Update: July 17, 2007
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Associated Content Doubles Submission Wait Time
Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - reddit
After being a member of Associated Content for the past three weeks and personally witnessing the steady decline in offers for original articles in ways that do not seem directly related to quality, it seems that the deterioration in service and usefulness of the site has reached new lows as a new policy has been announced that effectively sweeps a glaring and growing problem under the rug.
AC had previously stated that they would make their best efforts to review all submissions within five business days, however because of weekends and what appears to be a vastly overwhelmed staff of content managers, that number has been closer to eight to ten days or longer. I am personally frustrated by this as I think taking five business days to review articles they are considering paying for is unprofessional and borderline incompetent.
My hesitation to go that far has just been wiped away, as word came down Monday afternoon from a content manager that the voluntary self-imposed deadlines for reviewing content has nearly doubled in overall length.
Alert: The new 2 week review policy
AC reviews all content within two weeks. If you submit content for no payment your content will be reviewed and published quicker - typically within 1-2 days. Once you've published content three times, your nonpayment text will be posted immediately.
This change is due to the high volume in daily content submissions and new content producers. AC will periodically evaluate the submission process and make site adjustments when necessary.
This notice was posted not in the site announcements area, but in the forum dedicated to general AC discussion, which makes me wonder if Associated Content even wants users to know about this change.
This has not been entirely unexpected, as AC has in my experience routinely blown past their pseudo-promise of reviewing content within 5 business days. I have had 5 articles published and paid for, none of them having taken less than seven days to review, the longest was 10 with an average of eight-and-a-half days. That's one business day over what they said it should take at most, which was bad enough, but now that number has doubled.
With the old limit of five business days, users could end up seeing waits of up to 7-10 days, but now this could range as high as 14 depending on when the content is submitted in relation to the weekend.
Michael, the content manager who made this announcement on the AC forums, later stated that this new policy of taking two weeks to review content should not be the norm, and that new content managers had been hired and should help to alleviate the enormous delays sometime soon, but he didn't state when he actually expected this to happen. I don't buy this entirely, because if they really did hire a number of new content managers to speed the process, then why the need for doubling the review window?
One of the real benefits of all-electronic publishing systems is speed. Content is submitted electronically, stored electronically, retrieved and reviewed electronically, approved and subsequently paid electronically. In theory for a system running at top efficiency, this process shouldn't take more than a few hours on a normal business day, and in fact this is the case when submitting news items to Associated Content.
I've had a single news article approved within three hours of submission, which I'm told is par for the course as they go into an accelerated queue, though payment even for that still took over three business days, even though the actual transaction itself between AC and Paypal took less than a second.
AC has a very real problem, where they are either incompetent, or severely understaffed. I am willing to take on faith that the latter is the case, and that with the promise of new content managers, the delays will improve and hopefully disappear altogether. The one thing that gives me pause was AC's response to the delay, where instead of hiring the new content managers and promising improvements soon, they modified their own unofficial policy that basically redefined the problem so as not be a problem any longer.
That is no way to do business when you rely on the people you are pissing off for your existence. This isn't a typical situation where a business can anger a couple of hundred customers and not even get scratched because it still has thousands to feed from. Associated Content producers create the thing that keeps AC in business -- content fit for advertisements. If the shoddy treatment doesn't change, the queue problem will go away all by itself because the top 10% of submitters that are producing the majority of the good content for AC are going to go somewhere else, and AC could be the one left holding the bill.
Other posts from this blog: Associated Content
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