Ever since Google struck with Panda, lots of content mills and other sites using Adsense for a business model have been the target of, I’ve heard a lot of attacks on people that put up sites just for ad revenue. I gotta tell ya people, this type of business model isn’t new – not at all.
The idea behind the MFA (made for adsense) sites is simple; provide a platform, fill it with enough content to be engaging or at least something that people stay around for, put as many ads as possible on the platform to support yourself and make a profit. Now, go to the local newsstand, library or office with a waiting room. Look for the magazines. Pick one up, and flip through the pages. Surprise! You see more ads than content.
I realized this when I was flipping through magazines at a doctors office. The available magazines of choice were Vanity Fair, People and Us Weekly. The first thing that struck me was number of ads I found before even reading one word of content. Then I noticed the ratio of ads to content. As an example, out of say 50 pages, at least 30 were full page ads. The remaining pages were snippets of content that were meant for quick reading – no real thought required. Anything sound familiar yet? Yep, the MFA sites are the same damn thing; so are the content mills.
The only difference is that you pay $10 for the magazine. They haven’t found a way to do that online yet.
I got asked that very question recently. This is because I recently lost the internet due to ever increasing monthly bills. While I do have a wifi hotspot, it’s not as reliable.
So, this has me thinking about writing without the Internet. Do I really need the Internet on all the time to actually write? No, not really, but it helps. I’ve seen this discussion before at a few other writer blogs and sites – most notably Anne Wayman and Carol Tice. Both hold the stance that writers were around long long before there was AOL or Time Warner or Comcast. The good ol’ fashioned library and typewriter come to mind. Many people will come up telling me how both the library and keyboard are such limited resources these days. The problem that many content writers and other freelance writers run into is with forgetting their one biggest resource – their mind, which never shuts off. Well at least mine doesn’t. We’ve got fingers and a brain. That and a dictionary can get you basic grammar, spelling and hook two words together. Add a thesaurus and you can actually learn how to coordinate those words into something other than half the drivel online.
So what happens if you are a freelance writer writing content and the Internet goes off? You go to the library and hop on a computer for whatever time duration they have. Mine allows 1 ½ hours per day per person, unless you bring your own laptop. Do all the submission work you can at that time. You could do much of the research online at that time as well if you are quick about it; or you could use the books around you. You still have most of the day to actually write. If you have a laptop, make sure you have an open WiFi source that doesn’t need hacking into. Again, the library may have a time limit or a bandwidth limit. Mine doesn’t seem to; but it also helps to know the Director/Head Librarian.
This situation brings to light the one positive aspect of the content mills. The ability of the freelance writer to find legitimate, consistent paid work. No its not the greatest way to earn money. But it is a way to earn enough to get the words out and keep yourself earning as you seek other avenues.
Meanwhile, I can write several topics daily since I may no longer have the distraction of checking email, Facebook, and such all the time. Blog posts can be scheduled days in advance. I can still work on projects while at home, and then take my laptop to the library. If you need their computers, grab a flash drive for under ten bucks and there’s your storage method.
Writers should not give up as long as they have a functioning brain and fingertips to bang keys with.