Content Farms: The Players, The Benefits, The Risks

1Executive Summary

The recent acquisition of The Huffington Post by AOL for $315 million has focused a lot of attention on AOL’s content strategy — a big part of which is the ongoing attempt to automate and standardize the creation of web content to attract search-related advertising. Companies that do this have come to be known — somewhat disparagingly — as “content farms” because of the low rates of pay they give their content producers, and because of the factory-style atmosphere of some ventures. And while there are some clear benefits to this approach to content, there are also some significant disadvantages. In this research note we look at some of the leaders in this sector and their histories, as well as the key risks and benefits of the content farm strategy.

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