Surrender to the Machine

Is there a formula for success in the content business? Some people think so and are out to prove their thinking works.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Demand Media, run by former MySpace Chairman Richard Rosenblatt, has spent the past three years refining a set of algorithms that it uses as a guide for mass-producing content that it publishes on its many Web properties.

The result is a network of 2,000 freelancers who create 100,000 pieces of niche content a month (for about $20 per video or article).
“We are taking splinters of content and bundling them together. That bundle of sticks is quite valuable,” says Mr. Rosenblatt.
Demand’s system works by analyzing data from thousands of sources, ranging from search engines and online advertising networks to Web analytics firms and the million domain names Demand Media owns.

Maybe that’s the ticket to Webby fame and fortune. Shawn and I simply haven’t crunched enough data and run enough numbers to know what it is you want to read in this space every day.
My tastes as an editor can’t be trusted. Not when a pack of nerds can solve for the ever-changing problem.
To Demand Media’s credit, they do employ human editors to cull through the data and to tidy up freelancers’ submissions.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.