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Thread: Content Is King vs. Information Overload

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    Content Is King vs. Information Overload

    The good old saying is that "content is king", yet more and more people are coming to grips with the problem which seems opposed to its highness: information overload.

    It seems like that should be quite relevant to all content producers and all of us who wish to make money by regularly producing free content because the typical solutions to information overload involve filtering. This seems to make it harder for content publishers to get traffic. It may lead to people reading less stuff online reducing the size of our cake or at least to being so focused that specific niche targeting becomes even more important (and also harder).

    Someone even said that the solution to information overload could be to create more content arguing that this puts us to a different relationship with information and provides valuable context. That seems paradoxical and doesn't do anything to end the potential dethroning of "content".

    It increasingly seems like a case of too much supply for too little demand which clearly means that a lot of content producers simply wont get anywhere. The business will fail.

    Here are some possible solutions...

    1. Content organizing. Creating new content becomes merely a matter of creating glue to tie existing content together. Creating structured presentations of content like courses designed to convey or teach a specific message (ala Teaching Sells). And possibly charging for it so as to cut off the need for advertising.

    2. More emphasis on professional looking multimedia. Convert content into video and audio in addition to text.

    3. Somewhat related to 2, create experiences, not just content. Combine entertainment with information delivery.

    4. Have world changing unique ideas. The problem here is that for many of those ideas people aren't looking for and may even be hostile to. Good luck making money on such ideas (for example, I'm a passionate anarchist, advocating free market without government intrusion, and it seems extremely hard "selling" these ideas to people, yet it's a big part of what I'm motivated to produce).

    5. Anything else?

    It seems like the need is to go a step further. Since now everybody can produce content of some sort easily since everyone can blog, convey news via twitter etc. it's like selling people what they all already got, even without any advertising entering into it. So the idea is to climb up a notch and do what is harder to do, what fewer people are doing, where demand is still perhaps higher than supply.

    What do you think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    It increasingly seems like a case of too much supply for too little demand which clearly means that a lot of content producers simply wont get anywhere. The business will fail.
    Content is so cheap and easy to create right now that the quantity of content is increasing rapidly -- even as the quality falls.

    This phenomena is driven by Google's market dominance and weaknesses in their technology. The "hidden web" of truly awesome sites is massive, while Google continues to send massive quantities of traffic to sites with far lower-quality content.

    I never see Instructables in my search results and I frequently see WiseGeek in my search results. Instructables is awesome and Wisegeek is spam, but Google's automated technologies can't tell that.

    Long-term, quality content will win. Some technology will come along to connect information consumers with information producers much better than search is currently doing. Until that happens, people who are building great content will not be rewarded for it and people who are building low-quality spam will reap major economic benefits.

    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    Content organizing. Creating new content becomes merely a matter of creating glue to tie existing content together.
    Information organizing can add significant value to information consumers. The answers may all be out there, but as an information consumer I prefer it when they are packaged up for me in nice little easy-to-digest pieces.

    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    More emphasis on professional looking multimedia. Convert content into video and audio in addition to text.
    Information consumers absolutely love this multimedia, but Google is not currently rewarding publishers for including it in their web pages. This stuff is expensive to produce and the RoI isn't nearly as good as the RoI for plain on ASCII text content.

    Google is currently only really rewarding YouTube for multimedia content. Other publishers who spend money to develop multimedia content will have great difficulty earning a return on their investment.

    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    3. Somewhat related to 2, create experiences, not just content. Combine entertainment with information delivery.
    People love entertainment, but entertainment doesn't do well with search technology. For that, as well as for multimedia, you have to use alternative channels to get to your customers. Word of mouth, social networks, social bookmarking, etc...

    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    4. Have world changing unique ideas. The problem here is that for many of those ideas people aren't looking for and may even be hostile to. Good luck making money on such ideas (for example, I'm a passionate anarchist, advocating free market without government intrusion, and it seems extremely hard "selling" these ideas to people, yet it's a big part of what I'm motivated to produce).
    I hear 'ya man. My own political blog was penalized by Google and now receives fewer than a hundred unique visitors a day. I'm still posting to it, trying to figure out what I'm going to do next.

    But really, having world changing unique ideas is the only reason to live. Maybe people won't accept them in your lifetimes; maybe people won't accept them ever -- you still have to try.

    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    It seems like the need is to go a step further. Since now everybody can produce content of some sort easily since everyone can blog, convey news via twitter etc. it's like selling people what they all already got, even without any advertising entering into it. So the idea is to climb up a notch and do what is harder to do, what fewer people are doing, where demand is still perhaps higher than supply.
    Doing what is harder to do creates a natural barrier to market entry.

    There will always be lots of competition for things that are easy to do, but step just a little bit above the norm and you'll find yourself suddenly alone.
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    bogart (17 October, 2009), elbandelero (17 October, 2009), Keldorn (15 October, 2009), memenode (16 October, 2009)

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    Yeah the amount of the low quality content is being driven by sites like ehow.com where suckers sign up and write free content for them under the pretense that they'll make money (But I really have doubts about that). They would better off to write content for their websites not for a middle man and hosting is so cheap you'd have to be sucker to do it...so thats that. But Brilliant business model though. ( For the owner of the site). They probably have a few hundred thousand low quality articles clogging up the serps in Google. I see them alot. But I dont read them.

