Are content farms good for the net?

Will search engines married to pay per click programs be the victim of their own success? And will they in the process drag the web down with them? According to these two articles, from Wired and Read Write Web, the Internet is about to become a gigantic casino, whose main goal is to create fake money for fake content. The promise of lots of money for no work has lead to companies like Demand Media, which generate submediocre content on an industrial scale to match the latest search trends online. The problem is that some of these companies have become so good at what they do that their content now dominates the web. Does one of the few technologies that produce hard cash for new media companies, pay per click ads, create the premises for a souless content universe, where words chase dollars and dollars chase words?

By the way, this article is enahanced with Tangaroo and Zemanta links. Are they an example of what I am describing?

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Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

4 thoughts on “Are content farms good for the net?

  • December 14, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    In my personal opinion, Google is going to slowly close the pipes to many of these low-quality web properties.
    Probably not in a swift move since there might be antitrust problems with that, but they will do it over a year.

    It’s not in Google’s interest that the content would degrade so much, so I am sure they have smart guys working on adapting “pagerank” to new patterns seen out there. It’s hard but by no means impossible for them.

    Remember, Google is primarily married to AdWords, not AdSense (in terms of revenue), so they will not sacrifice quality of search for AdSense dollars.

    About tools that make content creation better experience. They sure can be used by both good guys and bad guys. But so do all other tools. The good content will always be rewarded by search engines (on the long run) and users (on the short run).

    If a computer can play a role of your assistant, you would not use it in such way? Someone would, so why not be on par. We have a problem with filtering right now not the production. The low quality content is the consequence of doing bad job at filtering, and I am sure search engines will catch up (as much as they can – this is continuous coevolution)

    Andraz Tori, CTO at Zemanta

  • December 14, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I appreciate very much your comments, they are truly insightful. As for mentioning Zemanta in my post, I was referring to the fact that the links added automatically by your service are to relatively low value sites (prweb and such). Aren’t you guys afraid that they will drag your reputation down?

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