The Revolution Will Not Be Intermediated

So I just followed this tweet by Chris Messina to Mike Arrington‘s The End of Hand Crafted Content. The tweet-bite: “The rise of fast food content is upon us, and it’s going to get ugly.” Meaning that FFC “will surely, over time, destroy the mom and pop operations that hand craft their content today. It’s the rise of cheap, disposable content on a mass scale, force fed to us by the portals and search engines.”

Just as an aside, I’ve been hand-crafting (actually just typing) my “content” for about twenty years now, and I haven’t been destroyed by a damn thing. I kinda don’t think FFC is going to shut down serious writers (no matter where and how they write) any more than McDonald’s killed the market for serious chefs.

Mike explains, “On one end you have AOL and their Toyota Strategy of building thousand of niche content sites via the work of cast-offs from old media. That leads to a whole lot of really, really crappy content being highlighted right on the massive AOL home page… On the other end you have Demand Media and companies like it. See Wired’s ‘Demand Media and the Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell Media Model‘… They push SEO juice to this content, which is made as quickly and cheaply as possible, and pray for traffic. It works like a charm, apparently.” By “works” I suppose Mike means that they make money.

His penultimate point:

My advice to readers is just this — get ready for it, because you’ll be reading McDonalds five times a day in the near future. My advice to content creators is more subtle. Figure out an even more disruptive way to win, or die. Or just give up on making money doing what you do. If you write for passion, not dollars, you’ll still have fun. Even if everything you write is immediately ripped off without attribution, and the search engines don’t give you the attention they used to. You may have to continue your hobby in the evening and get a real job, of course.

Good advice. In my own case, I sometimes make money writing, but usually I don’t. I do get paid well for my counsel (and my speaking), mostly because of what I’ve been writing in places like this. SEO for me is linking and crediting generously. That works like a charm, too. And I have fun doing what I trust is good work in the world. That has SEO qualities as well. (None of it is a hobby, though. At least I don’t think of it that way. And if I don’t, it isn’t.)

Mike concludes, “Forget fair and unfair, right and wrong. This is simply happening. The disruptors are getting disrupted, and everyone has to adapt to it or face the consequences. Hand crafted content is dead. Long live fast food content, it’s here to stay.”

Well, no. Nothing with real real value is dead, so long as it can be found on the Web and there are links to it. Humans are the ones with hands. Not intermediaries. Not AOL, or TechCrunch, or HuffPo, or Google or the New York Freaking Times. The Net is the means to our ends, not The Media, whether they be new disruptors or old disruptees. The Net and the Web liberate individuals. They welcome intermediators, but they do not require them. Even in cases were we start with intermediation — and get to use really good ones — what matters most is what each of us as individuals bring to the Net’s table. Not the freight system that helps us bring it there, no matter how established or disruptive that system is.

The title of this post plays off the 1971 poem/song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, by Gil Scott-Heron. The passage that stands out for me is this one:

The revolution will not be right back after a message
about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

The lyrics were not addressed to me, a white guy from the suburbs, but they spoke to me all the same. Especially that last line.

We still seem to think that progress on the Net is the work of “brands” creating and disrupting and doing other cool stuff. Those may help, but what matters most is what each of us does better than anybody or anything else. The term “content” insults the nature of that work. And of its sources.

The revolution that matters — the one that will not be intermediated — is the one that puts each of us in the driver’s seat, rather than in the back of the bus. Or on a bus at all.

58 comments

  1. Dave Winer’s avatar

    Mike posted some weekend bitchmeme linkbait that’s all.

    Google will recalibrate to factor out the slurry and your stuff will still show up in the search engine.

    Net-effect, a temporary gain for the content mills. And a few extra shekels this weekend for Uncle Mikey.

  2. Mike Cane’s avatar

    Google’s got a hell of a lot of “recalibrating” to do. It takes me like four times longer to dig through Google for *real* search results due to all the SEO-juiced splogs that take the first pages in many of my queries.

  3. Sage Ross’s avatar

    One path for Google may be to anchor its algorithms to people. If PageRank was quasi-democratic, assigning authority ultimately based on the people who are doing the linking (by associating websites with their individual authors when possible), that might be a way to overcome the glut of assembly-line content and sort out the stuff that real people are likely to find helpful at the top of the search results.

  4. Loren Feldman’s avatar

    Smart thinking Doc. Search engine traffic does not an internet make.

