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Lead us not Into Temptation: Trying to be Different

December 6, 2012Written by Sebastian Moss

When I was little, my mother, like any good mother, told me I was special. My father, like any British father, told me I wasn’t. Today I was given the position of Editor-in-Chief at PSLS after a little over three years at the site. In many ways, PSLS is now my baby – an adopted one, shared with many deserving others, but still, my baby. And I want it to be special.

Monetary drive shouldn’t influence a journalist, they shouldn’t write articles purely to rake in hits and therefore revenue. All focus should instead be on simply writing something that is both interesting and of a high quality. Realistically, that isn’t always entirely possible – mouths need to be fed, mortgages must be paid and taxes have to be submitted. It’s something that’s always at the back of the mind of virtually anyone in any profession. Our only recourse was to try and make a site that discouraged financially driven actions as much as feasibly possible.

A while back, when I was Managing Editor, I decided to effectively ban top 10 posts. We might have done one or two since then, but only when we were confident that such a list was really the best way of presenting the info. Due to this decision, PSLS is likely far smaller now than it could have been. Top 10s are huge traffic earners, with articles we did pre-ban raking in an equivalent of an entire week’s visits. But I wanted PSLS to be something to be proud of, not a copy and paste of every other top 10-spewing site out there. The staff here at PSLS could have been paid more if we’d gone top 10 crazy, and to them I’m sorry.

As for pay, we’ve also tried to organize it in a way that promoted quality. Specifically, we don’t pay per hit. There are those that have a fixed salary (like me), and there are those that get paid per article, with bonuses sometimes given out for quality or if something is a scoop. We certainly don’t pay our staff what they deserve, but we pay what we can, and hopefully it can rise as PSLS grows (tell your friends!).

Paying per hit seems like a terrific idea on paper – it encourages a writer to create something that people want to read, and it makes budgeting easier as your staff pay dynamically changes with your traffic revenue. Unfortunately, humanity has a tendency to abuse terrific ideas, and paying per hits quickly leads to articles that are top 10s or have needlessly provocative or misleading titles. Sometimes you can look at a site and immediately know it pays per hit, simply based on its content.

Again, if we paid per hit, I’m sure much of our staff would be better off financially (myself included), but it’s not a pathway we’d like to go down. If I slept, I’d lie awake at night worrying about whether I’ve made the right choices, and I can only hope that I have. Please let us know if you think we have strayed, if we ever put traffic grabbing before quality, deliver us from the evil.

We also don’t know our ad team. I’m now in charge of the site, and I honestly don’t know who puts the ads up. All I have is a tech contact for any problems that may occur. We plan to keep it that way, as it obviously minimizes any risk of bias or doritoism.

But steps like these clearly aren’t enough to guarantee that a site is special. All they do is stop it being terrible. I hope that over the years we’ve provided a few unique articles for you that justified your visit to this site. We asked you how we could improve, and that feedback is being taken on board.

2013 could very well be the biggest year in for PlayStation since this site launched, with the rumored arrival of the PS4 and possibly Gaikai cloud gaming. The aim is for 2013 to be the biggest and best year for PlayStation LifeStyle.

I hope you join us for the ride.