Should We Sell Articles As PDFs?

What if we made your articles available for sale to our million daily visitors as an instant PDF download?

Image: Article For Sale

4 Questions for Your Consideration:

  1. How much should we charge for a PDF article download? For example, iTunes charges 99¢ to $1.29 per song or $1-10 for an app.
  2. How should licensing be handled? Should the buyer be given unlimited rights with the PDF or different kinds of license rights such as a single use PDF, unlimited printing rights PDF, electronic re-distribution rights, electronic re-publishing rights?
  3. How should the profit be split between the Author (you) and EzineArticles?
  4. Other considerations/options we should consider?

We’ve already determined that PayPal would have to be the payment method and there would have to be a minimum payout amount to justify the accounting. In addition, the only way this would work is if every article was available for sale as a PDF.

Right now, our current TOS does not allow the commercial use of your articles in printed form. In other words, it’s not okay to print an article and distribute 100 copies to people coming to your seminar or to redistribute the PDF to others. This new product would essentially enable commercial use of your articles in a pay-for-PDF model.

Example of offline uses that a company might use a PDF of your article to do:

  • Handout to give seminar/workshop attendees more value
  • Handout to employees or vendors to reinforce ideas
  • Handout to customers to add value
  • Handout to give investors confidence that your business model makes sense

Your answers to the above questions are vital to determining not only if we proceed with this possibility, but how to best accomplish it.

Please submit your responses as comments to this Blog post. And feel free to simply number your answers in reference to each particular question.

Then, as always, get back to submitting another set of high-quality, original articles. Who knows, someday they may be worth more than just traffic and credibility boosts … perhaps money in the bank! :)


robin stansberry writes:

Yes how do I set up a account if this comes to pass?Please notife me if and when this happens.I want to be a part of this.I already have a paypal account ready..

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 10:33 AM


There will be a “PayPal field” built into the Account area of your membership interface… but this hasn’t gone live yet.

Everyone will be given multiple notices when or if the day comes that this feature goes live.


Shane Russell writes:

I think having a “pay-per-download” would be a great way for authors to earn money, however there is an unlimited supply of free information available on the web and I don’t believe the average consumer would be willing to pay for every article downloaded.

With an infinite amount of ways to earn money online, I would recommend for monetary rewards to be earned in a different way, rather than selling short articles.

For those of you with ideas, please share with everyone!

If you don’t know what I’m referring to, look at Google. They don’t charge consumers a dime but yet are the fastest growing company in the history of the world. They give first and get a return of a million-fold.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 10:35 AM



This product would not compete with the info that is currently free.

The output PDF would be a clean, beautiful, ad-free version of your article that someone could feel comfortable or even proud to share with their customers.


Shane Russell writes:


I do believe it would be very nice to be able to give my clients copies of my works. I currently have articles and eBooks published throughout the Internet and on one of the sites, I have had over 4,000 downloads of my two eBooks. People seem to love them, however I have never received a single dime from the books themselves, but wrote them to be a brochure to my services and have received a lot of traffic to my site because of the way they were written.

I also believe we need to conduct a sample survey and ask consumers if they would be willing to pay, rather than asking the people who write them if they’d be willing to sell them. As authors, we work very hard on the articles, without great reward, except those savvy individuals who know how to market their product and/or service.

Of course, I want to make money from my articles, but I’d much rather give them away for free to gain my online presence and respect in the community, which will pay for itself ten-fold!

What do you think?


I’ve seen the “Free Ebook as a distribution” model. It’s designed for brand awareness and a trickle of traffic.

I completely agree with the GIVE IT AWAY FOR FREE model…and this new model being discussed would be “in addition to” …not as a replacement for free.


Shyam writes:

I agree with you on these terms.

1)I would charge anything between 1 to 1.25$ per article download.

2) It should be a single use PDF.

3) The splitting percentage could be 60 – 40 or 50 – 50.


Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 10:39 AM


Thanks for the feedback.

The challenge will be to figure out what the sweet spot is in the marketplace in terms of pricing.

I was thinking higher than that per PDF because I’m not certain this is a price-elastic type of product… again, we won’t know until we test.

As for the split, perhaps a sliding scale… but regardless as to what the split is… the more important thing for us is to prove that we can sell instant download PDF’s.


Steve writes:

I think if you priced everything similar to Apple’s model, it would work.

