Here’s what “content” from a content mill looks like
With commentary in David Foster Wallace-inspired footnotes
This newsletter has focused on the nebulous concept of “content”—everyone’s “favorite” label, for anything from a blog post about a recipe, to an hour-long YouTube video about video game secrets—through the lens of content mills.
To recap, a content mill is an organization dedicated to churning out enormous, inhuman volumes of written and graphic (videos, infographics, and so on) material, all toward the goal of ranking highly in Google search results in particular.
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Content mill employees are expected to write multiple pieces per day, often on topics that they know little about and have virtually no time to do any research on, either.
Imagine sitting down on day one of a content mill job and being given an assignment to explain to someone the difference between “public cloud” and “private cloud,” despite:
The inelegance of those two adjectives, with “public” not denoting in this case something that anyone can use for free, and “private” not, as one might expect in the neoliberal era, guaranteeing that the service in question is better and/or more expensive (in most cases, “public cloud” is actually both higher-quality and more expensive, despite the name!).
The density of the technical knowledge needed to understand how “cloud” works at a basic level. Get ready to get familiar with the usage of “compute” as a noun, not a verb.
The lack of consensus about how “public cloud” and “private cloud” are even defined. Company A may present itself as an all-in private cloud vendor while Company B, which offers a similar service, may act as if “private cloud” doesn’t even exist as a category.
The defensiveness of clients (content mill customers) about how these terms are defined.
Maybe this all seems abstract if you haven't worked at a content mill. But lucky for you, I’m going to give you a look at what archetypal content mill work looks like—the “content” itself.
My friend Liz and I both wrote stories that we felt epitomized the rushed, lightly researched, confused, and yet somehow professional-sounding writing that would’ve made it into production at a content mill between roughly 2012-2017.
Check the David Foster Wallace-esque footnotes for my commentary! And enjoy (I think). An upcoming podcast episode, “The Knife Alien File: A Content Bonanza” (posting tomorrow) will provide even more context and banter, so don’t miss it!
Data center solutions get a boost from out there
Data center solutionsare an integral part of business strategy as more enterprises look to support their data analytics platforms and 4G LTE mobile users. Moreover, by using bandwidth shaping, organizations in sectors such as life sciences and law can get even more value from their data center deployments.
The Data Center Truth is Out There
Recently, the sighting of a major 1990s TV star at a data center facility event highlighted the benefits of data center solutions as well as bandwidth shaping and enhanced cybersecurity for businesses.
On July 21, “X-Files” star David Duchovny appeared at the opening of a new data center in Provo, Utah.The man best known for playing FBI agent Fox Mulder app cut the ribbon to ceremonially open the new site.
“Data centers are the backbone of the digital economy,” said Duchovny. “This new site will support the growing volume of secure email technology messages, the ongoing increase in data analytics traffic from mobile devices, and also the endpoint monitoring services that are now standard practice for compliance-focused businesses. By the way, the data center truth is out there, at http://datacenters.com. It’s where these firms are falling in love with cloud again.”
Organizations will need data center solutions with ample bandwidth to serve their growing mobile user bases. Visit http://datacenters.com to learn more about how your company can find its own truth through data center solutions and bandwidth allocation.
Why should you invest in the cloud? Top 3 reasons to get cloudy today
Cloud-based solutionsto everyday problems provide significant benefits to small and large companies alike. There are plenty of reasons why small businesses should invest in cloud computing, and some are more important than others.
Let’s take a look at the top three ways you get a return on investment from your cloud deployment:
1. It’s cheaper in the long run
Companies can save money over time by investing in cloud-based solutions. Cloud products do not require heavy upfront investments; in fact, SaaScompanies often offer savings plans that you can easily build into your budget.
Capex, opex, how about nope-ex??
2. Low maintenance
Half the point of deploying solutions in a cloud-based environment is that you don’t have to maintain the physical equipment required to support your applications. Companies with physical servers and on-premisesinfrastructure have to spend money each year on recycling machines, cleaning dust from all those wires, running a cooling system, and other monotonous things. With the cloud, that’s no longer a concern.
