Content Wants to Be Created. Not Farmed

Posted on April 19, 2011 by Tony Uphoff

There's been a ton of debate over the value, or lack thereof, of "content farms". The company Demand Media has served as a lightning rod in the debate drawing both ire and praise from media pundits and investors. If you're not familiar with Demand Media and other content farm operations, the model is based on generating cheap content and stressing optimization to drive search results. The approach requires a large amount of traffic, generates questionable audience loyalty and demographics and obviously lives and dies based on the ability to consistently game out search engines.

Huffington Post and other AOL sites are in the discussion too, as some people see them as nothing more than dressed up content farms. It's a fascinating debate. At the core of it is the value of content; to audiences, to media companies and to search engines.

Content is a value game. Always has been, always will be. I'm not attempting to take some intellectual high ground here, nor ignore the obvious power and value of search equity. Regardless of the genre, sustainably successful content becomes so based on delivering high value to audiences. No matter how savvy your SEO specialists. The content farms I've studied are generating very low value content and over working search algorithms to generate high value search rankings. As more and more people turn to content that their friends, family, colleagues, trusted sources and leading brands guide them to, rather than "searching" the web, I think content farms may be hit by a drought.
So you tell me. Am I being too much of a purest here? Is the future about farming content or creating it?
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