During the middle of World Cup 2002 started, when Rivaldo was one of the hottest players, I remember reading about how he had gone from highly-criticized to much loved.
Mind you, this face-clutching episode (read Wikipedia entry) was definitely one of the worst moments in soccer-acting, but that is another point.
Rivaldo credited his resurgence to the coach. While many had called for his head, the coach had told him that he had nothing to worry – his place was guaranteed. With the stress of having to prove himself every game removed, he played at a much higher level, knowing that one bad game wouldn’t get him axed.
Of course, the opposite could also apply (player knows he will start no matter what, plays soft – eg Vince Carter), but again – another point.
So when it came to Bloggy Network and our paid bloggers, we never took on a pay-per-post model. I absolutely hate it. Successful blogs produce compelling content. They are insightful, interesting, and require some research. When a person is being paid per post, what motivation does he/she have in producing excellence? A pay per post model, imo, simply encourages people to post as often as you want. Of course there is a certain level of editorial control, but defining requirements is a non-trivial task. It isn’t fun.
The other model, a flat-fee, is working very well for us. It was stressful at first, but the fantastic growth we have been experiencing validates our model. We hired bloggers based on their ability to write interesting and compelling content, not because of their ability to churn out post after post (great for search engines perhaps, but really a shitty solution). We did of course put in certain conditions (you have), but they also meant the stress factor was a lot lower. Our writers knew they would get paid the same, be it with 5 posts in a week or with 50. They also knew that by working harder on each post, by ensuring a higher quality of work, the long-term potential and upside were far better than a post-churning blog.
It takes time. It can be highly stressful. But I liken it to the shotgun approach vs the sniper approach. The pay-per-post is shotgun-like – keep scattering fire and hope one hits. The sniper approach, far more deliberate and slow, yields much more positive results. A person with a shotgun can get to it right away, but a person with a rifle takes time to gain proficiency. Just need to be patient (and that patience is being rewarded now).
Our approach is in contrast to most other blog networks out there.