Thursday, December 11, 2008
eHow.com Wins Blogger's Choice Open Web Award
One of my revenue sources, eHow.com, won a Mashable.com Blogger's Choice Open Web Award in the category of How-to yesterday. For those of you who don't live and breathe the Internet, the Open Web Awards are a BIG DEAL. Mashable is the leading online magazine for all that's new and wonderful in the world of social media.
More likely, you have heard of eHow.com, but here's the quick intro, and then I'll get back to our story: eHow.com contains advice for "How To Do Just About Everything", as goes their slogan. In recent months, however, eHow has expanded its repertoire to include "About", "How Does" and other article formats. Although the website is designed to encourage its readers to submit and monetize their own articles, the majority of eHow's 250,000-article library are written professionally by a small army of paid-up-front contributers from around the United States.
I am one of those contributors. To date I have published 112 articles about, well, just about everything for eHow.com, like:
What Is a Poem?
How Does the CIA Work?
About Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle
How to Live Homeless
How to Talk to a New Yorker
How to Avoid Getting into a Bar Fight
How to Position Lights for Photography
How to Print a Page From Google Books
Titles range from obscure to hilarious to downright indispensable. There are no limits. After all, eHow is run by Demand Studios, whose parent company is Demand Media, which is a creation of Richard Rosenblatt. He's the man who helped raise MySpace to superstardom and brokered the deal to sell it (along with its parent company Intermix) to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
"Attach a cable to Richard Rosenblatt and you could power a small town," said Forbes.com. You're dealing with a major go-getter here, is the point. So far Demand Media has shelled out well over $10 million to its army of writers, copy editors, filmmakers, transcribers and title proofers. That's not including any of the administrative or infrastructure overhead.
In theory, eHow makes its money on ad revenue. I worry about this business model. I suspect eHow is not turning a profit, but Rosenblatt is crazy like a local car dealership commercial. With four night clubs, a multi-faceted partnership with Lance Armstrong, and dozens of other irons in the fire, who knows what kind of capitalization this man's got up his sleeves? There's something he knows that I don't.
Whatever the case, Rosenblatt should be proud of eHow and its production factory Demand Studios for coming this far. They really have been slogging through some massive technical problems on both the production and distribution ends of the operation. As a contributor I can attest to their overall improvement over the last few months. Kudos to Rosenblatt for hiring a such a committed and patient editorial and administrative team over at Demand Studios. What those people do--manage a thousand writers every day--is akin to herding cats.
I just hope Rosenblatt doesn't go selling Demand Studios to Fox News' sugar daddy like he did with MySpace.
UPDATE: Want to know more about Richard Rosenblatt? Check out the following links, courtesy of Demand Media SEO Manager Jeff Grant:
Demand Media Company Profile
Web 2.0 Summit Profile
Web 2.0 Summit Presentations
Follow Rosenblatt's Tweets