When does content have value?

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I realise that this was an odd question, but I was thinking a lot about content farms since they seem to be top of everyone’s agenda at the moment. On the one hand, Google clearly has a perceived spam problem which is directly attributable to content farm content – the fact that consumers believe it to be spam shows how little they value the ‘content’ that they are presented with.

This piles on top of the competitor-fueled anti-trust grief that Google is getting and a very belated consideration of privacy in the internet space by both German and US governments.

On the other hand, content farms are considered to be a cut above spammers in terms of legality and business value based on the interest and speculation around Demand Media’s apparent imminent IPO. Content farms are obviously spending money on content; they have invested in a content process and depending who you believe losing money in the process.

If nothing else, this separates spammers from content farms!

What this all says to me is that content farms are caught in a vice-like grip: return on content investment versus social acceptance. At the moment, it is Google being blamed for letting this spam in but what happens when there is a public company that can be targeted instead like say Demand Media?