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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

, founded in 2006, is an online media company that quickly grew to prominence by algorithmically assigning and publishing stories based on user-demand signals, such as search and social media trends.

It typically pays authors a low sum of money for these posts, often , and assigns posts only when it believes they will generate enough revenue to earn their keep.

Operating a number of prominent brands such as , , and , Demand Media has been criticized as a content farm (a charge )  even as like USA Today have partnered with the company to build an inventory of inexpensive content.

In January 2011, at a valuation of more than $1 billion, making it worth more (on paper) than the New York Times. Filings related to that offering showed that, despite its low labor costs, . The IPO faced intense scrutiny for the as well as the potential danger of a Google backlash against low-value content.

In fact, , but Demand Media’s properties were largely spared of negative traffic effects. When Google released an update to its algorithm in April 2011, though, traffic to Demand’s eHow . By the end of the year, the company’s stock . In 2013, Demand also attributed its to Google search changes. The only healthy component of its business was , which it was attempting to spin off. By 2014, Demand its search-oriented how-to content for marketers.

Demand has made efforts to battle its reputation for cheap content. In May 2011, it announced to its sites, for which writers could be paid up to $350 for stories of 850 words or longer. It it was looking to try new story formats and curatorial methods to increase quality.

Demand Media was founded by Rosenblatt, former chairman of MySpace, and Shawn Colo, a former private equity investor. Rosenblatt and his position as chairman and CEO in 2013. The company also owns , the world’s second-largest domain registrar, and in 2011 blog ad network IndieClick and social media developer RSS Graffiti. It from 2011 to 2014, when it was . In 2013, it that it plans to split off its domain registrar division into a separate company and later .

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: July 17, 2014.
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