Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Must-Reads: "The AOL Way" (To Create Spam Labor Camps)

If you work on the web, freelance on the web, or have any interest in business on the web, you absolutely must read the astonishing AOL plan and guide to "content" that was obtained by Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider. Obviously, they are increasing pageviews, amount of "content" published, while decreasing the amount paid for content. That's because that's how corporations work. Warning: reading this will be rough going, as it is full of jargon and b.s. and corporate blah blah, but the thing has rewards on every page. (I mean, yes: "Benadryl for Dogs" cost $15!) This is how it all really works! This is the real deal! Here's just two things.

Here's what writer to use for stories.

This needs no preface.


15 Comments / Post A Comment

HiredGoons (#603)

'based on demand tool projections'

keisertroll (#1,117)

Hee hee. "TOOL".

pemulis (#903)

If you want a picture of the future, imagine an SEO Checker stamping on a human face — forever.

barnhouse (#1,326)

Wait, doesn't The Awl use the demand tool to track user interest and identify?

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

Is this the right place to say that putting a link between every paragraph of an article looks janky, is extremely annoying, and makes the piece essentially unreadable?

READ MORE: Dave Bry on the culture of technology entrepreneurs

I mean, they do this to pieces by serious writers! And on the online presence of major magazines! It's awful!

It is really the worst thing ever.

Aatom (#74)

Agreed. Also: Double-underlined contextual links with pop-ups for completely meaningless shit you're not there to find.

BadUncle (#153)

Tough to believe this was once an Apple property. But if Jobs still owned it, they'd be doing hard-hitting reporting on what really matters: Pedilite for dogs.

jacksonwest (#637)

Shit, I used to come up with my own ideas for stories for NBCBayArea.com (one of the NBC LIM sites in an O&O market near you) that paid $15 per. I thought it was just extra work for crappy pay to pitch my suggestions, but according to AOL, it was actually a privilege to have that sort of human agency!

That said, if AOL actually issues paychecks on a timely and regular schedule, it's miles ahead of NBC in terms of how contributors are treated.

pemulis (#903)

And to think I once envied your spot writing for NBCBayArea.com. No, for reals, I thought it would have been a step up. Which it would have been, for me.

KarenUhOh (#19)

I remember when you could earn a living just from Paris being pantsless.

gregorg (#30)

"hairstyle database"?

also, they're building in a freelancer performance tracking system. Please RT!

John Herrman (#9,702)

Lots of discouraging stuff in there, but the slide about (I think?) tracking freelancer value vs. cost is the part that's most worrying. It's like automatic ad sales -> publisher communication, without any editor input.

It's also utterly practical. Guuuuuhhhhhhhh.

Yamara (#9,395)

I am forced to use AOL on a daily basis. First thing I do each day is hide their idiotnews. I have various apps in place to block their pings and other offal. When will this giant trilobyte die already?

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