Content Farm, Scraper Site or Community? Who’s Getting Paid for Your Content Web Series Creators?

Mingle Media TV Network is a member of the online web series community. We support web series, produced, live and have our entertainment reporting division where we cover festivals, red carpets, premiere’s and so on. We have grown our community online to support creators and we co-host weekly #WebSeriesChat with @Slebisodes and we participate in seminars and events held by WebSeriesNetwork.

We have LIVE web talk shows that are in their second year of production with a huge online audience and national sponsors. We are working with and will be rolling out a new program for web series producers to help them build and fund their series later this spring.

What we don’t do is TAKE your content off the web and promote it to bring traffic to our site. We ask you if we can host your series (curate it) we add you to our site, roster, and tweet your series out on a regular basis while exposing you to the daily traffic that come to our live, lifestyle talk shows and red carpet report. We create a branded page for YOUR series, we have links back to your blog, website, twitter and Facebook accounts and we even have Clicker.com check-in so people watching can share your show online. We do NOT put advertising on the content we feed to your show page and you do get those views in your YouTube channel from our site. Win-Win. As we expand our network and roll out our new program for web series creators this will be even more exciting as we want to help build visibility for your work and help you on the business side of the equation.

Mingle Media TV Network also sponsors the Audience Choice Awards for the New Media Film Festival… helping get more visibility for your series during the season leading up to the Festival event held in May in Los Angeles and their sister event in San Francisco in November. The festival also has monetization programs based on your content and the opportunities available.

Why am I writing this?

Today, I saw a tweet that followed the announcement of a partnership between Tubefilter and Sidereel.com. You can read about the community feedback regarding this topic on WebSeriesNetwork by clicking here. I’m not going to rehash that conversation here, what I am going to offer up is the BUSINESS side – reality of what is going on as I have heard many of you not understanding the impact to the community i.e. those out there like Mingle Media TV (using the example from today).

Side Reel Tweet - Tubefilter Partner

Side Reel Tweet - Tubefilter Partner - LINK BAIT

I saw this Tweet a few hours ago… we had 7 LIVE web shows during the past 5 hours so I was a little distracted and now am writing this post and what it means to me.

Mingle Media TV is a BRAND – it is one that we work very hard on developing… we do not endorse SideReel.com nor were we asked to offer our curated content to their site. Why would we? We curate, create, produce and promote content on our site we work long hours and support a community and now SideReel.com is taking our BRAND name and lending it to LINK BAIT (a method to grow traffic to your site using topics that “catch people’s attention”).

Who gets paid? Not Mingle Media TV Network – and not the content creator.

Did that wake you up? Yes, SideReel.com’s Tweet above using MY BRAND to get you to click on their link to their website landing page where TUBEFILTER’s brand was posted in a widget scrolling their feed but no where did you find MY BRAND or MyDamnChannel’s brand. What you did see if you scrolled down further on the page were the thumbnails to the shows that Tubefilter recommends from content on Mingle Media TV and MyDamnChannel. So who did the work to originally contact the CREATOR and get their permission to be on MMTVN? We did.

What’s on the page you linked to from the TWEET? Several display ads. Nothing to watch but then you click on the thumbnail and go to another page with several display ads and the web series. Of course, they have to pay for their site and the “SideReelAdam” Twitter person who link baits you to the site. But are they paying the creator? What deal do they have? Is this how SideReel.com and Tubefilter are supporting webseries? Linkbaits and content farms?

Here’s more of the business side of why this has irritated me and why YOU should also be concerned:

Last week, Google made a massive change to its index, known as the Farmer Update, which affected more than 12% of US search queries. Startup and small business that depend on search engine traffic to thrive and grow might notice some key changes as a result of the Google change:

  • Your rankings may have dropped
  • You may notice decreasing traffic from shorter phrases
  • You may notice your marketing efforts yielding diminishing returns

Who is Google Targeting?

  • Content Farm Examples: Demand Media, eHow, Huffington Post, Mahalo
  • Scraper Website Examples: Websites which scrape or steal content from other sites and then repost it — HMM, SideReel.com?

What does this mean? I’m putting on my propeller hat for this next section.

Search engines want to serve up quality, relevant search results. If you are competing with sites that use YOUR content without links back to YOU they are NOT building your brand, but using it to build theirs. Unless they are revenue sharing with you and you agree to it – you are getting ripped off. Google is taking steps to block or push back these sites so YOUR relevant content shows up on searches. For every site that has YOUR content and no reference back to help YOU build your audience and fan base, you are not #Winning (thanks Charlie Sheen for inspiring the right #word here). There are work arounds to everything and believe me – content farms and scraper sites are not your friends and they will keep changing things around. They have LOTS of ads and link bait people into clicking on an average of six (6) pages for every — ChaChing. Your page, not so much. No links back to your website, facebook, blog, twitter and no revenue share.

What should you do? Well, it doesn’t hurt that your content is being watched but you are not building an audience by linking to them and talking to them using Facebook, Twitter, your blog are you? Were you contacted and asked permission to have your content posted on their site? Are they displaying advertising on the pages to get to your content and NOT sharing that revenue with you? It’s up to you. Are you in this to partner with sites that promote you and do so without making money on your content without a revenue sharing model in place?

One more thing to think about, a Facebook fan is worth $136 on average. If people watch your content on scraper sites and LIKE them, and never know how to “like you” you are losing valuable fans and commerce for sponsorships. As I mentioned above, we will be rolling out a new, exciting program for web series creators who want to make this a business and are members of the MMTVN community. Conversely, banner ads serve up about $3-$10 per thousand views so these content farms and scraper sites need to have people click on 5-6 pages to get to the content they seek so they can serve up 5-6 ads per page x 6 pages (36 ads on average per visit – doesn’t make it hard to have millions of ads served up and paid to them when they link bait and have thousands of key-worded pages for people to click around on – and before you know it no one will see your content there because there is so much on that site it gets buried – so what is the value to you?).

MMTVN is not making money off of content creators on our site by doing this practice, it is not our business model, our focus is to help you build your brand and business… the business of entertainment. Feel free to comment or email me directly with any further questions.

- Stephanie, Executive Producer / CEO, Mingle Media TV Network