Contributing For Access Not Payment — Can it Work?

Today Peter Caputa and I were talking on IM about my frustration with finding contributors for my Exploit Boston! event guide/calendar website. People are generally very psyched to learn about the website and indicate that they’d like to get involved; but enthusiasm doesn’t seem to last long enough to get to the point of contributing actual content. I’m not in a position to pay writers and photographers. Not at this time anyway. I’ve thought about sharing Google AdSense proceeds from the pages that a contributor’s content appears on and might try to see how that can be set up sometime soon. Of course, the site needs to be updated much more frequently so it’s making cash from the AdSense program again. I’m going to give the project as much of my spare time as possible. It’s 2005 or bust! A nice motivator is the #2 spot on that big search engine for “Boston events.”

In the meantime, I’m trying to frame the opportunity better and reach out to more people. Especially people who are not paid, professional writers.

My fellow Boston bloggers, I can help you get into events for free. Did a concert you wanted to go to sell out? How about a review ticket from the event’s press person? Or maybe a photo pass? What about a pre or post-event interview?

You don’t need to work for The Boston Globe, The Boston Phoenix or The Improper Bostonian to get into these events. However, if bloggers were to individually contact press people for access, it would be a disaster. If the requests come through a central location such as Exploit Boston!, it’s a more effective approach.

Peter pointed out that people want money for their contributions. I understand that if you are a professional writer or photographer — you wouldn’t waste your time with Exploit Boston!. But what about the rest of us “amateurs”? We’d go to these events and blog about them anyway, why not join forces?

I sent out the following email earlier to the mailing list for the site that I run. If any blogger in the Boston area would like to sign up for the list and participate in this contributor experiment, that would be awesome. Let me know?

Hey everyone:

Long time, no see!

In case you hadn’t noticed, Jack Hodgson is now the organizer for the Boston Weblog Meetup. He’s hosting the next gathering on Monday, February 28th at Christopher’s Restaurant in Porter Square. If you’d like to join in the festivities, you can RSVP at See you there?

I recently set up a new mailing list for my Exploit Boston! project. EB! is a weblog-style event guide to happenings in Boston plus an internet radio station featuring Boston bands. The project has been on slow, slow percolation for a long damn time. 2005 is going to be a much livlier year for this project.

If you’d like to receive the ocassional alert when concert review tickets and photo passes become available or would like to alert me to other events you’d like comped review access to … here’s where you can sign-up.

UPDATE: Subscriptions are not automatic. I review each request and followup with the individual. In the followup I ask for his/her name, weblog URL(s), information about their interest to participate and if they have any questions.

I’m finding it very easy to get access to things and I’d like to share it with other bloggers. I’ve established relationships with many press people for bands and I’d also like to see that extend into other types of events that fall under the areas of art, culture, books and entertainment. The basic idea is that if you get a review ticket or photo pass for an event, you:

1. agree to write words or post photographs sometime within (more or less) 24 hours after the event.

2. are welcome to post the content directly on your site *immediately* with a permanent link to the article’s duplicate home at

You own your words and photos. Some editing may be done on the content located on Exploit Boston! such as grammar and spelling.

If you’re a professional writer who gets paid to do this sort of writing, it might not be all that interesting to you. But for the rest of us, it’s nifty to get into events for free that we might have paid for otherwise.

If you have comments or questions, let me know.

See you at the Blog Meetup on the 28th at Christopher’s Restaurant if you can make it!