Ad Age yesterday published an article looking at the ways free labor is supplying major blog-driven sites such as BleacherReport.com. Bleacher Report, which reportedly will turn a profit this year, uses content provided for free in deals with major media outlets.
Meanwhile, guys like Andrew Brining, featured in the article as a writer who has contributed about 500 articles (gratis) to the site over the past two years, may see blogging as a ticket to a paid career in sportswriting. Brining said, 'If I am good at this, the compensation will come.'
Call it the Bill Simmons syndrome. In our survey of sports bloggers last summer, about 70 percent said they'd take a paid sportswriting job if they could get one.
As the Ad Age article makes clear, though, there are plenty of Brinings out there, willing to write about sports and a host of other topics -- for free. The result may be a business model that discourages organizations from paying for quality reporting and writing. In other words,the free-content trend drags down the entire sports-reporting enterprise.