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February 14, 2011 1:36 PM   Subscribe

The Content Farm is a not-very-subtle satire of The New Web Journalism (currently accepting submissions*) which got a surprising bit of (not good?) publicity by being used as an 'example' in Google's announcement of its Content Farm Blocking Chrome Extension. Why did it get singled out? Why not this Content Farm?

choose one;
(A) Irony
(B) Idiocy
(C) Googleblogger Matt Cutts used his gold-level medical plan to have his sense of humor surgically removed

As of this posting: TheContentFarm.tumblr.com is the #4 Google search result for "The Content Farm", but #18 for "Content Farm". The PBS report ABOUT Content Farms that was shown at the bottom of the first page for "The Content Farm" in another screenshot is now #12, but #3 for "Content Farm". (I learn something new everyday - I thought Google totally disregarded leading "The"s)

* anyone considering submitting a piece to The Content Farm on "How to Get Google's Attention", get in line.
posted by oneswellfoop (43 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you, thank you!
posted by nj_subgenius at 1:38 PM on February 14, 2011


Umm... I'm pretty sure that, based on the super-specific search term "Your age is an important thing to know about yourself", the use of The Content Farm was meant to be ironic.
posted by muddgirl at 1:39 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you are bleeding from the scalp, then the reflective surface will have shown you the grotesque carnival mask that used to be your face.

Brilliant.
posted by a non e mouse at 1:41 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think he blocked "The Content Farm" in the screenshot for illistrative purposes, it's obviously a content farm he is blocking because it says "The Content Farm." And it's free publicity for an awesome site. yay!
posted by The Devil Tesla at 1:44 PM on February 14, 2011


I used to think this site sucked but then that lady bear from The Cleveland Show sold it for tons of money. Shows what I know.



Oh wait, The Huffington Post is something different than this. I guess I know this in my brain, but when I look at both, my soul says otherwise.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:45 PM on February 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm confused. Did you add all that unnecessary expository and editorializing to this FPP in an ironic attempt to make it look like it came from a content farm?
posted by schmod at 1:45 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hopefully this extension will eventually work Gmail's spam filter and the results that many people block won't show up if you have "Farm filtering" on. It would make using Google so much better.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 1:47 PM on February 14, 2011


How To Post Metafilter: 1. Do you have a metafilter?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:47 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Excuse my tech ignorance in what I say here. But a short while ago, I was reading an article about a proposed bill that would allow net users to opt out of tracking cookies (flash). In the comment section,someone noted that Ghostery.com, a free software download, gave you options for tracking the trackers and deleting them. But it could not be used on Chrome! FireFox: I tried it and discovered that every site, this one included, planted tracking cookies.
So it is nice to know that Google worries about un-organic products from content farms, but care little for whatever pesticides go into what you harvest from the net if they are involved.
posted by Postroad at 1:47 PM on February 14, 2011


Why is Google rolling this out as a Chrome extension, rather than the usual Google Labs route? Are they intending to provide a different/better search experience in their own browser as opposed to their competitors? Because that won't go down well.
posted by nowonmai at 1:52 PM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I submitted "How to Tell When Something is Funny" but they didn't see the humor in it.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:52 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's Suggested Sites... IN REVERSE!!!!
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on February 14, 2011


There are other extensions for Chrome that filter the google search results but this is as official as it gets and google gets feedback on which sites that you block. Hopefully they will use this info to nuke the content farms from the face of the net.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:52 PM on February 14, 2011


Say what you will about slightly dodgy content aggregators, I kind of miss io9.
posted by Artw at 1:54 PM on February 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


nowonmai, over at hacker news one Google employee explained that it is much easier for google to implement this as a extension than fixing their search engine. Makes a lot of sense too.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:55 PM on February 14, 2011


Google needs to roll this out in a big way for everyone, not just Chrome users. There's been lots of discussion lately about how their results are getting less useful as the years go by. They need to screen out content farms to get their results back on track, and if they want to do it effectively they need as big a pool of volunteer screeners as they can get.
posted by echo target at 1:55 PM on February 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


nowonmai: Matt Cutts (Google's web spam lead) explained that in this Hacker News thread.
posted by skymt at 1:55 PM on February 14, 2011


I used to think this site sucked but then that lady bear from The Cleveland Show sold it for tons of money.

And failed to pay any of her writers.
posted by blucevalo at 1:56 PM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love this site, and I thought I found it on MetaFilter not so long ago, so I've been scrolling through the last few weeks of FPPs looking for it without success. Weird.
posted by doublehappy at 2:00 PM on February 14, 2011


Did you add all that unnecessary expository and editorializing to this FPP in an ironic attempt to make it look like it came from a content farm?

