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    4 Minute Roundup: The Problem with Content Farms

    by Mark Glaser
    July 23, 2010


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    4MR is sponsored by Carnegie-Knight News21, an alliance of 12 journalism schools in which top students tell complex stories in inventive ways. See tips for spurring innovation and digital learning at Learn.News21.com.

    In this week’s 4MR podcast I give an overview of “content farms,” sites such as those from Demand Media, Yahoo’s Associated Content and AOL Seed that produce massive amounts of content for low pay. While there have been issues with the quality of content from these sites, they often provide “good enough” how-to information for people searching for it online. Blogger/journalist Jason Fry has been a critic of content farms in the past, but now takes a more nuanced view of them, saying he’s more worried about how they affect readers and searchers than the journalism business.

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    Check it out:

    4mrbareaudio72310.mp3

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    Listen to my entire interview with Jason Fry:

    fry full.mp3

    Background music is “What the World Needs” by the The Ukelele Hipster Kings via PodSafe Music Network.

    Here are some links to related sites and stories mentioned in the podcast:

    Writers Explain What It’s Like Toiling on the Content Farms at MediaShift

    Your Guide to Next Generation ‘Content Farms’ at MediaShift

    Beyond Content Farms series

    Hey, Demand Media! Get Off My Lawn! at Reinventing the Newsroom

    Comment by Demand Media writer about getting $100 per day at MediaShift

    The ‘Craigslist Effect’ Spreads to Content as Free Work Fills Supply at AdAge

    Content ‘Farms’ – Killing Journalism, While Making a Killing at The Wrap

    Also, be sure to vote in our poll about what you think about content farms:


    Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.


    i-59e41f7d887bee107a310677b0f93a1e-news21 small.jpg

    4MR is sponsored by Carnegie-Knight News21, an alliance of 12 journalism schools in which top students tell complex stories in inventive ways. See tips for spurring innovation and digital learning at Learn.News21.com.

    Tagged: aol seed associated content beyond content farms content farms demand media jason fry pay
    • eHow? Beware. They “quote” us, MPF Conservation, on a how-to article on taking care of antiques but they have inaccurate information that does not come from us — we are “experts.”

      It bothers me that my partner wrote and corrected them weeks ago; they removed his post. I wrote and corrected them; doubt they will keep my post up, as it says plainly that to do what is recommended will most likely HARM you antique upholstery.

      They have no interest in having their “how-tos” be accurate AND they apparently will not remove our business as one of their sources. Normally we would like free publicity, but as I said, we do not want to be associated with bad information, asked to be removed as their source, but they will not remove us. Because of this, I looked around at some of their other info on furniture, and it was a mixed bag. Only one of the how-to’s could I give a 4-5 star rating to, and she gave cautious but accurate info.

      The name of the article I refer to: “How to Renovate Historical Upholstery Fabric”

    • I wrote and corrected them; doubt they will keep my post up, as it says plainly that to do what is recommended will most likely HARM you antique upholstery.

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