Turns out working for free is not a good economic model

Deadspin published an essay by Tom Schreier, a former unpaid writer for Bleacher Report. Schreier detailed how he wrote and wrote and then wrote some more for Bleacher Report, but never earned more than $200.

He was with Bleacher Report for over two years and reached the much-coveted status of Featured Columnist III.

Schreier’s Bleacher Report sportswriter profile shows that he wrote 551 articles for them, mostly about Minnesota sports. That’s kind of what Bleacher Report does; they have an army of unpaid writers spread out across the country, writing about their local sports teams for consumption on the World Wide Internet Web.

Turner Broadcasting System now owns Bleach Report. They bought it in 2012 for close to $200 million. Bleacher Report is now the official sports portal for CNN. Click on a sports headline on CNN.com and it takes you to Bleacher Report.

Formerly CNN used the services of Sports Illustrated for all their sports news.

I’m not a fan of Bleacher Report and I almost never read articles posted there, unless it’s by accident. Too many of the articles use slideshows, annoying gimmicks used to increase a website’s page views. Each “slide” in a slide show is a new page. The higher the number of page views, the greater the number of advertisements.

I think Schreier was nuts for plugging away so long at Bleacher Report, cranking out articles about Minnesota sports without getting paid for his work. People should always get paid for their work, especially when that work is generating revenue.

If Schreier wanted to gain experience writing about Minnesota sports, he should have created his blog dedicated to Minnesota sports. At least then he could have created his identity and not be automatically stereotyped as a Bleacher Report guy. If he created his blog and wrote those 551 articles on his site, he would now own those articles. Turner now owns the articles he wrote at Bleacher Report. They’re still generating revenue for Turner. Schreier won’t ever see a dime of that revenue.

Don’t work for free. You won’t make any money doing it, and it’s a bad habit to have.

The Top 200 Ways Bleacher Report Screwed Me Over [Deadspin]