AC · Associated Content · web writing

Something is Missing Here

One thing Associated Content is missing is the right ear (or in digital terms, eye) in the right place. Of course, they have their business plan and their own priorities (i.e. making money, they’re a business after all), but they have overlooked a very valuable resource: their content producers.

AC casts the CP into one, narrow role, that of a word mill. Their business model allows no mechanism to draw on the CP’s other vast talents. I’ve been impressed with the wealth of knowledge of the CP community. Some are top-notch programmers and web geeks. Others display an in depth understand on a variety of topics. I can tell that this is more than just a writer’s understanding and that many are professionals in their field who just happen to be good writers.

AC is sitting on a gold mine of knowledge outside the writing format. If they could figure out a way to give a voice and an ear to that knowledge, they could make amazing strides. The first place that comes to mind is the AC forum. Sure there are the obligatory newbie questions and some whining here and there, but there are some real gems in that thar forum. If Associated Content could figure out a way to data mine the forum or develop another feedback avenue, they’d handspring over the competition.

AC suffers from small-business syndrome. They hire just enough people to do the job at hand. They don’t have anyone innovating or working outside their very narrow job description. You can’t blame them. That’s how most companies work. “Let’s make money today. Today is the only day that matters. The quarterly report is our only goal.”

It is a constant frustration to the CP community that AC doesn’t respond to questions. Emails go unanswered. Forum post get ignored. A voiceless populous is an disgruntled body. No one is asking them to reveal their strategic plan. We’re only asking to be listened to or at least have some one nod knowingly as we voice our concerns. At the very least, they could add some way to contact their technical team with bugs. Even the most basic web sites have a way to contact the webmaster.

So a little brainstorming couldn’t hurt. What’s it take to get the most bang for your buck? How can AC really leverage the minds they have?


9 thoughts on “Something is Missing Here

  1. I agree AC is looking at short term goals, but I find their recent promo to recruit CPs interesting (encouraging CPs to recruit within their organizations and AC will make a donation). It’s almost as though they want to give back to the community, which signifies long-term goals. I don’t think they’re doing it for the tax write-off but for brand awareness: they are “the People’s Media Company.”

    I have some other thoughts about AC, but this is your blog :)

  2. I’m more cynical than you, Jenn. I’d want to know what kind of donation they’re talking before I’m willing to label the gesture anything but self-serving. To me, it sounds like they just want more people to write about organizations that are apt to get AC lots of hits through Google searches.

  3. I can only speak for myself, but the lack of communication or even acknowlegement when CP’s ask specific, justified questions is the biggest reason I don’t get more involved with AC. Each time I’m ready to jump in with both feet there’s a failure to follow up on something, they take the avatars off the forums,or just plain disregard very valid questions from those they should be accountable to–The CP’s. It also seems the promotion is pretty one-sided. They expect the CP’s to promote the hell out of AC, but they do very little in promoting other than a select few of the CP’s. Just some thoughts…
    The Other DeYoung

  4. Now that I’m finished whining, I think the way AC could capitalize on the harvested collective knowledge and expertise of it’s CP’s is to have a random rotation on the front page, giving everyone (who meets quality standards) a shot at some of that exposure. This coupled with incentives to share information that many have spent years and paid dearly to obtain. Is it right to ask someone to share their possibly unique expertise for $4.32? It would also seem they could improve their standing in the community by catering to those who write quality, informed articles that aren’t necessarily celebrity or keyword rich, instead of expecting us to play in the same sand box as the kids who poop their pants. I’m not likely to spend hours on an article only to be upstaged by the regurgitation of Britney’s latest adventure that someone copied off the cover of STAR. I have some dignity.

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