There has been a lot of talk about content lately. Well it isn’t really lately, there is always a lot of talk about the importance of content. Heck, without it, the internet would be a very boring place.
Recently Demand Media and Answers.com have been on the hot seat for being content creation engines. Demand Media has the audacity of creating content that people want to read just so that they can sell ads. Well, duh. There may be some newspapers and TV shows that fit that description too. They are in the business to make money, just like most of us. If they want to help people, by giving people the information that they are looking for, who gets hurt?
I get it, people are worried that content is not going to be written by professionals. That only people who are considered experts in a subject have the right to express themselves and make money from it. By systematically creating content for consumers, the whole idea of expert goes out the window. Demand Media is using the global market of freelancers to get people for far less than the experts get. Is the content lower quality? I’m not sure.
Demand Media isn’t doing anything wrong. They actually have pretty high standards for their content. There’s nothing wrong with “farming” content, as long as you have checks and balances in place to assure what’s getting written is accurate. Demand Media does.
I think that the experts are grasping at straws, trying to figure out ways to protect their statuses. I totally get that. If there’s not much of a learning curve to become an expert, what does that leave them? Don’t worry guys, there will be people who will look for you too. And for those who don’t, there’s plenty of pie to go around.
Most content out there is not life and death content. If it is, as the content consumer, make sure that you check where your sources are coming from before you act on it. You wouldn’t accept medical advice from someone whom you just met on the street. Why would you accept it from someone that you haven’t met and that you can’t even see? Don’t rebuild your motorcycle engine with me. But though I haven’t tried it, an article I write about building motorcycle engines is unlikely to get through Demand Media’s quality assurance.
Some people say that in the world of search engine optimization there will be more low quality content. Sorry, I think it’s the opposite. There’s always been bad content. There have always been middle men who try to connect you to content, and whose interests aren’t totally aligned with yours. Google’s not perfect, but they’re probably the best company we’ve ever had at connecting people to quality content. If Demand Media is really low quality, their success on Google will be temporary.
Who am I to talk about content? I worked at Answers.com as the Director of Content. I am now running The Pet Wiki and having fun building quality content there.