Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The 'Craigslist Effect' Spreads to Content as Free Work Fills Supply

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- After Andrew Brining took the bar exam two years ago, he had plenty of time on his hands, and he made a habit of perusing sports news online as he awaited the results. The 31-year-old San Francisco Giants fan, however, found the predictably captious nature of sports coverage frustrating. "It's perversely counterintuitive," he said. "You're interested in this to be entertained, right?"

On the hunt for more positive fare he stumbled onto BleacherReport.com, where anybody can apply to post an original sports article. So he contributed a post. Then another. And another. In the past two years, Mr. Brining has written more than 500 articles for Bleacher, a prolific output that is more stunning for another fact: He wrote them all for free.

He is one of more than 3,600 Bleacher authors who willingly write without remuneration, and their gratis efforts suggest there's a major adjustment going on in the economics of content. Despite the attention around search specialists such as Demand Media, Associated Content and Examiner, a growing group of sites is betting on something better than cheap content: free content.

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