Unfortunately, as dictated by our current system of content search, we live in an era where SEO and page views dictate what is monetizable and what isn’t worth spending time creating. It’s depressing, yes. But will it change for the better? I believe so. For now, the creators of the Fake AP Stylebook give us a recipe for laughter in the time of keywords.
Created by Fake AP Stylebook writers Ken Lowery and Matt Wilson, The Content Farm is a website that produces parodies such as How to Eat an Orange (Swallow.Do this with your throat.), How to Pour Milk (Tip: Before you do anything else, you should buy some milk.), How to Repair a 1987 Buick LeSabre (Sounds are the most important indicators of a problem with a car, but smells can be useful too. For instance, if your car’s exhaust smells like pizza, there is a pizza in the tailpipe.) and How to Know You’re Alive (Touch a puppy’s nose. Is it wet?).
Lowery and Wilson started The Content Farm on Tumblr in late January as a test run. After its success, they launched the official website last Thursday, March 10th, 2011. TNW sits down with The Content Farm’s Editor Matt Wilson.
CBM: Why did you launch?
MW: Ken and I both are writers, professionally. In the process of looking for writing jobs most of what we came across were listings for jobs in content farms. Posts like “How do I fix a refrigerator?” Etc. I wrote a parody of a content farm article on “How to have a good day,” and when we were talking about different stuff we could do, we hit on the idea of a fake content farm. It just went from there. Thankfully, neither of us have actually worked for a real one.
CBM: What are you trying to do with The Content Farm? Perhaps become what The Onion is to newspaper journalism but for content farms?
MW: I don’t know if we’re aiming to be anything. Much like Fake AP Stylebook this is something we started to amuse ourselves and do something fun. I don’t know if we could become an Onion because I don’t know how long content farms are going to be around. They exist because of idiosyncracies in terms of what search is right now. And I don’t know if that’s what search will be a year from now. I hope content farms exist far into the future so I can keep parodying them, but that’s just the comedian in me talking.
CBM: Not seeing any ads…Are you planning to make money off the site?
MW: No, we’re not making money and here’s where I want to be careful. This is not to say we won’t have an ad on the site in the future, but one thing we really want to make sure is that we do not become what we’re parodying. That is to say, we don’t want to do 30 posts a day or be covered up in ads. We don’t want to churn out the same jokes over and over again just so people will search and find us. If we were to become that it would be the ultimate in pretzel logic. We want to write articles that are funny and put a new spin on things so we’re sticking to a one article a day schedule.
While Wilson and Lowry originally did the bulk of the writing for the site, they now have a dozen Fake AP Stylebook writers contributing as well. The Content Farm is currently just a hobby as both Wilson and Lowry hold down full time writing gigs.
Someone give these guys a book deal! Until then, follow them on Twitter here.