Update:Following the publication of this piece, we were reached by Skyword, who appears to take exception to being linked to the "content farm" label. I think people have somewhat different ideas of what the term means. Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt has stated publicly, for example, that the company does not (and did not) run a content farm, Yet, this is the first company many people think of when they hear the word.
Anyhow, here is what Skyword CEO Tom Gerace tells us about Skyword. He says it is not a platform for content farming, but...
It is quite the opposite – we allow high quality content producers to compete with content farms by efficiently producing quality content that is optimized for search and the social web.
I guess in this case, quality is the differentiator. He continued:
Skyword operates a content production platform that is used by some of the best recognized media companies and brands to produce their digital content. In most cases, Skyword clients (which include The Wall Street Journal Digital, education.com, ImpreMedia) use Skyword to manage their own editors and writers. In other cases, Skyword assists with writer recruitment and management as well as editorial services.
Skyword’s platform integrates with client CMS systems, allowing Skyword clients to manage their content production, optimize their content for search and the social web and track the performance of their content in reaching and engaging audiences. Skyword analytics then allow their clients to better understand what content their customers are consuming to improve the performance of their content over time.
Original Article: Skyword announced that it has raised $6 million through an investment from Cox Media, indicating that companies still see value in the content farm model.
Skyword has been labeled a content farm, but it is a bit different than a lot of the other sites commonly referred to as such. It doesn’t flood the search engines with pages from Skyword.com or its own properties.
Skyword labels itself “The Leader in Search-driven media”. It’s actually more a platform for “content farming” than a content farm itself. Rather, it pairs its writers with brands who need content. Here’s what it tells writers:
Writers, use your talent and creativity as a Skywriter to create content for the websites of leading consumer brands and media companies. Learn the latest digital media skills, including cutting edge methods to drive traffic to their content from search and the social web. Expand your resume and build your online writing portfolio by contributing to some of the top brands and media sites on the web. Apply to become a Skywriter where you can share your perspective on popular topics or current news events across a variety of writing programs.
Here’s what it tells brands:
Brands and media companies spend $18B annually on Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to reach consumers when they search. By creating quality content that matches consumer search queries precisely, we help enable brands to reach the same searchers on the exact same searches through natural search—at half the price.
“Brands are becoming publishers at an increasing rate, with many making moves into the digital publishing space for the first time. The investment from Cox Media Group positions Skyword to capitalize on the continued growth of the $41B content marketing space, while further enhancing our ability to deliver strong results to our customers while they create exceptional content for theirs,” said Skyword CEO Tom Gerace.
“Cox is very excited to be investing in Skyword. Our hope is that our long history and their entrepreneurial spirit will make for a great combination and we will both learn more about this rapidly evolving market,” said Cox EVP Alex Taylor. “Skyword’s unique digital content platform allows brands and media companies to not only reach their customers directly with quality content, but to also interact with them like never before. Most importantly, their leadership team is passionate and impressive, and I know they will make a big impact on their customers.”
In addition to the Cox investment, an undisclosed representative from Cox will join the Skyword Board of Directors, which is currently made up of Jim Manzi, former CEO of Lotus Development Corporation and current chairman of Thermo Fisher, Former Senator Bill Bradley, currently of Allen & Company, Bill Kling, founder and President Emeritus of American Public Media Group, and Gerace.