In an email sent to Demand Media’s thousands of freelance writers the company laid out a rather significant shift in strategy.The so-called “content farm” is cutting back, a process it mentioned in its Q1 report. It will be assigning fewer stories because it feels like it already has a strong backlog of material.
“With our eHow.com library already so comprehensive, we saw the opportunity to shift our focus to more targeted categories and other forms of content such as slide shows, video series and feature articles,” the company said.
It continued, “Looking ahead, as we continue to publish articles for eHow and our other sites, we want to be sure we are building on what already exists, not replicating it. This is not to say we will stop assigning standard titles in How to and Topic View format for eHow.com. But it does mean that we will have fewer eHow.com assignments for the foreseeable future.”
A freelancer forwarded us the email and wrote Demand “effectively lays off writers via email.”
We reached out to Demand and chief revenue officer Joanne Bradford (obviously) disagreed with this person’s assessment.
She told us, “It’s still one of the largest pools of writing assignments available in the world. We don’t feel like it’s that dramatic of a change because it’s not like every assignment was being taken. It’s all about quality for us.”
Bradford admitted that some writers would be cut, but that is a part of the process. They are always looking to get rid of the lowest rated writers and replace them with better once.
Work for Demand? We’d love to hear from you ([email protected], 646.376.6016).
Here’s the full email:
Dear Writers and Editors,
We realise there has been recent concern around assignment availability. We know many of you rely on Demand Media Studios as a regular income source and as a way to grow your careers. For those reasons and others, we want to be as transparent as we can about the future.
In just a few years, we’ve worked together to grow the eHow.com library to an astounding 3 million articles. While eHow has been the main publisher of content produced by DMS writers, we’ve also developed other writing outlets on our own properties like typeF.com and LIVESTRONG.COM as well as through partnerships like Chron.com and USAToday. With our eHow.com library already so comprehensive, we saw the opportunity to shift our focus to more targeted categories and other forms of content such as slide shows, video series and feature articles. Good examples of these new formats can be found on eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM.
None of this would have been possible without having spent so many years working with you, our writers and editors, to build our comprehensive library.
Looking ahead, as we continue to publish articles for eHow and our other sites, we want to be sure we are building on what already exists, not replicating it. This is not to say we will stop assigning standard titles in How to and Topic View format for eHow.com. But it does mean that we will have fewer eHow.com assignments for the foreseeable future.
However, we will continue to add more publishers and sections as we’ve done over the years, and ultimately the work and opportunities will grow for our best writers and editors. We are also excited to completely execute on our vision of having the most qualified writers and editors working on titles within their areas of expertise.
In order for this to happen, we need to make sure of a few things:
- That only executable, valid and unique titles make it to your Work Desk.
- That every article is written and copy edited by a qualified professional with background, knowledge or experience in the topic.
- That every article has the appropriate format and word count for the topic to be comprehensively covered.
We will also be putting additional focus on helping you grow within your fields. This means offering ways for you to gain exposure on our sites and new tools for you to promote yourself and your work. We will send additional updates and information on assignments going forward. We will also set up some new avenues for you to ask questions and offer feedback. For the time being, if you have any additional questions, please use this forum thread.
Demand Media Studios Team
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