In a turn of bad news for $20-an-article freelancers, two fountains of paid-in-pajamas writing gigs have largely dried up. Demand Media and AOL's Seed.com are scaling back contract assignments for their content farms.
The companies give different reasons for their cuts. Demand Media says it now has enough informational content to keep the search traffic coming.
In an email to ClickZ News, spokesperson Kristen Moore said, "We've shifted our focus on assignments to more targeted categories and to other forms of content (slide shows, video series and feature articles). We're still assigning some standard titles in the 'how to' and topic view format for eHow.com, but we've now built a comprehensive library and will be making fewer of these assignments for the foreseeable future."
Mario Ruiz, spokesperson for Seed parent AOL, said the company's content-sharing relationship with sister property Huffington Post is part of the reason it's pulling back on freelance assignments. "[We've] scaled the Huffington Post Media Group's editorial team and continue to grow its blogging platform, we have reduced the number of SEED freelancers as we evaluate how best to integrate its strengths with [Huffington Post Media Group]," he said via email.
A third large publisher of cheaply produced editorial content, Yahoo-owned Associated Content, didn't respond to a request for comment.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.