Content Farm

In the context of the World Wide Web, content farms are companies (or their divisions) that employ large numbers of (often freelance) writers to generate large amounts of textual content. The articles in content farms are written by human beings but may not be written by a specialist in the area. In one of Google’s own promotional videos the majority of the links available were actually produced at content farms.

Content farms contain huge number of articles. For instance, Demand Media will soon be publishing 1 million items a month, the equivalent of four English-language Wikipedias a year. Big content farms are expensive resources, sold for many millions.

Proponents of the content farms claim that from a business perspective, traditional journalism is inefficient:  stories are chosen by a small group of people that frequently have similar experiences and outlooks. Content farms often commission their writers’ work based on analysis of search engine queries that proponents represent as ‘true market demand.’

Content farms are criticized for providing relatively low quality content as they maximize profit by producing just ‘good enough’ rather than best possible quality articles. Search engines like Google see content farms as a problem, as they tend to bring the user to the less relevant and lower quality results of the search. Because of the attempt to deliver as much as possible and as cheaply as possible, content farms are called ‘McDonalds online.’

A content farm writer usually gets only several dollars per article yet produces many articles per day and may earn enough for living. A typical content writer is a female with children that contrasts with sites expecting voluntary unpaid contribution for the sake of idea, where the typical writer is an unmarried (single) male.

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