I think both writers and eZine would stand to make some extra dough and it would be a win-win.

My 2 cents…

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 10:48 AM



re: current TOS – does this mean that I cannot distribute my OWN articles at a workshop I’m doing? Or did you mean I can’t distribute someone else’s articles?

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 10:51 AM



Your articles are always your property.

You CAN distribute your articles anywhere you’d like.

Our current Publisher TOS says that our Publishers or End Users can’t print your article out and use it in a commercial way; such as a handout at a seminar.


Mike Bond writes:

1. Charge should be $5.00 per article

2. Article to carry author’s byline for five years, then free thereafter.

3 Profit split 50-50

4. Publishers are free to take our articles now anyway, as long as they print our byline. It’s a very interesting and exciting idea. I look forward to other comments on this.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 10:57 AM


#2 may be difficult to police.


Shane Russell writes:


Would you be willing to pay $5.00 for an article from an unknown author? I know I wouldn’t.


Maybe another idea would be a monthly subscription for members and they either have a set amount of downloads for the billing period, or even unlimited. As a consumer, I’d be much more likely to do that.


Gavin Head writes:

I’m in favor of selling republishing rights to articles. But the price has to reflect the value it is going to bring to the publishers who will be using our articles. I don’t think charging .99 a download achieves this. Itunes charges for personal use and enjoyment of a song. These articles are going to be used by other publishers for commercial purposes. That being said, I don’t want the cost to be prohibitive and not worth the expense. How much are PLR providers charging? Base your pricing around that while keeping in mind the higher quality of articles. And charge more for higher quality and longer articles. These provide more value to the user so they should be priced accordingly.

Regarding the licensing rights, how would you enforce single use or limited use rights? If it can be done, I would prefer multiple options at price points reflecting the value each option provides.

I think a fair revenue split between authors and EzineArticles should be no less than 10% and up to about 50%. I think the revenue should be split based on gross sales though, not profits. Don’t penalize authors if you can’t run your business profitably.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 11:00 AM


I agree Gavin! .99 cents is NOT enough.

I wouldn’t compare us or this product to PLR peeps.

A better comparison would be the physical magazine reprint rights market. …except many of their pricing models are INSANE; but they DO properly reflect the value being delivered to the user of the PDF.

As for the revenue split, it’s more important I think that we prove we can be a distribution source for your articles in PDF form. Without that proof, this product means nothing to no one. We’ll be using all of this feedback to go work the business models to see if we can make something work.


Ann Musico writes:

I like this idea! Very interesting. I do think at least $4 to $5 per article since paypal does take a bit and splitting profit 50-50 would be fine with me.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 11:03 AM


imran writes:


This is very good idea. As it will be beneficial for the authors and for the EzineArticles, both. But there are points that are not clear. How you can do this work when anybody can copy and use the live articles. i know it is legally not allowed, but what can we do if somebody is doing like that.

Any how coming to the points.

1) I think there should single article fee should be $2. If buyer needs more like 50-100 then it can be like $1.5 and when above 100 articles at a time, the fee should be $1.

The number of words should be the factor while considering the price.

250-350 words = $2 –> $1.5 —> $1

400-600 words = $4 —>$3 —> $2

650-1000+ words = $6 —> $4.5 –> $3

First price is for 1-50 articles, second price is for 50-100 articles and third price is for 100+ articles.

Again the use of article should also be the price factor. The prices may be increased by 50% if the buyer needs unlimited printing and electronic distribution.

2) The author should get the share in all types of purchases like single PDF , unlimited priniting, unlimited e-distribution etc.

3) I think the share of author should be 50% in all transactions. The 50% should go to ezine.


i) For payment options, you should consider Paypal as well debit card like payoneer card. Many websites are using debit cards as payment method. Payoneer card is best and is acceptable in all countries. You can see

ii) There should be an option for the buyers to hire the authors for writing on some specific topics. The pricing may be different her..

these were some of my ideas. I will share more when got some new ideas.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 11:09 AM


Interesting idea to price it based on word count.

I’m not sure people would buy articles for the purpose of using them in their own website.

Analogy: When you buy an MP4 from iTunes, you don’t go upload it to your website for others to download. That’s wrong.

Also, it wasn’t our intent to make this PDF model of article distribution a way for webmasters to buy content. The 25 article reprints per site per year stands.

