Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

24 Feb 2012 23:08


Tech: Gaming the system: On the rise of YouTube’s search-friendly “reply girls”

  • We’ve yet to see this phenomenon analyzed anywhere in the media, so let’s give this a signal boost: The secret to becoming popular on YouTube is to build heat. Sometimes you create something so great it goes viral on its own. Sometimes you know the right people and the right places. Sometimes, though, you’re good with the timing and keywords. That is actually an effective way to get popular on YouTube — this Pomplamoose clip, for example, was a very well-timed attempt to bank its success on a popular song at the height of its notoriety. But what if you take that philosophy to the extreme? The answer is that you end up with TheReplyGirl. Let’s explain how this works:
  • The concept A woman who claims to go by the name Alejandra Gaitan, above, has been on YouTube since August, and her main routine is to reply to popular videos, load her responses with ads, and wear something revealing, with the goal of enticing a click. She’s not alone — a woman who calls herself Megan Lee Heart, for example, posted a well-tagged video after Whitney Houston died and got 100,000 views. And hundreds of dislikes on the clip.
  • The precedent Gaitan, Heart and others are essentially pulling off an elaborate search engine optimization scheme on YouTube. Their videos show up high on YouTube search results because of strong tagging and they get clicks because of the eye-grabbing visuals. The result is that the videos themselves are extremely low-quality (Gaitan’s clips can be hard to follow at times), but it doesn’t matter, because the goal is to build up ad impressions.
  • Here’s the thing … TheReplyGirl is interesting because it’s a new twist on a relatively old idea — the production of low-quality content that shows up high in search results, which has the side effect of diluting searches. Minus the human being talking, this was basically Demand Media’s business model. The question is, though, will Google step in? They took on Demand, forcing the company to change its model. Will they do the same on YouTube?
  • Edit: Reworded part of this for clarification.

17 Jun 2011 17:20


Biz: AOL Employee: My experience with them really freaking sucked

  • Errors didn’t matter. Grammatical errors — be they major or minor — didn’t matter. The brainless peons who read the website simply wouldn’t notice. What mattered was getting the ‘product’ published.
  • Former AOL TV writer Oliver Miller • Describing his experience with writing for the online megacorp in the pre-HuffPo days. Miller, who says that he was overworked and had to plow through dozens of stories each week, lost his job in an interesting way: He made a stupid aside about Alec Baldwin that the actor saw, then wrote a tirade about … on HuffPo. (Miller didn’t name the actor, but the story was well-circulated. We even wrote about it a long time ago.) After that point, he claims, editors intentionally put errors in his pieces. Miller lost his job five months ago, roughly around the time the AOL-HuffPo merger was announced. (Disclosure: I used to do freelance for AOL News pre-merger, and my experience wasn’t like this at all. It was stressful, but that’s only because I was writing a daily news blog and also working a full-time job at the time.) source

17 Nov 2010 10:23


World: A modest proposal: Give ShortFormBlog Ireland’s bailout money

  • Hey, if Ireland doesn’t want any of this bailout money, give it to us. For days now, the European Union – and now Britain proper – have been pushing to give Ireland lots of money to ensure its solvency. However, Ireland doesn’t seem to have any interest in taking it, at least right now. So, we’d like to offer a proposal to the European Union. Give us the bailout money. We’d use the money to build our own country (tentatively titled ShortLandia) where we’d build an army of coffee shops and have dozens of bloggers working away, producing short content for the masses of other countries throughout the world. It’d be communism. Except in content farm form. And instead of eating soviet bread, we’d be drinking ShortLandia lattes. With an extra kick. So you don’t fall asleep and prevent another piece of content from hitting the Intersphere. source