  5. Owen Greaves’s avatar

    Mike Arrington will never get tired of hearing his own voice, it’s the only way he can get validated on an hour by hour basis. He like many other’s can’t help but draw attention to themselves, they’re drama queens at best. I’m actually surprised that we give him the air time we do, it just validates all the more, and feeds the ongoing string of bullshit from him. Enough on that topic.

    Good content, whether it be crafted by machine or human, will always get read. Literature be it in any form written by machine will also have its own footprint, it will be tuned out just like bad content does.

  6. Gary Santoro’s avatar

    Well said. Real value continues and it will likely become even more valuable.

  7. Tim Kastelle’s avatar

    I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments in this post. I wonder if there will be space in the future for hand-crafted filtering of high-quality content? I know that the late 90s yahoo model failed – but only because google returned more meaningful results. If their algorithms fail to filter out McDonaldsesque content, there are other ways for us to find it.

  8. steve garfield’s avatar

    “The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.”

    Got it.

  9. Michael J. Russell’s avatar

    It’s amazing how many times the same arguments resurrect themselves with slightly different variations, no matter how many times they’re debunked.

    This reminds me of the old chestnuts about analog synthesizers (1970′s) and digital sampling keyboards (1980′s) putting studio musicians completely out of business. Didn’t happen.

    Essentially, it’s the Gresham’s Law (i.e., bad/counterfeit money drives out good/real money) argument mis-applied for the umpteenth time to”content.” It’s the same logical fallacy that leads some folks to dismiss everything on Wikipedia, and why no few organizations have barely lowered the drawbridge on fort business (read: academy, agency, hospital, NGO, political party) ten years after Cluetrain. Go figure.

  10. Tara Hunt’s avatar

    I’m actually thinking that search is becoming less and less relevant, so the argument makes no sense anyways. Sure, Google is getting all social, but my best answers always come from my Twitter friends (or blog or wherever I’m hanging these days). Most of the time, I go to twitter and say, “Who would you recommend to read for [insert interesting topic here]” Search is useless for that. Not that what I do spells doom for search engines, but I do know it’s not the only way people are finding good stuff.

    And thanks for pointing out his point…I was having a tough time figuring out what exactly it was. ;)

  11. Sam Harrelson’s avatar

    And this is one of the reasons I quit the online marketing shell game and went back to teaching Middle School…

    “The term “content” insults the nature of that work. And of its sources.”

    We are in such a crucial period of net/societal development.

    Thank you, as always, Doc, for reaffirming my career decision. When I’m asked why I “threw it all away” and went back to teaching, I smile and think similar thoughts about the need for people making the headshifts that cause critical thoughts and changes… not just brands.

  12. Matt Terenzio’s avatar

    Who says we need Google in the future? Or more appropriately, maybe page-rank will become meaningless, but that won’t mean we can’t find interesting and good stuff. That’s at an all time high and will continue to rise.

    Maybe web pages cease to exist. It’s the stream, right?

    You can’t fake being human.

  13. Kim Landwehr’s avatar

    Comparing the Internet to the real world is always dangerous, the real world is finite the Internet is not. As long as people have the ability to think critically and search engines work properly good content will continue to come to the top.

  14. Shyam Kapur’s avatar

    I enjoyed the post and some of the comments greatly. This is where the truly wise people appear to dwell. I agree wholeheartedly with the points of view expressed in this post. I have myself built some powerful tools to empower the end user. Not only do I want to hand over control of their data to the consumer, I want to also provide them with all the tools necessary to make sense of the growing volume of relevant data. My creation TipTop, the only real-time, semantic, social search engine is available in a beta version at http://FeelTipTop.com After your very first visit there, you will leave smiling. Guaranteed.

  15. Mike Warot’s avatar

    The best content in the future will continue to be amateur content. Amateurs do something because they love it, not because they are trying to make money. If Google can’t figure out how to tell the difference, someone else will, and we’ll switch, just like we left inktome, altavista, yahoo, etc.

    My blog gets more than 1/2 of it’s traffic from a single post I wrote which compiled a list of songs about teamwork… it’s NEVER going to be a source of income for me, yet I plug away at it, because I have some things to share, some place to curse the darkness, etc…

    My list of songs about teamwork seems to be the best, if all you care about is traffic… which is a very poor metric of quality.