I’ve never heard of Payoneer. Will look into it.

For 4) ii) ….that would be a different product all together for a different discussion.


Ethan writes:

“The 25 article reprints per site per year stands.”


I’ve seen more than a few sites just in the past several weeks with FAR more than 25 articles reprinted on them.

Can we agree that’s pretty much impossible to police?

From an authors perspective, anything that gets our article + signature box out there is a win. What’s the point in limiting that anyway?

(As a side note, I was kinda riled up the first time I saw a site doing this, a ton of my articles were on there… but the more I thought about it, how was that actually *hurting* me as the author?!)



Faylee James writes:

[1] Would it be possible to charge by word count,,say 99 cents for 500 or less and $1.29 for 501 and up?

[2] Could the price be adjusted to the type of license. If the buyer wants full access they should pay more. The author’s name and contact info should still be on the PDF, no matter the type of license.

[3] Not sure here, as I haven’t had any experience working with this type of forum. But have an idea as an incentive to the writer,,,maybe after they have sold a certain number of PDF’s their percentage should go up. Nothing keeps us writing like money in the bank…lol.

[4] Can’t think of any at this moment but I’m sure as time goes by, something will pop up.

I think this idea could be great for all concerned. Pat on the back to the one who thought of it.


Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 11:13 AM


Yes, the price could be adjusted for the type of license.

I do agree that the author’s full name and resource box will be included in the PDF.



This is going to be the first of its kind concept. Nobody knows what course it may take.

So, you must have a trial run first–selecting some popular authors in popular categories fixing nominal price. Analyze demand-supply conditions, practicability and other considerations.

The real game would begin only after that!

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 12:25 PM



maybe using a model like might work??

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 12:28 PM



Hmmmmm, what happens to the articles that I have already posted on my blog or have a comment in resource box, “you are invited to use this article in your blog or ezine as long as proper credit is given.’

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 12:39 PM



For this model, we’re talking about OFFLINE use of the PDF.


Robert Britt writes:

I think single use rights and author given credit sounds good. Can’t really compare with PLR, as I don’t want someone mucking up my words (not like they can’t do that now – cut, paste and muck, but at least it’s not condoned)
I think a 50/50 split would be fair and longer articles should cost more – say $2 for under 400 words and $4 for over 400 words. Might want to base price like every 300 words equals $2, anything under the next level gets the lower payment – meaning 599 words still is $2, but 600 = $4.
send me a check, I’m ready. This probably would increase quality of articles as well.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 1:03 PM


Justin Arnold writes:

An interesting concept, but one I feel will only result in an increase of the misuse of articles. By charging people for something they can already access for free I see little to be gained from this proposal in its current form. However, it is certainly worth pursuing as a concept.

At the moment many articles submitted have a clear statement actively encouraging people to copy the articles and post them on their own websites, as long as the author’s details and links are kept intact. What many people will do is simply copy and paste the article onto their own website, and then print this page off, or turn it into a PDF. Effectively this appears to bypass any direct printing from EzineArticles.

My feeling is that something in addition to a downloadable PDF should be provided, since this on its own is relatively unappealing. Yes, you might find a few honest businesses and organisations paying for the material, but sadly we all know the reality is that if a system relies on online honesty 99% of people will discover their dark side.

Two possibilities: exclusive rights and custom articles…

Firstly, in addition to the proposed scheme there could be an option for articles to be submitted for exclusive rights. This would mean an author submitting an article and labelling it as being available for exclusive rights. It would not be syndicated or published elsewhere. If a business or organisation wished to purchase the article they could, at a much higher price, and would then gain exclusive rights to the article for either online use or offline use. It would then be removed from EZ.

Secondly, if a business wanted use of online articles there could perhaps be a system devised whereby custom articles could be requested. This could be either achieved at a general level of author specific level. In such cases a request for a custom article would be received, it would be distributed through EZ for a fee.

Both of these ideas need a great deal of work, but the principle is simply that something more than the ability to print an article needs to be offered for such a system to be worthwhile.

As far as how the profit should be split, perhaps this could be partly dependent on the ‘rank’ of an author, with Expert authors getting a higher cut than Basic ones, and Platinum authors a better deal again.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 1:44 PM


You’re talking about selling content…as many others immediately jumped to in thought.


We didn’t see it as selling articles.

