AOL Hell - An AOL Content-Slave Speaks Out
|The secret code that puts a site on top of Google’s search results, or casts it to the bottom, is invaluable. |
I doubt that this "secret code" exists. The big content farms were demoted in Google's rankings because the algorithm judged their content to be low quality. The "secret" would be to improve their content.
|The "secret" would be to improve their content. |
Or their business model altogether (which may be the same thing). Some of these businesses actually patented an idea and got venture capital by openly declaring they knew how to manipulate Google rankings for fun and profit. Of course Google had to strike back.
It's one thing to make Google look stupid. It's a whole nother thing to announce far and wide that your business model is going to be making Google look stupid.
At professional SEO meetings in NYC we were discussing the topic of content farms long before Panda was even a glimmer in Google's mind. It seemed clear to anyone who was watching the sector develop that it could not have any longevity - not in its original form, at any rate.
AOL Hell - An AOL Content-Slave Speaks Out
Wow, that article was really well-written. No wonder this guy lost his job. Hopefully he'll find a better one in short order.
Superb article. This section in his last paragraph particularly caught my attention....
|..."The AOL Way" doesn’t simply stand as a pattern for a major corporation; it’s the pattern of the Internet as a whole. The Internet has created more readers than ever before in the history of the world. And yet, perversely, the actual writer is more undervalued than ever before.... |
Actually, it's created a free market for writers. They're now getting paid, for the most part, what they're worth.
Just like programmers, and web designers and graphic artists and a slew of other professions (heck, even antique bookstores falls into this category) that were cloaked in mystery years ago, now it's an open market and these folks have to compete.
I remember paying a programmer in my dollars, $160/hour. that was a fair price at the time for expert level programming. Now I pay $30 for expert level programming and if I shopped it could probably get a tier below for a lot less than that.
Bookstores can't sell a book for $500 that I can buy on ebay for $50 - not anymore. They used to.
And writers can't call themselves writers and charge exhorbitant dollars just for the process of putting a pen to paper - not when there's hungry college graduates like the AOL guy willing to do it for $35K per year.
Actually, when it comes to writing, I think the market's tightened and seperated. If you're not on top of the game, you're fighing for a buck. But I know a number of professional writers that I probably don't want to afford even if I could. They write professionally in niches, know their subject, call sources, do research, and write engaging articles. These folks as far as I can tell are doing OK on the internet.
Speaking as someone who works in the content industry... the article from the AOL guy sounds like someone who's whining because he had to work hard.
It's extremely hard to make it as a writer and if you want to make a living at all, be prepared to work super hard or go do something else.
Too many people graduate from college, and then assume they'll instantly be rewarded with a million dollar book deal to sit back and spend five years writing the great American novel.
Sorry it doesn't work that way. There are thousands of writers vying for hundreds of paid positions.
He doesn't have a realistic idea of what it's like, probably because he walked straight into a cushy AOL job. Most writers will never do as well as he did.
You're right Shatner except that the author in this case is only a messenger. The focus of this article is what is happening to the virtual world that so many of us currently depend on. If we turn a blind eye to it we'll only hurt ourselves in the long run. And eventually the general public will loose trust in anything online -- there goes my dream of moving commerce online and bull-dozing big box stores to reclaim green space.
I think the overall message is that Asian sweat shop or respected big Western brand alike, they're all filling the web with low grade tripe.
>>> The focus of this article is what is happening to the virtual world that so many of us currently depend on.
I'm all for saying content farms are a bad thing, but most of his complaints in his article towards AOL seem focused on how hard they made him work... and how he thinks he deserves to be paid more. He didn't deserve to be paid more. He wasn't working too hard. He was working as hard as everyone else and getting paid more than everyone else in his field... including people who were NOT working for content farms.
In light of that skewed, incorrect view of his employment there I think we should all take some of what he has to say about the way AOL worked at the time with a grain of salt.
Side note... the practices he describes at AOL are also practiced by Huffington Post, this is well documented, yet everyone seems to hold HuffPo up as some sort of shining beacon. They aren't.
Many of the so called "non-content farm" respected content brands, the ones who benefitted the most from Panda like the New York Times, engage in MANY of these practices.
You know what kinds of sites do NOT engage in any of these practices at all? Independently run sites.... blogs, etc. None of which gained in any way from Panda or Google.
Yet it's the New York Times... who also engages in many of these content-farm like practices online (for example, did you know that many "respected" "major brand" publications get a lot of traffic by scraping people's feeds and re-displaying it on their site site for search engines... but nobody notices because it isn't promoted on their normal site), crowing about how Google is saving the web from bad content.
Does anyone else see a problem here?
|It's one thing to make Google look stupid. It's a whole nother thing to announce far and wide that your business model is going to be making Google look stupid. |
Unless you are announcing it far and wide in order to get your IPO or sale done before Google works out what to do about you.
The chairman of Demand Media previously sold MySpace to Murdoch and iMall to Excite@home. I would say he is very, very smart.
Well, he sold those ships BEFORE they started sinking :) Maybe his timing is a bit slow on this one.