2 May 2010

New AssociatedContent Policy regarding Non-US writers

While I was deep at work finishing the story with the May 1st deadline, I got a surprising email on my inbox.

AssociatedContent was messaging me to inform me of their new and improved policy regarding Non-US writers.

See, I don't hide the fact that I am from Europe. I know that in the online job market the fact that I don't have a Social Security number does mean I miss on some of the opportunities available to my US writing counterparts.

When I decided to check AssociatedContent to see if the site worked for me, I knew that as a European I wouldn't be eligible for their Upfront Payment. But the passive income was still available to me. Meaning I would still get paid for my work.

Well, according to the email I received, that will no longer be the case:

After evaluating our payment policies in regard to international Contributors, our legal team has determined that Associated Content must immediately start withholding a portion of all international Performance Payments pursuant to U.S. tax laws. Due to the cost involved in this process, we can only offer continued Performance Payments to international Contributors enrolled in Associated Content’s Featured Contributors program.

Contributors who are not enrolled as a Featured Contributor, or are not accepted into this program, will no longer be able to earn Performance Payments from Associated Content as of May 1, 2010. If this applies to you, you will receive a final Performance Payment on May 12, 2010 for your page views through April 30, 2010 (if your balance exceeds the current $1.50 payment threshold).

If you are not currently enrolled as a Featured Contributor, we encourage you to apply now. Please note that the program requires you to have top-notch writing skills, and a strong body of work in one of our featured topic areas. You can read all the details and apply to one of the programs here. Note: There is no deadline for applying to the program, but you will not be able to earn further payment until/unless you are accepted.

If you are accepted into the program, you will be asked to submit a United States W-8BEN tax form, enabling Associated Content to withhold earnings on Performance Payments pursuant to U.S. tax laws. In addition, your earning threshold will increase from $1.50 to $100, meaning Associated Content will only process Performance Payments when the total payment balance passes $100. The good news: As a Featured Contributor, you will receive high value assignme nts every month, and will continue earning Performance Payments on all content published.

What that means for me, is that I basically need to continue to write for them, for free, to build up a portfolio in one of their categories to be able to apply for this Feature Contributor possition. And then, I may or may not be accepted. If I am, they will start paying me only for the pageviews, but I won't see the money unless I reach $100...

And they will take away portions of the money I earn.

To be honest, I don't really know how to proceed now. The articles I already published there will no longer bring me any money, unless I decide to tie myself down to the site that doesn't offer me all that many options. I can't delete my content from the site. I don't know if I want to even apply for the Feature Contributor position.

It's basically a weird situation where I can't decide what should be my nesxt step. So, basically, if you have any ideas, please share them.

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