Demand Media’s success has created a lot of material for analysts to chew about. Their sweatshop model was recently explained in an article in Wired.
It explains the whole process on how Demand Media uses latest automated techniques to churn out articles especially created to fill public’s demand for knowledge. The sheer scale of this operation and ambition is something which can even amaze most experienced industry expert.
Demand Media’s low product cost and high output model certainly resembles China’s economic model. But there are much more serious issues with Demand Media.
The issues are about credibility and quality. With the runaway success of their model, Demand Media is getting highly ambitious. But only to produce low quality mass produced content where they can put their Google adsense ads! Millions of pages filled with crap is not going to help internet users but Demand Media doesn’t care to think so.
But there are many lessons to learn from Demand Media. Some are worth emulating and others are what you simply should not
1) Before writing content always do proper keyword research: Demand Media mines millions of search data to find the best keywords and then create title with help of highly sophisticated algorithms and cheap proofers.
If you also want to succeed, then you will also have to learn how to research for the best possible keywords. Find out what people are looking for and write about that topic. People search on internet for “Why”, “Where” and “How”. And advertisers place their ads in pages answering these questions.
2) Keep costs low: Demand Media knows that revenue from each article is not too much. Therefore, it has to keep its cost low by using powerful softwares, cheap writers and producing millions of articles every month.
Even big media groups are bent upon lowering their costs all the time then small companies like us also have to invent new ways to keep our costs to minimum. Demand Media’s process can give us lot of ideas on how to do so
3) Quality matters: Even though Demand Media is the toast of the town right now, it is increasingly getting bad press because of its bottom-of-the-pile quality of articles. The standard of information is low.
You should not emulate this step. Always create high quality content. This may not be apparent now but in near future this will play a big role. We can already see that happening with Google’s Panda Update
4) Credibility matters even more: Demand Media chain of sites have very low credibility because of all the fluff they produce. People have complained about rephrased, low quality and generic information on it’s pages. People on street know this too well and many have even stopped clicking on its links in search results.
As a small business owner credibility should be of highest importance to you. If you provide verified, high quality information you will be respected and deemed an authority. And this will never harm you!
5) Business Model: Demand Media’s business model is based on revenue from Google ads. Though, it has avoided censure from Google till now because of its relations with YouTube, it cannot bank on it for too long. Google has been criticized for spam from content farms such as Demand Media dominating search results.
Google will have to weed out low quality pages sooner then later to re-instate its credibility. This will mean a huge chunk of web pages from such content farms will simply vanish from search results. This will hurt their revenue model.
Never base your revenue model on just ads and never get too dependent on Google.
Many have learnt it the hard way. Make sure you do not!