Free Content Vs. Paid Content: Is One Better?

Posted on February 25, 2011. Filed under: Technology |

The topic of content farms, and specifically, what search engines are going to do about them has constantly been in the news lately. As a result of this constant outcry from consumers, the search engines are being forced to step up their game against content farms.

Blekko and DuckDuckGo have actually banned Demand Media’s network of sites, including eHow and Answerbag, from their search results. Google has also taken action and released a Chrome extension that blocks content farms from its search results.

DuckDuckGo also recently promoted wikiHow’s content to its Zero-Click Info box, which is displayed above the first search result. While this move from DuckDuckGo may seem like a step backward to some, Jack Herrick, the founder of wikiHow, explained to WebProNews why it is not. According to him, wikiHow and eHow are two very different services.

He tells WPN that wikiHow’s content is user-generated and is very much like Wikipedia’s content model. eHow, on the other hand, is based on a paid model in which freelance writers are paid to write articles.

“When you get… maybe a dozen or two dozen people who have edited an article, each person passionate about the topic [and] contributing their knowledge, you end up with a very, very different product than if you pay a freelancer a few dollars to write an article,” he said.

Interestingly enough, Herrick actually ran eHow before it sold to Demand Media in 2006. Although the model is slightly different now, he said that eHow still has the paid model that it had while he was there. He also pointed out that he was faced with the situation of either producing a lot of very low quality articles or producing very few high quality articles. Because he wasn’t pleased with either of those options, he based wikiHow on an entirely different model.

“My goal for wikiHow, and what I’ve been trying to do for several years now, is build a how-to manual with every single topic and have every topic be the best possible page it can be – the single highest quality resource on the Internet for that how-to topic,” he added.

Herrick also spoke about the AOL/Huffington Post deal and the hype that it has been receiving in regards to paid content vs. free content. Although he doesn’t believe that one is necessarily better than the other, he does say that free content is often of higher quality than paid content is.

“Sites like ours go the extra mile… you start with that $15 level and start adding volunteer contributions on top of it… adding a video, adding step-by-step images, adding tips that they’ve learned over years of doing this. It really can bring the quality level a notch higher, and I think that’s where wiki content can do something that other sites just can’t do,” he said.

Going forward, the mission for wikiHow is the same: to create the highest quality content for any topic on the Web in multiple languages. Currently, the site has just under 100,000 articles and has over 30 million unique visitors.

Source Article w/Vido




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3 Responses to “Free Content Vs. Paid Content: Is One Better?”

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