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Yahoo Shuts Down Voices, Bid for Low Cost Content Fails

Posted By Shawn Hessinger On July 7, 2014 @ 7:00 pm In Technology Trends | 7 Comments

yahoo headquarters

Yahoo has announced plans to shut down its Voices site effective July 30 and its Contributor network effective the end of August.

Originally bought by Yahoo for $100 million as Associated Content in 2012, the Voices site, and the Contributor Network which supplied it with writers, were sources of low cost content, what some would call a “content farm”.

But following Google’s Panda algorithm, which targeted and downgraded what Google considered low quality content, 75,000 articles were deleted, reports [1] Matt McGhee of Search Engine Land.

The rest of the content was transferred to a new site called Voices. The site paid as little as $5 per article mostly in Performance Payments from ad revenue for crowdsourced content.

And some of these were the kinds of often-criticized posts with titles like “Guide to Reducing Stress in Daily Activity” or “Five Hollywood Career Revivals Waiting to Happen,” said [2] Ad Age at the time of the purchase.

For online small business owners and content marketers the message seems clear. Mass produced, low cost content lacking a unique perspective will always lose out to carefully crafted and authoritative alternatives.

But this might tell only part of the story, says SEO expert Aaron Wall of SEO Book [3]. In an email exchange with Small Business Trends, Wall admits confusion at Yahoo’s decision:

“Strategically I don’t understand the incentive for shutting down Yahoo Voice and the Yahoo Contributor Network. I see numerous benefits to keeping it around. They could have:
– used it as a source of the sort of backfill content to augment their featured content
– kept it segmented and used it to find new and upcoming authors
– kept it around to give them greater cost structure flexibility during economic downturns & allow them to scale up near peaks without embedding as high of a fixed cost structure in their business

Every publisher has to have some blend of featured content & lower cost backfill content. Yahoo! has recently pushed to launch their magazine-styled niche sites with partnerships with known journalists and celebrities.”

But in the end, Wall noted another possible reason for the decision: Yahoo’s purchase of social blogging site Tumblr in 2013 for $1 billion [4].

Wall explains:

“Another factor worth considering is how they are blending Tumblr into their site and their native ads strategy. Perhaps with Tumblr having a far bigger footprint they could try to recruit authors from it to write for some of their verticals.”

In a note to contributors of the Yahoo network, writers who wish to continue contributing user generated content to Yahoo are told [5]:

“You are encouraged to publish via Tumblr, though please realize the Yahoo Contributor Network publishing and payment platform is not being replaced within the company.”

Yahoo [6] Photo via Shutterstock


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URL to article: http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/07/yahoos-bid-low-cost-content-fails.html

URLs in this post:

[1] reports: http://searchengineland.com/panda-strikes-yahoo-voices-yahoo-contributor-network-closing-195698

[2] said: http://adage.com/article/digital/yahoo-buys-content-100-million/143947/

[3] SEO Book: http://www.seobook.com/

[4] Yahoo’s purchase of social blogging site Tumblr in 2013 for $1 billion: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/tumblr-deal-founder-mega-millionaire.html

[5] told: http://contributor.yahoo.com/help/#A571

[6] Yahoo: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-179539388/stock-photo-sunnyvale-ca-usa-march-yahoo-corporate-headquarters-sign-yahoo-is-a-multinational.html