The editor of biology online went off looking for new bloggers to join his group. I’ve been there, on both sides now — the usual approach is to tell the blogger you’re interested in their work, think they’d be a valuable addition to the roster, and here’s what we offer you: there’s usually some share of revenues, a list of the other people you’d be rubbing shoulders with, an altruistic appeal to sharing your ideas with the world.
Ofek the editor didn’t do that when he went courting DNLee. The only card he played was to say that they got 1.6 million monthly visitors — a respectable number, although I suspect most of their traffic is driven by their forum, which consists largely of people asking for help on their biology homework — and when asked, offered no remuneration at all. The whole exchange was very polite, until DNLee turned him down.
DNLee runs a blog on the Scientific American network called The Urban Scientist. She’s a working biologist, she already has a public platform for sharing her ideas, and it’s a bit higher profile than a network that gets 25,000 visitors a day. Ofek didn’t offer her anything but extra work, so here’s what she said:
Thank you very much for your reply.
But I will have to decline your offer.
Have a great day.
That’s all very professional. Here’s how Ofek replied.
Because we don’t pay for blog entries?
Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?
Wow. You’d have to be nuts to want to work with that guy. And the news is spreading everywhere about biology online and their aggressively insulting editor, so I think he has just managed to destroy any interest other potential participants might have in his network. It’s too bad, too, since he already has a few people writing for it, who aren’t going to deserve the opprobrium that Ofek has just earned.