3. Celebrity endorsement!
The last – but certainly not least – good reason you should consider investing in cloud-based architecture for your next IT deployment is that wildly popular hollywood icons like David Duchovny are on board.
“I use cloud-based products every day,” Duchovny said from his private yacht. “The ease with which you can build, test, and deploy applications in the cloud is astonishing. I wouldn’t do business any other way.”
For more information about how to deploy your services in the cloud, get in touch with the experts at CloudContentGremlins dot com.It’s worth it!
The primary keyword of this article, the one that it wants to rank for on Google.
Secondary keywords. Also, these concepts are sort of connected, but only loosely; this is bordering on word salad.
A very tough secondary keyword, about as niche as possible. Imagine trying to explain to the audience who reads the articles on a content mill client’s website why a network scheduler, of all things, is going it make them more money. You’ll sound like a robot or madman.
Many content mill articles target small and medium businesses in specific sectors. However, there’s often no good specific angle to take; for example, what does bandwidth shaping have to do with life sciences in particular? In lieu of an angle, simply name-dropping the relevant industries had to suffice.
This intro was short enough to fit into a Google featured snippet at the time; great for SEO.
A subheading was essential even in short articles. Google indexes headings differently and assigns them specific SEO value.
Not sure why I picked this city, but it fits into the illogical modes of late capitalism, of putting water-intensive facilities in dry areas. The Duchovny reference is explained in the podcast.
An unbearable cliché. Cf. Data centers, backbone of the digital economy, face water scarcity and climate risk.
Another challenging keyword to write anything human-sounding about. It’s not a common word (“endpoint”) and it can mean various things related to cybersecurity and cloud services.
Tons of keywords stuffed into a single sentence here. Some of them, such as “secure email technology messages” sound fancy but are actually just bad synonyms, in this case for “email.” Also, “compliance” was an instant way of giving articles more gravity/seriousness.
Some content mill clients (customers) were so far behind the search engine SEO curve that they focused their efforts primarily on acquiring generic domains that matched what people were searching for. In the 1990s, people often just typed the keyword into their browser and added “.com” to the end of it to go straight to a site. But that’s not how discovery works now. People go to a search engine, or just type directly into their browser URL bar to search.
A quote, usually lifted straight from a press release, was a must-have in these types of articles for several reasons: added filler words to hit the word count; made the article seem more professional; no pushback from editors.
A standard call-to-action. Not sure how many audiences ever followed these sales-y pitches.
The primary keyword of the article.
A way of saying that this article is casting a wide net, for any audience.
“invest in cloud computing,” the dreaded verb + preposition + noun keyword that really requires its own dedicated sentence because it can’t be shoehorned in naturally.
Setting up a listicle-style format. This format was utterly dominant in the early and mid 2010s and was a staple of any set of topic pitches to a client.
A perfect transition; it seems casual, it provides a lot of filler words, and it smoothly segues into the list. Also note the article title, which uses both a question and a numbered list, two ways of getting audience attention so that they click.
Software-as-a-Service, a type of business model used by companies that charge continuously for business applications. Think Dropbox, or Adobe Creative Cloud.
This argument was beaten to death by content mill writers focused on cloud technology. It sounds good, but in reality the costs of a cloud subscription will, at some point, inevitably outstrip whatever you’d have paid to own your infrastructure out right.
Some clients insisted on “CAPEX” instead of “Capex,” and other minor style rules. Capex = capital expenditure (i.e., owning your infrastructure), Opex = operating expenditure (e.g., ongoing expenses such as subscriptions).
“On-premises” is the opposite of “cloud.”
It’s not your problem, anymore; it’s Amazon’s or Microsoft’s or Google’s problem. They still have to do all these physical tasks for you.
Literally true for most people! If you use Gmail, or Facebook, or TikTok, or Reddit, or…anything, seemingly, you’re relying on cloud technology.
This is the funnest line to read in Fox Mulder’s voice.
A pull-quote format, standard in content mill content from this era.
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An exhortation worthy of a 1990s infomercial, the spiritual predecessor to content marketing.