NEW YORK, NY – Online content will likely become more expensive for several major media companies as a new scandal has to come to light which involves highly influential marketers planting articles and mentions within stories appearing on major publications, such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Time, TechCrunch, and even sites such as the Wall Street Journal.
This is how critical back-links have become over the last few years; that an actual “scandal” can be created by back-link schemes, and publications that can’t measure or imagine the severity of cat-and-mouse game going on between SEOs and Google.
As profitability in the news business has been continually squeezed by declining ad revenue, major publications and news websites tend to bend-the-envelope a bit and rely more on contributor content, and less on traditional journalists, mostly to save money. I’m sure it’s not been something they really want to do, but more of something the industry has forced them into.
Reason being, guest bloggers and news contributors are often willing to write well thought-out articles and even long-form research and submit these stories for publication, in many cases for free, to popular sites just for the opportunity to build their notoriety as a journalist for major publications or authoritative sites.
But what happens when they are doing it simply for the cash? That’s where the lines between editorial discretion and advertorial begin to blur.
According to BuzzFeed, a company called AudienceBloom and its CEO Jayson DeMers, are at the center of a scandal which will likely create a long list of sites and publications which will need to rein-in and crackdown on their content submission policies, or even move away from accepting free submissions entirely. It’s also called into question many of the companies customers who may or may not be involved, one of which mentioned excessively in the article was online entrepreneur Neil Patel.
I personally stopped accepting content sent in from contributors long ago as it is just too difficult these days to tell the difference between those who are genuinely in it for the passion of writing, and those who have ulterior motives based on SEO; I just choose to cut back on content all together, and pay for the stories I really want or need, even if all they asked for was an author BIO.
This is how critical back-links have become over the last few years; that an actual “scandal” can be created by back-link schemes, and publications that can’t measure or imagine the severity of cat-and-mouse game going on between SEOs and Google, over Google rankings.
As with most major sites and large companies with lots of channels to go-through, change takes longer then normal to roll-out, but I bet this one will be a lesson learned without much more delay.