Contentville

While looking for some help online on how to make a kaleidoscope, I came across a lot of ‘how to’ videos. I am sure you have seen them too. What amazed me was that there was a ‘how to’ video on almost anything I could think of. Then I saw this video on how to draw will smith from memory. It’s clear that the artist is fake. There were more really stupid videos which made me wonder why would anyone make these?

It all makes sense in this article on readwriteweb.com by Richard MacManus explaining the rise of ‘content farms’ such as Answers.com and Demand Media. These companies mass produce content based on the demand generated by web searches. To simplify, this is done using algorithms that determine which keywords have more demand and less supply. Since 80% of all web searches are informational (that uses words like how to, what is etc.) <source>, huge search traffic is driven to these websites. Wired.com explains the business model in detail.

The quality of content is low to medium as freelancers are commissioned to write stories at roughly $5-$20 per article. One such freelancer Anne Gentle for Demand Media writes about her experience. These are roles under which Demand Media hire Freelancers.

The issue here is not that they are producing low quality content. One can argue that the internet is as it is flooded with such content. In fact, some of this mass produced content is not that bad. Problem is that search engines cannot filter out low quality content targeted at the search results page. It’s important to understand the effect this has on Google. The more low quality results Google produces, the less relevant it becomes. It will be interesting to see how Google handles this invasion of smart page view generating machines. MacManus and Jeff Jarvis offer their suggestions.

6 comments

  1. KiranKumar Uppoor

    Nice post , very well written and thought provoking

  2. Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it
    can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it
    with someone!

  3. You are so interesting! I do not think I have read through something like this before.
    So good to find somebody with some original thoughts on this issue.
    Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This web site
    is one thing that is required on the web, someone with some originality!

  4. Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have yoou been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is wonderful, as well as the
    content!

  5. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and all. Nevertheless think about if you added some great photos or video clips
    to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and video
    clips, this blog could definitely be one
    off the best in its field. Awesome blog!

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