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Is Demand Still Gaming Google?

g+gamesHowdy all – sorry for the delay. Been lots of craziness in the Demand Sucks world, but it looks like we have the website back under control. Just so that we all know what the score is, here’s some prices to remind you: 

DMD IPO Price 2011: $23.59
Current DMD price 2015: $6.58 

Of course, that current price is after a couple of splits, so I’ll leave all the financial mumbo jumbo up to you DSSers or Richard Head if he ever decides to show up again. 

Anyway, thanks for all the emails. Here’s a guest post from DSSer “Bob Smith”. 

Demand Media Studios was founded on one principle – you can make millions by gaming Matt Cutts and Google. Demand did this successfully for a few years until it and other content mills nearly destroyed any credibility Google’s search engine produced. After Google took steps to crush content mills and the crap they produced, Demand promised to behave and create only quality content.

But has Demand has found a new way to game Google?

Although Demand has been replacing its library of eHow articles with “higher quality” versions, Demand is still keeping the comments, Likes, Tweets and Pins related to the old articles attached to the new articles. Doesn’t Google ranks pages higher in SERPs if they have more Likes, Tweets, Pins, Shares, etc.? Demand is keeping old comments on Writer A’s article attached to the new version of the article written by Writer B. Now, if a new eHow article is flawed or contains thin, generic content, it still gets the old article’s “Awesome!,” or “Really helpful!” comments, and the former article’s Likes, Shares, Tweets, Pins and Recommends.

If you also do a Google search of “site:ehow.com” and your Demand writer name, you might find your name attached to a list of articles you never wrote (original or rewrite). Is this being done to take advantage of a writer’s online presence to boost article search rankings? We’re not talking about a temporary lag that occurs when writers rewrite old articles: some eHow articles now appear under the name of credible Demand writers who had nothing to do with the original or the rewrite.

Is it fraud if Demand’s intent is to use author names, consumer comments and social links from a deleted article to boost the SERPS of another article to generate more revenue from advertisers who think the pages on which their ads are appearing are being socialized? Do Demand’s advertisers have any recourse to recoup some of their money, no matter why this bogus socialization happened? It will be interesting to see if there’s a class-action suit against Demand or Google.

Of course, this all could be an oversight. Demand would never purposely keep bogus socialization on their pages until they got caught, and then say, “This was just a technical oversight, we’ve fixed it.”

Hey Matt Cutts, squeal like a pig for us. Again.

Old News

How to Go Down With the Ship

How to Go Down With the Ship

Yeah, we know it’s been a while since we rapped at ya.

In all truth, neither Richard or myself has even logged into the Demand site in many months.

Writing this post yesterday made me curious to see if I still even had permissions, so I checked.

And, lo and behold I do.

A quick snoop around confirmed that Demand is pumping out hard hitting journalism pieces as ever.

Some of the titles I noticed in the queue:

  • What is the Most Popular Job in Japan?
  • Tractor Repair Training
  • How to Teach English in Greenland

Ahh, some things never change.

Now onto the old news. We received a couple of pieces in the mail and we’ll just let them speak for themselves.

Demand Shuts Foreign Offices

Well, it happened. As of Friday, November 7th, Demand Media has closed down on all of their foreign freelance. They shut down operations in the Spanish and Brazilian version of the site by simply sending an e-mail out of the blue saying “thank you and goodbye”.

I hope americans get smart about this company, because they are the next pieces in this domino fall.

Full message from the CEO:

“Hi,

As the year draws I’d like to take the opportunity to let you know that we have set our goals for 2015. As you know, up to this point our objective was to produce content on a constant basis and increase production every month. Thanks to your work and all of our freelance community, today our site eHow Brasil has more than 350,000 articles that are consulted daily by millions of people from around the world.

