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Demand Media on Quality

Here’s a powerpoint slide that Richard Rosenblatt has been using to sell DMD to the Street on his roadshow.

How to Demand Quality

Rosenblatt belabors the question of quality. Is he hanging a bell on his problem?

” Quality is very very important to us! … Anytime you do anything at scale, people are going to assume it’s low quality. “

I’ll get back to the snow job slide in my next post.

There are continued and vocal groups of search engine customers who are not happy with the results afforded by eHow.

  • Google and Matt Cutts have an issue with low quality and spam search results, although they don’t call out eHow or Demand by name. My previous post covered that more extensively.
  • According to AdWeek, The Internet Content Syndication Council — which claims Procter & Gamble, Reuters, Turner and the Associated Press as members — appear to be no fans of content mills or Demand Media.
  • Vivek Wadhwa, who said his meetings in recent weeks with Google executives left him believing the company is determined to tweak their search results to “beat Demand Media at their own game.”
  • The geeks on Slashdot.org show no love for the results of eHow or content mills in general.

Did you ever stop and think why Demand Media has to rely so heavily on Google? Could it be because there are no advertisers who willingly want to attach their brand to the quality of merch that Demand Studios is selling on eHow?

The quality of the content on Demand Media’s primary property — eHow — is mediocre at best. It tops out at average. I would throw my own output into that category. Here’s why: Demand Media gets what they pay for. They want to pay $7.50, $15, $17.50, $20 per piece, and I am going to deliver quick and slapdash work in a manner that maximizes my output and efficiency and games the system to ensure it gets through. A writer’s economic strategy is no different than Demand Media’s.

I went looking for some advice about how to judge eHow’s quality on eHow.


Quality Evaluation & Measurement Strategies

By Sam Grover, eHow Contributor
updated: December 5, 2010

Form your own conclusions. Is it terrible? Not really. Is it helpful? Not really.

With regard to search engine results, it becomes something of a question of collective expectations. Google mediates a transaction between the searcher and the results of their search. If I’m asked to judge quality in that transaction, I’m going to consider whether I received a valid response to my query through a minimal amount of exertion, and did I receive an authoritative set of choices relative to their authority.


Quality is like buying oats: If you want nice, clean oats, you must pay a fair price; however – if you’re satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse – such oats can be had a little cheaper!

- Anon

How to Produce Low Quality Oats

Quality is an elusive subject. Quality is a philosophical question rooted in hundreds, if not thousands, of years of discussion. The question can go in any number of directions.

I went to Old Man Head for an opinion, being he is something of a quality expert. He led me to the horse quote. I think that says it all. You might hear content mill writers describe the predicament as an expectation for prime rib at ground chuck prices.

For a writer or editor at Demand, the logical approach to the work is to deliver quality commensurate with the pay. Strive for no more & strive for no less. Personally, I strive to do no harm. I also try to at least lead my reader in the right direction. I also strive to churn out the articles at a rapid clip. The process stifles creativity. The best writing to get through the system is dry and devoid of personality. Often, it is devoid of accuracy.

I will dig deeper in my next blog post.


Demand issued another S-1/A today. Safe to say that the DMD IPO is happening this week. We don’t know the date yet. The biggest change in the amended S-1 was some option grants to insiders and settlement agreement of an immaterial lawsuit. More to come this week about Quality at eHow and who stands to benefit most from the DMD IPO. Hint, it’s not the freelancers.

5 comments to Demand Media on Quality

  • Jenny McClease

    I think that Demand Studios is a scam and the copy editors abuses their authorities. When I first signed up, they accepted me and stated that my writing was good enough to be considered for claiming twice as many assignments. As soon as they added a feedback system on the copy editors. I added feedback about how badly they butchered my articles and less than a week later my writing permissions were removed. I was sent an email stating how my writing did not meet any of their quality standards. Demand Studios keeps a scorecard on an individual. I only received one rejection during training and my scorecard was at from average to proficient. It’s quite obvious why they dismissed my writing permissions. Simply because I politely addressed my concerns about the excessive markings the copy editor was putting on my work. In fact, the copy editor was changing my words and adding their owns, something that they was NOT supposed to do. Demand Studios and their copy editors are liars who never expect you to disagree with them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • yes_that_anne

    Demand Media gets what they pay for. They want to pay $7.50, $15, $17.50, $20 per piece, and I am going to deliver quick and slapdash work in a manner that maximizes my output and efficiency and games the system to ensure it gets through.

    This. Demand gets what they pay for. I’d give my various Demand efforts a 3 of 10.

    In related news, it’s 18:02 on 1/25/11 here, and Google News’s first response to “demand media ipo” is this bit of excitement from Business Insider. Basically, more of the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Nick Lowe

    I just read somewhere the IPO happens tomorrow (January 25).

    I read it on the Internet, so I’m assuming it’s true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  • Wouldn't It be Funny

    If Google bought Demand? AOL has SEED; Yahoo has AC

    Just a thought passing in the wind

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • i smell

      hey that would be totally sweet if they did and started paying all of our rev share articles through adsense. one of the adsense policies is that if you set up a website with rev share, you have to disclose how much of a cut you are taking. then we could finally learn the secret formula.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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