    Wikipedia is a godsend, becuase thats one I will usually pick in result.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keldorn View Post
    Yeah the amount of the low quality content is being driven by sites like ehow.com where suckers sign up and write free content for them under the pretense that they'll make money (But I really have doubts about that). They would better off to write content for their websites not for a middle man and hosting is so cheap you'd have to be sucker to do it...so thats that. But Brilliant business model though. ( For the owner of the site). They probably have a few hundred thousand low quality articles clogging up the serps in Google. I see them alot. But I dont read them.

    Wikipedia is a godsend, becuase thats one I will usually pick in result.
    Some of eHow's content is actually pretty good. It's quite hard to spam them - they're pretty specific in asking what they want. I.e. Having sections for "Steps," "Tips and Warnings" etc. But people still manage to do so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles View Post
    Some of eHow's content is actually pretty good. It's quite hard to spam them - they're pretty specific in asking what they want. I.e. Having sections for "Steps," "Tips and Warnings" etc. But people still manage to do so.

    Maby Charles. I could agree I've come across one or two that I found useful.

    Quote from memenode
    It seems like the need is to go a step further. Since now everybody can produce content of some sort easily since everyone can blog, convey news via twitter etc. it's like selling people what they all already got, even without any advertising entering into it. So the idea is to climb up a notch and do what is harder to do, what fewer people are doing, where demand is still perhaps higher than supply.
    Hey I was just thinking this. Here is my thoughts on this.

    What this really has to do with is the barrier of entry like Will said. These people are getting in and creating websites in the same manner you are (Upload premade script, install a theme, Hmm I have a website). Its not rocket science to do this. In the proxy niche for example the bar of entry is so low Some of these people dont even know how to change their background color on their css. But your competiting with them. The fact that people make scripts and give them away for free is really what is creating this low barrier of entry. If they stopped and killed the sites, this problem might go away rather quickly. But I doubt that will happen.

    But what exactly can you do to move up a notch? Move up in the bar entry. Go do something that is hard to get into. Of course that will be the hard part. You will also have to get past the bar. (I'm trying this myself) lol
    Last edited by Keldorn; 15 October, 2009 at 09:23 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Content is so cheap and easy to create right now that the quantity of content is increasing rapidly -- even as the quality falls.

    This phenomena is driven by Google's market dominance and weaknesses in their technology. The "hidden web" of truly awesome sites is massive, while Google continues to send massive quantities of traffic to sites with far lower-quality content.
    You mean good sites that aren't even indexed or good sites that are just buried deeper into the results?

    If the former I wonder if there is any site that indexes these non-googled sites. If the latter then it seems like a good reason for a "dig deeper" campaign aimed at web users telling them that it's a good idea to go many pages through to find some good results..

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    I never see Instructables in my search results and I frequently see WiseGeek in my search results. Instructables is awesome and Wisegeek is spam, but Google's automated technologies can't tell that.

    Long-term, quality content will win. Some technology will come along to connect information consumers with information producers much better than search is currently doing. Until that happens, people who are building great content will not be rewarded for it and people who are building low-quality spam will reap major economic benefits.
    Sounds like developing such a technology could be the current holy grail of web entrepreneurship, at least for those who know how to program I suppose.


    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Information organizing can add significant value to information consumers. The answers may all be out there, but as an information consumer I prefer it when they are packaged up for me in nice little easy-to-digest pieces.
    I like that sometimes too. It really depends on what I'm looking for. If I'm looking for a very specific piece of information where context and big picture don't matter then a quick piece of text telling me that is preferable of course. But if I'm looking for something more broad or systematic, something to understand and internalize, then a larger presentation seems preferable with all the dots connected and organized nicely for me (guides, books, presentations, hierarchical sites etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Information consumers absolutely love this multimedia, but Google is not currently rewarding publishers for including it in their web pages. This stuff is expensive to produce and the RoI isn't nearly as good as the RoI for plain on ASCII text content.

    Google is currently only really rewarding YouTube for multimedia content. Other publishers who spend money to develop multimedia content will have great difficulty earning a return on their investment.



    People love entertainment, but entertainment doesn't do well with search technology. For that, as well as for multimedia, you have to use alternative channels to get to your customers. Word of mouth, social networks, social bookmarking, etc...
    Yeah, the main problem appears to be the inadequacy of the most popular search solution, albeit they are evolving and in recent years Google has been integrating multimedia into their search results, but mostly youtube as you say.

    In response to this new tendency there is a "new field" called DAO or Data Asset Optimization which seems to be about offering content in other forms to gain better positions in search engines as they begin to incorporate video and audio..

    But something tells me it's just about being the first the ride the wave. As it saturates the PageRank inadequacy will hit again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    I hear 'ya man. My own political blog was penalized by Google and now receives fewer than a hundred unique visitors a day. I'm still posting to it, trying to figure out what I'm going to do next.

