• Andrew Boer

    So each example of “negative media attention” you are able to cite was written in 2007 when this model was in its infancy. I gave that interview to Kate, and she certainly made some valid points at the time. Twitter wasn’t so great in 2007 either.

    I agree with your assertion that consumers and search engines will change to demand quality content… But you, and folks who assume that Demand Media and its ilk won’t be able to create quality content, are erroneously linking two ideas: the idea of scaling content creation based on actual consumer demand and performance, and the inability to create “quality” content.

    Were those things linked back in 2007 at AC– sure, they probably were. But the level of quality kept, because advertisers and readers demanded it…and it will continue to improve.

    Consider — for years a Rolls Royce was considered the pinnacle of quality because it was handcrafted by experts in every way. An assembly line simply couldn’t come close to the level of precision and expertise. Today, the Rolls Royce is an anachronism — and Toyota (once a seller of cheap shoddy cars — if you want to cite articles from the 60’s) makes much higher quality cars on assembly lines at scale.

    Scaling content creation, and pricing based on performance are the two real contributions of the content farm model; I think they are here to stay. In my view, the Huffington Post is 100% based on the metric driven, scalable processes that AC, About.com, and others pioneered. It gets better and better.

    Brands and Publishers will move much more in the automated editorial direction, while Content farms will continue to automate the processes of traditional publishers.

  • http://www.searchworxx.com Marcus C

    I don’t think these sites will see a demise. As the search engines begin to factor in social signals (tweets, Likes, Shares, etc.) for pieces of content these will begin to be a primary driver for search engine results in the future. Everyone will adapt to this, and content publishers will do more to present quality content. The best content on their site will drive the majority of their traffic and they will make adjustments along the way.

  • http://www.johnee99.com johnee99

    Sounds like you long for a time when there was one authority when it comes to the news and true arbiters of what is relevant. Also sounds like many other journos I hear who misunderstand what these sites do. Take a moment and read the top blogs out there (TechCrunch et. al.) who also breathlessly rail against DMD and others…LOTS OF TYPOS, LOTS OF POOR GRAMMAR. This is a straw man argument that fails to address the dynamics of the content business.

  • http://www.zippycart.com Zippy Cart

    It’s like anything else – you can do it right or you can do it wrong. These things tend to fluctuate to extremes at the beginning, then self-regulate over enough time. The nice thing about the internet is that it is somewhat Darwinian: good things survive and multiply, lower-quality options eventually die out. Demand Media and its ilk will survive, but not necessary in the form they exist in now.

  • http://motelsupplies.blogspot.com/ pcsourcepoint

    Me being involved in many forums, sometimes that’s where the best tutorial based material can be found, often involving many experienced industry related and practical members – oi.e. content contributors?. I now ignore ehow search results listings, for example on how to do car repairs, since they seem to offer basics, with no real insight, depth of material, and images.

    Though in the know that have done things first hand, I think offer the most beneficial information, often with images, tips, advice, etc, but seem to be relatively buried in forums with little exposure in search results queries. Is that not how the internet started – user group type forums?

  • http://www.mcbuzz.com Mark McLaren

    I agree that the Internet evolves according to Darwinian principles – more or less – but it’s important to think about who has the greater ability to influence demand, the content farm or the craftsman.

    I like the agribusiness analogy. When big business starts growing apples, you get great looking fruit that lasts forever but, compared to the home-grown/organic variety, it has less nutritive value, much less taste and much greater susceptibility to insects and disease. People don’t want to pay for the home-grown stuff. But in part that’s because it’s harder to get, and because they don’t know the difference. They think mass-produced apples are what apples taste like.

    Is it in the best interest of agribusiness to educate the masses about the potential for better produce, or is it in their best interest to keep cranking out cheap, flavorless shiny fruit? Obviously it’s the latter, and that has a tremendous dampening effect on demand for anything better.