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  • AOL Puts The “Huff” In Huffington

    Rather than writing valuable content, AOL focuses on “gaming the system:” rather than producing thoughtful articles, the AOL Way is to “obsessively” react to trending search topics.

    “This isn’t tabloid page grabbing or content farming — it’s news and insight by and for a passionate and informed group of people.”

    These are the words of former Engadget editor Joshua Topolsky, after leaving the company to work for SB Nation, soon to be a direct competitor of his former employer.

    What’s that guys problem?

    AOL’s purchase of Huffington Post, along with their naming of Arianna Huffington as president and editor-in-chief of the entire media wing was major news earlier this year. The transaction made some people a hefty profit, but not everyone was happy about the deal.

    Topolsky, apparently along with a cadre of other Engadget writers, were among the disgruntled.

    The problem is the “AOL Way” of doing journalism. Rather than writing valuable content to build a readership, AOL (and Huffington Post in days gone by) focuses on “gaming the system” Rather than producing thoughtful articles about topics that matter, the AOL Way is to “obsessively” react to trending search topics.

    Terms like “pageview juicing” and “search-baiting” come to mind as well.

    In other words, content is not king. What writer wants to hear that from his boss?

    As journalists, Topolsky and crew prefer to let their words…speak for themselves. They felt slighted, being subjugated to SEO tricks and traffic-driving schemes to obtain readers.

    For the record, Ms. Huffington assures us all that things will be different under her watch.

    To be sure, AOL/Huffington Media Group is not the only perpetrator of this method of gaining popularity online. In fact, Google also made a big change this year, implementing a new search algorithm to combat “content farming” and other shady tactics for getting visitors.

    Google carries over 90% of online search queries, so the change had a profound impact on a lot of sites.

    I recommend that you read “AOL Defector Blasts ‘Content Farming’ and ‘SEO Spam‘” by Jeff Bercovici to learn more Topolsky’s complaints.

    We at Upstart are striving to bring you the highest caliber of content. No content farming or SEO spam here. It is our earnest desire to provide information, insight and resources to young professionals and entrepreneurs to help you get to the next level in your career or business.

    If there’s anything that we’re missing, feel free to let us know! We’ll do our best to address the needs of our readers.

    Even if it can’t be said anywhere else, at Upstart our community of readers is king! Content is here to serve you.

    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Tech/E-Commerce

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    About the Author: Donnie Bryant is a direct response copywriter and marketing consultant. He specializes in improving businesses' sales and profitability by creating compelling marketing messages and strategies. Find out more about Donnie at http://donnie-bryant.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @donniebryant and connect with him on Google Plus at +donniebryant.

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