    Sorry for rambling, but it is 1:03 AM while I write this… try reading it sleep deprived too! 8)

  16. naturalfake’s avatar

    However,

    THE REVOLUTION WILL BE APP’D

    http://naturalfake.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/the-revolution-will-be-appd/

    Oh, and televised as well.

  17. henry copeland’s avatar

    Agree that DemandMedia and AOL won’t impede progress of smart people talking to smart people; new self-generated human networks will continue to expand transparency and human empowerment. But we’re going to lose an important reserve of information when the NYT can no longer afford to subsidize its reporting on Turkey or health care because a smut factory like Huffpo (see “most popular posts” box on front page) or an ad-bait factory like Demand Media has vacuumed ad dollars out from under it. Journalists and the institutions that employ them do many things badly, but without these folks, we’re going to be poorer. To be clear, I’m not arguing for subsidizing newspapers, which would be as effective as buying everyone umbrellas to prevent flooding. I’m just noting an inexorable trend.

  18. Doc Searls’s avatar

    So, Henry, you agree with Mike, then?

  19. Rex Hammock’s avatar

    @Dave Winer – You are a funny guy. Correct, and funny.

  20. david cushman’s avatar

    Peer to peer doesn’t need an algorithm – just people who care about the same stuff as each other :-)

  21. PD Quig’s avatar

    What’s an “AOL homepage”? Seriously, the only time I see my homepage is when I fire up a new browser session. I see my widgets (stocks, weather, etc.), but I RARELY click-through to Yahoo’s content for news, sourced as it is mostly from AP and other lefty losers.

    Once my browser is up, I’m off to my favorite news aggregator sites (hint: NOT Google, AOL, Comcast, Yahoo), blogs, etc.. I use only sites that link to source stories. I can’t imagine getting spoon fed stories from the afore-mentioned trash collector / dispensers.

  22. Katherine Warman Kern’s avatar

    Doc,
    Totally agree that the revolution will not be accelerated or facilitated by intermediaries that intend to replace one mass media with another. (See post: “Better Mass Media is not a Game Changer” http://bit.ly/905iZD)

    Revolutions are indeed a grass roots phenomenon, but not without leadership. The difference is the authority of that leadership. The Revolution’s leaders are not “ordained” by some lofty authority. Most of the time they win because individuals trust them to keep individuals from violating the rights of each other – in other words they trust them to keep the peace – a sense of community and an atmosphere where camaraderie can thrive.

    The goal, in my opinion, is to design technology and media to facilitate, enable “organically” grown leadership.

    Technology and media designed to empower the individual may not yield this result. In fact, so far it seems that established Mass Media publishers and programmers can use lower distribution costs and search to enhance their advantage.

    Just a thought,

    Katherine Warman Kern
    @comradity

  23. @kim’s avatar

    Did you read the Wired piece? Demand Media will reach production of 1 million items per month by summer. I don’t think the issue should be shrugged off so readily. Read the article all the way through, yeah?

    ‘Demand Media and the Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell Media Model‘ http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/10/ff_demandmedia/

  24. Seth Finkelstein’s avatar

    I probably shouldn’t do this, but … regarding:

    “I’ve been hand-crafting (actually just typing) my “content” for about twenty years now, and I haven’t been destroyed by a damn thing …”

    Ah, but you’re a niche market(er). You’re basically a PR person – that’s not easily algorithmatically done, because it required some subtle wordsmithing. And it’s basically serving a wealthy, corporate, market.

    But it would be a fallacy to reason that because a statement is not 100% true, for every single case, it is 100% false, and has no meaning. That’s the bad reasoning I see over and over in these sorts of threads, with people either intentionally or ignorantly missing the essential point.

    Consider this statements – “Doctor who make house calls aren’t gone, because there’s a millionaire with a live-in physician”. Strictly speaking, it’s a true statement, but overall, it’s not.

    That’s very much what you’ve said here:

    “Nothing with real real value is dead, so long as it can be found on the Web and there are links to it. ”

    Which is complete and utter nonsense in anything but the most futile shouting in the wilderness sense.

    See my column about popularity vs. accuracy:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/jun/17/seth-finkelstein-read-me-first

    ” One of the rhetorical tricks of hucksters is to confuse and conflate
    the possibility of something occurring with its probability. You could
    win the lottery – but you almost certainly won’t. It is long past time
    that hand-waving about how things might happen was replaced by
    awareness of what does.