Our objective for the remainder of 2014 and the start of next year is to focus our efforts on the overall quality of the site. We have built a great library, and will not be adding to it in a meaningful way in the near future. Instead, we will be focused on continuous quality improvements. This means that after this month there will be no more titles available for translation.

We understand that this news may come as a bit of a surprise. Therefore we propose keeping you on file and contacting you as soon as we have work available, which will most likely be in the near future. We will be completely focused on the quality and we will need help in revising the content.

If you have articles in your queue waiting for revising then we can assure you that they will be revised in the coming days. As always, once they have been approved your account will be duly credited.

We appreciate your attention and once again, thank you for being a part of Demand Media’s freelance community.

Max Goldenberg
General Manager
Demand Media Studios International

Ouch!

We’re not quite sure what to make of this next one, but thought we should put it out there for discussion. See – we do serve a useful purpose here!

Stiffed by Demand

I wrote one article for Demand Media for $25. I never got paid. When it was time to receive payment (11/7), I first received a suspicious message that said I needed to “claim” my payment on PayPal. The message appeared to be from Demand but the address was memeber@paypal.com. I called PayPal and they said to forward it to their fraud team which I did and which yes, was fraud, I told Demand about it and received no answer.

A day later I got what appeared to be a legit message from Demand (earnings@demandmedia.com) that said I’d ben paid $25. Looked in my PayPal account but not money. Called PayPal to see if someone had hacked my account but no, no $25 had ever been sent. Talked to Demand again (via email form only, ‘natch) and they said I’d obviously entered something wrong because they have a record of it being sent.

The provided me with a PayPal reference number, which, when I called PayPal again, turned out to be completely made up. I won’t go on but we went around a couple of more times: Demand says they sent it and PayPal said they didn’t and at this rate, even if I ever do recoup the $25, I will have earned, with the writing, editing, forced webinar and tutorials, approximately 17 cents per hour for my time.

These people should be reported and brought up on charges. PayPal said I’d need to report them to my local police department. Please. I wish I could do something to damage them but now I’m just ….DONE. Thanks for listening, I really needed to get this out.

Demand Earnings Call and a Job?

How to Write for Demand Studios Sucks

Hey DSSers,

This was dropped in our mailbox a few days back by fellow DSSer BamaFan. Make of it what you will. Feel free to post your own comments. 

So, Demand’s insiders decided to salvage what’s left of their personal shares by splitting off the domain name side of the biz from the dying content side just days before the next (disastrous?) earnings call.

While it looks like Demand’s stock has soared from $5 to $11, that’s because shareholders got a 1-5 reverse stock split. I think if you had 500 shares of DMD before the changeover, you got 100 shares […]

Fired From a Content Mill: A True Story

Richard Head

Wanted to give a shout out to lurker “Ravis”. He shares a story about writing for Demand back in the early days. This pretty much hits the nail on the head:

Over time, the pay went from from $15 to $25, so I wrote a little more often. In the words of the wise and sage-like Todd Snider, it was all about that easy money, and I was just looking for the most I could get for the least I could do. And man, was it easy. The best part was, you could often write variations of another article you’d written previously. For example, I would write […]

Yep. Still here.

How to Go Down With the Ship

Hey DSSers,

Sorry for the delay.

Yep. We’re still here and about, although things are more quiet than they’ve been in years.

Notice that there are finally some new titles floating about. How is everyone finding things there?

Demand stock, however, continues to hover in the sub $5/share price. Ouch.

 

 

The Ship is Just About Under

How to Go Down With the Ship

Hey guys,

Not really much going on at the Demand front.

The queues look like they’re mostly empty. The few writers with permissions still at the studio keep  correcting old articles and everyone else sits around the forums bitching.

Here’s a bit of news straight from Demand staff:

I wish I had more solid answers for everyone when it comes to the renovation, particularly when assignments/sections will be “ready.” But alas, I am caught by surprise at times when things are announced

So – even Demand staff doesn’t know what’s going on. Sad.

In other news, Demand stock […]