Now Forbes Wants Free Writers, Too

Forbes, which merged its print and online operations in 2009, says it has a “truly social media” platform that is driving its impressive traffic of around 20 million unique visitors a month.

As Mike Perlis, Forbes chief executive, tells MediaWeek UK, the company hired Lewis D’Vorkin as chief product officer a year ago and he set up the strategy.

It has resulted in Forbes’ 75 full-time editorial staff being joined by 700 “contributors”, some of which are paid, some of which are not, but they are all said to be “passionate and expert” in their specialist areas.

“Unlike other sites we don’t call them bloggers, we call them contributors,” Perlis explains. “They are not just given a platform and set loose, they are curated.”

That sounds a lot like the Huffington Post model to us, except the editing is actually taking a toll on the writers.

But making such leaps in such a short space of time, and effectively managing a global team of more 700, comes at a price. There are a small, but growing number of dissenting voices on the web from disgruntled “contributors,” who feel “let down” or “cheated” after being heavily edited, and in some cases, blocked from their accounts completely, following discrepancies or even standard complaints.

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