Are Content Mills Lowering the Quality of “News” on the Internet? By Angela Hoy

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With all the hubbub about content mills (and how many believe they are responsible for declining pay rates for freelancers), I can’t help but wonder if they are also contributing to the decline of the quality of writing on the Internet. I thought I’d review some articles at some content mills to see if they really are publishing/reselling material with common, easy-to-spot errors. You probably won’t be very surprised by my discoveries. While I did find plenty of great articles, I also found plenty of errors.

ALLVOICES.COM

In my September profile of AllVoices.com, I highlighted numerous errors in articles written by the CEO of AllVoices. Has her writing gotten any better or has she bothered to hire an editor? Perhaps not. The article I highlighted still contains numerous errors today.

Her most recent post states: “The competition to succeeds is enormous.”

In October, she wrote: “He said that mainstream media keeps complaining about the quality of news produced by consumers…” (Should be media keep) The topic is ironic, isn’t it?

From another article on AllVoices.com, by a different contributor –

“It is reported that anxiety and fear dominate the Egyptian citizens in the wake of “the bad sides of the” virus “H1N1″, known as swine flu that has killed four Egyptians in a single day, an incident is the first since the first confirmed cases of the disease in April last year.”

EXAMINER.COM

The very first line of an article titled “Wii for weightloss” says, “Loosing weight after you have a baby is something every mom tries for.”

From an article posted this week:

“She died as a result of complications from the buttock surgery of a pulmonary embolism 3 days into recover. SShe had undergone a gluteoplasty in Buenos Aires…”

ASSOCIATEDCONTENT.COM

Title of an article published in November –

My Daughters Severe Nut Allergy (missing apostrophe)

and

“My oldest daughter (name removed) has a mild peanut allergy and sever tree nut allergy.”

The article contains many other errors as well.

Misusing “loosing” appears to be a common error. On AssociatedContent.com, several articles contain the error in the titles themselves:

Loosing Weight the Way Nature Intended

The Passion of Exercise, Dieting and Loosing Weight

Loosing Weight to a Better Life

Planning Your Child’s Party Without Loosing Your Mind

How to Save Your IRA, 401k and 403b Retirement Accounts from Loosing Money in 2009 and 2010

7 Easy Ways of Maintaining Proper Body Metabolism for Loosing Weight

How to Quit Your Day Job Without Loosing Your Mind

Loosing Weight with Acupuncture

NATURAL SOLUTIONS: LOOSING the EXTRA WEIGHT

Loosing Weight Is Hard To Do And Sometimes Takes A lot of Effort

Confidence was the Key to Loosing Weight

Loosing Weight: Could it Really Be This Easy?

Run Down the Pounds: An Easy Way to Start Loosing Weight and Looking Great

Find a New Job Without Loosing Your Current Position

There are more but I’ll stop there.

EHOW.COM

Appearing on ehow.com, a property of Demand Studios (which claims to have editors vetting articles):

How to avoid loosing your luggage while traveling abroad

How to eloquently accept criticism without loosing your cool …

How to Keep From Loosing Your Keys

How to have Fun Loosing Weight

There are also many more but, again, I’ll stop there.

BUT…IS IT “NEWS?”

Even more troubling than the occasional typo is how some content mill articles, which apparently haven’t been properly edited, nor fact-checked, are popping up as “news” on Google. While most of us know you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, some people continue to believe that everything published is edited, fact-checked, and true.

HOW MANY WAYS CAN YOU, OR SHOULD YOU, COVER A TOPIC?

Many content mills have numerous articles posted about the same topic. For example, a search of Tiger Woods crash reveals –

AllVoices.com – 9 articles in 3 days

Examiner.com – I stopped counting at 20 articles in 4 days

REWRITING EXISTING ARTICLES?

Another disturbing trend is the practice of some companies hiring so-called writers to simply rewrite previously published news stories. We’re seeing an increasing number of help wanted ads for this type of freelance work.

I’d love to receive comments from our readers on these disturbing trends. Please email angela – at – writersweekly.com and let me know if I can publish your comments.