Will Content Kill the Web?

boom.jpgThe Web is on a crash course for disaster. There’s a glut of content out there, with more added daily in phenomenal amounts. The information is repetitive and redundant. The churned-out content that fills up the Internet is making it hard for people to sort out the good and the accurate from the ugly.

People – this is a problem.

Enter PLR content. I have very strong feelings about PLR content. I know plenty of people who write it, who sell it and who buy it. I wrote it myself, once long ago. I have yet to be convinced that this type of content is a good thing.

PLR articles are articles that someone sells. These sellers basically hand over most rights to the work but keep the lucrative aspect – the resale potential. The original seller offers private label rights articles that can be changed, modified, sometimes resold, and he sells those articles multiple times over to many different people.

Sound like a moneymaker? You betcha.

PLR content drives down the market value of web content. Why buy pricier work when nearly-free (and sometimes free) is right there for the taking? Many writers end up getting tired of fighting for decent wages and they give up. It’s tough to battle the constant feeding frenzy of rewritten, reworked, rehashed and regurgitated. Why care? No one else does.

Those in favor of PLR claim that the strategy of reselling an article as many times as possible helps lower prices to offer affordable content. They claim to be helping people who can’t afford original work. They swear that PLR articles are cost-effective as a means of getting content for a business.

I’m uncomfortable about these claims. What good is an article that looks and reads almost identically to the next? What value does this bring to a business if the competition is using the same content? What helps a business stand out if everyone is offering exactly the same as the next guy?

Similarity as a marketing strategy? This makes no sense, people.

Take a look at what one high-profile PLR article seller sent out in a mass email to members of his spin-ready content forum:

A few months ago, our Premium Spin Ready PLR members received 5,400 article variations every month from us.

Well, that has changed.

They now get 7,200 variations!

That’s right. Over seven thousand articles for you to choose from and use every month.

Let’s do some math, shall we?

  • A spinning program can produce about 30 (sometimes more) variations of one single article. If there are 7,000 articles and each has the potential to produce 30 variations, that’s 210,000 articles hitting the net in one month.
  • In a year, those 7,000 articles become 2,520,000 articles – with one click of the mouse and very little difference in the content.
  • If 100 people buy only one article and spin that article 30 times each, that’s 3,000 variations of one article hitting the internet each month. There are duplicate articles in those numbers, guaranteed.
  • If the article isn’t spun, it still means that there are 100 competitors using the same content to lure, attract and tempt potential customers to your business.

Since when did being identical become good for business? I don’t even have a count as to how many PLR producers there are on the Internet. Probably a lot, because PLR brings in cold hard cash. I’m not even sure of how much cash, but I have an idea.

Considering that each PLR article can be modified and reused (and sometimes even resold) multiple times… that’s one hell of a lot of content filling up the Internet. That poor article gets around more than a hooker from St-Catherine’s street does. Take a look at this comment from Kristen King posted at Inkthinker:

If you can bang out a couple of those [articles] a week, package them, and sell them to multiple buyers for a low individual rate while raking in a tidy cumulative profit, why shouldn’t you? That’s what these PLR articles are. And yeah, a lot of them are crap, but who cares?

To hell with building a valuable resource we call the web. Let’s learn how to use the Internet for profit. Let’s see how much this baby can take before it crashes, and let’s take the money and run.

PLR has three effects on me: I feel disgusted. I feel dirty and want to take a shower. I am instantly reminded of drug dealers feeding someone’s jones without a care in the world about an overdose or a death. It’s all about the money.

Consider this email I received:

I have been trying to find information on sheet metal, of all things. I am pissed at all the lazy keyword crammers out there stuffing the Internet with useless information just for the sake of page ranking and SEO.

If the articles do make sense, they are little else than sales pitches for some business or another. If you do find a nugget of information, 20 different sites have the same info or worse yet, have it copied it word for word.

It made me think of that recycling motto “reduce, reuse, recycle.” If writers can’t at least put their own spin on a topic or provide genuine information instead of retyping what Wikipedia says, they should pack up their website and get another job!

All this useless garbage is clogging up the information super-highway like a festering ball of hair in the bathroom drain.

I can’t tell you when the web crash will come, but it will. A year? Three? Ten, maybe? At the exponential rate of content churning out, something has to break.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.