David Kirkpatrick

July 27, 2010

One small step toward better internet content

And a giant leap for content producers (like myself, for instance.) The freelance writing world has been in crisis for a long while now, in part because of high unemployment. Anyone who’s taken freshman composition in college can suddenly declare themselves a freelance writer. The problem is you have to have clips to get work for the most part, and the easiest way to get clips is to work for nothing, or almost nothing, and go from there. Couple that dynamic with the internet’s need for content and unscrupulous business people who are more than happy to exploit people who want to write and you find a situation where companies are literally offering a penny-a-word or less for so-called SEO internet content. For writers, good luck on even finding the one-time bargain basement dollar-per-word rate for marketing communications. My current rates are down and my client list is a lot smaller than even a couple of years ago. Glad to see there’s some push back against this trend from places that might actually make a difference — search engines.

And if you’re looking at getting into freelance writing, I strongly, strongly urge you to avoid Demand Media, Suite 101, and the other content mills out there who are only going to exploit your talents, not pay you an even remotely a fair wage, and in the end leave with with clips that almost any legitimate media outlet will reject as more than worthless.

From the link:

Gabriel Weinberg, creator of upstart search engine Duck Duck Go (DDG), says that some time ago users requested that he remove from results from eHow.com. The site is owned by Demand Media, a $200 million a year “content farm” that produces 4,000 articles a day by playing freelance writers to churn out articles at bargain basement rates, based on what people are searching for and how much ads those search terms are worth.

Knowing little about the site and the discussions swirling around the quality (or lack thereof) of its content, Weinberg wasn’t moved to act on those requests until he discovered evidence that Demand Media, which owns eHow.com, was buying up domains for legitimate businesses and redirecting them to their own content.

“It pushed me over the edge,” says Weinberg.

December 19, 2008

David Kirkpatrick on Squidoo

Filed under: Business, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:54 pm

That’s right. I’ve entered the dark lands of Squidoo lenses. To date I’ve created two  — SEO website content and corporate ghost blogging. Both lenses are intended to lightly cover the subject and advertise my services for both writing disciplines.

Go check ’em out, and if you are interested in contracting for either writing service be sure to get in touch. Both are commercial specialties of mine and I’m always happy to get in contact with potential clients.

You can find my blog post on SEO website content here. Find my contact information in the “about” page on this blog.

September 4, 2008

GMAC Financial Services making major changes

A major shakeup at Residential Capital LLC was announced Wednesday. This is of personal interest to me because GMAC Home Finance, a part of that entire financial group, is a client of mine. I’ve made considerable content contributions to the GMAC Real Estate website.

From the WSJ link:

Residential Capital LLC hopes a $1 billion facelift will revive the struggling mortgage lender.

But the nips and tucks — including cutting jobs, closing offices and exiting from business lines — will sharply curtail ResCap’s ability to lend and its potential to earn money.

ResCap’s plan to slash expenses, announced Wednesday, could lead to savings of $1 billion each year starting in 2009, according to a company official. In 2007, it had total expenses of $3.86 billion, so a reduction of $1 billion would shave more than a quarter off ResCap’s noninterest costs — an ambitious goal.

The company, one of the nation’s largest lenders to borrowers with patchy credit, and its parent, GMAC Financial Services, have been struggling to turn around ResCap’s fortunes. The company has suffered as more homeowners in the U.S. fall behind on their mortgages and property values continue declining.

ResCap, which has bled red ink for the past seven quarters, lost $4.3 billion in 2007.

GMAC, the financing arm of General Motors Corp., is part-owned by the auto maker after a consortium led by private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, parent of Chrysler LLC, bought 51% of GMAC in 2006 for about $14 billion. GMAC has spent time and funds restructuring the firm, including capital injections, prior job cuts and an overhaul of the business. But the losses have continued to mount at ResCap.

Update 12/11/08 — Looks like GMAC may be facing bankruptcy.

