Associated Content (AC) is a familiar name to freelance web content writers as one of the original websites in order to get paid for articles. Associated Content was bought by Yahoo in 2010 and morphed into Yahoo Voices. What was the old AC like? Clicking onto an AC article, even my own, can be a bit of a gamble as to what will turn up.
One of the main rules of website design is “don’t make the web surfer think.” Anyone clicking onto a link should be taken to a site where it’s easy to ascertain if the needed information is there. The pages of AC articles were incredibly busy and so crammed with ads and links to other articles that it’s very difficult to tell where the actual content begins and ends.
AC used the same font for articles as they do for ads or for links to other places on the site. Except for the top banner and the tiny print for comments, this made it even more difficult to determine what is advertising and what the actual content is. There was very little room allotted for content, so that means any web surfers have to click on yet another page to read more of the article – if they could find it.
AC also devotes a large space for comments. Why? This is so other AC writers can share “link love” and try to promote their own AC articles. This is also a place that inevitably gets hit with spam, lunatics and even more spam. Even Yahoo got tired of the comments and deleted all comments on site from 2005 to 2011.
Other content broker websites like Helium and even some online newspapers do not bother with comments. What the article’s rating is makes a significant comment in and of itself. Comments on AC were usually superfluous and did not add to the content of the original article (to put it kindly.)
The content quality was sporadic at best on AC. Anyone could post anything they wanted on AC and, unlike Wikipedia, it rarely got taken down unless it was pornographic. There were no editors on AC, unless it’s for articles being sold exclusively to AC. These exclusive articles only made up a tiny fraction of the actual AC article library.
Although AC writers were fiercely loyal to defend AC’s practices, this lax practice of “anything goes” made for some really dodgy reading material. In one click, you can go from a well-presented, researched article to a rant done in a language that even Babelfish couldn’t translate. Since Yahoo purchased AC, the worst articles have been purged.
AC did allow writers to download copyrighted and non-copyrighted images, but the writer has no way of determining what the image will look like when it is finally published. The AC image library software randomly focused on strange areas of a picture, which can leave readers scratching their heads as to what they’re supposed to be looking at.
One thing that Yahoo got right was to fix this image problem. The editors also delete any images that are copyrighted or not taken by the article’s author.