    But really, having world changing unique ideas is the only reason to live. Maybe people won't accept them in your lifetimes; maybe people won't accept them ever -- you still have to try.
    I agree completely. What I'm trying to do is mix and mash them with more acceptable "memes" and themes rather than going all out. We'll see how that works out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Doing what is harder to do creates a natural barrier to market entry.

    There will always be lots of competition for things that are easy to do, but step just a little bit above the norm and you'll find yourself suddenly alone.
    [/QUOTE]

    Right.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keldorn View Post
    Maby Charles. I could agree I've come across one or two that I found useful.

    Hey I was just thinking this. Here is my thoughts on this.

    What this really has to do with is the barrier of entry like Will said. These people are getting in and creating websites in the same manner you are (Upload premade script, install a theme, Hmm I have a website). Its not rocket science to do this. In the proxy niche for example the bar of entry is so low Some of these people dont even know how to change their background color on their css. But your competiting with them. The fact that people make scripts and give them away for free is really what is creating this low barrier of entry. If they stopped and killed the sites, this problem might go away rather quickly. But I doubt that will happen.

    But what exactly can you do to move up a notch? Move up in the bar entry. Go do something that is hard to get into. Of course that will be the hard part. You will also have to get past the bar. (I'm trying this myself) lol
    So far most of what I've done is what kinda comes naturally to me which is to have a relatively unique design rather than just using the theme. A lot of people can match that, but still far less than typical blog on blogspot or wordpress.com, even if they buy their own domain name. Not only do I typically have my own design, but a specific concept so it's not just a blog.. there are sections, a unique navigation system etc..

    But the real deal I'm thinking of getting into is producing compelling multimedia, namely videos that look professional from the get go and convey things I wanna convey. The idea is to start simple, but even simple can be made to look either professional or half assed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    You mean good sites that aren't even indexed or good sites that are just buried deeper into the results?
    It starts even earlier than that. The content isn't built around keywords, so there's nothing for the search engines to rank.

    The long-tail of search just isn't that profitable. If you go after the short-tail keywords, you get the long-tail as a bonus. If you go after the long-tail keywords, you get no bonus at all.

    There is a lot of great content on the web that people aren't searching for because they simply don't know about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    It starts even earlier than that. The content isn't built around keywords, so there's nothing for the search engines to rank.

    The long-tail of search just isn't that profitable. If you go after the short-tail keywords, you get the long-tail as a bonus. If you go after the long-tail keywords, you get no bonus at all.

    There is a lot of great content on the web that people aren't searching for because they simply don't know about it.
    Oh that's a good point. Last advice I've read about SEO in terms of keyword targeting was to go for long-tail since it's easier to rank for them, but long tail is kinda inevitable if you cover any kind of more broad topic so you'll rank for some long tail anyway, while getting at least a chance to rank for some of the short-tail.

    So far the only alternative for those things people aren't searching for is social media (stuff like digg and reddit), but digg is so elitist by now it's hard (almost impossible) to get anywhere. Reddit is far better as it's more distributed so even if you're not on the homepage you get some visits and people talking.

    But something even better would be good...

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    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    The good old saying is that "content is king", yet more and more people are coming to grips with the problem which seems opposed to its highness: information overload.
    Maybe this comes back to the difference between data and information.

    Facts and figures are data. Web publishers process, analyze, organize, structure, and format data to create information.

    Human beings living in modern civilizations are currently suffering from data overload, but perhaps information is more of the solution than the problem.

    Web publishers provide a service by separating the wheat from the chaff. We sort through data and create useful information out of it.

    One of the common criticisms of Wikipedia is that, in their drive to cover each topic comprehensively, they consistently fail to edit out data which has marginal relevance.

    These processing, analysis, organization, structuring and formatting tasks simply cannot be accomplished by a search engine. They can't be automated. This uniquely human aspect means that they will remain higher-value tasks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by memenode View Post
    The good old saying is that "content is king", yet more and more people are coming to grips with the problem which seems opposed to its highness: information overload.
    "Content is king" is an old saying. But it hasn't always been true. Spam used to be king. But in the day, the average publisher put up thousands of pages of duplicate content, plr articles and scraped content.
    There's still a need for information and quality content. The key is getting the content to the users; so that, it stands out from the crowd of low quality articles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    This phenomena is driven by Google's market dominance and weaknesses in their technology. The "hidden web" of truly awesome sites is massive, while Google continues to send massive quantities of traffic to sites with far lower-quality content.
    The "hidden web" is most of the internet. I believe only 5% of the web is indexed. The failing is depending on search engines to find the content. Basically there are really only 3 or 4 SEs. So if Google or Yahoo doesn't list the pages. The site is hidden.

    People forget that the Web is made up of links. The Search spider crawls these links. Links are the Queen of Battle. Even if a search engine doesn't list a site, people can still find you through a link.

    Sure Google traffic is the best thing out there. But at any time the traffic could dry-up for sites with low quality content should Google make changes to the "fresh content boost"or to the supplemental index.

    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Long-term, quality content will win.
    Doing what is harder to do creates a natural barrier to market entry.
    Long-term is a barrier to market entry. A quality site that keeps building content and links over a long period will be tough to beat.

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