Denver-based Associated Content was formed in 2004 and received $5.4 million in funding from SoftBank. It bills itself as a "user-driven information portal" and content provider, licensing content to other online publishers. The articles are "optimized for discovery and revenue generation," according to a news release on the company Web site. In other words, they're designed to be easy to find on Google through various search optimization techniques used by many publishers, not just people accused of gaming search results.
The company asks bloggers to write on the subjects of their choosing and accepts text, video and audio. Contributors can be paid based on the quality of the article and keyword optimization.
If I understand this, writers are essentially writing to attract machines, search engines in this case, and are compensated on the basis of their ability to generate ad revenue. This strikes me a sweat labor for content providers.
The advertorial business model of PayPerPost, where a writer advertises their willingness to serve as a copywriter for a price that the writer sets, seems fairer to content providers.
There is a place for these kinds of services, but they do not replace the need for regular news organizations. This gets back to what I was talking about in my article for The Daily Dog:
News costs money. Good reporters require salaries and benefits. Blogs don't produce that.