Google just announced that users can block any site they want in IE, Firefox, and Chrome. So that means that if you hate eHow, Mahalo, etc you can block them so you never EVER have to see them in your results again. But do you think this will stop the Tech Media elite (McManus, Arrington, Malik) from complaining about how Google search is being ruined?
Absolutely not. The reason why Content farms became under fire lately is not because tech bloggers are so concerned with what shows up in their OWN search results. They are concerned with what shows up in YOUR search results. Content farms and similar sites can produce content at a mere fraction of the cost/time it takes these bloggers to create their own “hand-crafted” content. This, of course, is alarming and threatening to their business model. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t hear much about eHow in the blogs. And while this new solution from Google will allow them to block these farms in their own results, it won’t stop you from seeing these sites in your results. Therefore this solution doesn’t solve their problem.
I like eHow. There I said it. I realize this is completely unpopular, but I do. I like them because within 20 seconds I can get the basics about a certain topic. My days are swamped and I don’t always have time to read through a 1500 word in-depth article. I have used HubPages, AssociatedContent, Mahalo, WrongDiagnosis, Manta, and plenty of the other “how-to” farms within the past year and I find them helpful. I use them just like I sometimes use the USA Today. It is not thought provoking, but it can give me the basics fast. And many times that is all I need.
But I am the only one that finds these sites useful, right? If you read the tech blogs, then you would think that is the case, but I am not. The search term “hubpages”(165,000) gets more google searches than “san francisco chronicle” (135,000). “eHow”(450,000) gets almost as many searches as “time magazine”(550,000). People are obviously seeking out their content no matter what anyone says.
I am not saying that these sites should rank above the new york times, etc and I am not saying that Google doesn’t need to continue to improve their results, but I certainly don’t agree with Arrington’s “If Google was good at search, Demand Media wouldn’t exist.” or MacManus’ “Google needs to wake up and smell the coffee.”
Regardless, I don’t expect the tech media to stop complaining about these content factories though. It is too much in their favor and Google does listen to them.