May 4 2017 Editor Assistance Newsletter
Something momentous just happened in our webspace. About.com folded. They transferred some of their content into six brand new sites. One is a health site. One is a tech site. One is a cooking site, and so on. The About.com CEO figured they were about to die anyway and it's either this or completely crash.
Here's some news (it might wrap in your email system so cut and paste the whole thing to read the article) -
It's a fairly momentous occasion. I used to be About.com's wine guide - from way back when they were just The Mining Company and were all about gathering up links. Then they rolled over to become About.com to provide unique content. I wrote for them for many years until I dedicated myself fully to BellaOnline.com. I moved all my wine content into my own WineIntro.com site for safety. It turns out that was a good idea.
Their claim is that generic content doesn't sell any more. My counter would be that generic content NEVER sold. We have Wikipedia for that. What people want is personalized, uniquely written content from people they trust. Look at Huffington Post. That is a big site with lots of individual writers. It's going strong. Lots of similar sites are going strong. What fails are sites that have billions of ads that you have to read around in snake-like fashion to get to the actual content. About.com had gotten so atrocious that if I saw a result was going to send me to About.com I'd purposefully choose the next link down just to avoid them. Because that experience was so awful.
The key in modern times is friendly, trustworthy, easy to read content that can be read on a smartphone. Low ad load. The new About.com sites are smartphone friendly and far lower ad - and that seems to be a key reason they're working well. But they are all but removing the "who wrote this" aspect of the articles, which will just cause them harm again. Readers want to know whose content they're reading. We live in a world of Facebook and Twitter. Of making that personal connection. It is more important than ever.
Let me know if you have any questions about this. I feel even more proud of us, that we have outlasted About.com and so many others in our world. It shows the power of making personal connections and caring about our readers.
Lisa Shea, owner
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