Article Farm Madness
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Feb 12, 2011
As some of you know, I need a new roof. This isn’t a brand new issue, as I’ve written about my roof issues in the past. However, trying to get through one more winter with what we have is proving problematic, and it finally hit me that maybe I could find some information online about a home improvement grant instead of trying to go the loan route.
by Charles Harker
I popped the term “home improvement grant” into Google, hit the search button, and up came almost 2 million pages on the subject. This looked really good, because I figured somewhere in there I was going to find something. And you know what? I was wrong!
What comes up are a great number of articles on what’s called “article farms” talking about grants in general. There’s not a single bit of assistance. How many times do I want to read “if you need help in paying for home repairs you can apply for a government home improvement grant”? And yet, there’s no specific offers anywhere, no real assistance, no links to government agencies, no phone numbers, no names, nothing.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term “article farm”, this is what all those sites that pay writers almost no money to produce content for them are known as. Sites such as eHow, About.com, Associated Content, Buzzle and the like are all article farms. Because of their structure and rules for length and the like, what they end up doing is creating mass amounts of content that gives sketchy help at best most of the time. You might get lucky, but you might end up getting a mash of information that’s contradictory or useless.
Who remembers when I was writing some articles for Demand Studios? I found that two of my biggest issues with them were their saying I was writing articles that had too much information and my not being allowed to give specific answers that I knew if I couldn’t find the information to link to. I mean, health care finance is my background and I have a lot of knowledge that’s just not written up online, but they didn’t care. So, the articles I ended up actually getting on the site, though accurate, were deficient if you ask me.
Google is the first search engine that’s stated their working on algorithms to decrease the effectiveness of article farms that produce low quality content. Although I believe it’s about time, I also wonder just how they’re going to be able to do it. I mean, what would separate an article farm with low content from a blog post that their algorithm might determine isn’t written all that well? As I approach 1,000 articles on this blog, I wonder if they’ll use number of pages as a determinant, and if so, how many pages would that be?
I will say this, however. The days of searching and finding exactly what you need immediately are probably gone. There’s just so much content on the net that if it’s hard for us as individuals to find what we need, how will search engines determine what we need? Nope, I don’t envy them one bit.