Online Drivel Moves Offline: Web Rubbish in Print

Last week I bought a large, bulky magazine. (Yes, a real, honest-to-goodness PAPER magazine, old habits die hard.) I won’t reveal the title or the magazine’s content, because that would make it too readily identifiable.

I got home, made a cup of coffee, and put my feet up to read it. It took me all of 30 seconds to drop the magazine.

I thought about what I’d read, and read some more to verify the first bad impression.

Yep, online drivel had made it into print.

You know the drivel I’m talking about. It’s widespread on the Web, because search engines don’t read, people do. This type of content says nothing at all in 500 or fewer words, but it does include keywords. The content’s written by people (no one sane would call them writers) whose first language is definitely not English.

The content’s so horrible you end up reading it three times to confirm that yep, there’s not a fact in sight. It’s drivel.

I shouldn’t be surprised. Here in Australia, Fairfax Media have axed 82 sub-editors.

Mind you, sub-editing wouldn’t have helped this drivel, nothing would — there’s no point in washing garbage.

I still can’t believe it. Post Google’s Panda update, the type of absolute drivel which no longer cuts it online has moved to print.

Obviously, some publishers still believe that you can wrap any meaningless words you like in advertising, and call the result a publication. Not merely online, but also in print.


Countering that, there’s this article, Google Panda Update Recovery¬† – Search Engine Watch (#SEW), which reports on steps a couple of sites took to recover from Panda. One site made several changes, including:

“Hiring four copywriters to write original, SEO-friendly product descriptions. Websites must decide what keywords they want to rank for, and write copy around those keywords that is unique, topic-focused, well-written, and checked for spelling and grammar.”

That made me feel a little better. But not much. When online drivel moves to print, can the apocalypse be far behind?

Author: Angela Booth

Copywriter Angela Booth's clients tell her she performs "word magic." Whether she's writing advertising materials, Web content, or ghostwriting for her clients, she's committed to helping them to achieve results, fast. Author of one of the first books about online business, Making The Internet Work For Your Business, Angela's written many business books which have been published by major publishers. She's an enthusiastic self-publisher and writing teacher.