You get the internet you deserve • The Register

comment To see where this garbage truck is going, let’s first follow the debris trail.

It’s hard to track, but the effects of the Internet content factories that flourished before 2010 are still visible.

The net impact of ten to thirty pieces of content created per day on specialized topics, all by non-experts, with the guiding hand of Google Trends, resulted in an internet that by 2010 was saturated with fluffy (if not pointless), keyword-stuffed articles that amounted to little. offers useful information and in many cases a lot of advice and information that was simply wrong.

And since content factories naturally begat more content factories (and why not when the worst crime associated content was sold to Yahoo! for 100 million dollars), what happened next was inevitable. Those new content companies simply parroted what they found in the larger content factories, using the internet of the time as a training set, so to speak. The cycle of bad articles, with little detail or worse, inaccurate detail, repeated itself over and over again until it became difficult to distinguish one article from another unless it was found on one of several edited, authoritative sites.

The name of the game for these early content companies was simple volume. Ad network (Google Adsense, etc.) revenues were already declining by 2005, but with thousands, if not millions, of articles generating three cents a day each, the money wasn’t bad. For a content factory with 200,000 articles, it was a neat $2 million business with extremely low overhead. Hosting wasn’t too expensive, web design was easy with open source CMS tools like WordPress, Drupal, etc., and most importantly (and ultimately the most disastrous) content could be bought from offshore stores for just cents per article.

This model meant that the internet was quickly flooded with poorly written nonsense, much of which is still searchable in its original form or even worse rehashed. Google had to start stepping up its game to filter around this and learn how to deliver quality content versus the magic keyword mix that content factories could use.

The problems with content factories are clear, especially after all these years, but it was all on a human scale, limited by “slow” writers and keyword users. The future presents us with a new problem that could disrupt how we use the Internet for good.

Let’s do a little math

Pretend it’s 2006 and you’re running a content factory business. You are on top of your game. You have a team of 100 writers in India who earn the equivalent of $10 a day to write and post twenty 400-word pieces (topics dictated by Google keyword trend data vs. expertise, etc.).

Your daily payroll costs are about $1,000. Every day your content factory publishes 2,000 pieces of “unique” content 365 days a year, and each of those articles, assuming good search engine rankings (which back then could easily be gamed with keyword tricks), would generate three cents each. day.

And while we’re using nice, rounded numbers for convenience, consider these yearly numbers (per year, since you only need to run this business for one year, the Adsense money comes in regardless, at least for a while):

The salary for writers who create, post and cite 20 articles a day is $365,000 per year. They generate 730,000 pieces of content that cost $10.95 a piece over the course of a year (assuming three cents a day for 365 days). And all that, which is pretty easy for you, Western Content Lord, means you have an annual income of about $8 million.

Oh But you have to remove the hosting etc. Let’s call that five grand. The big ugly costs? All those “expensive” writers. And you think to yourself. who needs them??

Well, you’re not.

Because, oh boy, is there a new business model for content factories. And while their early 2000s predecessors made the web annoying and full of junk articles that hit keyword and word count targets without saying anything at all, this one does enough to turn the web into complete garbage. And not just trash in terms of content, but also how the internet business works.

Placing S in IoS

This new business model is already being revealed. You have probably read many articles generated by GPT or similar AI models. The reason you probably haven’t noticed is because they’re not bad. Well you? to think they’re not bad, but that’s because you’ve been deprived of the Internet of Opinion (IoS) driven content production that has taught us to lower our expectations when it comes to information consumption.

The problem is that these AI-generated articles have to get their information from somewhere, with enough volume to adequately churn out new informational clones cloaked in slightly more verbose language. And where do AI learning algorithms get all this? From IoS, of course.

If we do more math, let’s assume that 10 percent of the training data from IoS contains factual errors. As an AI is trained and then trained and retrained, these errors increase. And a mountain. And multiplying, and after a decade of retraining bad, weird, weirdly worded, and increasingly incomprehensible data, we’re left with truly IoS.

And math is again paramount, and so is volume.

For example, a single content factory operator on the scale of Western Content Lord can use free tools to create content as fast as human operators can put it together with a simple prompt. That same team of 100 workers can enter 300 a day.

They don’t write, they just ask for ChatGPT. They can ask him to keyword stuff it as a mofo and generate keywords too, just in case. Finally, that ChatGPT process (as one of many examples) will have API hooks to publish the results directly to WordPress or whatever CMS Content Lord chooses.

Once the integration of the AI ​​CMS platform is complete, the circle is complete. the internet is just talking to itself.

Race to the bottom!

What Western content Lord and competitors do not realize is how quickly the race to the bottom will begin, and soon.

Google Adsense and every other ad network on the planet will recognize the flood and reduce what it pays per click or view. And then it would be nothing, but not before Google and others scrambled to blacklist popular AI content factories. But there will be too many that pop up too quickly. It would be easier for Google, for example, to create a safe list of popular publishers supported by ravers.

great, you think balance has been restored! Not so much.

Keeping up with all the search innovation that drives IoS results for you will cost Google money, AI training on a billion-dollar scale, and significant, frequent training in the Internet Corps. That corpus will be infected fast and furiously, and how are the search giants paying for all that search innovation? Through advertising revenue.

Search advertising giants like Google may seem to hold their noses and queue for content curation results because it’s in their economic interest to do so. But what if the pool of “acceptable” content is cut by 95 percent?

The exponential rate of misrepresentation on the Internet

We return again to the subject of mathematics and volume, etc., to address the most important point. information risk is an exponential problem. A series of mistakes created and then repeated by content factories over a decade means that these problems are trained from the Internet corpus into the basic AI language model and reinforced.

Living in an age of fake news is one thing, because to most thinking people, it’s obviously fake. When the internet repeats a mistake often enough, it becomes the truth, and that’s the most insidious coincidence of all.

Personally, I’d feel better if I ended this segment with some kind of “fight the power” message, but honestly, the cat’s out of the bag at this point. Content factories can settle for earnings per article that are measured over a five-year plan and can amount to as little as 0.05 cents per term. But who cares, right? It’s free money. Hosting is cheap, CMS is free, and as long as there’s advertising money, passive income is worth the effort.

This is the internet you deserve, apparently. ®

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