A couple of days ago, I wrote why I believed that revenue sharing is bad for writers. However I've been inspired to also take a look at this from another angle. ProBlogger gets a shout out for this idea, while browsing their site yesterday I came across a couple of articles on the topic of blogging networks.
This may sound a little counterintuitive at first, but when you stop to consider that as is the case with most things in life, these things tend to have their pros and cons, and neither side has exclusive rights to being the right view.
While revenue sharing is certainly bad for writers, that doesn't mean it's bad in general, and in reality it actually can be a good thing for people who write for a hobby or for extra income, but are not relying on it exclusively.
I personally use many different online sources for paid writing, including Newsvine, Associated Content, my blog, and a few other sites that pay not in cash but in exposure to a level of readership that few can attain no matter how long or how hard they try. DailyKos is a great example, where there is no potential to earn money from what you write, but if you make the front page, you can have your writings and name introduced to anywhere between 20,000-40,000 new people in a single day.
If you are one of the people that write for fun or reasons other than work, it's understandable that you'd look favorably on getting paid for doing what you don't consider to be real work. After all, how can you compare sitting at a computer for an hour and typing in a word processor about what your favorite movie is to something physical demanding and stressful like construction?
The similarity isn't immediately obvious unless you've tried to do both, but let me assure you that writing becomes exceedingly more difficult when you have deadlines, and aren't allowed to work only when the muse decides to bless you on some particular afternoon.
That said, you don't need to do that to produce quality content on a daily or semi-regular basis, all you have to do is care about what you're doing. And that can be said for anything in life.
Within that context, a few extra bucks per month for people who may only write something once per week is just a bonus for doing something they'd like to do anyway, which is to speak their mind on some particular issue and not be talking to a brick wall.
Some find that emulating people they are familiar with outside of the computer -- a radio host perhaps, or other type of personality -- can get them a level of attention they couldn't otherwise get in their public lives, or even attention they'd rather not have since it cannot be controlled as easily as it can when you can shut out the world simply by turning off your PC.
That can be appealing, where suddenly instead of dumping your opinions on your co-workers every afternoon who couldn't care less what you think, you have a potentially unlimited audience, some of whom actually respond to what you say both positively and negatively.
Most people won't find a large audience by default, but a number can and regularly do, and can bring in more than just a few dollars per month. One anonymous Newsvine user is reported to have made $400 in one month, while one Associated Content user claims to have made over $1,000 with a combination of upfront payment and shared ad revenue.
The simple fact is not everyone that benefits from revenue sharing is looking to make a living from it, they just want a place to communicate with other like minded people and to share their opinion with the world at large, and if they can make a few extra bucks at, why not?