    There’s an old joke: in heaven the police are British, the mechanics
    German, the cooks French, the lovers Italian, and the Swiss organise
    it. In hell the police are German, the mechanics French, the cooks
    British, the lovers Swiss, and the Italians organize it. An internet
    version might be: in theory, topic experts would supply our
    information, social networks would connect us for common humanity, and
    Google would organize it for authority. In practice, we get our
    information from the most attention-driven sites, social networks
    bundle us for marketing, and Google organizes it for ad sales.

    As more new media promoters and consultants advocate an overall online
    journalistic model focused on gathering links and search-engine
    traffic, and then attempting to monetise page views by advertising,
    it’s worth keeping in mind that such a system corrosively values
    popularity over accuracy.”

  25. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Seth, you’re trolling again.

  26. Seth Finkelstein’s avatar

    Absolutely not. I’ve been saying these sorts of things for many, many, years, in enough contexts – and at considerable personal cost – that my sincerity of belief should be unquestioned.

  27. Doc Searls’s avatar

    C’mon, Seth. How is telling me “Basically you’re a PR person” not trolling? How is starting with a characterization — labeling people (which you’ve done with me for years) — not trolling, since you know (and surely you do) that it gets under the skin of those people?

    For what it’s worth I had an essential point in this post. Do you know what it was? If you agreed in any way with it, would you be interested in helping me make it? Or would you rather give me shit for being an “A-lister,” a “gatekeeper,” a “PR person” or whatever?

  28. Seth Finkelstein’s avatar

    You’re “defining down”, to disagreeableness. Characterizations are good or bad based on their accuracy and utility. Depending on the context, I wouldn’t necessarily say someone was trolling if they said something like “Seth, the problem with your analysis is that you’re a geek, and geeks always think they can save the world by the strength of their intellect”. That might be right or wrong, depending on the strength of the argument, but I wouldn’t exclude it per se. There’s a disturbing kind of positive ad-hominem argument that Good People must be doing Good Things – and any sort of sociological examination is Wrong, because that can lead to considerations of money and power, which we are not to ever consider.

    “I had an essential point in this post. Do you know what it was?”

    Umm, yes, I think so. That was the point I’d made in my column – a passionate statement that it’s not working out that way, which should be recognized. As in:

    “The Net and the Web liberate individuals.”

    How do you know? Perhaps you’re wrong. Maybe “the Net” is embedded in a huge social system that can use it to disempower individuals, providing incentives for bad to drive out good (ref. original Techcrunch post). Those matters aren’t “trolling”, they’re profound issues.

  29. JV’s avatar

    Ready for the contrarian view?

    I thought that Google searches for data? When you get down to it almost all the content on the Internet is entertainment data – not useful information.

    There are millions of bits of stuff about climate change – but the actual data and technical analysis is not on the Internet for example. You can buy an airline ticket, which is a little useful information – but there is no engineering information about how to design an airplane. There are endless articles about the causes of the economic meltdown, but no list of who got TARP funds, and how much. You can’t even find design info to build a browser on the Internet – some general stuff, but nothing that tells you how to construct one.

    There is so little real actionable information on the Internet that having SEOs write more useless data is meaningless.

    As far as “The Revolution?” That is a geezer thing from two generations ago! eeesh! Move it along here, time to get on the bus for the 21st century.

  30. Marshall Clark’s avatar

    “One path for Google may be to anchor its algorithms to people. ..associating websites with their individual authors…might be a way to overcome the glut of assembly-line content.”

    Sage Ross, I think you hit the nail on the head with that one. It’s a topic I’ve been thinking and speaking on a lot lately. Here’s a few write-ups on the concept:

    ‘Social Search and Distributed Reputation Systems’ (Presented at SES Chicago 2009): http://bit.ly/4YhXq4

    ‘Docs are Old-School, We Need PageRank for People’: http://www.bit.ly/128U9V

  31. Doc Searls’s avatar

    You’re right about my essential point, Seth; and that I might be wrong.

    FWIW, I’ve always felt creeped by controlling company-provided environments — from IBM’s to Microsoft’s to Google’s. In fact my biggest worry right now is that we’re putting way too many eggs in the many baskets that Google provides for free as long as Google’s advertising gravy train is running — which won’t go on forever, and which has big distortion effects in the meantime. You’ve been on the same case for some time.

