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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Demand Media’s scam is an insult to our culture

I’m not sure I can express how I am sputtering with rage about this (from paidContent.org):

Demand Media Rolls Out Three Initiatives To Improve Content Quality

Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) is launching three initiatives to change the mix of content it showcases on its sites: The so-called content farm, which has been under pressure to improve the quality of content on its sites, says it will take down some articles that were created under a program that allowed anybody to post any article they wanted to on its flagship eHow site; it’s also adding new ways for readers to suggest improvements to content it produces and is increasing the volume of feature-type stories that run on all of its sites.

The moves come as traffic to some of Demand Media’s sites from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has dropped because of changes the search engine has made to its algorithm in order to penalize sites with low-quality content.

The company’s executives, however, tell us the initiatives are “evolutionary.” EVP Larry Fitzgibbon says: “It’s our own desire to create great consumer experiences. Every week, there is a new company developing a new approach. If you want to be a leading company on the web you need to constantly evolve.”

Demand has made an absolute bloody fortune flooding the Web and spamming search engines with total crap. (Well, the company has made a fortune. Little of that has gone to the writers who create the crap.) And now they’re all, “Oh, hey, we know our stuff sucks. Sorry!” Obviously Demand had no desire previously to “create great consumer experiences” — the only desire was to make a ton of money, even if that was possible only through manufacturing utter garbage.

How is it possible that a company that creates nothing in the least bit useful, and never has, is worth millions and millions of dollars… even after taking a hit in traffic from the recent Google algorithm update? It’s a slap in the face to everyone who works hard to create content that people actually want to read, that actually entertains and/or informs.

Something is seriously fucked up with the way our world works when it’s possible for some people to legally get stinking rich doing nothing useful at all… in fact, by doing things that are actively inimical to those who are doing useful things. Of course, Demand Media is hardly the worse offenders in this — whoever created credit default swaps is much higher up on the list — but we should take it as an insult when anyone gets away with this shit.

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