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CoveritLive switches to paid-only service

Popular liveblogging platform CoverItLive has announced the end of its free usage tier, becoming an entirely paid for subscription service.

In an email to current subscribers the company wrote:

CoveritLive is introducing new monthly subscription plans based on active usage. These plans provide customers full access to all of CoveritLive’s Premium features – previously unavailable to Basic plan customers — including event feeds, event groups and homepages, live webcam and access to the CoveritLive API. Additionally, we have released several new features including a new dashboard with enhanced metrics, simplified Facebook event implementation and improved user management tools.

With the availability of the new plans and features, we will transition all CoveritLive Basic customers (including your current account) to a new Trial plan on July 1st 2012. The Trial plan will still allow you complete access to CoveritLive functionality for free and with no time limit, but it will now place a limit of 25 event “clicks” (active users who click into or engage with an event) per month on your account.

CoveritLive’s ‘Starter’ subscription costs $9.99 per month and allows for 250 viewers per  month, their ‘Standard’ tier costs $149 per month and allows for up to 10,000 viewers. The current Basic plan for the service will end on 1 July.

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TechCrunch: Demand Media buys liveblogging tool CoverItLive

TechCrunch reports today that Demand Media has bought CoverItLive for an undisclosed sum. The liveblogging tool was founded in Toronto, Canada in 2007 with funding of $1 million.

Demand Media has originally made a strategic investment in CoverItLive back in 2009, acquiring a minority interest in the startup. With today’s acquisition, CoverItLive will become a platform within Demand Media’s portfolio of social “solutions”.

TechCrunch’s full post is at this link

 

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E&P: What does it take to make $100,000 a year writing for a content farm?

November 17th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick

A couple of weeks ago the AWL published a slightly less-than-enthusiastic account of the joys of working for a ‘content farm’ by Jessanne Collins, who calculated her work was making her about £4.40 an hour.

Undoubtedly, content farms need to be ‘gamed’ a little bit to get anywhere, which perhaps Collins’ own issues, “motivational in nature”, got in the way of. One person who has done OK out of the content farm lark is Jodi Jill:

When Jodi Jill was laid off from her position as an assistant at a car dealership two years ago, she took a number of odd jobs to pay the bills, from hawking oranges off the Venice exit on the 405 freeway in Southern California to fixing sequins onto costume dresses. She also wrote the occasional article for Examiner, the crowdsourced content play backed by billionaire investor Philip Anschutz.

Fast forward two years and Ms Jill, who was briefly homeless after being laid off, says she’s made just under $100,000 in the past year by writing exclusively for Examiner … So what does it take to make $100,000 a year writing for a content farm?

Full story on E&P at this link…

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The Awl: My summer on the content farm

November 8th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Freelance

Freelance journalist Jessanne Collins on what it’s like to work as a copy editor for Demand Media’s websites:

I was to be an intermediary between the web at large and the raw, reliably weird substance that results from the unlikely union of algorithmically created topic assignments and writers of, shall we say, widely variable competence. The actual nuts and bolts of style consistency and tone were part of it, of course. But they seemed to be peripheral to what I was actually being asked to do, which was to quality-check each piece of content according to a set of generic yet meticulously detailed standards. It fell on my shoulders to ensure not just that no dangling modifiers marred any directories of Jacuzzi-having hotels, but that the piece wasn’t plagiarised, written off the top of some Jacuzzi-having hotel aficionado’s head, based on obvious or non-information, referencing other websites, or plagued by any of the other myriad atrocities that web content can be subject to these days.

Full story on The Awl at this link…

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Will Google News build filters for ‘content farms’?

September 23rd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Search

CNET’s interview with Krishna Bharat, the engineering head behind Google News, suggests the search company is going to change its approach to so-called “content farms” and networks of sites like Demand Media or Associated Content:

Bharat implied that Google is working on a way to refine the signals it uses to rank news stories in a way that filters out the most egregious examples of news spam without branding certain companies as offenders because of certain stories. “What we are very sensitive to is user experience, but we don’t want to be anecdote driven, we want to be sensitive to statistically relevant feedback,” he said.

Full interview on CNET at this link…

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Advertising Age: San Francisco Chronicle on using Demand Media content

Advertising Age interviews Michele Slack, vice president of digital media for SFGate.com, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle, which recently introduced content from Demand Media to its website. The interview looks at editorial outsourcing and issues of quality control:

Ad Age: Does bringing in outside content, supplied by freelancers, undermine the need for your own full-time reporters, or does it support the business that pays for the newsroom?

Ms. Slack: I prefer to think it’s the latter. This provides us with additional revenue opportunities that we can use to support our core newsroom. Our core newsroom is our competitive advantage, so we really depend on the content they provide us with. These partnerships are about bringing in additional users and incremental revenue. All of that is to support our core business and the newsroom is an integral part of that.

Full story on Advertising Age at this link…

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New Google patent could spoil Demand Media’s party

July 20th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick, Search

An FT.com Technology story claims Google could be about to upset the success of Demand Media, an online content platform designed to cater to search engine queries from potential readers:

[A] recently granted patent to Google that appears to replicate one part of what has made Demand’s approach to content so successful could spoil the party (…) If the world’s largest search engine were to build a system and offer it to all web publishers, as it detailed in the patent filing, the move could upend one of the hottest new fields of digital media creation.

See the full post on FT.com at this link…

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BNET: Demand Media signs up more US newspapers

May 26th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Demand Media has signed a deal with Hearst Newspapers, which will see content from Demand appear on the real estate sections of the San Francisco Chronicle and Houston Chronicle websites.

Demand’s model uses an extensive network of freelancers to produces vast amounts of multimedia content to fit search engine queries and answer ‘how to’ questions. Pay per article is low for contributors, but as BNET suggests the temptation for newspapers to get more content for less for their sites will be strong.

Full story at this link…

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AdAge: Demand Media to supply original content to USA Today

April 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

USA Today’s new online Travel Tips section has been outsourced to content generation company Demand Media. The section already has around 4,000 travel articles provided by Demand Media’s freelancers.

Demand Media (…) is paying to generate the content and is selling keyword advertising in the section. USA Today is selling its new display ad inventory. The two are splitting the revenue.

Demand Media’s CMO Dave Panos defends the editorial standards in place at the company and claims it does not deserve to be thought of as a ‘content farm’.

‘Content farm’ is not a term we prefer, because it we think it has a negative connotation and that it paints a picture of a nameless, faceless organization that churns out low-quality, thoughtless content. This is not at all what we do. We think our studio bears a greater resemblance to larger, distinctive content-creation companies like Reuters. Our studio is made up of thousands of creative professionals, and each piece of content is touched by 11 qualified individuals with a high degree of editorial oversight.

Full story at this link…

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Demand Media to accept UK and Canadian freelancers

March 4th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Freelance

In an interview with Patrick Smith, Demand Media EVP Steven Kydd said the company would now take on writers from outside the US, specifically from the UK and Canada.

The company, which produces vasts amounts of multimedia content to fit search engine queries and answer ‘how to’ questions, recently launched a UK-version of its eHow site and has already had hundreds of applications from UK writers, says Smith.

Demand has received criticism for the nature of its publishing – an article in Wired described Demand as a factory, “fast, disposable and profitable as hell” – and for its rates for assignments – $15/$20 and article. UK writers will also not be eligible yet for the ad revenue share deals that US writers can have.

Full story with audio from Kydd at this link…

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