Q: What is SolarPowerRocks.com?
A: We noticed a lack in the accuracy and availability of state-specific rebates and tax information online. Moreover, many payback calculations provided by various sources were flat out wrong. This left us to reason many of those interested in solar may have given up or were frustrated by the task of seeking out these important facts. In 2007, we created SolarPowerRocks.com to provide the clear, easy to understand information people need to install solar energy across the country.
Q: What is SPR’s Mission?
A: We are doing our damndest to change the perceptions of legislators, decisionmakers, homeowners, and business-owners alike to get more solar technology on roofs. Our activities include educating our readers about their local subsidies and solar related legislation, as well as connecting them to solar installers in their areas to make their dream of renewable energy a reality. Specifically, we synthesize solar data, maintain an updated state-by-state solar incentive resource with validated cost-impact analyses, and we champion solar legislation and technology around the world. We also provide a valuable service to home and business owners by forging relationships with installers around the country so they receive multiple perspectives on the advantages of going solar.
Q: How can I get involved?
A: If you’re interested in our mission, we’re constantly looking for citizen journalists who are passionate about solar. Some of our contributors write for exposure, and some simply write to promote good news or cover underreported topics. We’re always looking for help.
Q: Why Write for SPR?
A: With over 40,000 readers every month, SolarPowerRocks.com provides writers and solar experts with a substantially larger distribution platform than would be available to most individuals. Our writers have repeatedly expressed amazement at author-level readership that can span in the hundreds of thousands over the course of a few months. Many stories are posted on the top of major social media networks like Digg and Reddit, the front page of Yahoo.com, or syndicated to other solar energy media outlets.
Q: How much do you pay per post?
A: Many of our contributors are not paid, and simply use the platform for exposure or because they strongly believe in our mission.
SPR writers who are compensated are paid according to one of three different rates, chosen according to the writer’s activity level over time. This structure provides a payment system that is optimized towards different levels of writer engagement, providing greater incentives for increasing levels of commitment.
The table below details each of these payment rates along with the qualification criteria for each level.
Per post payments are applicable within the month of posting only, whereas per page-view payments apply to all posts you have made within the past twelve months.
Writers posting less than four times within a month – which is below our minimum Paid Writer commitment level – will be classified as Guest Contributors and will not be paid. Payment will be resumed in this case as soon as the minimum four posts per month limit is reached. There is an individual per post payment cap of $250.
These rates apply to all page views and posts made from June 1st 2009 onwards, and re reviewed on a quarterly basis.
For some background reading on performance-based pay-scales, see Nick Denton’s justification for nuanced compensation systems.
Q: How many page views might I expect to get?
A: That depends entirely on how much you write, and how hard you work to promote your material. A post that is not promoted in some way, even on one of our largest blogs, may not receive more than a few hundred page views, whereas posts that are popular on social media can get anywhere from 3,000-50,000 pageviews (or more) in a 24 hour period. Posts that are properly crafted using the best practices of search engine optimization can receive hundreds or thousands of hits per month on an ongoing basis.
Fact: The standing record for pageviews on a single post is 90,000 pageviews in under 24 hours.
We expect several writers to get several hundred thousand page views per month, and our forecast monthly average in is around 17,000 page views per writer.
The important point is some initial investment in learning how to effectively promote content will be required, but this is something that we are very well equipped to help you with.
Q: How do I know how many pageviews I’m getting?
A: One of the most useful tools we’ve developed is our highly-customized WordPress interface, which includes a real-time stats tracking system. The stats tracker keeps tabs on all writer post pageviews, which also shows the source of referral traffic. This provides writers with an extremely powerful tool to help promote content more effectively.
Q: How often do I need to post, and on what schedule?
A: In general you are free to post whenever you like, although we do require that you post at least four times a month in order to qualify for payment, and we prefer our paid writers to post at least 2-3 times per week. Posting on a more or less regular schedule can help us to plan our content calendar, although this is not always required.
Q: What is SPR’s Business Model?
A: SPR is funded entirely by our solar installer network. As a result of this model, SPR has gone through some growing pains in the effort to meet the financial needs of writers while maintaining a viable business. We think it’s important that our writers understand the limitations of this model (e.g. we have to wait for installers to pay us before we can pay you), because this helps you understand where we’re coming from.
Q: How do I get paid?
A: We pay our writers no later than 60 days after month end via paypal. We would like to pay you sooner, but it can take up to three months for installers to settle their accounts with us.
Q: Who owns the copyright / Can I reuse my posts elsewhere?
A: Any posts you write will remain the property of SolarPowerRocks, and we shall have exclusive use of your posts for the first 5 days. After that you may re-use your post on your own blog, or even resell it elsewhere, though we do ask that you add a link back stating that the post was first published at SolarPowerRocks.
Q: How do I get started?
A: As soon as we have reached an informal agreement on your joining the team we will send you a registration link, as well as some supporting information to get you posting with us as quickly as possible. At the same time we will be sending you a contract for signature using our online contract management system.
Q: Do I get to choose my own stories?
A: Yes! Though we do prefer them to be about solar energy.
Q: More Questions?
A: Feel free to email dan [at] solarpowerrocks [dot] com with more questions.
Last modified: June 2, 2009