Good Content Doesn't Get Buried By Bad Content

from the make-more-good-content dept

We've heard a particular argument a few times about the fact that just about anyone can create content thanks to new tools of creation, distribution and promotion and that all this new content somehow "buries" the good content. We have no doubt that much new content being produced is, in fact, pretty bad. I've never quite understood the argument, though, that bad content harms good content. You just have to ignore the bad content and follow the good content. What that means is that the world just needs good filters, and we keep seeing more and more of those showing up every day. In the music world, there's a ton of new music being produced all the time -- and much of it isn't to my liking. But at the same time I feel like I'm living in renaissance of wonderful music, because I'm able to find fantastic new music all the time via a variety of tools: friends, blogs, Spotify, Turntable.fm, Pandora, and even a few cool (small) record labels who I follow because they release a ton of music I like.

Apparently the same sort of argument is going on among elitists in the ebook world. Thankfully, JA Konrath has jumped into the debate and brought some sense to the world, explaining how authors shouldn't complain about all the new ebooks coming out:
First of all, there are billions of paper books on planet earth right now, but there was never any talk about being too many, or worries the paper market was saturated. What a ludicrous concept.

Author: Do you want put publish my new book?

Publisher: I'm sorry, but there are already too many books. We can't print anymore.

Silly, ain't it?
Furthermore, he points out that research has shown that people who have ebook readers actually tend to read more books than those who read paper books -- suggesting that the market for books is expanding. And, he notes that's likely to continue as ebook readers continue to sell quickly (outpacing the number of new ebooks, even). But the key point is that if you produce quality work, there are mechanisms to make those rise to the top via various filters.
As long as websites like Amazon make browsing easy, the cream has the potential to rise to the top. You don't have to be a monster bestseller. A hardcore niche group of 10,000 fans can support a writer quite easily. Write two ebooks per year at $2.99, and three shorts at 99 cents, and you're making $50k a year.

But ebooks don't stop selling after a year. They sell forever. And good books will eventually find more than just 10,000 readers. And every new book you write will find new readers along with old fans.

Going back to the 2031 figures, an author will have a much better chance of finding those career-sustaining 10,000 readers when there are 100 million ereaders out there.
Or, as his final sentence states, just keep making good content:
And for those not there, remember that cream rises. If you made cream, and it hasn't risen yet: make more cream.
I'd argue (and I think he'd agree) that you do have to do a bit more than just make good content. Connecting with fans and doing more with them certainly helps. But no one putting out bad content is going to impact things if you have good content. Just keep producing that good content.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 6:17pm

    Um, yeah. It's all so clear now.

    "You just have to ignore the bad content and follow the good content."

    Okay, how do you know you're not ignoring "good content" and "following" what's actually crap if you just knew where the real good stuff was? So you've got a few little music sites where you generally like the tunes. BIG DEAL. Radio stations used to be reliable for that, especially college stations. Nothing new here.

    "But the key point is that if you produce quality work, there are mechanisms to make those rise to the top via various filters."

    How eagerly my eyes darted to the next paragraph! At last Mike is going to going to show us an actual /way/ to get noticed!

    "As long as websites like Amazon make browsing easy, the cream has the potential to rise to the top. You don't have to be a monster bestseller. A hardcore niche group of 10,000 fans can support a writer quite easily. Write two ebooks per year at $2.99, and three shorts at 99 cents, and you're making $50k a year."

    ... And? AND? Where is a MECHANISM even outlined, Mike? The guy just la-las off into how easy it is for an author who's already been noticed.

    Once again, you promise a MECHANISM, and it's nowhere to be found. You don't suggest even a single way to get noticed. Do more with fans, but no mention of how to get them in the first place. Just say "make good content", as if that's easy in itself, or guarantees being noticed. -- Well, Mike, your own "content" is empty. I keep looking for the substance but am always disappointed.

     

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  2.  
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    kyle clements (profile), Nov 4th, 2011 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Um, yeah. It's all so clear now.

    "Okay, how do you know you're not ignoring "good content" and "following" what's actually crap if you just knew where the real good stuff was"

    "the world just needs good filters, and we keep seeing more and more of those showing up every day. In the music world, there's a ton of new music being produced all the time -- and much of it isn't to my liking. But at the same time I feel like I'm living in renaissance of wonderful music, because I'm able to find fantastic new music all the time via a variety of tools: friends, blogs, Spotify, Turntable.fm, Pandora, and even a few cool (small) record labels who I follow because they release a ton of music I like."