From the link:

The once-mighty financial arm of General Motors GM is staring at the makings of its own economic ruin. With about $1 billion in debt payments due in January and nowhere near enough money to pay the bills, the lending company is teetering perilously close to Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its own lenders.

GMAC, formerly General Motors Acceptance Corp., has put more Americans behind the wheel of a new car than any other financial service company. And as recently as the first half of 2007, it was the nation’s ninth biggest writer of home mortgages — nearly half of which went to subprime borrowers.

As defaults on those loans rocketed and the credit market froze, GMAC slapped a ban on all further lending to anyone except those with the highest credit scores. It also started casting around for a way to keep the business afloat.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So when the government offered up $700 billion in emergency funds to keep money flowing through the nation’s banks, GMAC decided to tap into that cash by recasting itself as a bank holding company.

To qualify as a bank, however, GMAC needed to show the Fed it has at least $30 billion in regulated capital. So it offered its creditors a massive debt-for-equity swap.

The plan went over like a lead balloon. Fewer than 25% of GMAC’s creditors signed up for the swap when closer to 75% were needed to make its bank plan work. This means the marketplace just declared GMAC yet another subprime borrower.

July 16, 2008

Google’s ranking analytics

Filed under: Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:34 pm

One of my commercial specialties is SEO website content and I’ve blogged about the concept and techniques. One aspect of SEO that is always something of a mystery is the various analytics used by search engines, particularly by the big dog, Google.

Here’s a post on the official Google blog titled, “Technologies behind Google ranking.” Interesting stuff on what they’re doing over in Mountain View. Should be of interest to anyone who uses Google, and particularly of interest to anyone involved in any of the various aspects of search engine optimization.

From the second link:

In my previous post, I introduced the philosophies behind Google ranking. As part of our effort to discuss search quality, I want to tell you more about the technologies behind our ranking. The core technology in our ranking system comes from the academic field of Information Retrieval (IR). The IR community has studied search for almost 50 years. It uses statistical signals of word salience, like word frequency, to rank pages. (See “Modern Information Retrieval: A Brief Overview” for a quick overview of IR technology.) IR gave us a solid foundation, and we have built a tremendous system on top using links, page structure, and many other such innovations.

Search in the last decade has moved from give me what I said to give me what I want. User expectations from search have rightly increased. We work hard to fulfill the expectations of each and every user, and to do that we need to better understand the pages, the queries, and our users. Over the last decade we have pushed the technologies for understanding these three components (of the search process) to completely new dimensions.

February 19, 2008

SEO website content

Filed under: Business, et.al., Media, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:36 am

SEO (search engine optimization) website content is a unique animal in the world of writing and content. This post is an example of SEO content. Not to give away the farm (this is among my commercial specialties), this post will exceed 250 words and the writing will be roughly middle-school aged reading level, contain easy to digest paragraphs and will not suffer from spelling or crippling grammatical errors.

The concept of SEO goes far beyond content. There’s a great deal of back-end technology and coding involved in building a SEO website, but the “face” the end user sees is the writing (and, of course, design elements.) Search engine algorithms take this into account, and web page creators now take much more notice of the content than was the case even three or four years ago.

I’ve done SEO website content for companies ranging from start-ups to global giants. A lot of these companies had existing content that was, “just thrown up there,” with little thought. Some smaller companies had major errors in existing website content, larger companies had some sloppy writing among other problems. The common theme was these companies didn’t think about the search engine impact of the website content.

That has all now changed. Most everyone in the game understands there’s more to building SEO websites than meta tags and other coding tricks. Online writing that meets a few certain criteria — a lack of overt mistakes is an important feature — helps a site gain search engine traffic. And there SEO website content was born.

Another trick is to provide crosslinks within a site to connect all the content. An example is this link. It leads to the “about” page on this blog. That page contains a way readers can get in touch with me. If you are looking for SEO website content and found this page, I’d have to say this SEO content was successful. Head over to my “about” page and get in touch. I bet I can help you with any SEO website content needs you might have.