More Reasons Not to Work for a Content Farm

A perfect environment for cranking out AOL content

I’m no fan of content farms. I’m not a fan of what they produce and I don’t think they offer a good environment to grow as a writer. In most cases, the money is nothing to get excited about either.

Now that two of the biggest content mills around have joined forces—AOL and Huffington Post—it’s getting even worse. If this article is true, the combined company will eliminate all its freelancers unless they want to join the blogger slave labor pool and write for free. Apparently everyone else cranking out their SEO copy, um, I mean travel stories, will be salaried office drones on one of the two coasts. These full-timers apparently are all jumping in a time machine. They’re getting hooked up with their very own cubicle and time clock—required to be at their desk at 9:00 a.m. Here’s the full ugly story: AOL shifts from freelance to full time.

I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like about the worst travel writing job ever. Shackled to the modern day sweatshop, writing about far away places you are just reading about on the Internet so you can put together some lame list article. At least at a newspaper or magazine office job you are spending at some time writing material that people will care about, not just search engine crap like top-10 lists and celebrity shout-outs. How can you sit at a desk and crank out that drivel 40 hours a week, under tight deadlines, and actually feel satisfied about where your life is headed?

If you feel differently, or even better if you’re getting a cubicle with your name on it at one of these places, tell us all about it in the comments. I’d love to hear what this mind-numbing job at a company nobody seems to like actually pays.

And here’s the real message: if you’re getting paid now from a competing farm like Suite 101, Associated Content, Demand Studios, About.com, or Examiner, are you prepared for a similar outcome?

[Flickr photo by Michael Lokner]

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