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Civilian reporters earning money by selling pieces on website

8, 28. 2007

   A website for civilian reporters to post their pieces for sale has been launched. The earning of the reporters differ depending on how many visitors to the site might be interested in buying their articles. Some of the reporters earn as much as 200,000 yen a month. Since the buyers have to decide whether or not to buy an article only by taking a look at its headline, however, it would happen that the buyer might not be satisfied with what he or she has actually bought for the amount of money paid.

Some reporters sell photos

Photos are also sold on the for-profit website
Photos are also sold on the for-profit website

   The for-profit website-share service has been started since May 25, 2007 by the hosting service company FC2, which is known as a leading not-for-profit web service firm. Inquired by J-CAST News, the secretariat of the company said about the purpose of the newly started service:

"Every person has a story that long been known only to him or herself. So, we thought it would be interesting if they wrote stories based on what only they knew and if they could sell them like professionals."

   At present, 30 people are registered as reporters and there are about 600 readers. Some of the reporters earn more than 200,000 yen a month, according to the company.

   Articles for posting on the website have to be written in 500 characters or less each, and up to 6,000 characters of writing is allowed for sequels. The posting can be linked to other sites that carry photos. Some reporters are thus selling photos by linking their stories to their sites. The price of an article is decided by the writers themselves. The price is shown by points at 1 yen to the point. Many of the articles are priced at 100 points, while some others are priced 2,500 points. There are also pieces posted for free distribution. When articles are sold, the reporters take 70% of the price. For the readers to buy the articles, they are required to obtain points by paying through their credit cards or by remitting money to a bank.

   The categories of the pieces posted on the website include "corporate stock", "adult entertainment", "gambling", "homosexual", "mobile phones" and scores of others. The titles of the related articles are shown when the categories are clicked. Examples of some of the titles are "how to lose 5 kilos in a month", "horses to win in the race scheduled for Aug. 14, 2007" and "photos of beautiful women". Some of the articles may not exactly match with the titles, and choosing them by clicking the titles could be like gambling.

Account and sales cancelled for ill-intentional pieces

   J-CAST News has bought some of the pieces on the site for a trial. They are titled "how to copy DVD for free and easily" and "how to retrieve deleted messages on mobile phones". They were priced 100 points each. These were not actually tested, but they gave minute instructions. By searching for "deliheal (delivery health)", it was found out that all of the pieces were posted from Kyushu. J-CAST purchased one of them for 10 points, and, by clicking on the linked address, we entered into a home page of deliheal shop that can be visited by any web surfer. We also bought for 100 points an article titled "how to halve the water rate legally". The article we obtained said, "Use only one half of water needed by tightening the faucet."

   Only at a price of 100 points, the reporters can earn a considerable amount of money if there are tens of thousands of readers to buy. This might tempt the reporters to sell their empty pieces by luring the buyers with showy titles. On this the FC2 secretariat said:

"We check the articles of the reporters and ask them to make changes if necessary by mail. In case they do not response or show ill intensions, their accounts and sales would be deleted. If a problem can not be handled on the side of the writers, points will be returned to the buyers."

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