No, I just did it because if I was writing it professionally (for a non-content-farm site), my editor would cut it all out. Here at MetaFilter (which doesn't pay me but will never sell out to AOL), I just get told to GYOB and deleted.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:00 PM on February 14, 2011


I too would rather they get something on the search itself that let's you filter the huff-aol-ehow crap out, but at least this shows that the problem has been noticed, and attention is being directed toward it.
posted by dejah420 at 2:02 PM on February 14, 2011


Bro you're not getting paid? I make 47 Canadian lira every time I post, and so can you!
posted by Mister_A at 2:03 PM on February 14, 2011


The correct answer is A) Irony. See this comment by Matt Cutts at Hacker News.
posted by nhamann at 2:04 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminds me that I want to write an article "Top 8 Bosses from the original Super Mario Bros." that's just a cursory run-down punctuated with increasingly plaintive, desperate begging to please, for the love of God share this on Digg or Reddit or Facebook or whatever.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 2:05 PM on February 14, 2011


Completely agree with your comments on this – thanks for taking the time to post. I will link your blog page to mine.
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:12 PM on February 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Thank you. This was a very interesting articel..
posted by double block and bleed at 2:22 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Next up, a Google Government app for locating and, optionally, blocking _discontent_.
posted by hank at 2:30 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the post about how to calculate your own age:
1. Find out what year you were born.
2-7. [a bunch of stuff]
8. Take the derivative.
9. Multiply by 0.
10. Add your age.
Step 9 there is unnecessary. The derivative of a constant is zero. JEEZ GUYS.
posted by Plutor at 2:35 PM on February 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Plutor: You're obviously not familiar with homeopathic math. The first zero still retains the essence of the earlier calculations.
posted by doublehappy at 2:45 PM on February 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


Step 9 there is unnecessary. The derivative of a constant is zero. JEEZ GUYS.

It's a security measure, overwriting your previous figures with zeroes to keep other people from figuring out your age too.
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:47 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least Google can't block my brick-and-mortar business, The Product Factory.

Our motto: 'We make make stuff. Things too.'
posted by chambers at 3:09 PM on February 14, 2011


The correct answer is A) Irony. See this comment by Matt Cutts at Hacker News.

Yes, I originally thought so (the query was a semi-obvious tipoff), but the first thing I saw about it was a Tweet from someone who took it too seriously. Still, I wish I had the same medical plan Google Employees do.

But hank's comment inspires me to start a new site: The Discontent Farm.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:22 PM on February 14, 2011


How to Install the Content Farm Blocking Chrome Extension

1. Turn on your computer (possibly a Dell, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, or Sony)
2. Computers can make a lot of noise when turned on. This is normal, don't be alarmed!
3. Log in if you use a password.
3. Make sure you have the Internet Browser from Google, called Chrome, installed. It's icon will look like the game Simon with one less color.
4. Go to the Lobster Claw icon at the right hand side of the Chrome bar, click it to select a drop down menu.
5. Select "Tools", then "Extremities", then "Get More Extremities".
6. Type "Personal Blocklist" in the search box, click "Search", then click on the top result.
7. Click the "Install", button and Presto!, no more
posted by benzenedream at 3:38 PM on February 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh wait, The Huffington Post is something different than this. I guess I know this in my brain, but when I look at both, my soul says otherwise.

Your confusion is understandable. The Huffington Post is essentially a content farm for celebrities that pays not in money, because celebrities don't need money, but in miniscule amounts of self-esteem, of which they can never get enough and for which they will do all kinds of stupid things, like argue with actual scientists over links between child vaccinations and autism.
posted by Naberius at 4:18 PM on February 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know the old saying, “Milk is the window to the soul?” It can’t be a window unless you put it in a glass. Here’s how you put milk in a glass.

This is the greatest thing I have read today.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:24 PM on February 14, 2011


Wow. No tips on plates of beans.

WEAK!
posted by Samizdata at 7:18 PM on February 14, 2011


Wow. No tips on plates of beans.

No, but you should see what they put in the mashed potatoes.
posted by zippy at 7:43 PM on February 14, 2011


Postroad, I don't know if you're being sarcastic, but cookies are the thing that makes websites able to remember you, even if you close the browser window. Without it, you would have to enter your login info much mure often.

Of course, the "remember you" thing is also why cookies are bad when it's used to track you for ad purposes. But I don't see why you blame Google - every modern browser gives you the option of specifying exactly which cookies it's going to accept and which it's going to reject.

Apart from that, Google is interested in blocking these farms because they directly impact the quality of Google's search results. You can say a lot about cookies, but they are for the most part completely invisible to the user and don't affect what you get back in a search. Not so with content farms.
posted by ymgve at 8:09 PM on February 14, 2011


I often wonder how tolerant we'd be of cookies if they were called something less delicious.
posted by doublehappy at 2:30 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


If content farms become pointless does that mean they'll cease to exist and copywriters can start to earn a decent wage for quality writing? Please?
posted by Summer at 3:55 AM on February 15, 2011


Say what you will about slightly dodgy content aggregators, I kind of miss io9.

Eh, sites like i09 and thedailywh.at aren't really going to be hurt by this, at least as far as I can tell. Hopefully, when they use this data to tweak the algorithm, they'll just be getting rid of eHow and that ilk.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:13 AM on February 15, 2011


I will never see experts exchange again. Oh happy day!
posted by msbrauer at 8:19 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, so they're using crowd sourcing to feed the content farm detection.

Yeah, I can't see how that could possibly go wrong.
posted by chairface at 7:33 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


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