breathing library where useful knowledge, opinions and images are posted from experts the world over". It directs us to www.seed.com/program-payment-terms which says that some requests from AOL for contributions come with an offer price for an exclusive licence to use contributors' work. Other contributions are paid 75 per cent of the AOL-calculated revenue from the web page they appear on, which shall be:

earnings, as may be reasonably calculated by AOL in accordance with its standard methodologies and protocols, that are directly attributable to Your Content on the page(s) where Your Content is displayed in its entirety, less thirty percent (30%) for AOLís expenses. AOLís calculation shall control with respect to the amounts due under this Agreement.
So that'd be 75% of 70% - which is 52.5 per cent of the income that AOL declares for the page.

Not utterly brilliant, then, but a huge advance on other websites' attempts to snarf all right for free. The Freelance never expected to be offering even two cheers to AOL.

Last modified: 28 Jan 2010 - © 2009 contributors
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