In December, Slate's Farhad Manjoo called the online publisher Associated Content "a wasteland of bad writing, uninformed commentary, and the sort of comically dull recitation of the news you'd get from a second grader." Obviously Yahoo, the Internet giant that just purchased Associated Content for around $100 million, disagrees. Associated Content gets a bad rap for flooding the Internet with hastily-written articles by an army of freelancers paid around $5 per piece. It's a quantity-over-quality strategy on steroids, with over 50,000 pieces of content churned out each month. Clearly, some business and technology bloggers were troubled by the decision:
- A Push for Quantity Over Quality, writes Jolie O'Dell at Mashable: "In the past, Yahoo’s content strategy has been focused on creating high-quality, more expensive content, such as original online video programming from former NBC president Ben Silverman and news coverage from the Associated Press. While the user-generated media on Associated Content represents a marked step down from these other sources, it also represents a long-term strategy that will pump Yahoo’s network full of more content at much lower costs."
- Yahoo Is Jeopardizing Its Brand, warns MG Siegler at TechCrunch: "Yahoo has skewed towards the quality end of the spectrum in terms of online content. it is a brand other brands can trust. But Associated Content operated in another realm, that of non-premium content and related display advertising. It is closer to the performance-marketing end of the scale. More content on its site means more ads, but Yahoo does best on its home page and main portal pages where quality content is expected by consumers and advertisers alike."
- This Stuff Is Crap, writes Frank Reed at Marketing Pilgrim: " It is widely recognized that Associated Content was the master of ‘craptent’ generation for search engine gain... This technique is concerned about search traffic and advertising money with journalistic integrity being pushed to the back of the bus if it’s given a seat at all."
- Integration Is Key, writes Ryan Tate at Gawker: "By buying Associated Content, Yahoo added 380,000 contributors and 16 million unique monthly visitors. Now let's hope the company can integrate the acquisition better than it has with the other startups it bought."
- Smart Decision by Yahoo, applauds Henry Blodget at Business Insider: "The deal will allow Yahoo to Produce a vast number of owned-and-operated pages cheaply, many (most?) of which can be hosted on a Yahoo sub-domain, sell ads directly on these pages and keep 100% of the revenue (instead of sharing it the way it would have to with an ad-network content partner) [and] Improve its SEO relative to Mahalo and dozens of other SEO farms that have been inserting themselves in the search value chain.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.