Never mind black-hat SEO and the mostly closed ecosystem of the second internet (Facebook) – the web is facing a possibly even bigger nemesis in “content farms” like Demand Media, which attempt to game the search + advertising money machine that is Google. I knew that content farms were a big problem (Google even recently released a Chrome plugin that would let end users identify non-useful content on the internet so it could be deprecated in search results). But check out the infographic below. It’s all interesting, but wrap your head around the the raw numbers: “Demand’s goal is to publish 1 million articles/month (30,000 articles per day)” — all crap content written by underpaid writers churning out intentional baloney, all with the intention of skimming pennies and dollars out of AdWords. In the process, they’re wrecking the quality of the search results you rely on every day, and filling the web with bile and nonsense. Staggering.
2 Replies to “Content Farms and the Demand Media Cesspool”
More than anything, this points out both 1) the over-reliance the internet has on Google and 2) the fallacy that an algorithm is better than people at judging quality. Unfortunately its gotten to the point where curated walled gardens would provide a better experience. It shouldn’t be a shock that ‘openness’ to one is ‘opportunity’ to others. Its sad that in the US there is so little respect for the time and attention of users, but the idea that ‘a sucker is born every minute’ is almost as old as the republic.
Very well said Lee. Google did release a browser extension recently that makes it easy for people to identify content farms and other bogus results. To me this seems like an upfront admission that algorithms alone won’t get the job done – it takes all of us working together.
Almost since I’ve been working on the internet, I’ve spent inordinate amounts of time dealing with dishonesty and bad guys in general. Spam problems (both email and on blogs), performance issues from malware and attacks (both desktop and server), the complexity of passwords (when you think about it, we wouldn’t need passwords at all – or keys for our houses and cars – if everyone were honest). It doesn’t paint a nice picture of humanity overall, but it’s reality. An endless game of cat-and-mouse.