    Perhaps your anti-Mike filter is doing a good job of blocking out the relevant bits of his articles.

    if you aren't happy with the filters that are currently out there (I'm not), make your own and people will likely flock to it.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 7:23pm

    I'd rather be my own content filter than to allow Hollywood and mainstream outlets to be my content filter.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2011 @ 7:39pm

    Easier said than done

    My buddies and I were talking about this just this morning. And we agree it is getting harder and harder to filter out the crap.

    I don't mind sampling a book, song or video clip if it means finding something that I like but I'm spending more time tossing items in the reject pile now-a-days.

    So, yeah, its easy to say get better filters find more people in the know and whatnot. How am I supposed to know where to find the better filter when my filter isn't good enough to begin with?

     

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  5.  
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    darryl, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 1:07am

    Masnick the judge of "good" and "bad" !!! for the world.

    I would have thought that there should be a definition of "GOOD content" and "BAD content".

    You do not make that clear, what is clear that what is GOOD to one person is "bad" to another..

    Are you claiming that you are some "authority" regarding what is culturally "good" and "bad"??

    Are you some form of "God" or special person bestowed with the power to decide to everyone what is "good" and "bad" content.

    Why not just say "Good" and "evil"...

    so all (most) of them you dont like, SONG that you hear and consider "pretty bad" you would place in the bad group ?

    and the ones you liked you would place in the "good" group !!.

    Life must be simplistic for you masnick..


    Masnick has spoken !!!! all believe The Masnick.. repeat.....

     

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  6.  
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    darryl, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 1:20am

    Mike for Net Filters !!

    I've never quite understood the argument, though, that bad content harms good content. You just have to ignore the bad content and follow the good content. What that means is that the world just needs good filters, and we keep seeing more and more of those showing up every day


    WOW, Masnick advocating censorship of the internet, and
    "controlling content".

    Mike, in the REAL WORLD, the FILTERS are in your freaking HEAD !!!!

    You decision to seek out that content, download it or listen to it IS YOUR CHOICE.

    Not a choice forced on you !!

    You just said you can easily decide what is good and not good.
    You then say that you do not think people can do that, therefore filters are required.

    The filter is the consumer.

    You are not forced to consume, it is of your own free will.
    If you choose not to consume a product (a song) then DONT.

    No one is FORCING you to listen to 'bad' content, or good content. It is the CHOICE OF THE CONSUMER.... consumers like YOU Masnik....

    YouTUBE, you post content, and you get a quick indication if people think your content is "good" or "bad" for the consumers of Youtube..

    so do you propose the clips on YouTUBE that get below a certain amount of 'hits', then they should be "filtered"/ Censored????

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 2:51am

    The selling forever part is that is troublesome, not that it sells forever but the thought that someone gets a monopoly on them forever minus a day.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 2:52am

    Re: Um, yeah. It's all so clear now.

    Amazon at the moment is that mechanism you dolt.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 2:58am

    Re: Easier said than done

    Word of mouth?

    How do I found good stuff on pirate sites?

    I generally clicked the little button "filter by number of downloads" and like a lemming followed everybody else, and on occasion I tried new bad stuff and found some gems that way.

    So how are you supposed to find good stuff?
    Follow the trail of others, learn what you are, see your past history and learn from it, that way you would understand how it compares to others, the ones that always say something is bad and you always disagree with are a good pointer to find things you like, the same way people who you tend to agree will tend to have the same preferences and no you are not an unique individual in that respect, most of what you do will conform to a certain type of people you can be labelled and predictable.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 2:59am

    Re: Masnick the judge of "good" and "bad" !!! for the world.

    If he claimed that he would be calling himself darryl.

     

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  11.  
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    Griff, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 5:30am

    Wilful misunderstanding

    Wow, so many posters trying so hard to deliberately pretend they heard Mike say something he didn't.

    I must say that I started out thinking last.fm was a great way to filter. I'd say (for example) "Artists like Crowded House" and find a whole load of stuff I liked, but after a while I realised that this generated a pretty small playlist (which then repeated) and rather than be some clever algorithm that correlated likes from people who also liked CH, it seemed to be just playing me a a load of stuff that they had already categorised in the same sub-genre as CH. They way I spotted this was that I took one of the new bands that had come up and restarted for artists like them, and seemed to get same playlist. Maybe I was unlucky, but it was disappointing.

    Rather stupidly, last.fm allowed me to do this on the Sonos in my house (tagging likes and dislikes) and yet have never sent me an email encouraging me to buy some of the bands I discovered and liked. And guess what - because they can't show ads on my Sonos they have discontinued the Sonos free service. So they never tried to monetize it, as far as I can tell, and now a key new music discovery service has gone away (for me).

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Um, yeah. It's all so clear now.

    Filters are a nasty bit of work, because they often end up leading to censorship, exclusion, and in the end becoming a commercial system for sending you to the content that pays the most.

