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The (Growing) Hidden Costs Of Online Content. – Amanda Ricks

The (Growing) Hidden Costs Of Online Content.

I was taught and continue to abide by the philosophy that information and articles on the web should be free. They should be created to help, inform, and engage.

But does online content have hidden costs?

All good strategies for getting your content seen, gain an audience, and to promote yourself or your business, suggest giving away free stuff first.

Many experts suggest that you have to give away great stuff to earn your audience’s interest and following.

The idea being is that if someone likes what you share freely, THEN, they will be compelled to sign up for your product or service. In turn, all sales and self-promotional stuff should be separate from your general content.

This is how lead generation is defined. Right?

Well, it seems that I may have an outdated perspective. Lately, I’ve seen A LOT of content and articles, on various topics, which are thinly disguised sales pitches, and I do not like it.

More importantly, I don’t want to share this type of content with my followers. If I did it makes me appear spammy, or as if I support the promoted product or service by default.

Where should the line be drawn? Has it become so loud out there and so competitive that all marketers feel compelled to be overly self-promotional and are directing their clients to do the same?

I have also noticed an increase in subscription sites, where you have to pay a monthly fee to see their articles. So far, I’ve just stopped following these sites that do subscription-only content.

There is way too much free information out there for me to pay for it. And I’ll bet I’m not the only one who feels this way.

All of my content no matter what site it is or has been published on is free. And I don’t suspect that this situation will change.

But, it is true that creating good content for free may soon be fruitless.

Case in point. Google has been successfully working on an algorithm that can take content from different sites, including yours, and then create a new unique article to present to Google users.


Yup, Google is going to start offering unique articles and information derived from your content without any attribution to you!

As reported by Search Engine Journal, “Google has published research of a new algorithm that can take yours and your competitor’s web pages and generate “coherent” articles. By creating original content, Google’s new algorithm can answer a user’s question without having to send them to another webpage.”

So, here’s the scary thing. Now that web neutrality has been demolished in the USA and in due time we know the search results you receive will be based on who can pay the most to get top rank. Who will be in the prime spot to have the top or only results indexed? Google of course.

Food for thought.

But things get even more interesting.

Google has enabled their tracking to now monitor the quality of a website’s tags. The algorithm judges if you have thin or poor quality content by tag and if a site or blog has what is deemed thin or low-quality content they de-index all content under that tag!

“Nowadays, Google algorithms are more sophisticated, and they can detect thin content/low quality/search pages easier than ever.” – Elphate.Com

So, it’s probably a good time to start updating your site and blog tags.

In conclusion, and back to my point at the beginning of this post. Content seems to fast becoming a rich man’s game. Or more explicitly, finding quality, original, and unbiased content, will probably become an expensive endeavour sooner rather than later.

6 thoughts on “The (Growing) Hidden Costs Of Online Content.”

  1. Hi Amanda,

    Your are correct, content is free and suppose to be free. However, not all content is free, the reason is simple. As a content marketer, you have to pay the bills, and to do that you must sell your content. Ryan Biddulph, for instance is selling e-books on Amazon and other marketing channels because he feeds from there. While some are free, others are paid for. For instance, I made a research on a topic but could not find exactly what I was looking for, but when I decided to search a little before leaving, I found that Melyssa Griffin have exactly what I’m looking for, but it was up for sale. And guess how much the price. She put it at $1,000. So as you mentioned, sooner than later, for your content to rank or be seen on Google you will pay handsomely and I believe that is why Google is creating a system via its algorithm to collect valuable content from individual blogs and present it to users without attribution.
    It is not a good idea actually as it will have negative impact on content marketing.

    • Sorry Moss that I’m so late replying to your comment. My wp app doesn’t always show my when I have a comment.
      You’re correct in saying that Google’s ability and intention to continue scraping content from sites doesn’t bode well for content marketing.
      I guess we’ll all have to see how is best to cope with this new development.
      Thanks for dropping by, I always appreciate your comments.

  2. I don’t like this Google thing one bit. This is what they’ve been penalizing other people for and now they’re thinking about doing it & justifying it? Talk about evil…

  3. Yep Amanda; meaty posts get shared and thin posts pushing one agenda, well, do not really hit the mark. I figure you can be super generous and simply ask folks to buy stuff via 1 line. I do it with every post. Sure ain’t hurting me.

    • I agree with your attitude and strategy. I’m glad to hear it works well for you. As you say we’ve got to keep up the quality, which I know you do very well. Thanks for dropping by, Ryan. Have a great weekend. 🙂

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