The Business of Mass-Content-Creation

The Answer Factory – Wired

They produce the 4,000 vid
eos and articles that Demand Media publishes every day. The company’s ambitions are so enormous as to be almost surreal: to predict any question anyone might ask and generate an answer that will show up at the top of Google’s search results.

To get there, Demand is using an army of Muñoz- Donosos to feverishly crank out articles and videos. They shoot slapdash instructional videos with titles like “How To Draw a Greek Helmet” and “Dog Whistle Training Techniques.” They write guides about lunch meat safety and nonprofit administration. They pump out an endless stream of bulleted lists and tutorials about the most esoteric of subjects.



How to Give the People What They Want
Demand Media has created a virtual factory that pumps out 4,000 videoclips and articles a day. It starts with an algorithm.
The algorithm is fed inputs from three sources: Search terms (popular terms from more than 100 sources comprising 2 billion searches a day), The ad market (a snapshot of which keywords are sought after and how much they are fetching), and The competition (what’s online already and where a term ranks in searc
h results).



Plenty of other companies — About.com, Mahalo, Answers.com — have tried to corner the market
in arcane online advice. But none has gone about it as aggressively, scientifically, and single-mindedly as Demand.

The ‘Demand way’ may be inescapable. A senior executive at a major media company likened Demand’s algorithmic-based content-creation factory to what he saw in the advertising industry in the past decade: Experience, relationships, and gut checks started losing out to raw data.

“To customers, advertising may not look that different, bu
t the systems to deliver the right ads to the right consumer at the right time have changed dramatically,” he says. “The content systems are going through the early, early stages of that right now.”


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