Archive for the ‘Content Farms’ Category

The existence of content farms reminds me of the mass production of meat and poultry. Does producing copious amounts of a lower quality product for a larger population to consume without regard for self-respect sound familiar? The only difference, the journalists that provide the information don’t get paid as much as the meat packers. By all means, this is a strecth. I am also nowhere near a vegetarian, but in my honest opinion, content farms are not good for journalism.

Upton Sinclair wrote “The Jungle” over a hundred years ago to expose the terrible conditions in the meat packing industry. Now, amateur journalists are volunteering their “hard” work to be taken advantage of by companies that are making vast amounts of money in advertising. Granted, full research hasn’t been done on the extent in which companies like Associated and Demand are profiting. Yet, in the article in MediaWeek, the websites owned by these companies are receiving around 50 millions viewers, so their advertising revenue could hardly be miniscule. These amateurs are being paid around ten dollars for their work. Ten dollars? The amount of work that goes into producing a solid journalistic article can amount to days of hard work. To boil that down to being worth a measly ten dollars is absolutely ridiculous and quite embarrassing. If I knew I was only getting paid that amount of money for my work I wouldn’t spend more than an hour, at the most, gathering the information. That would be severely lacking in reporting and verification. Ultimately, it causes the content provided to be of a much lower quality. Ten dollars? It’s hard to grasp this concept. I digress. Even though ten dollars in 1906 was a lot of money, Upton Sinclair would be mortified.

Despite the levels these journalists are being subjected to, the advertising aspect is disturbing as well. With so many users viewing this information, many advertising companies are choosing to place their ads on these sites due to the vast amounts of eyeballs that will be looking at them. If many advertisers decide to move towards these content farms, it will cause even less money to be available to support legitimate media outlets. For as long as journalism has been a money making industry, it has relied on advertising to be a main supporter in revenue. These days, with many news sites maintaining free access for web newsers, they rely on advertisers and without their funding high quality journalism will surely take a hit. Strong, reliable news is necessary to maintain American stability and sanity. There is so much crap available on the internet, it is incredibly difficult to find worthwhile information. To lower that availability would be detrimental to the growth and advancement of our culture.

While the jury is still out on content farms, my first impressions are grim and quite disturbed by the potential dangers these sites could cause in the journalism field. Whether it is our food or our news, Americans deserve to receive a higher quality for the benefit of everyone.