I recently read an article on the front page of eHow that, health wise, was irresponsible and should never have been written in the first place. (I won't tell you which one it was or else that will result in more views and encourage DS to do more of the same.) Of course, the article title was one of the Demand Studios' computer-generated titles and, if you've ever written for DS, you know how ridiculous some of their titles are. But, just because DS offers irresponsible or downright stupid titles, it doesn't mean writers have to choose them. Really, is it worth $15 to give out worthless or dangerous health advice to the general public? For me, the answer to that question is a big, fat "No".
Who's at Fault?
Who is at fault for producing these negligent articles? I really can't blame the writers who chose those titles because they are just trying to earn a living. However, a writer should use some discretion when choosing the subjects that they write about - but more on that later. Demand Studios is at fault for allowing such titles to go through in the first place. And the sad thing is, DS actually pays title checkers to make sure the titles are good to go. I guess the title checkers aren't supposed to pull a title that will result in faulty or harmful advice to the readers. In my opinion, DS should be held accountable for any articles that go through the system that give the reader misleading advice which can be harmful to their health.
The ironic thing is that eHow turned over all of the writing to DS so as to ensure quality from their contributors. Yet, DS places some questionable articles on eHow that makes the site look more like a rag sheet instead of a quality information source. The bottom line is that all DS and eHow want is to make money and they don't really care if the content is useful or safe for the reader - they just want the right keywords to get the most traffic. While I'm not against making money, I sure don't want to put articles out there in internet-land that are harmful in any way to the readers.
It's Your Reputation
As a writer, you should be careful about the titles you choose at DS (or any other writing site that is similar) and make sure that the ensuing article will not be harmful to the reader. After all, your name is going to appear on that article for all-time, not Demand Studios' name. You want to be considered a credible writer so you can eventually work your way up to those higher paying assignments at other sites or magazines. DS offers thousands of titles to write about, so be choosy about which ones you pick because after all, it is your reputation as a writer and researcher on the line, not Demand Studios'.
Why Should I Care?
True, since I will not be writing for DS or eHow any longer it really isn't my problem, but I'm tired of seeing so much false information out on the internet and I think writers should be part of the solution, not the problem. If you write opinion pieces, fine. Make them useful and relevant to those who will be reading them. If you write articles on any topic, write ones that are well-researched and useful to the reader. If you blog, write about whatever you want - after all, it's your blog. But please, don't send out misleading or harmful information into the world just to earn a buck.
(Photo by Bartek Ambrozik @ www.sxc.hu/photo/1198034)