We saw this product as selling the commercial use rights to an article that would be delivered in PDF form and printed by their printer for use at an event or distributed at a company …in print.



That’s a great idea; it would really motivate writers to give their best and be happier making some form living from their talent.
I would suggest the sharing ratio should be 50:50

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 1:56 PM



I am in favoir of selling article s as PDFs.

1. The cost of download might depend on what the rights will be for the use of the pdf, as is done in photography (with which I am familiar.) Different costs for different rights usage(s). Although, I be very grateful for the sales and would gladly accept a 50/49 split of $.99.

2. Following from Number 1, different usages could be granted different licenses, as for example Flickr.

3. I am used to getting 50% of the money from sale rights for photographs, so I think a 50/50 split between author and EzineArticles would be good.

4. Copyright remains with original author.

The Paypal situation with minimum payout amount accumulated would be fine with me.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 2:07 PM


That challenge with keeping the price cheap on the PDF is that if we had a minimum payout of $50-$100, most members may not get paid but annually…if that.

Also, a cheap price on this product doesn’t reflect the actual value delivered to the commercial end user.

Yes, copyright will remain with the original author.


Justin Arnold writes:

Another possibility would be to provide readers with an ‘article box’ to which they can ‘save’ articles they feel useful or relevant. Then at any time in the future they could purchase these as a single ebook?

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 2:22 PM


That could be another sub-product of this feature. It’s been tossed around for quite a few years… :)

Another related feature might be a custom made-on-the fly PDF of all of an authors articles… or all of their articles about “insert any specific niche” or by keyword.

Many possibilities… Much testing to know for sure what will work or be in demand by our users.


robin stansberry writes:

I agree but I’m just starting and so anything rigt now is good to me,I havn’t sold any thing.I would be appreciative for any thing at this point.Am I in to big of hurry?Do I need to waite longer on sales?But I do like your article and the split sounds like a great idea..

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 2:36 PM


imran writes:

it means that the articles will not be sold for use for website content. Then that means the real commercial use by the companies. In that case, the cost should be like $25-50 per article. As the article will be used for the commercial purposes.

But how can we enforce that no body will be just copy paste the content and use for offline purpose?

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 2:38 PM


The “point” for this product is to USE it offline.

Example of offline uses that a company might use a PDF of your article to do:

  • Handout to give seminar/workshop attendees more value
  • Handout to employees or vendors to reinforce ideas
  • Handout to customers to add value
  • Handout to give investors confidence that your business model makes sense


Bill Marlow writes:

1. Fee should be nominal. I am writing to drive traffic to my site. Any money realized through the sale of my articles I would view as icing on the cake.
2. Once they buy it they can use it as much as they like (as long as my resource box is included and can’t be deleted).
3. 50% – 50% would be fair.
4. Article length should dictate price.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 2:41 PM


Seems to be two camps:

Fee should be nominal vs. Fee should reflect the real value of the ‘use’.


Sam writes:

I think that the fee should reflect the real value. Even if we aren’t writing articles with offline use in mind, we should still be fairly compensated if they are picked up for this purpose.

Having said that, I don’t have a suggestion as to what would be an appropriate price, since this isn’t an area that I have experience with. I do think it should be related to the word count though, since longer articles typically provide more value. And perhaps those who buy in bulk could be given a discount?

While 50-50 sounds great, I think a 60-40 split in EzineArticle’s favour would still be fair, since you’re doing the work of delivering the documents, and handling customer service etc.

I also think authors should be able to opt out if they want to. I’d be happy for my articles to be sold, but it’s good to have the choice.


imran writes:

Actually for an organization these articles are very valuable because they usually spend lots of time and resources for making the great info for their seminars and for public presentations etc.

Then why not to sell them the great info at the rate of $50 or $100 etc. When you will be selling your great info at the cheaper rates like $5 or so, you are actually telling that you are selling low quality. And we know that this is not the case.

When buyer can give us good money, then why to stick on lower prices?

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 3:02 PM


Debbi Carter writes:

Although I think this is a good idea on paper, I personally don’t think most of the writers here will sell that many articles. Not because they are not great writers, but because companies and even small businesses can post an “ad” for a writer to write a huge series of articles to any of the “writer’s job sites” that are out there on the internet and pay next to nothing for them. Why would these companies come here to pay ten times or more for the same thing? Not to mention that the “job postings” do not have to include an author bio box or links or anything else.

