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Dealing with Content Farms

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2011

If you follow the news about Google or search you know that what some people call content farms have become a big issue. First what are content farms, Wikipedia defines content farms as Web sites that employ a large number of freelance writers to generate large amounts of articles that are written to be search engine friendly. The main goal is to increase ad revenue. Critics of these sites say the content is often of low quality and many of the articles often just copy information directly from other sites. Proponents say they are just reacting to market demand and are doing nothing wrong. The problem I have with content farms is they tend to push higher quality articles down the search page. The more popular a search is the more likely this is to happen. They also tend to be simplistic and leave out important details.

The question is what to do about content farms. There are a couple of solutions that have become available lately. The first is to use a search engine called Blekko. Blekko allows you mark sites as spam and then that url is removed from your search database. It works really well, however for it to work you have to use Blekko. This is not realistic for most people who equate search with Google. The second option is a Google created solution which can be found in the Google App Store called Personal Blocklist by Google. Once you install the extension when you do a search if a site comes up that you consider to be spam, you simply click on Block this Site and that site is again removed from your search database. There are a couple of problems with Personal Blocklist that prevent it from being the ultimate solution at this time. First it is available in Google Chrome only and it doesn’t sync across computers. However if you live in Google Chrome and have a single computer this is a great option. A third option is an independent tool called PersonalBlock through Kynetx which is an Appbuilder site. Personal Block works on Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. It will works whether you search through Google, Yahoo or Bing. When you do a search and you find a site you consider spam you click Block x Web site and like the Google extension those sites are now blocked from your searches. With Personal Block if you decide you want to see the site if you scroll to the bottom of the search page there is an option to show the site. If you use this method then Google doesn’t get the information. if you use the Google created solution, then Google can aggregate the information and hopefully better search for everyone. I do like the fact that all these solutions leave the choice up to the user.  I am not sure I want Google or Bing or Yahoo to make that decision for me.

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