Associated Content’s Latest Boneheaded Enhancement


Don’t get me wrong. I love to write. I put research and thought into my writing. I write on the web and know that hyperlinking has been around since the web began. But there is a time and place for everything.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Associated Content. Finding it has encouraged me to write again after a long hiatus. I began publishing articles at AC for two reasons: they pay for most content and I thought they were about good writing.

Get me right. As it turns out AC is like most other web sites: Traffic! Traffic! Traffic! Now I can’t blame them. They are making money from the traffic, so more power to them. But their latest attempt a cross-linking articles is an ill conceived and poorly executed idea.

First, they did not announce the change and surprised everyone.

Second, it’s damned distracting. I couldn’t raise a chuckle at a normally funny guy, Lee Andrew, because AC had linked the words “Tom Cruise” over a dozen times in his latest humor piece.

Third, I commonly create links in my articles that are relevant to the content. How are my readers to know which links will take them to something I intended as useful or to AC’s search function?

Forth, what happens when I intentionally link something and AC comes behind me and replaces the link with their own?

So, I’m mad and anger usually doesn’t make for good writing, but I’ll post this anyway. Please be aware that the authors publishing on AC are not writing their articles this way. Be aware that some of your favorite AC writers may abandon their site for smarter publishers.

===============================UPDATED=============================

So tempers flared and ebbed, but things are not looking that much brighter. AC’s forum presence, M.S., got a binary ear-full today.

He promises that “we have collected the concerns and complaints around this [issue] and sent them over to tech. They are aware of the problems and are working with everyone’s suggestions in mind in order to improve the way the program works.”

Translation: “AC is committed to this change and though we screwed the pooch on the deployment, we hope the content providers will be patient.” Hopefully, the web developers at AC can write a more intelligent program that doesn’t blindly replace every keyword it finds with a SED command.

I’ve got one article in the pipeline and will wait for an offer on that before making my final call. I can live with this change if they can get it right, but won’t be giving AC much after this. We can only hide and watch.

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10 Comments

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  1. OMG! I haven’t written for AC for a few weeks, so I haven’t noticed that change. But you’re right, it’s distracting!

  2. I’m wishing that the AC folks would give us what we are asking for (page counters, etc) and stop coming up with these off-the-wall ideas that we don’t want.

  3. Very well put. I wonder how many good writers AC might lose over this change to gain more traffic.

    LV Paganini
    Freelance Writer

  4. I’m in agreement, too. VERY distracting and makes us look like a bunch of yahoos with links leading to unrelated content.

  5. Very eloquent, Barefoot. I wonder how many days, weeks, or months it will take of lower numbers of submissions and lower numbers of page views before they realize it was a horrible idea that needs to be undone. This change is most certainly going to discourage readers from going to AC for their information source.

  6. Amen! However, I wonder how many poor souls will click links in my articles now and be swished off to some other article like “How to Make a Bra Out of Old Saucepans” if I mention “sauce” just once.

  7. Glad you found us Katie! You Madonna wanna be. I’m beyond consternation with this mess.

  8. Figured I’d chime in here, Barefoot. I have refrained from saying anything on my blogs at this point, because prior to this, I have highly promoted AC to my writers in my blogs and forums… I don’t want to jump the gun (like AC did) and say something that ends up hurting my reputation as someone who provides writers with advice. I am taking a day or two to calm down from my obvious anger at how the whole thing was handled, and my 4 dollar offer on the same day from Mr. DW… This is a good entry, and you tried to be fair, but I’m just too upset with them to be fair now, so I’ll refrain from writing about it. Like you said, anger doesn’t usually make for good writing.

  9. I too find it extremely annoying and distracting. I thought it was just me. My most recent article is a train wreck thanks to that and them adding several words/exclamation points that make me sound like a teeniebopper on steroids. Yay.

    You know, if AC loses their writers…it’s going to be hard to have something to link. If they’re going to lower their standards this way, I should be able to get paid for humor and blog entries. After all, why not lower one’s standards universally? If they’re only interested in traffic, I could move my blog there. I have 150 people reading my blog. How’s that for traffic?

    I’m disappointed in AC, as are many others. Unfortunately, I doubt they’ll listen.

  10. I cannot stand the links. It makes the articles look horrible. And where the hell are the damn page counters?!?!?! Sorry ~clears throat~ But seriously, AC needs to get it together. I’m glad I found your site :) I love your articles and hope you keep publishing to AC.

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