Demand Media Writer: "I Hope To God People Don't Read My Advice"

Demand Media is a massive algorithm-based freelancer platform that plans to be the biggest Internet IPO since Google this fall.

Mostly, Demand makes its money paying lots and lots “content contributors” a little money to write “how-to” articles for domains like and These articles are written so that they will appear high-up in Google search results. Demand collects ad dollars off the traffic.

People – old-school media types in particular – often complain about Demand Media content, saying it’s mindless garbage ripped off Wikipedia.

A new report from MediaShift seems to confirm some of these fears. In the story, a recent J-school graduate describes how, after getting out of her program, she wrote for Demand to earn a couple bucks between more serious freelance gigs.

PBS: The articles she wrote — all of which were selected from an algorithmically generated list — included How to Wear a Sweater Vest” and How to Massage a Dog That Is Emotionally Stressed,” even though she would never willingly don a sweater vest and has never owned a dog.

“I was completely aware that I was writing crap,” she said. “I was like, ‘I hope to God people don’t read my advice on how to make gin at home because they’ll probably poison themselves.’

“Never trust anything you read on,” she said, referring to one of Demand Media’s high-traffic websites, on which most of her clips appeared.

Garbage or not, Demand Media’s content is very profitable – and it’s not the only company in the freelance-platform game. AOL has and Yahoo has Associated Content.

Go read the MediaShift story, which includes interviews with writers for those platforms as well >>

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