New Competition for Bloggers: Fast Food Content

Posted on December 14, 2009

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch has an interesting post here about the rise of fast food content.

But for every link there are dozens of sites that outright steal our content with no attribution. Not just spam blogs, even the NYTimes does it. This isn't a copyright issue - the stories are rewritten by actual people. But it's far cheaper to simply take the news and rewrite it - if you can get away with it - than to hire people who do actual journalism. Over time, it becomes a competitive tax that is difficult to bear.

But even then, companies like ours can find a way to compete.

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.

Michael Arrington is absolutely right that this is on the rise. There are new companies emerging that are hiring lots and lots of writers very cheaply to produce tons and tons of content. It probably isn't a coincidence that these companies have emerged during a recession when many people are looking for a way to increase their income.

The search engines will certainly point people toward some of this content. Not all of the content these companies create will be bad but some of it is bound to be. This shouldn't mean the end of original hand crafted content but these mass content producers will certainly increase the competition that content creators face. There are ways around it. Social media tools like Twitter and Facebook can point readers to the higher quality posts and articles. If bloggers will link to each other more like they did in the early days of blogging that it will help too. This should, in theory, help weight the better written content above the subpar content.

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