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“Farmed content is fine”. I thought that was one of the major (intentional) victims of the Panda update. https://moz.com/learn/seo/google-panda

There are a few widespread scaled publishing operations like IAC which seems to be doing well with the split up of About.com & relaunching it as vertically focused branded sites, but the content farm business model died with the Panda update.

Some of the sites that were hit like Suite101.com went offline. eHow is still off well over 90%. ArticlesBase sold on Flippa for like $10k or some such. One of the few wins hiding in all the rubble was HubPages, but even they had to rebrand and split out sites & merged into a company with a market cap of about $26 million ... and the CEO of Hubpages is brilliant.

Even with IAC on some sites they are suggesting ad revenues won't be enough http://www.tearsheet.co/culture-and-talent/investopedia-laun... "As Investopedia charts its course as a media brand, it’s coming up against the roadblock all publishers eventually hit — the reality that display revenue alone won’t be enough. ... Siegel said he expects course revenue to exceed what’s generated from the site’s free content. While he wouldn’t say what the company’s annual revenue was, Siegel said it grew an average of around 30 percent for each of the last three years."

There is also other factors which parallel the panda update that further diminish the quick-n-thin rehash publishing business model - Google's featured snippets & knowledge graph pulling content into the SERPs so there is no outbound click on many searches - programmatic advertising redirecting advertiser ad spend away from content targeting to retargeting & other forms of behavioral targeting (an advertiser can use a URL as a custom audience for AdWords ad targeting even if that site does not carry any Google ads on it) - mobile search results have a smaller screen space where if there is any commercial intent whatsoever the ads push the organic results below the fold

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