You've heard of "family farms" and "wind farms," but what about "content farms?"
"Content farms" are websites that encourage freelance authors to write hundreds, even thousands of articles on any topic that seems to be in the news at any given time. These articles often are written at a very cursory level and are usually of little value to most researchers. Still, they tended to rank highly in Google's search results because articles had a lot of linking between one another. Ultimately, they served the purpose of delivering viewers to the ads that appeared on the pages with the articles. Recently, Google announced
that they are changing their searching program so that it lowers the rank (and thus, the visibility) of results from such sites. While Google hasn't officially released a list of what sites will be most affected, many expect that eHow
and Associated Content
(interestingly, run by Yahoo!
) are probably two of the main targets.
Many analysts think that this will improve the quality
of Google's search results. This, however, remains to be seen! Also, owners of many of the sites that may be blocked are declaring that their sites are of more value than Google admits. In the meantime, if you want to find resources that are completely free of content-farm-created documents, remember the library! We have access to lots of magazine and journal articles on this topic
(you may need to enter your library card number and last name to see the full article).