I have seen people from foreign countries literally posting that they will write for next to nothing – I’m talking about 400 to 500 word articles in sets of 25 to 100 for as little as $15 (US Dollars) – how could EzineArticles compete with that?

It is a great idea, and if you can make it work, go for it, but I think it might be an uphill battle and would profit very few, EzineArticles included.

This may not be a very popular opinion, but I wanted to put it out there for your thoughts and consideration.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 4:11 PM



Viewpoint clarification: I didn’t expect any writer would sell any article in this system. EzineArticles would be the seller and our site visitors would be the customer.

I think you and a few others think this is about selling articles.

It is not.

This is about selling a PDF version of your article… the exact same article of which is up for free right now on our site; but does not come with commercial usage rights.


CD Rates Blog writes:

I think I fall into the camp it sounds good, but…

You must somehow believe there is a market for this. Have you had feed back from commercial users that this is an interest.

I believe you’ll have a hard time convincing people to pay though, regardless of what you charge. However, I’m not in the seminar business nor do have I ever felt the need to provide others’ content in an offline fashion.

I believe authors should have a right to opt-out articles on an individual basis. We may just not want to participate.

As far as a split, the 50-50 seems reasonable. The authors are doing the writing and Ezine is providing the authority and traffic.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 4:11 PM


Sherry writes:

I am with the camp that thinks the fee should reflect the real value of the ‘use’. If companies are going to use this information offline, then they should pay for our quality content.

I have worked for Fortune 500 companies who have paid thousands of dollars for well researched documents/articles that are perhaps 30 to 50 pages. Surely, EzineArticles writers are worth a fraction of that. At least $50 per article.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 4:30 PM


imran writes:

I think it will not be so much hard. Ezine is getting many many visitors daily. They just need to add a few lines above or below every article about downloading and fees etc etc..

This will be a quick exposure.

This can be tested for 1-2 months and if it is workable, then money should be spent on advertisement.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 4:35 PM


Davender Gupta writes:

I would be interested in participating in this program, however the visual presentation / formatting of the PDF’d article is important, especially if the rights permit mass printing and distribution. My motivation to contribute articles to EzineArticles is to get my content into circulation, this program increases circulation.
Have to think some more about the other questions…

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 6:02 PM


Rebecca writes:

This is an ingenious and cutting edge idea. All in all a win:win for both parties. As far as the logistics, I believe that charging at least $1.99 and up is fair. It is also acceptable to have the author’s info on the article download. I am excited about this because everyone wins.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 6:07 PM


Colin writes:

1. How much should we charge for a PDF article download?

I think that the pricing should be a fixed amount determined by the word count based on an open license. I think it would be difficult, if not impossible to police how many copies of the PDF would be made so it stands to reason to sell an open license for each article. Also it would be difficult to police the different types of licenses so I believe a fixed price based on word count per article would be the best option with maybe a tiered price for multiple articles.

2. How should licensing be handled? Should the buyer be given unlimited rights with the PDF or different kinds of license rights such as a single use PDF, unlimited printing rights PDF, electronic re-distribution rights, electronic re-publishing rights?

As mentioned above I believe to give true value and for both e-zine articles and us to best optimize this that an unlimited rights license should be given .

3. How should the profit be split between the Author (you) and EzineArticles?

I think that as e-zine articles will have to monitor and implement this and swallow the costs of supplying the service that they should receive a higher percentage, maybe a 60-40 or 70-30 split.

4. Other considerations/options we should consider?

Hmm…I will have to give this some thought

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 8:00 PM



It is a great idea and I hope it will fructify. People who write quality articles will have a good opportunity to earn a few extra dollars.
I think the price should settle between $0.99 to $1.99. My suggestion for the split up ratio is 60 to 40 between the author and the respectively.
Thank you for coming out with such an idea.

Comment provided April 8, 2010 at 9:42 PM



As the volume of articles are high it should be charged in cents that will help those who wants to get pdf for multiple articles.

Comment provided April 9, 2010 at 12:46 AM


I can tell you that it will never be in “cents” alone.

That’s just too low of a micropayment for us to even consider. This isn’t mechanical turk you know… ;-) LOL.

But, we could consider volume licensing. :)


Gail McGonigal writes:

I am very new to this area of writing articles, so I am not sure entirely what this is all about.
Does this mean that all the content of the articles will be sold?
My concern is the copyright infringement of the published material. How is this protected?

