Article Farm Madness

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.


Organic Farm
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.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Done With Demand Studios Also; The Gripe

Yesterday I castigated Helium for some issues I was having with them. Today, it’s Demand Studios turn.

I’ve written about them twice. The first time I wrote about them, I was introducing them to you as another site where writing might not be such a bad idea. The second time I wrote about them, I decided to update you on how I was progressing, so to speak.

Today, I’m telling you that I’m done with them, and I’m going to tell you why. In this case, it’s two things; I’m not sure how the third thing is going to play out just yet.

In the update, I mentioned that they had turned down one of my submissions. There were two problems with this. One is that they don’t tell you why they’ve turned it down, other than to say it doesn’t meet their standards and to read their pdf about it. Well, I’d read the pdf, wrote in their format, and they didn’t like it. I even totally rewrote the first submission, only for them to kill it.

It happened again on Thursday. One of the articles I wrote they asked for rewrites of a couple of areas. I did that, resubmitted the article, only for it to be rejected without a reason why once again. That’s enough of that, I figure. Understanding that I’m not perfect in writing in a style for someone else, I’m willing to try to learn and try again. However, if they don’t give you a clue, there’s nothing you can do about it.

Also, on the Demand Studios site, you have a work desk area where your performance, money, etc are all listed. Everything disappears once they process things except the articles that they reject. It stays there forever, like a scarlet letter, and there’s not a single thing you can do about it. Sorry, but I don’t need a constant reminder of my supposed failures; I’m not a dog who needs his nose pushed into his own urine on the carpet.

One other quick gripe. They changed up their article formats, and that really started to spell the end for me. They have articles in different formats. Two I worked on were “about” and “how to.” “About” was my favorite format, and relatively easy also, because you could write the entire article, come up with at least 5 categories to place your information in, and that would be that. There used to be lots of articles in that format, so you had a lot of pretty good choices. Suddenly, they changed up on us, and the majority of articles were now “how to.” Now, there’s not a lot wrong with that, except with those articles, you’re supposed to lay out a step by step process for getting something done, then provide reference links that back up your article.

What’s the problem? Here’s an example. Before I realized that they had changed the format, I wrote up an article on how to bring down one’s blood glucose, something I’ve talked about with my modified eating plan (and, by the way, it’s working like a charm; also lost 5 pounds). When I went to the site to post it, I realized it had changed to a “how to” type of article.

The problem now was that my article didn’t fit because there’s no one way to give a true step by step process for how to lower glucose levels. I certainly wasn’t going to be able to find any reference material relating to it. With the initial article, I talked about lowering carbohydrates, eating more fat, eating many smaller meals during the day, which are all covered somewhere online, so I had lots of references. With the new format, nothing fit. Then I realized that all the articles I’d selected to write on were in the new format, and none of them fit; at least they didn’t fit if you asked me.

So, earlier today I got paid for the last articles I’m ever going to write for their site. Once I saw the payment in Paypal, I went to their site to close my account. Lo and behold, once again, there’s nothing on their site I could find so I could close my account. What the hey? So, I’ve had to write them through their help desk to ask them to remove me. I haven’t heard anything yet; we’ll see.

One big thing I’m now learning is that, before I sign up with anyone else, I need to make sure I can easily leave if I want to. I always thought most sites had that sort of thing, but I now see that’s not true. Very lackluster on my part to not notice that; I’m going to try to learn from this mistake for the future. However, the main thing, once again, is that Demand Studios turns out not to be the panacea I had hoped they’d be. I did make some nice money there, but with the changes and other stuff, it’s just not going to get it done for me.

Oh well, back to the drawing board; who else wants some writing services? 🙂

Femme Metale Jewelry Big Cinnabar Ring

Femme Metale Jewelry Big Cinnabar Ring


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010-2011 Mitch Mitchell