The Evolution of Content Farms (and New Ways to ‘Feed to Beast’)

“Content farms” like Demand Media, Associated Content, and Merchant Circle were once the big bet for filling out blogs. They’d “feed the beast.” Most of the content, however, turned out to be overly-generic and unenlightening. Sites that focused on verticals and required specialization were especially out of luck.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. In recent months, things have evolved quickly. Here’s what we are seeing:

1. Nozzl provides continuously streamed articles on specific subjects via a “player” on your website. Nozzl, launched by vets of Portland’s Oregonian, is inexpensively priced at $5.99 per month.

2. Quintype, a free alternative to WordPress, makes content available on given subjects from publishers seeking broader distribution.

3. Sociative curates sites from all over the Web and social media, and distributes them as custom feeds to blog owners. We’re especially intrigued by Sociative, a three-year-old San Francisco company that has determined that there is an “ocean of content” on many subjects. For instance, it provides a highly customized newsfeed of “foodie” content for The James Beard Foundation, which is dedicated to good cooking.

What Sociative is trying to avoid are the stories that are overly familiar –i.e. the Associated Press story that is reprinted on dozens of websites. It also seeks to avoid stories that are syndicated, via machine learning, from a small list of popular sites. (There’s more on this at NextWaveSMB)

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