    In fact, if I read your comment from bottom to top (including your Guardian piece), I find us in general agreement — right up to where you start out by slamming me.

    Why do that?

    I don’t think I’m “defining down disagreeableness”. I think you’re defining up trolling — by rationalizing it.

    Trolling is provocation for its own sake. And a sure-fire way to provoke somebody is to characterize them, right up front. Call them something you know will piss them off.

    That’s what you did by starting with “…you’re a niche market(er). You’re basically a PR person…” Do you really think I’m going to read the rest of your post with a completely open mind after that? It’s not that I have a thin skin — I don’t — but it’s mighty hard for anybody to follow an argument that starts with a negative characterization about them. Or any characterization.

    The example you provide — “I wouldn’t necessarily say someone was trolling if they said something like ‘Seth, the problem with your analysis is that you’re a geek, and geeks always think they can save the world by the strength of their intellect’.” — is way different in kind from you telling me that I’m a PR person. You’re not going to resent the geek characterization and you know damn well I’m going to resent the PR person characterization.

    I really do value your thinking, Seth, and your immunity to BS. And I don’t mind being called on my own, even when I don’t know I’m uttering it. But your eagerness to characterize me (“A-lister”, “gatekeeper”, “PR person”) suggests to me that you’d rather sling shit than talk about reducing it.

  32. Seth Finkelstein’s avatar

    It’s quite possible for many people to look at the same situation, agree on the basics, but have very different reactions. I agree with the Techcrunch piece to the extent that I believe it’s describing something which is happening – but part ways over the idea of inevitability and that nothing should be done except to perhaps get on the winning team. I suspect it would be acrimonious if I gave my take on where we differ.

    “Trolling is provocation for its own sake.”

    Again, it should be unarguable that, agree or disagree, I’ve written about these matters extensively and sincerely.

    Regarding my use of the phrase “PR person”, and its justification in asserting I’m trolling, ahem (emphasis added)

    http://www.leadingauthorities.com/4645/Searls_Doc_detail.htm

    “He also has an extensive background in publishing and broadcasting as well as marketing, PUBLIC RELATIONS and advertising. The company he co-founded, Hodskins Simone and Searls, was for years one of Silicon Valley’s top high technology advertising and PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCIES.”

    It seems to me deeply unjustified to object so strenuously to that term, to the extent of saying “provoke” and “something you know will piss them off”, when your very own lecture bio has the above.
    (Of course I know it wasn’t praise – but I thought hardly fighting words either. My intent was mostly merely descriptive)

    Eagerness to characterize? That all (“A-lister”, “gatekeeper”) strikes me as pretty basic properties, akin to “white” and “male”. Maybe that’s a better analogy – “As a white male …” (which we both are). Such a phrase can be good or bad argument, it depends on the specifics of the point being made. I wouldn’t dismiss something out of hand just based on that framework itself.

    Thanks for the “value your thinking”. You’re a nice guy, and I do appreciate that.

  33. Mike Warot’s avatar

    Doc,
    You are a PR person… but in a good way. ;-)

    It reads to me like Seth was referring to your area of specialization… not trying to troll.

    —-

    I wrote a post at 1:03 AM this morning, which tried to make a point, and failed miserably. There are several lessons pertinent to this discussion which I read from it… now that I’m less tired.

    1. As long as the web is read only, (especially in comment threads)… you’re forced to make a statement, and then route around the inefficiency of lack of editing, correction, etc… wasting a lot of bandwidth in the process.

    2. Because of the nature of the live web as we find it now, short comments and stories are the norm, because everyone is trying to catch what attention is focused on a topic before it “goes away”… like when the comments counter on this topic plateaus, for example.

    3. Because the is no way to tie comments to identity and/or reputation, they tend to get lost, and left out of the conversation, unless you explicitly mine them for nuggets and link back to them as an author of a blog. This wastes a lot of work on everyone’s part. Mostly, people see comments as a place to spam / or to get spam.

    4. Your comment system here in this blog doesn’t like links (because of the spam issue)…. so comments have a far less expressive power, and are crippled as a result (it’s a trade-off on the spam issue again, so be it)

    5. We all react to emotional issues (see the comments above) and do counterproductive things because of it… if we had MORE TIME TO THINK, this might happen a lot less, and the signal to noise ratio might actually climb for a change.

    6. What tools work to HELP each other, to inFORM each other, to make the world a better, less reactionary place? Let’s talk about those in depth.

