Will Yahoo Push Associated Content onto Its Newspaper Consortium?

June 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Yahoo is thinking that its recent purchase of Associated Content will add value to local newspapers in its Newspaper Consortium, according to a brief report in Paid Content today.

Content farms work in reaction to the ebb and flow of human interest…

…wait, that’s journalism. The information economy already does that…

(Start again.)

Content farms manufacture news and information in as near real-time as possible relying on search algorithms in order to harvest human interest for sale to advertisers before human interest moves on later that day.

Or something wonderfully contrived like that.

Now Paid Content reports that Yahoo would be delighted to put Associated Content to work for the 800+ members of the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium, which is interesting on a few levels beginning with the possibility that Associated Content information would compete for space with the content of consortium newspapers.

Hilary Schneider, EVP, Yahoo Americas,  says no; on balance Associated Content would not be confused with newspaper content. But how would it not be confused, and to what value if you are a newspaper?

If the content is clearly differentiated – as in, “No newspaper reporting jobs were harmed in the making of this content” – will users care? If the users don’t care, will the advertisers? If the users don’t really matter – as in, content distribution is content distribution and once it leaves the building no one cares, including the advertisers – what value was created?

Always value. Fortunately, it is never a silent partner. So, to the extent that Yahoo is successful prevailing upon its Newspaper Consortium to accept Associated Content, the end-user value of that content will have to emerge to atone for the advertising money that is spent and made. In the process, Associated Content may shed some of its “content farming” roots and feel the tug of the Big City. That might require it to be more grown-up and thoughtful and make it less nimble in the “just-give-them-what-they’re-searching-for” business, and it might even lead them to regard the Associated Press as the new competition not, say, Demand Media.

Thus, back to reading the newspaper. It’s the circle of (media) life isn’t it?

Content, Content Everywhere And Not a Drop to Drink? Yahoo Buys Associated Content.

May 19, 2010 § Leave a comment

Yahoo! has bought Associated Content (ADOTAS says for a $90 million, which is information it pulled from Tech Crunch), giving it 350,000 freelance writers that gin-up stories from “neighborhoods” across the country, according to the story in the Wall Street Journal. The move is clearly aimed at Aol.’s content-assembly-line initiative which plans to roll-out stories based on search algorithms.

Polite Internet society would have us regard the content mill phenomenon as democratic: thousands of freelance journalists with keyboards at the ready to do the informational bidding of the masses. Except that if democracy has proven anything over the years it’s that people aren’t that naive. Content milling is about the advertising. People be damned.

The Internet already spill-eth over with the authentic voice of the people. It doesn’t need the help or contempt of a bunch of media industrialists. Nor does advertising which must – must –  in order to bear fruit, be planted in authentic conditions.

Authenticity is food to advertising, and advertising’s roots are starved already by the factory farming and overcrowding of traditional media.

We’ve moved on. It’s not about content factories any more. It’s about small gardens in the yard. Home grown. No fillers.

Read the box.

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