Guestpost Dennis Goedegebuure: Content behind the pay wall

Wed 27 January 2010 11:00, Bas van den Beld

Guestpost Dennis Goedegebuure: Content behind the pay wall

His blog "thenextcorner" seems to be just around the corner. In fact Dennis is far away from here, he is Search specialist at E-Bay and therefore is resided in San Jose. I was lucky enough to visit the E-Bay campus there once and talk to him there. Originally Dutch he is also someone we can be proud of. Be sure to follow his blog, he makes some pretty sensible posts there.

Dennis looks in his post at content on the web, he thereby adresses the pollution of the web, both with all the duplicate content out there, but also the content which newspapers are so eager about getting behind a paid wall.

Guestpost Dennis Goedegebuure: Content behind the pay wall

The future of the Internet as we know it today is changing at a rapid pace. Too much content is blatantly copied and recycled, too many SERP’s show just irrelevant content and too many big companies see the ROI in cheap content creation for fast advertising money! You are getting ripped off every day! Either your content will get stolen, you get confused by the misinformation you will find by doing a simple search or you get ripped off by spending some precious minutes of your life reading crap. You will never get those minutes back!

For most of 2009, I have been enjoying the battle between Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers versus Google. (I love Danny’s write up; Dear WSJ: To Avoid Google Disease, Please Put A Condom On Your Content) The fact that The New York Times will be moving to a metered model in 2011 might be the start of the move to the pay wall solution which should save the newspapers. Good for them… If the newspapers move behind a pay wall or not, I couldn’t care less, I get my news anyways. News through Twitter, news through Internet radio, News through blogs or even news through the traditional paper in the café while drinking a cup of coffee.

No, what I think is more interesting is that more and more quality content is moving behind pay walls all around us. I’m talking about the quality content which was previous free available on blogs, monetized through either advertising and/or sponsorship. A number Bloggers and online experts who started a couple of years ago, building an online brand and readership, going pro after making more money in ad sales than in a normal day job, are now moving away from publishing their best content online. Paid forums, e-books or real paper books are becoming more and more their ways of monetizing their expertise and online brand.

Content pollution and robbery

Why are they moving their best content and communities behind a pay wall? Why would you pay to get access to their attention and learn from them in a more private setting? These experts in their respective fields have always been real accessible for you to post your questions or read their tactics. Now these same guys are putting up a pay wall to protect their thoughts, ideas and best content. Protect it from what…?

Protect from the scrapers, the copycats and the MFA splogs. These days, there is an army of scrapers out there who will gladly take the pennies they can earn with your content by copying and republishing it. Even a couple of dollars for a few days will make it worth it to slam a Wordpress blog on a fresh or recycled domain, where scraped or slightly modified content can be republished. As long as these sites are getting their fair share from the search engines AND are able to monetize through easy advertising programs, more people will choose to either stop publishing their best thoughts online, or put a pay wall up.

(click on picture to enlarge on flickr)

SEObook blog is still giving plenty of great free content, but the real gems can be found behind the pay wall. Same with the Problogger blog. You can read almost everyday new posts, but the real learning takes off when you start paying for the access to the Problogger community, and can learn from all your fellow bloggers AND from Darren!

From Search Engine to Scrape Engine

Content from sites like SEObook, Problogger or other well known sites is getting ripped, scraped and butchered until the robbers have squeezed the last out of it that makes them money. And worst is, it seems to work well for them, otherwise it would not happen.

Of the first top 100 results on image here; there are 23 duplicates of a post from SEObook. Next to the 23 scraped copies, you can find 7 results for Twitter or blog aggregators which copy the exact post title and some of the content. Al together for a 30%of pollution of the SERP’s.

And that on a search term nobody would ever look for, let alone be able to type it with the correct spelling!

2010 The Year Quality Content Goes Behind The Pay Wall

While the competition for position 1 – 10 on the SERP’s is heating up, companies are doubling down on creating good enough content to get the traffic into the door, while pulling every SEO trick out of the book the SEO consultant is telling them, the real quality content will only be accessible by paying for it.

The SERP’s will never be the same after the best content disappears from being accessible to the crawlers. We will get back to how we researched topics before Google was here, going to the library, looking for information among friends or… paying for it! 

Dennis Goedegebuure is an in-house SEO at eBay. The above post are my personal opinions and do not represent those of my employer.

Guestpost_Dennis_Goedegebuure_small
About Dennis Goedegebuure

"Within eBay Dennis is responsible for Search Engine Optimization of all eBay sites Globally. Managing the in-house SEO team since 2007, developing the long term Natural Search strategy for eBay.

Started at eBay with limited Internet marketing experience. Setting up the Internet marketing strategy for eBay in the Benelux. He was involved in the purchase of Marktplaats.nl and integrating the two teams. Setting up the Internet marketing strategy for Marktplaats has been the primary focus for 2005. Moved to the US into an international Marketing function beginning of 2006."

Dennis can be found:

On Twitter
On his weblog (English and Dutch)
On Google


  • Comments (5)
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Comments (5)

 

  • Nice post, Dennis, and although somewhat pessimistic I like your angle. It would be sad if this is the future of quality content..

    What are your thoughts on the First click free program in this context?

    Wo 27 jan 2010, 13:50


  • Nice article. Thanks for interesting reading

    Wo 27 jan 2010, 18:41


  • @Eduard,

    First click free program is maybe great for News sites and content that is timely based. If the newspapers think that is the solution to their problems, their in even bigger shit than I would think.

    I'm more referring to the fact that more and more people who used to share ideas, test results or best practices for free, are getting sick off being ripped off by the scrapers, and seek other means to monetize their expertize.

    Wo 27 jan 2010, 20:52


  • @Dennis I think it is a great post and I think that you make a good point. I have also noticed how much of the good content is going behind the pay wall (and rightly so). But what keeps 'a scraper' from buying the ebook or joining the pay forum and then 're-write' parts of the content and post it to his or her free blog? Not much I think. The only thing that could keep him or her from doing this, is that he or she is too tight to pay for the content in the first place...but when he or her hears about how other people generate quality traffic by using this method, it will become a practice that spreads. What then?
    I think it's a vicious circle that we cannot get out of. At the end of the day, the people with the real knowledge and the ones that make serious money with a blog (or anything else online) will keep it nice and quiet and cash in while it lasts. When their method catches on and becomes mainstream, they will have to come up with something else...that's how I see it at least.

    Do 28 jan 2010, 00:06


    • Marion Houtkamp

    As your mother I am very proud off you!! Go on, my son!

    Vr 29 jan 2010, 10:04

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