GET THE INTERNET YOU DESERVE • The Register

Suspension To see where this truck is headed, let’s first follow the wreckage trail.

It’s hard to keep track of it, but the traces of Internet content factories, which thrived until about 2010, are still readily visible.

The net effect of content being generated at a rate of ten to thirty pieces a day on niche topics—all by non-specialists via the guiding hand of Google Trends—has led to an internet that, by 2010, was saturated with slavish (if not inconsequential) articles. Full of keywords offering little useful information and in many cases, a lot of advice and information that was simply not true.

And because content factories naturally generate more content factories (and why not when the worst associated content is sold to Yahoo! for $100 million), what happened next was inevitable. The new content companies parroted what they found into the larger content factories, using the internet of the time as a training set, so to speak. The cycle of bad articles with few or worse, imprecise details repeated over and over until it became difficult to tell one article apart from another unless it was found on one of the few edited and reputable sites.

The name of the game for these early content companies was abstract the sound. Ad network revenue (Google Adsense, etc.) was already declining by 2005 but with thousands, if not millions of articles, each generating three cents a day, it wasn’t bad money. For a content mill of 200,000 articles, this was a tidy $2 million business with very low overheads. Hosting wasn’t expensive, web design was easy using open source CMS tools like WordPress, Drupal etc, and most importantly (and ultimately most disastrous) content could be purchased in bulk for only cents per article from third party stores.

This form meant that the internet was quickly flooded with poorly written nonsense, much of it still searchable in original form or even poorly reworked. Google had to start stepping up their game to filter this out and figure out how to deliver quality in content versus the magic keyword combination that content manufacturers can exploit.

The issues with content mills are obvious, especially all these years later, but they’ve all been on a human scale with limited “slow” writers and keyword users. The future presents us with a new issue – one that could shatter how we use the Internet forever.

Let’s do some math

Assume it’s 2006 and you’re in the content mill business. You are at the top of your game. You have a team of 100 writers in India who earn the equivalent of $10 a day writing and publishing twenty 400-word pieces (topics dictated by Google keyword trends data vs. experience, etc.).

Your daily salary costs are around $1,000. Every day your content mill publishes 2,000 pieces of “unique” content 365 days a year, and each of those articles, assuming good search engine ranking (which can easily be manipulated with keyword tricks at the time), will each produce three cents per day.

And while we use nice, rounded numbers for ease of use, consider these yearly numbers (yearly because you only need to run this business for a year, the Adsense money comes in no matter what, at least for a while):

The salary for writers who create, publish, and tag 20 articles per day would cost you $365,000 annually. They generate 730,000 pieces of content at $10.95 apiece over the course of a year (assuming three cents per day for 365 days). And all of this, which is easy for you, Mr. Western content, means you have a business that brings in about $8 million a year.

Oh. But you have to bring up hosting and such. Let’s call that five thousand. The big ugly cost? All these “extravagant” writers. and think of yourself, who needs them?

Well, you don’t.

Because there’s a new business model for content factories, boy. And while their predecessors in the early 2000s made the internet annoying and full of spam articles that hit keywords and word count targets without saying anything at all, this article is annoying enough to turn the internet into complete trash. And not just trash from a content perspective, but from an overall perspective of how an Internet business works.

S mode in IoS

This new business model is already emerging. You’ve probably read a lot of articles that are generated by GPT or similar AI models. The reason you may not have noticed is that they are not bad. you too Think They’re not bad, but that’s because you’re weaned on the Internet of shit (IoS) brought about by content factories, which have trained us to lower our expectations when it comes to consuming information.

The problem is that these AI-generated articles have to get their information from somewhere in a size sufficient to adequately reproduce new information hidden in slightly more eloquent language. And where do AI training algorithms get all of this? From IoS, of course.

If we do more calculations, let’s assume that 10 percent of the training data derived from IoS contains factual errors. As the AI ​​trains, then retrains, and retrains, these errors increase. and mount. And compounded within a decade of retraining on bad, weird, weirdly worded, and increasingly incomprehensible data, we’re really left with IoS.

And the math is very important again – and so is the size.

A single content mill operator on the scale of a Western Content Lord, for example, can use free tools to create content as fast as human operators can deliver it into a simple sentence. The same team of 100 workers can input 300 pieces per day.

They don’t write it, they just ask ChatGPT. They can ask it for keywords like mofo and generate keywords too, for that matter. Ultimately, this ChatGPT process (as one of many examples) will contain API hooks to publish the output directly to WordPress or whatever CMS Content Lord chooses.

When the standardization of the AI ​​platform into a CMS is complete, so is the circle: the Internet just talks to itself.

Race to the bottom

What Lord and Western competitors don’t realize is how quickly this race to the bottom — and soon — will begin.

Google Adsense and every other ad network on the planet will recognize the flood and reduce what they pay per click or view to almost nothing. And then there would be none, but not before Google and its ilk scrambled to blacklist known AI content factories. But many of them will appear very, very quickly. It would be easier for Google, for example, to create a safe list of known publishers backed by lumbering humans.

amazing, You think, Balance has been restored! not much.

To keep up with all the innovations in search that drive IoS results down would cost Google money, billion-dollar-scale AI training, and significant, frequent retraining of the internet suite. This body will get infected fast and furious and how do the search giants pay for all this search innovation? Through advertising revenue.

It may seem that search advertising giants like Google are holding their nose and accepting content mill results in the queue because it is in their economic interest to do so. But what if the amount of “acceptable” content shrank by 95 percent?

Exponential rate of online pronunciation

We return again to the topic of mathematics and scale and this is to address the most important point: information risk is an exponential problem. A single chain of errors generated, then repeated by content factories for a decade, means that these problems are trained in a core AI language model from the Internet pool and reinforced.

Living in the age of fake news is one partly because, for most thinking people, it’s obviously fake. When the Internet repeats a mistake too often, it becomes true and this is the most insidious spin-off of all this.

It would make me, personally, feel better to end this piece with some sort of “fight the force” message but honestly, at this point the cat is out of the bag. Content mills can be satisfied with per-article revenue which is measured on a plan over five years worth and may amount to just 0.5 cents over the term. But who cares, right? It’s free money. Hosting is cheap, the CMS is free, and as long as there’s advertising money, it’s well worth the passive income effort.

This is the internet you deserve, it seems. ®

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