Demand Media is shutting down the user-generated content portion of its eHow website. Instead it plans to run longer feature-length articles written by journalists with five to ten years of experience, according to a job notice it has up on its website. In addition, the content on eHow that does remains will be subject to an editing and fact-checking process before it is reposted, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Panda Strikes Again
It is speculated that the publisher is feeling the affects of Google's algorithm revamps earlier this year that pushes low-quality content further down in search. In a conference call to discuss quarterly earnings, CEO Richard Rosenblatt said the so-called Panda update resulted in a 20% net decline in search-engine referrals for eHow. There was also a 12% reduction in total page views.
Demand Media is also looking at new formats for eHow, Larry Fitzgibbon, Demand Media’s EVP, Media and Operations, and Jeremy Reed, SVP, Content & Editorial tells Web Pro News. These might include interviews with experts on certain subjects, such as a Q&A with a prominent wedding planner on tips for planning a wedding.
Death of the "How To"?
Not that Demand Media’s retooling of eHow signals the demise of the straightforward "how to" content that, whether fairly or not has come to typify low-quality online content. Self-publishing content company Helium just raised another $10 million in debt financing according to a SEC filing, Tech Crunch notes.