22 thoughts on “Inside the Mind of Demand Media's Richard Rosenblatt”

  1. What the DM critics don’t often mention is, that the established media are also not that keen on paying. Yes, they do pay much more, but only to a limited number of writes. Who doesn’t break into, will get nothing. And they also do layoffs. So it’s all relative. DM pays less, but to more people.

  2. I wish Google would give me a setting in its preferences to delist sites like Demand and Mahalo from the index for my searches. Problem solved.

  3. This company is two things: a money-losing sweatshop that they are hyping to convince everyone they are a “media” company and get a big valuation for their investors, and a money-making purveyor of spam through their huge portfolio of domain names with nothing but adsense ads, along with their enom registrar which sells hosting and other things that hardly make you media darling. Beware of a company that never talks about the stuff it does that makes money! Look over here, not over there!

    This CEO has been investigated by the NY Attorney General for spyware, taken a company into bankruptcy, hyped MySpace until he could dump it on an unsuspecting Murdoch (all the while collecting big $$ while denying employees their options). This is hype-fest. Didn’t we learn anything in Web 1.0???

  4. The question is:

    Is it a problem with the content providers, or with the search engines?

    Search engines are build around the assumption that “people” will create new relevant info, link to each other to build their case and special authoritative entities get a higher ranking.

    The web was basically build with/for academics and the reputation system it implies in mind. People in that area of writing would not just duplicate a paper with the same context just for the heck/money of it.

    Now we have SEO, who cares about reputation. We can get a high ranking by linking even irrelevant/duplicate info and there is no established authoritative data in most business cases anyway.

    Context duplication rules, just search for iPad. If they can find readers and make money, good for them. But to me this highlights the coming end to keyword search.

  5. Om,
    balanced post. personally, i find ehow a useful service. very different from About.com which is sterile and sufffers from excessive pagination and Ad bloat.

  6. Obviously they’re producing the content people want. The problem is getting people the information they don’t necessarily want, but probably need. That’s the role that newspapers and investigative journalism play, and since there aren’t a lot of billionaire’s willing to run the philanthropic version of the LA Times and put their resources toward investigative stories, those stories aren’t going to be produced. But Rosenblatt is a businessman; it’s not his job to inform the public, it’s his job to give them the crap they want and make money off it. People get all pissed off about Demand Media, but it’s misplaced anger IMHO.

  7. “Writers can make anywhere from $15 to $1,000 for a piece of content.” I challenge Rosenblatt to show one instance of a writer being able to make over $20 for a piece of content in his Brave New World of writer exploitation.

    This is certainly no longer possible on his eHow.com site. He has been using inside information to compete against the writers who made eHow what it is for months, and is now systematically and fraudulently squeezing them out of that site, while continuing to reap record profits from their work.

    Demand Media is currently quietly and quickly trying to settle with eHow members that they STOLE content from by copying their articles to a site they call “eHow UK” that is located in the US, and not paying those writers for six months. They had no intention of paying those writers, and would not have if they had not been caught stealing, lying, and manipulating SEO on the mirrored site.

    EHow members fought tooth and nail for months over this issue to force Demand Media to admit just a portion of their fraudulent tactics, and still have seen no payment for their stolen content.

    EHow finally announced last week that they would “generously estimate” profits [they stole] from those writers and would compensate them. It remains to be seen what Rosenblatt’s definition of “generous” is. Watch for a class action suit (individual suites have already been filed) in the near future if Demand Media fails to make ammends.

    I can back up every allegation I have posted here with dates, times, and graphic documentation.

  8. The real winner isn’t Rosenblatt but Google. They essentially own half the site given Adsense is the money generator. I make a point to skip over eHow anytime I see it. It would be awesome if the writers banded together to form their own site.

  9. While Demand Media’s content generation method may be controversial, they are not something unethical. From the way his business operates, only such keywords that have little competition and good enough volume of searches are targeted. If nobody in the world is writing on ‘making detergents at home’, why not target the niche? Even with the little knowledge you have in this area? Isn’t it the same way all products and services were brought to the world?

    That being said, I am so passionate about the content business but worried that such content mills have in the past and will in the future skew the demand-supply of advertising inventory that CPM rates are going to see a free fall soon.

  10. Mr. Malik, for your next piece, I dare you to find one writer that made $1,000 on a writing assignment. This company is paying its writers anywhere between $3.00 (yes, three dollars) and $20.00 per piece. Demand’s writers are starving. Perhaps you should’ve hired one of the company’s copyeditor’s for $3.50 to fact check your information.

    1. @Bellini you are so right. In all fairness to the reporter, every interview Rosenblatt has done online cites inflated figures. It’s his specialty.
      (At least this wasn’t titled, “Inside the Conscience of Demand Media’s Richard Rosenblatt,” which would be complete fiction.)
      I would love to see a follow-up to this article with current, accurate figures, but I doubt Rich would release them. He’s better at spinning the truth than revealing it.

  11. I used to write for Demand Studios. It was incredibly hard work and very time consuming because I meticulously research my articles. The fixed pay was so low I just couldn’t get a decent wage per hour. I am still approved to write for the site, but I no longer write there. I figured out that I could make more money by writing directly for eHow. I now write for that site, make unlimited earnings and keep the rights to my work.

    I think the main problem with DS is that the site is far too demanding of writers for the extremely low pay. There are frequent unnecessary and ridiculous rewrite requests from the low-paid editors. The editors can rate you, and typically rate you far lower than you deserve. I think for a lot of online writers, this is far more effort and aggravation than it’s worth for the money. The only people who stay are those who don’t really research properly. I’ve seen the low-quality, improperly researched content that they spew. It’s often grammatically correct and properly spelled, but factually incorrect or otherwise useless to guide the reader. The editor’s can’t and don’t fact-check to ensure that the articles are properly written and helpful to the reader.

  12. I worked for Demand Studios at a time that I really needed money and I knew I was being underpayed but was happy to just be bringing something in. I was let go for no reason even though all the work I did for them was accepted with no corrections asked for. When I tried to get someone to talk to me or at least listen to me, I ran in to nothing but brick walls. They truly do not care about anyone but themselves and people need to be aware of what they are getting in to when when work for them.

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