Are bloggers the new sweatshop workers?

Bloggers are being put under intense mental and physical stress in their drive to crank out words and earn a greater share of audience and advertising revenue, according to the New York Times.

In the past year or two, a new profession has emerged as many people – likely to be in the thousands – have made blogging their main income source.

That has put them under more pressure to attract and maintain a share of the notoriously fickle online audience in order to keep advertising revenues flowing.

Another practice that has added to the pressure is the increasingly common practice by online publications of paying contributing bloggers, at least in part, according to the number of clicks their posts attract.

Gawker Media, for example, which owns several websites including the popular Gawker gossip site, pays bloggers a basic retainer and then tops up their pay with bonuses for hitting pageview benchmarks.

According to the New York Times, professional bloggers generally earn about $US30,000 a year starting out, and some can make as much as $US70,000.

Of course, there are people at either end of that spectrum – a few of the most high profile and prolific bloggers even reach six figures, while those struggling at the bottom end can be left with just US$1000 a month.

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