    Even something as simple as Twitter, which has a "hot tags" system to filter out what is hot and current has been corrupted by paid inclusions. That is a simple democratic filter damaged by accepting payment.

    Take Techdirt as an example. In many ways, Mike is a filter. Yet in the last 30 days, we have seen him run paid posts (Intel paying the bills), we have seen him run posts about his step2 sponsors, he has run promotional posts for step2 (which appears to be ignored by almost everyone), and we have seen him use Techdirt as a sort of bully pulpit on the SOPA / Protect IP issue. Mike is a little more blatant than some, but if you use him as a filter for news (and many seem to), you will get a very warped view of the world.

    Also, what many people forget is that the label system in music is a filter, bother for the listener directly and for the radio stations and others looking to know where to go, what is hot, and what is likely to be hot. It is pretty effective, but has taken 30 or 40 years to get that way.

    Too much on the internet at this point is on the level of payola, but in different ways. Pay to play, pay for feature, pay for coverage... it's all out there, and for the end user, it is often invisible because few sites truly declare what they are doing.

    Amazon and others can make browsing easy, but as a mechanism to "find the cream", forget it. The system can be very easily corrupted by fake reviews, and I wouldn't be shocked if Amazon sells some of it's top spots. Is that really an effective filter?

    When you add more noise, you need better equipment to find the signal, and that is something that is both lacking and possibly economically not viable on the internet.

     

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  13.  
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    Fickelbra (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Re: Easier said than done

    "How am I supposed to know where to find the better filter when my filter isn't good enough to begin with?"

    I discovered this tool called Google. If you type stuff into it, magic happens.

     

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  14.  
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    Fickelbra (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 8:08am

    Re: Masnick the judge of "good" and "bad" !!! for the world.

    The definition of GOOD and BAD content is subjective to the individual. I think your issue is that Mike often writes articles with the mindset that the people he's reaching have a basic concept of logic.

     

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  15.  
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    Fickelbra (profile), Nov 5th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re: Mike for Net Filters !!

    The point Mike was making is that the way the old system works is that the content filters used to be middlemen like publishers. The internet makes middlemen unnecessary, much to their disdain. This has created an avalanche of new content, because anyone can make anything they want available very easily. The issue that this causes is that there are a lot more to choose from, so the new challenge is how to discover things you like versus being force fed them by mainstream labels and publishers like in the past.

    Mike isn't preaching that a new set of middlemen come and hide this content from us. Rather, much in the same way we built highways and freeways to get to the places we want to go faster, we need to develop freeways (filters that give us more direct access) to the content we would want. I don't know if you've ever actually used a filter, but they don't hide things by default. They generally provide you options to hide things yourself, so I guess what I'm saying is your argument sucks. Also, learn some grammar.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 9:43am

    Re: Mike for Net Filters !!

    WOW you ARE a FUCKING moron !!

    DarrylRRHEA strikes AGAIN !!???????

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    Re: Re: Masnick the judge of "good" and "bad" !!! for the world.

    'logic' and 'taste' are two different things, we all have a basic concept of logic, we all also have a sense of taste.

    Taste (what you think is good or bad) is not a subject of LOGIC !!!.

    Most people are also aware that the world is not purely BLACK AND WHITE, or 0 and 1.

    Yes, in the real world there is more than black and white, and more than 0 and 1.

    Do you apply logic to your decision as to what music you listen too ?

    Or do you apply "taste" ?

    Do you have a basic concept of taste ? or culture ? or for that matter logic ?

    is it at all logical to you that two different people would regard a particular song or music to be both Good and BAD ?

    ie, one thinks it's good and one things it is bad !!!!! is that logicial ?

    oh well, I have had enough of trying to show you basic logic.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2011 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Re: Mike for Net Filters !!

    The point Mike was making is that the way the old system works is that the content filters used to be middlemen like publishers.

    Sure, and I have no problem with that, just as I do not have a problem with Mike being a "middle man" and publisher.

    But what is true is at that stage (at the choice between good and bad) those middlemen and publishers ARE THE CONSUMERS.

    They are the customers of that content, they decide if THEY LIKE IT OR NOT, and then try to work out if the general public will also like it.

    They take that risk that they are wrong, and make profit if they are right.

    They are the consumers, making a consumer choice.

    They then publish that song (after PAYING the artist for the right to publish, as a consumer) then ONSELL the publishied work (CD TAPE, DVD....) to other CONSUMERS who then also have the CHOICE as to IF they want to consume that product (think it is good enough to pay for) or NOT consume that product (it is not good enough to pay for).

    Just like those middle men did, but the middle men and publishers pay alot more to the artist than $15 for a CD, to the artist who crated it in the first place.

