The future of Internet journalism?
Demand uses a three-part formula of search terms, potential ad results and what competitors are doing to feed an algorithm that, with a human assist, comes up with headlines that are full of clickable, salient language that serves as bait for readers and search ads. (News is expensive to produce and not really a part of the formula because the company is looking for durable content, so “How to avoid a tiger attack” will have more value than, say, “Tiger’s not out of the woods, yet.”)
The topic is then fed into a central database where freelance writers sign up for the assignment. The articles they write are run through an automated plagiarism checker, an actual copy editor and posted on one of the company’s sites like eHow or LiveStrong.
The average article pays $15 to $20 — videos pay about $30 — but the company has had no trouble signing up 7,000 steady contributors to bid for the work. (Copy editors make about $3.50 for editing a story.)