April 23, 2010
Keynote: The Q&A
If writers are audited often, who does that auditing? Kydd: Writers have to be vetted before they’re allowed to start creating content. When people get hired with Demand, they get access to a limited amount of content and articles, and we actually have real copyeditors keeping up with their progress. With our system of plagiarism checks and things like that, we’re able to weed out poor-performing content early in the process.
As a freelance writer, what would the be first step to getting a job? Kydd: Go to Demandstudios.com and click the big button that says “apply.” They’ll ask you for your resume, then one of our editors will take a look at that and get back to you.
How much do writers write and what do they get paid? You don’t have aspirations toward journalism, do you have journalistic benchmarks? Kydd: The average length of an article is 400 words, and price points range from $0 (on a revenue share basis) to $100s and $1000s of dollars of a particular assignment. Our writers say they make about $25 an hour. Our filmmakers make closer to $30 an hour.
In terms of benchmarks for traditional media, we try to follow a traditional editorial process. The only ones who call us journalists are journalists. We think we’re a media company. We create videos and articles, and it’s all ad-supported. We don’t do investigative journalism, we want to create relevant content that enriches people’s lives, and we try to follow a model that is ethical.
Have you made efforts to cater to the Spanish community?
Kydd: To date, we don’t have sites in Spanish. We just haven’t gotten there yet, we’ve had our heads down to get our sites running in the US. We have experimented with Spanish language videos, and we’ve found that those Spanish language videos get more hits than our English videos. The monetization on Spanish language has been lower than our English videos, so once that changes, we’ll focus more on it.
Where do you get the data you have?
Kydd: First and foremost, we look at all types of data: search, social media, monetization, etc. We have millions visitors on our own websites, and we’re the largest provider on YouTube, so we have all kinds of data from those sites alone. We have an R&D team that takes data, listens to to it, and massages it into what we can understand. If we don’t think we can get a return investment on a piece of content, we won’t do it. We won’t guess. If we don’t have the data to prove that we can’t get a return on the investment, we won’t do it. That’s why we don’t do investigative journalism. We’re gonna use the data to do what we’re really good at today.
Have mainstream media outlets not been aggressive enough in using analytics? Kydd: There are many mainstream media outlets doing great things. I think our partnership with USA Today is a great example of what we can do with a partnership. It allows them to do what they’re good at and us to do what we’re good at.