How bad does content have to be before people will stop reading it?
PBS’ MediaShift has a great article about the utter lack of quality control at content farms. Corbin Hiar interviewed a bunch of the people who shovel the manure for these farms and found that they knew it was, in fact, feces. Here’s one writer – who understandably asked to remain anonymous – about her work for Demand Studios:
"The articles she wrote -- all of which were selected from an algorithmically generated list -- included "How to Wear a Sweater Vest" and How to Massage a Dog That Is Emotionally Stressed," even though she would never willingly don a sweater vest and has never owned a dog. “I was completely aware that I was writing crap," she said. "I was like, 'I hope to God people don't read my advice on how to make gin at home because they'll probably poison themselves."
Consider this in light of Demand Studios claim that, “Before a title is approved, it is reviewed by at least three separate editors who review different aspects of the title to ensure quality and performance.” And they aren’t kidding either: It’s only the titles that are reviewed and they’re not ashamed to admit it. “Titles generated by the algorithm are still a long way from being converted into assignments. They must still pass through three human editors who approve the title’s content, grammar and metadata.” Only after you, Mr. or Ms. Sucker, approve of these titles are they sent “sent to our professional network of creators as assignments.” After that, you’re on your own.
Among the sites to use Demand’s content are the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Golf Link, Modern Mom and Cracked. Of the four, I’d say only Cracked shouldn’t be embarrassed about this.
The working theory around websites and content is that people come back because they get good information. How much crap can you put on a site before it starts to suffer? Keep watching folks, because we will soon find out.