Comment provided April 9, 2010 at 6:09 AM



You are not alone in feeling this way.

In fact, about 1/4 of the folks in this thread have correctly understood what we’re talking about in this proposed new product.

We only told 4000 people about this blog post and 53,000 on Twitter. Imagine how many members will be confused when we send 270k of them an email notice about it…


This tells me that not only does this product have an uphill battle to see the light of day, but 3 out of 4 members will most likely NOT understand it and be confused. Perhaps we can make the case in a new blog entry along with a visual example of how it would work.

I take the blame for not communicating it more clearly. Watch for a future blog post that will give a visual example…


Gail McGonigal writes:

I would agree that the concept needs greater clarification, for understanding the true nature of what you are selling to an audience of readers.
I do not follow social networking simply because I do not have the time!


James Flynn writes:

Hi Chris

I think its a great idea and if you can scale the price to the quality of the article then even better, after all quality determines price, right?

The system may be more attractive if the articles could include images, for example a pie chart, graph or picture to illustrate a point as ‘pictures tell a thousand words’ and all that. My point is that for them to buy in this way a more visual product would add more value and increase the desire / selling opportunity.

Both these approaches would help increase article quality, drive more potential customers to the site and our articles (and web sites) AND make us all more money! Sounds like win, win, win to me!

What do you think of that? Wanna hire me? LOL


James T Flynn

Comment provided April 9, 2010 at 1:10 PM


Thanks James…

Hmmm, you have a point… Will think on it (the idea of images going along with the PDF files). Probably won’t scale without human intervention…which then prohibits the scaling part of having millions of articles instantly available in PDF form.


James Flynn writes:

The images could be uploaded and resized to fit a set standard that combines quality and file size and then either blobbed in the database or referenced via a url. sure its a technical problem, but not one thats hard to overcome.



Gregg Zban writes:

I think pay per download would be an excellent idea. The best way to accomplish this, due in part to the varying uses of, would be to create an “elite” submission which would require a higher quality article that would be made available for purchase.

Current articles could be resubmitted through a filter on the EzineArticles dashboard by the authors for consideration of inclusion into the “elite” article group.

This would make for better quality content (and probably make you the largest PLR dealer on the planet) and offer a great way to earn extra income for the authors.

Comment provided April 9, 2010 at 3:16 PM



I can guarantee you that we will NEVER be the “largest PLR dealer on the planet”.

PLR means non-exclusive rights license. Our members have never granted us or anyone permission to have their articles made available via a non-exclusive rights license and we’d never ask them to.

Don’t know if you’re aware, but we’re in a full out war against those who submit PLR. We think of it as spam.


Mark writes:

The selling point should really be that the restrictions are lifted, not that you get a pretty PDF of something I can make myself…

$.99 is too cheap, $5 too expensive, I think $2.50 is a good price.

I wouldn’t pay even that for a PDF, but I would pay that for more rights to the article (and if I get a PDF of it, even better).

Comment provided April 9, 2010 at 4:00 PM


Jan writes:

This sounds like a very interesting concept if it can be accomplished. I see a few fundamental problems though and one of the major ones to me is still allowing people to download our articles freely without being physically constrained to include our resource boxes. Why will anyone pay for a pdf version when they can get away with downloading a ‘freebie’? Who is going to monitor the ‘end use’ of any downloaded article pdf or not? Anyone can download an article and turn it into a pdf on their own computer.

Here’s another idea:

How do Reuters, AAP and UPI work for freelance journalists? They have a “story pool” don’t they where freelancers can submit their stories for editors to buy?

What about if EzineArticles set up a new section (an article bank) and authors could submit articles/sets of articles into for online and off-line publishers to purchase with NO FREE downloads available? That way, the pdf’s will mean something, authors could be reasonably compensated, EzineArticles will make some money and those who wish to have their articles published with or without acknowledgement can still do so the same as now.

Having an article bank would be beneficial to most authors and I believe will encourage a higher standard of writing.

I think the money split should be 60%-40% EZA’s way because this will incur costs and maintenance.

I also think the costs of the articles should be by wordage as previously mentioned.