    7. Again… comments aren’t long enough, especially when you worry about losing your thoughts due to the lack of a preview feature.

    8. I always wonder when I’ll accidentally hit the

  34. Mike Warot’s avatar

    submit comment button by mistake. ;-)

  35. Mike Warot’s avatar

    Oh… more thoughts… (I’d blog this, but far fewer people would read it, because I’m a long tail blogger)

    9. Because of the long tail, if someone like me is to have ANY say so in the blog world, they have to do it through someone else’s system. It’s a lot of work to build up traffic, just to have a voice in things. Money is a stronger motivator, which is why the persistent effort goes into getting traffic for the least amount of money per hit…. which leads to

    10. The lowest common denominator… all of the things like link farms, spam, etc. We get that which we reward… or to put it into older English…

    Ye reap what ye sow.

    The tools suck… we need to keep that in mind, lest we continue to slide into yet another bit of substandard hell, like the current state of computer insecurity… which I have blogged about at length. (Nutshell: Real security in your OS means you don’t need a virus scanner, EVER)

  36. Gary Santoro’s avatar

    In response in JV:

    You make an interesting point. A lot of things are not on the Internet. I do disagree with this point however:

    “There are endless articles about the causes of the economic meltdown, but no list of who got TARP funds, and how much.”

    There were numerous articles listing the major banks, the amount they received from TARP, and details about the government’s preferred shares, dividend rates, etc.

    http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=Av_tYRrwa86rPzrqq4u0YtZG2vAI?p=list+of+tarp+recipients&fr=my-myy-s&toggle=1&cop=&ei=UTF-8

    To Kim Landwehr.

    The Internet is infinite? ;o)

  37. Ken DiPietro’s avatar

    I believe that there is an interesting disconnect, one that ignores exactly what is currently occurring here in this discussion.

    What has changed in the ability of one person, as Doc, David Isenberg, or Dave Farber are examples, to create intelligent discourse where many of us who may never have found each other prior to the advent of the Internet.

    Now, with that said, certainly the amount of mediocre content being injected onto the net is diluting the ability of any of us to find good, solid, information when needed. Conversely, I fail to see how that has changed over time. For every Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, or Mark Twain there has always been thousands of pulp fiction authors.

    I see a very different dynamic developing, one where the ability of each individual to fight their way to the top of the credibility heap or relegated to a position of irrelevance based solely on the points and counterpoints they raise is now in play.

    This is the new media, be it right or wrong makes little difference, it simply is. The question that many are trying to address is how we monetize this new tool when what we should be looking at is how we ensure that intelligent discourse is valued and drivel is marginalized to its rightful status directly behind gossip.

  38. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Mike.

    I’ll address the PR issue in a separate post. Meanwhile, all good points.

    There is also much to unscrew with the comment system on this blog. I’ll be at Berkman today and will take them up with denizens of our Geek Cave.

    BTW & FWIW, I recently discovered hundreds of lost comments in a queue I can’t find again, and it’s driving me crazy.

  39. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Henry, tell me more.

    I have to admit that I don’t know jack about Demand Media, especially as an “ad bait factory.”

    Thanks.

  40. Ken DiPietro’s avatar

    Doc,

    As someone who experimented with Demand Studios, as one of their writers for a couple of months, I believe I can speak with some authority as to how this “content mill” functions.

    Instead, here is a great article on Demand Media courtesy of Wired magazine.
    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/10/ff_demandmedia/all/1

    Another writer that has written pretty extensively about Demand Media is Erik Sherman.
    http://www.eriksherman.com/WriterBiz/2009/07/no-demand-for-demand-studios.html

    Let me say that I don’t necessarily agree with everything said in either of the two links I provided but I believe this will give you a place to start from.

    One more thing, Demand Studios does an excellent job of monitoring the web looking for anything that might be considered less than flattering to their company image. Unless I miss my guess, we will have someone or another joining this discussion.

  41. francine hardaway’s avatar

    You’re probably like me; you write for authority and credibility, and because you want to express yourself, not for numbers. Unlike blogs that are supported by ads, we don’t have them, and we are found by our friends, not by Google. I think the idea of monetizing a blog by ads applies to a very small group of people, to which Mike belongs. But most of us write because it’s a joy to have a place to speak our truth, and fast food content, as you say, will never replace the Julia Child (not that I fancy myself a Julia Child).

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