Google Sneezes (On Purpose) and Demand Media Catches the Flu
Monday, April 18, 2022 3:40 PM

Though Google in itself is a massive corporation, lots of companies, small and large, are heavily dependent on the search engine giant for their survival. Google has become integral, in the marketing aspects for one, for so many enterprises, of all business stripes. A case in point is the content farm (which it denies vehemently), Demand Media (DM). DM denies this because they do not want to be known as content regurgitators, but a company that produces original writing content. There is also been some negative rhetoric regarding DM in how they treat their writers, from an editing standpoint.


The Lance Armstrong backed company (and now Tyra Banks has even come on board), most popularly known for its content portal-eHow-had to face the wrath emanating from Wall Street after a search engine optimization (SEO) consultancy reported that online traffic related to DM owned sites is down 66%. That should seem to spark some serious concern in the leadership of this company.

A Fledgling Company

The consultancy cited a change in the Google search algorithm for this heavy and apparent downfall. Even if it just temporary, it is still a significant decline. DM though denied the contents of the report; investors were not though in the mood to take any risks. The shares of this company fell below $18 for the first time since its IPO in January 2011.

A Winning Model

Rumors have been hopping and spreading around like wild fire for the last six months based on the information that Google had decided to make significant changes in regards to its search algorithm. DM on the other hand had developed an algorithm of its own that could identify potential adwords and turn or manipulate this into a webpage. This algorithm helped the company become a multi-billion dollar business within a span of just a few years. This startling fact could only occur based on that the company employs or works with around 4,000 freelance writers and about 500+ copy editors to shell out and approve, respectively, content at break neck speeds. Thus, Demand Media indeed is deemed a content farm, among the freelancing community and from many other insiders, because of the practices it has adopted and transformed into a rousing success. But has Google popped their balloon and is DM engaging in unethical business practices?

An Online Sweatshop

It is also not uncommon that the company is compared to Wal-Mart because of the way it treats its freelancers. Insiders say that the company pays a maximum of $30 for a 400 word article on which the company generates thousands of dollars in revenues, rejects sound articles for irrational reasons, and basically mistreats many of writers. It is also said that the company employs healthcare professionals and experts from other fields to bolster this content farm’s reputation slightly.

Google Pulled the Plug 

The change in Google’s algorithm took place at the same time DM went public. To many, that is hilarious. DM is also the only content farm whose shares are traded in secondary markets. Experts suggest that the change in algorithm has also affected other content farms like Ezinearticles, Hubpages,, and Squidoo, amongst a few others resulting in a significant drop in traffic to these websites. Once the change was announced via Google’s media arm, it became apparent that this amendment, or altered algorithm, was performed because Google wants to maintain a healthy, respectable, and fair business atmosphere. Allowing content farms to making billions and to manipulate their algorithm to quench their own avarice is not in Google’s best interest.