Demand Media Addresses Google Content Farm Algorithm, Doesn’t Seemed Worried

Yesterday I wrote a post in which I defended the practices of Demand Media and their child company Demand Studios when put up against the new Google Content Farm algorithm. In that post I stated that while Demand Studios may push out cheap content through freelance writers, they closely monitor the work being completed by those writers and do not allow research notes from low quality sources, while editors control what content ultimately appears on their website.

I know my stance isn’t a popular one among bloggers who feel $15 for a 300-400 word article is crap pay, but when you can write two of those articles per hour in your specialty as I use to for the company you can easily clear $50,000 or more per year if you put in the effort and have the motivation (I don’t put in the effort do to my various blogging jobs, although I still earn $700/month based on 300 rev share articles I wrote 2 years ago).

After my statement I expected the company to respond to attacks by various bloggers and today that statement comes to us from Larry Fitzgibbon, Demand Media’s EVP of Media and Operations.

In his statement Fitzgibbon’s talks about how Google is attacking sites that directly copy content, produce low quality work or practice other spammy practices. As Fitzgibbon’s points out, many of the brands from Demand Media (Cracked, Livestrong, Golflink, etc.) are trusted sites with loyal followings, tons of social media shares and other practices that make them popular in consumers eyes.

Here’s his full statement:

A Statement About Search Engine Algorithm Changes

How our content reaches the consumer–whether it’s through direct visits, social media referrals, apps or search–has always been important to and monitored closely by us. We also recognize that major search engines like Google have and will continue to make frequent changes. We have built our business by focusing on creating the useful and original content that meets the specific needs of today’s consumer. So naturally we applaud changes search engines make to improve the consumer experience–it’s both the right thing to do and our focus as well.

Today, Google announced an algorithm change to nearly 12% of their U.S. query results. As might be expected, a content library as diverse as ours saw some content go up and some go down in Google search results.This is consistent with what Google discussed on their blog post. It’s impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business in the long term–but at this point in time, we haven’t seen a material net impact on our Content & Media business.

Coming out of the IPO quiet period this week, we knew the topic of Google’s search engine changes was top of mind for many people–so we discussed it on the earnings call, in a couple of follow up interviews and are now issuing this statement. However, we generally don’t comment or speculate on changes by major search engines. They make changes nearly daily in a quest to give consumers the best possible experience, as do we.

Finally, in our Q4 earnings call on Tuesday we talked at length about the nature of our content and the consumer experiences we are delivering. Beyond our success helping consumers discovering our content via search, we also shared metrics around direct visits, repeat visits and social visits. We believe these metrics are leading indicators that our properties are developing into recognizable consumer brands that are delivering real value to an increasingly loyal community.

We believe these kinds of indicators are a result of our firm commitment to the interests of consumers, and that is where we continue to focus our efforts.

Larry Fitzgibbon is Demand Media’s EVP of Media and Operations, and manages the company’s rapidly growing network of consumer properties.

Demand Media is NOT a perfect company, in fact when I attended their first ever writers conference last year as one of their top writers at the time, they repeatedly told us that they were not perfect, that they were constantly monitoring editors (who must have at least 5 years experience) to ensure they are only approving quality work, and that they are always working to tighten their editorial guidelines, all practices I’ve seen in constant improvement during my years of writing with the company.

Whether bloggers, freelance writers or journalists like it or not, Demand Media has created a writer structure that works on various levels and the proof as they say is in the pudding with various top news portals including USA Today picking up their content and publishing it across their network. The site even gives authors bios on top sites to help them gain a new audience for their writing and ultimately give new and veteran writers more exposure to the internet masses.

You don’t have to like Demand Media, but when they pay $3 to write a 40-50 word question on how to delete a word document from your desktop using the mouse (just an example), an article that takes maybe 2 minutes to write, I’m not going to complain. By the way, that’s not spam, it fulfills an answer that a computer novice like grandma and grandpa may actually want to understand. Like it or not the $1 billion+ Demand Media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.