    It is a consumer choice, and a consumer choice at all points along the process.

    Mike, trolls the internet for articles about IP and his other pet hates.

    At that point Mike is a "middleman" and "publisher" and "telent scout", once he finds something he considers of 'value', (allthough he will not pay for it) he will use that content in his OWN publication. (techdirt).

    Mike is a middleman and publisher, he is therefore also his own branch of the MPAA or whatever copyright, rights agency he is against today....

    you see a Hypocrit is someone who works within the rules and framework of a system but states outwardly that they do not do that.

    Masnick is exercising his rights under copyright law, trademark law, and patent law and outwardly stating he is against those rules and laws, and states he does not profit from that framework.

    Yes, he makes his content freely available and states that anyone can 'take' his content, but Mike does not have a problem with lots of people taking his content and profiting from it. (it's generally crap).

    So Masnick NEVER has to exercise his right and never has to worry about people stealing his content for its 'value', because,,,, lets face it guys, it is of no real value.

    I am sure it would be alot different if Masnick was a war photographer, and spent six months dodging bullets in the middle east to take some awesome photo's only to find when he got back to the US they had allready been published and freely available and being used to all the news outlets and one of his pictures was on the cover of TIME mag !!..

    (but not credits to who took the photo's) and no money to Masnick who spend thousands of dollars buying camera equipment, and funding a 6 month stint in the Middle East and almost getting killed.

    Then Masnick might be a little more interested in exercising his rights under copyright law.

    But when mansick only produces crap that no one will ever want to steal, he does not have a problem and can remain a happy hypocrit.

     

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  19.  
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    Matthew L Kees, Nov 6th, 2011 @ 5:39am

    My Shared Brain Cell Theory

    I want to believe this 'cause I sell good content. But, those with more razzle-dazzle and internet klout seem to be the winners, and are teaching more people than I am.

    The problem, I see, is it takes prior knowledge to separate the good from the bad online - the wheat from the chafe. Until you have that knowledge, the info found in the web all has the same "credentials". It's printed (on a screen) so it must be true.

    Those who want to learn end buying buy lots of gear by the good web marketers, to become more like them, instead of learning what's important about our trade -- less gear and a more focused direction.

    Those with the most expensive gear, are winning the teaching game, and their idocracy on the net prevails. The blind are leading the blind.

    Matthew L Kees
    MLKstudios (School of Photography)

    "Supporting the 99%"

     

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  20.  
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    George DeCherney, Nov 6th, 2011 @ 9:21am

    must be after taxes and amazons cut?

    (2.99*2*10000)+(.99*3*10000) = what now?

     

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  21.  
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    Eric Reasons, Nov 6th, 2011 @ 9:42am

    The same flawed argument was made about paperbacks

    "Whether this revolution in the reading habits of the American public means that we are being inundated by a flood of trash which will debase farther the popular taste, or that we shall now have available cheap editions of an ever-increasing list of classics, is a question of basic importance to our social and cultural development."

    --Harvey Swados, 1951, re: the paperback.

    The answer, of course, is that BOTH came to pass. It's not an either/or argument. The difference today is that we have much better search, discovery, and filters to help us find the good stuff.

     

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  22.  
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    Digitari, Nov 6th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike for Net Filters !!

    that WAS a Joke, right? because Value, like Taste is also, Subjective. IMO you're post was funny, cause I sure got a laugh out of it.

     

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  23.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 7th, 2011 @ 4:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Mike for Net Filters !!

    Wow! I've never seen a Möbius strip in text before. That's impressive.

     

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  24.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Nov 7th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    The problem with eBooks is their low barrier to entry means they will soon enough become like the contents farms (eHow, etc) that are nothing more than crowd-sourced or slave-scraped tripe.

     

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  25.  
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    Fickelbra (profile), Nov 7th, 2011 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Masnick the judge of "good" and "bad" !!! for the world.

    "Taste is not a subject of logic"

    I'm not sure you understand what the word subjective actually means.
    Subjective - existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought

    "Do you apply logic to your decision as to what music you listen to?"

    Yes. For example, when I discovered a few bands I really liked were classified as progressive rock, I LOGICALLY concluded I might like more progressive rock, and sought out more in that genre.

    "Or do you apply "taste"?"

    I can't help but apply "taste" in my personal choices, since I am in fact the person making the choice.

     

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  26.  
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    Fickelbra (profile), Nov 7th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Mike for Net Filters !!

    Thanks for a really long and boring definition on what a publisher is. Bottom line: I'm much happier with a middleman that is a tool I use than a tool in a suit.

    Also, Mike actually isn't a publisher or middleman, he's a content creator. Opinion based on news stories is actually a creation. You're cute though. *scruffs your head*\

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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