Sorry been so quiet. Decided to take this time off to take some holidays. Figured now would be a good time since the Demand queue is totally dried up during the eHow “renovation.”
Got this post in the mail from DSSer N. He raises some good points, so I’d thought I’d share it with everyone.
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If Demand Media shareholders want to see if Sean Colo is serious about turning around the company’s flagship eHow website, there are a couple of quick tells that will let investors (and Google) know whether or not he’s making serious changes or just putting lipstick on a pig until he can bolt with his shares like Richard Rosenblatt.
If Colo keeps the editorial management staff responsible for flooding the Internet with poor content for five years (and resulted in Google’s crippling backlash), and if he keeps in place that staff’s policies that reward poor gatekeeping and punish good writers, you’ll know the Santa Monica offices have remained a frat house.
One of the reasons Demand is where it is today is because it hired as its editorial management team a group of magazine, book and newspaper writers with little or no business experience – and they made up the company’s editorial business model as they went. The poor quality of Demand articles came about, in large part, because Demand’s editorial staff quickly grew disgusted with the incessant whining of a majority of the company’s 15,000 freelance content producers, many of whom were newbies and terrible writers. This led to a “protect-the-copyeditor-at-all-costs” mentality, which backfired, leading to the exodus of the company’s truly professional writers when it became clear that Demand’s unqualified CEs had free reign to do almost anything they wanted to articles and writers.
•Will Colo continue to keep in place policies such as keeping editors anonymous to writers? All Demand needs to do is to assign each CE a company ID number so writers can spot the CEs who are introducing serial errors, and let writers report poor gatekeeping (writers don’t currently use the CE feedback tool for fear of being branded whiners for reporting a CE over one story edit).
•Will he keep the important article-scoring process anonymous, as well, telling writers to improve their scores if they want more money and opportunities, while at the same time forbidding them from seeing the scores they receive on their articles?
•Will Colo keep Eve Lederman, Richard Lally, Steve Schneider, Claire Webb and others who have been with Demand for years and who are directly responsible for the state of Demand’s editorial shithouse?
Only if he still has the Zuckerboy “We’re in the Band” mindset. You’ll know when the new eHow revamp is done whether or not Colo has cleaned house and changed the policies that drive away top contract editorial talent, or if he has kept the same people and processes that have continually damaged the company for the past five years.
Sean Colo will soon announce whether he believes the problems at Demand are simply the result of eHow’s technology, or if, as a CEO, he understand they are the result of the company’s management team.