Effective & Scalable Automated Content Generation Strategies

Apr 16th

For years there have been a wide array of automated content creation solutions, from RSS recycling wordpress plugins, to open source content generators, to fake science paper generators, right on through to custom high end programming jobs used by financial firms like Thompson Financial.

The downfall of most automated content solutions is the perception that because it is automated it is spammy. But that perception may have changed recently, when the NYT published an article about Philip M. Parker. Mr. Parker created a sophisticated set of algorithms which has allowed him to automatically generate over 200,000 books.

He points out that once he has trained the computer to take data about past sales and make complex calculations to project future sales, each new book costs him about 12 cents in electricity. Since these books are print-on-demand or delivered electronically, he is ahead after the first sale, he said.

This video explains a bit more of the process

And when it comes down to content quality, a person who reviewed one of the books on Amazon.com, stated

“The book is more of a template for ‘generic health researching’ than anything specific to rosacea. The information is of such a generic level that a sourcebook on the next medical topic is just a search and replace away.” ... Mr. Parker was willing to concede much of what Mr. Pascoe argued. “If you are good at the Internet, this book is useless,” he said, adding that Mr. Pascoe simply should not have bought it.

So this is a case of self-proclaimed substandard production, and because he is first to market it is fine. But the profit margins are probably bigger than Google's. The commercial web is just over a decade old and this sort of technology already exists. Where will automated content generation be in 5 years? In 10 years?

The best publishers are focusing on building large growing communities. Content is becoming a commodity, as content without subscribers is worthless. As failing mainstream publishers follow in Mr. Parker's footsteps, small publishers stand no chance to compete unless they have an army of brand fans.

Published: April 16, 2008

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Comments

April 16, 2008 - 2:42pm

Interesting. One would think that the value in a book and content is when it comes from someone in particular and has had hard work put into it. Perhaps this automated content would be better labeled as some sort of "Study Guide" or "Resourceful Notes" or something. Many people shy away from referring to it not being spam when it is labeled and marketed as a full on book generated by machines.

April 16, 2008 - 2:45pm

Quite depressing that regurgitation of content in a more intelligent manner is now profitable. Won't the advent of programmes like this enable more small publishers to produce content?

I think this will drive the premium on quality original content higher still. However, long term (maybe 20 years +) perhaps AI will have reached the point where it can start drawing its own conclusions. Then we really become redundant!

And who will be leading the way with AI? Perhaps the company collecting huge amounts of data of every aspect of our lives? Google.

April 16, 2008 - 2:48pm

Won't the advent of programmes like this enable more small publishers to produce content?

But if they do not have as many signs of public trust as larger competitors how will they compete against the larger companies with more signals of trust and equal or better software?

April 16, 2008 - 3:15pm

Original content?

And will there also perhaps be a trend towards individual content creation software. Instead of going somewhere to get your content, perhaps your own "reader" (or perhaps that should be "writer") will create specialised content for you.

April 16, 2008 - 6:04pm

I won't lie this is some scary stuff you just showed me. Back to the drawing board I guess.

April 16, 2008 - 8:56pm

"However, long term (maybe 20 years +) perhaps AI will have reached the point where it can start drawing its own conclusions"

I doubt. 100 monkeys don't make Shakespeare (or Aaron ;)). I guess the automated content may look good enough to look real, but the talent is something more than that. I think such automated tools are a threat to everyone who publishes mediocre content though.

April 16, 2008 - 10:23pm

"I doubt"

If not 20, maybe 30, 40 or 50. I don't see AI grinding to a halt, but for the sake of my (and your) content creation, I hope it's longer rather than shorter!

April 16, 2008 - 9:26pm

Aaron,
I have been searching and searching and searching your website for information on how to remove the Rank Checker from my Firefox. Ever since I loaded it on to my Firefox, it has caused me browser issues.
No where on your site can I find information on how to do this. I am sorry to admit I am a novice in this regard and I need help.
Could you please post this information on your website somewhere, PLEASE, where people don't have to register to get it or to contact you?
Thank you

April 17, 2008 - 12:43am

smandel,

In firefox click tools (top menu) then click addons.
this will pop up a window with all your extensions you have installed. Just click the uninstall button for the extension and restart firefox.

April 17, 2008 - 1:04am

Thanks for the help rogerd :)

April 18, 2008 - 7:44am

What this guy demonstrates, more than anything, is the need for a POD-filter on Amazon and other book retailers.

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