The Answer Factory: Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell | Magazine
Christian Muoz-Donoso is going to make this job pay, he's got to move quickly. He has a list of 10 videos to shoot on this warm June morning, for
The result is a factory stamping out moneymaking content. “I call them the Henry Ford of online video,” says Jordan Hoffner, director of content partnerships at YouTube. Media companies like The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, AOL, and USA Today have either hired Demand or studied its innovations. This year, the privately held Demand is expected to bring in about $200 million in revenue; its most recent round of financing by blue-chip investors valued the company at $1 billion. In this industrial model of content creation, Muñoz-Donoso is working the conveyor belt — being paid very little for cranking out an endless supply of material. He admits that the results are not particularly rewarding, but work is work, and Demand’s is steady and pays on time. Plus, he says, “this is the future.” He has shot more than 40,000 videos for Demand, filming yo-yo whizzes, pole dancers, and fly fishermen. But ask him to pick a favorite and he’s stumped. “I can’t really remember most of them,” he says.
First, to find out what terms users are searching for, it parses bulk data purchased from search engines, ISPs, and Internet marketing firms (as well as Demands own traffic logs). Then the algorithm crunches keyword rates to calculate how much advertisers will pay to appear on pages that include those terms. (A portion of Demands revenue comes from Google, which allows businesses to bid on phrases that they would like to advertise against.)
Demand Media has created a virtual factory that pumps out 4,000 videoclips and articles a day. It starts with an algorithm. The algorithm is fed inputs from three sources: Search terms (popular terms from more than 100 sources comprising 2 billion searches a day), the ad market (a snapshot of which keywords are sought after and how much they are fetching), and the competition (whats online already and where a term ranks in search results).
the future is mechanical, cheap, shallowThe End Of Hand Crafted Content
Page views are lost, but reputation is gained
Speaking broadly, I like what Reuters, Rupert Murdoch and Eric Schmidt are saying: the industry is in crisis, and the daring innovators will prevail. But as one of the innovators in the last go round, I think there’s a much bigger problem lurking on the horizon than a bunch of blogs and aggregators disrupting old media business models that needed disrupting anyway. The rise of fast food content is upon us, and it’s going to get ugly.
For our part, we throw a party when someone “steals” our content and links back to us. High fives all around the office. At least there’s some small nod in our direction. And the aggregators like TechMeme can figure out who broke the news. Page views are lost, but reputation is gained.
Michael Arrington/TechCrunch, Dec. 13, 2009.
"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.” The company is paying bottom dollar to create “4,000 videos and articles” a day, based only on what’s hot on search engines. 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. These models create a race to the bottom situation, where anyone who spends time and effort on their content is pushed out of business. We’re not there yet, but I see it coming. And just as old media is complaining about us, look for us to start complaining about the new jerks."
"the rise of fast food content that 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."
It’s the rise of cheap, disposable content on a mass scale, force fed to us by the portals and search engines. So what really scares me? It’s the rise of fast food content that 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.
Old media loves nothing quite so much as writing about their own impending death. And we always enjoy adding our own two cents ...