I also believe that if this article bank was to be set up, that the pdf’s should be able to include images/graphs etc to add value and confirmation of information. In due course, I also believe this article bank needs to be able to include video as part of any online usage of an article that authors wish to submit~ but that is way in the future :-)

Thanks Chris for throwing this idea up and looking at ways forward for all of us.

Kind Regards to all,


Comment provided April 9, 2010 at 4:35 PM


Angela Booth writes:

A summary of my thoughts: sales of individual articles as a single PDF (or multiple PDFs are fine.) “Unlimited rights” sales are NOT.


* Re “How much should we charge for a PDF article download?” Firstly, bio box and links MUST be included. :-)

Essentially this is selling reprint rights. So there should be a stepped system; $0.99 for one PDF reprint as a download, $5 for 10 reprints of the article, $25 for 100 reprints (used as handouts), etc.

There needs to be a higher price for use in print media: $10 per article, with a one-time use license, article must include full attribution, with bio box.

* Re “unlimited printing rights PDF, electronic re-distribution rights, electronic re-publishing rights?”

NO! A thousand times NO! I have no interest in this at all.

My articles on EzineArticles are advertising pure and simple. I don’t want anyone passing them around for any reason at all. The last time I looked, EzineArticles had a strict “25 articles per year” policy for web publishers, and that was fair enough.

I repurpose my own articles, and they remain MY ARTICLES. I’m not willing to part with ANY “unlimited” rights, at all. This would mean that others could set up in business using my articles: I’d be giving them away to set up my own competition.

With unlimited rights sales, you’d be handing authors knives to cut their own throats. I’m sure many of your writers feel this way. Therefore, if you go this route, please offer a total OPT-OUT, because I’ll be using it. :-)

I’m distressed that EzineArticles may be moving in the direction of selling unlimited rights, Chris. If you are, I’m sorry, but I’ll be removing all my articles.

Comment provided April 9, 2010 at 6:44 PM


Joe Stewart writes:

I agree with Angela. I’m not all interested in selling my articles for offline use here. Please give those that don’t wish to participate the ability to opt-out.



We’re not moving in ANY direction here.

This is all a discussion designed to help us figure out what our next steps should be.

Also, I’ve already commented in another comment that we will never sell unlimited rights. That was never on the table and NEVER will be.


Darshan Ahmad writes:

I think making money by selling articles is a wonderful idea, but it should only be for a one time use. You have my 100% support, but there’s just one problem that I would like to point out here. You have authors from almost every corner of the globe whereas Paypal facility is not available everywhere. Please consider some more options alongwith Paypal.
Another advantage is that although I am trying to promote my own blog, writing articles is what I actually enjoy more. So if I can make money by just writing articles, I’ll be more than happy to do so.
Take care.

Comment provided April 11, 2010 at 2:31 AM



I think the idea has merit but I’m not sure who would be willing to pay. People can access info on the web and easily make their own presentations. I’ve used Adobe, Power Point, Print Artist…

Comment provided April 11, 2010 at 7:50 AM


VentaLocal writes:

I think if you priced everything similar to Apple’s model, it would work.

I think both writers and eZine would stand to make some extra dough and it would be a win-win.

Comment provided April 11, 2010 at 8:09 AM


Gareth writes:

It’s a tough call, I think to a digree we are the wrong people (as authors) to comment so to speak.

The problem with a pdf is the purchaser and author are going to want links within the pdf back to their sites, if both parties do not have links then usually it is a waste of time for one of them.

The other site of the coin is, if you are allowing authors to write up content to sell, you will probably overload your moderation team with pointless junk articles from people trying to make a quick buck.

As for price to make the “most” maybe do a little email pdf auction where people can submit a bid for the pdf for a while, (for a trial period) this will give an idea of what the actual people who will want the pdf are willing to pay.

to combat the high volume of junk you will recieve if people are making money, I would also consider making this available to members who are either basic plus or above (so they have submitted quality articles already)

Comment provided April 14, 2010 at 3:17 AM


Ozer Tayiz writes:

1. How much should we charge for a PDF article download? For example, iTunes charges 99 to $1.29 per song or $1-10 for an app.

I think it must be up to author. Some articles might be of $1-2 for commercial use, some may be $1000. The value is in the eye of the beholder, and it must be up to the author to price the article for commercial use.

I think everyone can already create PDF’s or print them as text from EzineArticles articles, abiding by TOS. What is commercial use and how do you define, and enforce the use according to TOS? Will you really sue someone in a foreign country, if they printed out some articles from EzineArticles and given them out in a seminar? I think that’s the main point here.

