I’ve been keeping up on some of the talk of Demand Media, and their ‘assembly-line-styled’ content creation technique. I highly encourage anyone to read up on Wired’s article and learn about this process.
In a nutshell, Demand Media manages to churn out 4,000 content articles a day using algorithms, in combination with human labour. The process of creating the articles is tactfully broken into several small jobs, each handled by various experts. Creating a single article will touch around 9 or more hands before being finally approved. (This process is also being repeated on informational videos as well.)
ReadWriteWeb just published an article questioning the quality of the content being published by Demands ‘assembly line’ styled publishing (in which they ironically had a few errors which seriously questioned the article’s quality, hah!). I like ReadWriteWeb, but this article felt shallow, and really didn’t add anything to the conversation. (ASIDE: To my surprise a few of Demand’s authors wrote in the comments vigorously defending Demand’s quality; I, maybe ignorantly, assumed a sweatshop styled labour was been wrongly taken advantage of! But maybe not…)
In any case, were they right, and should we be wary of the cheap content, or should we expect great things like the Model-T? Call me an optimist, but I think this is a good thing, and I want to see it making more than informational content.
Some advantages I’d like to point out:
- content being produced may never have been created because it was too expensive
- employees are global, and may reduce barriers for internalization
- skilled labour can be utilized (not just data entry jobs!)
- dramatically increasing scale could radically change business models
I cannot for an instant believe that Demand’s process is a one time fluke, and only applies to content creation. No… no, I think every company should take a step back and take a look at this. Can any part of my business processes be managed in this way? In my opinion many will. Not all successfully, not all to our benefit, but I see this kind distributed labouring taking off in the not so near future.