04 March 2009

Blogging Tips : What to do with People that Own Me Money?

Q&A: What to do with People that Own Me Money?

Bilingual Blogger asks:

questions and answers

Hi Daniel,
I have a question that is very timely in light of the current economic climate. It’s about professional blogger etiquette and how to handle non-payment for posts.

Another blog in my niche approached me a few months back about becoming a regular contributor to his blog. He said he was willing to pay. I agreed and filed 14 posts on time and with no problems. For the past month, I’ve been trying to get paid. He owes me over $500.

I’ve heard several excuses mixed in with promises of a payment “next week.” Finally today he told me that he doesn’t have the money and that he will try to pay me within the next 30 days, but obviously I’m not counting on it.

So, my questions are the following:

Should I delete all my content from his blog or should I let it stay there? (There is another contributor to his blog who I know has been paid because she told me so. Also, he had given me a username and password to his blog so that I could write my posts directly, so that’s how I would be able to delete them.)

On one hand I think it is not right that he has had the use of tons of original content that I spent several hours writing specifically for his blog. But on the other hand, I don’t want to burn any bridges since the niche I’m blogging in is kind of a small circle of the same people.

All of my entries on his blog have links back to my blog, so at least there’s that benefit, right? Although, to tell you the truth, the traffic I’ve gotten from his blog has been minimal.

So, what do you recommend? Should I send him an email notifying him that I’m deleting my posts and he doesn’t have to worry about paying me? Say nothing for now but wait 30 days and then delete my posts if there is no payment? Or just leave everything as it currently is (meaning leave my content on his blog)?

That is a tough question. As you correctly pointed out, any action that you take has benefits and drawbacks.

My preferred course of action with any dispute or problem is always the friendly one. That is, I try to talk with the other party to see if we can come to a solution that is good for both of us.

Why do I prefer to work in this fashion? First of and foremost because it is business, not personal. If someone owns you money, it is probably because he really is in a tough financial situation, and not because he does not like you or wanted to fool you.

Of course there are all sorts of scammers around. But even for them it is business. They are just trying to make money the easy way.

When you have a friendly response to problems, most of the times you will be able to solve them without further head aches. If you get aggressive right from the beginning, on the other hand, you will make dialogue harder, and if you take actions, you can be sure that the other party will retaliate and try to harm you too. In the end both of you will lose. Lose money. Lose rankings. Lose credibility. And that is regardless of who was right and who was wrong to begin with.

The only situation where I would not try to settle friendly first is when someone deliberately tries to hurt my business. For example, if someone stole the content from one of my products (say an ebook) and tried to resell it to make money, I would get lawyers on the matter right away (and I would try to make as much damage as possible).

Going back to your question, I would suggest for you to wait the 30 days and then see whether you will get paid or not. If you don’t, try to talk with the person to find a possible solution. Negotiate to receive part of the payment in money and part in advertising, spread the payment in several months and so on.

If you can’t get paid no matter what, and if you get the impression that the other party is in bad faith, then yes try to minimize your losses by getting your content back and using it somewhere else.

In the future, though, try to avoid entering into similar situations. Do not deliver your services or goods before you get the payment, unless you trust the other person 100%.

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