2. How should licensing be handled? Should the buyer be given unlimited rights with the PDF or different kinds of license rights such as a single use PDF, unlimited printing rights PDF, electronic re-distribution rights, electronic re-publishing rights?

I think there must be different prices for different rights, again, the decision being made by the author. I sometimes create content as a service for other people, to do as they like. I sometimes create content to sell with PLR rights, or some resell rights. Different rights could be given with different pricing points, with the consent of the author.

3. How should the profit be split between the Author (you) and EzineArticles?

I think %50-50 would be fair. I’d rather have instant payment though, like .

4. Other considerations/options we should consider?

I think you should give as much options to the author as possible and leave the final decision with him, and the choice to opt out of commercial use licenses, if he chooses to…

Comment provided April 14, 2010 at 9:11 AM


Barbara writes:

My vote for selling PDF articles is $9.99 with a 50-50 split, or 60-40 split in favor of the author.

I think a credits system, similar to what many stock photo sites use, would be ideal. This would allow buyers to get a discount for bulk purchases. If a credit system were used, then authors should just earn a flat fee for each article sold.

I think that some of the people who lean towards a $0.99 price tag are missing the opportunity and intent of this service.

First of all, the articles will still be FREE online. And as some people mentioned “anyone” can grab the text and make their own PDF. However, not everyone actually can. For people that don’t know how or don’t want to spend the time, $10 for a clean, attractive article printout is a great deal. They are paying for “design” as well as “content”. In addition, by providing the PDF, EzineArticles can ensure that our byline and url appear along with the article.

As another thought, I think that helping potential buyers discover the best articles is in the best interest of everyone. Make the new rating system mean something by allowing users to sort articles by rating. And, give extra weight to Premium Members so their articles are featured.

Articles with ratings below a certain threshold may have their articles for sale, but shouldn’t show in search results. This way EzineArticles doesn’t have to deal with a two-tiered system, but low-quality writers are less prominent.

Comment provided April 15, 2010 at 8:36 PM



I have two recommendations for article PDFs for sale:

A. Lock down everything but printing in the security privileges for the PDF.

B. Let a buyer customize (“stamp”) the PDF with his/her name, etc., in the header or footer.

Recommendation A means that buyers can print the PDFs but cannot copy text in whole or in part from the PDFs.

Recommendation B gives the buyer more value by including a phrase such as “Compliments of ‘XYZ Company'” in the header or footer.

Recommendation B also discourages buyers from re-posting the PDFs on the Internet.

To see an example of buyer-identification tagging on a PDF, which is also known as PDF stamping, go to and click the “Click here to order our sample PDF for $0.00” link.

Comment provided April 20, 2010 at 9:13 AM


Mervyn Love writes:

This is a great idea.

On the basis that you are aiming for commercial users rather than individuals or website owners, then I think a charge of $2 – $5 based on word count would be good.

I don’t think the pricing structure should be too complicated or prospective purchasers won’t bother.

A split of 60 (author) 40 (EzineArticles) is about right in my opinion.

The point about policing useage is a good one – it’s almost impossible to do. All you can do really is to issue dire warnings of what will happen to the perpetrator if they break the rules – then follow it up when an infringement comes to light.

Well done EzineArticles for coming up with the idea, I’m all for it. I hope you can iron out a way to set it up in due course.

Comment provided April 23, 2010 at 4:05 AM


David writes:

This is a good idea and I think a price range of $3.50 is okay with a 80/20% split with the author and

Comment provided April 24, 2010 at 12:15 PM


Emma writes:

This is a very interesting idea. I’m in favor of the “real value” model rather than give it away for .99 cents model as I don’t think much of the offline traffic will return to me online. But a “Print Only” Resource box might be a useful addition, so that articles could be branded with a top level domain for the author (either at the beginning and end of article or in the footer).

Have you thought about Kindle Subscriptions as a revenue source as well. I came across something recently that mentioned Amazon is accepting Blogs for syndication to Kindle devices. If our RSS feeds were able to be split out by topic, that could have some potential (i.e. all my articles published under “Timeshares” Or “Destinations” available as a Kindle subscription). Just tossing another idea out there. :)

Comment provided April 24, 2010 at 1:20 PM


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