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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.

12 Sep 2010 22:18


Tech: Demand Media IPO: Crap content may be massive cash cow

  • $1.5
    the potential market cap for Demand Media’s upcoming IPO
  • $1.2
    the current market cap of the New York Times Company source
  • » To understand how crazy that is, let’s point out what the two companies make. The New York Times (minus the Jayson Blair saga) has been known for creating some of the best journalism known to man. Demand Media, through sites like eHow and, is far more known for shoveling as much SEO-friendly content onto the Web as they can. Yet, they could be worth more in an IPO. What is our world coming to?

13 Dec 2009 22:29


Tech: SEO, Demand Media, “fast food content,” and the loss of quality

  • These models create a race to the bottom situation, where anyone who spends time and effort on their content is pushed out of business. We’re not there yet, but I see it coming. And just as old media is complaining about us, look for us to start complaining about the new jerks.
  • TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington • On the rise of “fast-food content” – information that’s turned into commodity, with no thought put into quality but focus put into SEO alone. Don’t believe us? It’s already here, kinda. It’s called Demand Media. Where everything is recycled so many times that the good content goes away and we’re stuck eating crappy, good enough media burgers. With genetically modified URLs. (ReadWriteWeb also noticed this trend.) Our thoughts: Wouldn’t it be great to know you’re surfing the Web and getting more than snake oil? Because, hey, SEO is nice and all, but content with a clever approach is even better. Also, we’re convinced that Google and Microsoft will fix the SEO problem someday and figure out quality-based algorithms to curb the rise of crap content. source