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We talk a lot about artificial intelligence in marketing.

The term “artificial stupidity” hasn’t yet caught on and therefore has no definition. Allow me to be the first to offer one.

ar·ti·fi·cial stu·pid·i·ty
trusting artificial intelligence to perform tasks it’s incapable of

Artificial stupidity is real. There’s even demand for it. Let me tell you a story…

It’s crap time in content marketing

The deluge has commeth. It ain’t pretty. We were warned.

It's crap time in #contentmarketing. It ain't pretty. We were warned. Click To Tweet

My story begins in my inbox.

Contact form AF

A person named Sliva slips me this peculiar pitch. Of course, it was far from the first time a content farm came a-calling, but this outfit, The Article Factory, was conducting a special. $1 per article. And…

They have a team of excellent writers. Curiosity compelled me to click.

The website even looked legit. Look closely and you learn the company’s earned 3.4K Facebook likes. (And what could possibly be a better mark of credibility?)

I was surprised, but delighted, to learn the company offered examples of their work. I took a look.

The comedy show begins.

Exhibit 1 above:
A short post (BTW, they’re all short) features the ridiculous one-word title, “Golf.” The seven-sentence opening paragraph features the word “it” six times. Please read the paragraph’s punch line:

Apparently a fashionable pushcart makes you a golf pro (or something like that).

You can’t make this shit up.

Exhibit 2 above:
“Fruit Features” is the fourth and final paragraph from a post titled, “Life After Fruit.” I’m not sure what it’s about. Fruit, I think. As you can see from the line I underlined, “numerous fruits are called thus.”

I don’t know about you, but it made me want to run to the farmers market and grab a case of juicy red thus. (Or is that thusses?)

Exhibit 3 above:
This paragraph comes midway through an article titled “Halloween Uncovered.”

I couldn’t decide which passage to underline so I decided the entire paragraph earned the rare, but no less potent, scary jack-o-lantern badge.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist placing an order with The Article Factory.

As you can see above, an order of 50 articles drives the low-low price of $1 per down to just 90-cents. However, being a first-time customer and admittedly skeptical, I resisted the urge and ordered just five.

Note the arrow I inserted to point out the rollover instructions. The rebel in me begged to break the rules. I did.

If I could somehow fool the system, my order would feature a three-word keywords phrase: cheap content farms.

Would the rogue order be accepted?

It was. Shockingly, I didn’t get a transaction confirmation email. No need. Instead, my order was fulfilled.

The Article Factory’s cheap content writers, er, professionals, somehow crafted FIVE articles about “Cheap Content Farms” in FIVE. FRIGGEN. MINUTES.

Whaaaaaaat a service!

If I wanted to, I could immediately start optimizing my website for the highly coveted term “cheap content farms.”

And, as you might imagine, at this point I’m questioning the future of my profession in the age of AI copywriting.

Now, for your reading pleasure, I offer you one of them. You don’t want to miss a word. This is precious stuff.

If you read the post, you understand my amazement. Somehow, in addition to tackling the tricky topic of content farming, the post also covers:

  • Apples
  • Bromine
  • White flour
  • Free straw
  • Dry cleaning
  • Railroads
  • Tax advice

And please, please… Don’t miss the last sentence of the first paragraph…

Poorly written content can be immensely bad for your business if you are careless.

While that sentence doesn’t redeem the shameful post from which it comes, it almost redeems this one. It’s meaningful (coherent, even).

Why did I write this article?

I was pressured into it—in more ways than one.

First, friends and clients told me I had to. See, I told this story to two fellow content marketers, actual pros. I read them excerpts from The Article Factory’s portfolio and showed them the “product” I received.

One was laughing her ass off the entire time and said, “You have to do a post about this.” The other had a good laugh and shared with me the official name of this sort of stuff:


Content spaghetti. Would you like some? Click To Tweet

And the second reason for writing this article? Well, I hope to have a made a point about the state of content marketing and scare you far away from taking part in the bastardization of the craft.

Maybe we need to hold a mirror up to ourselves to get a good look at blatantly stupid marketing.

Content farms are everywhere. They come in different forms. I want to (and do) believe—unlike The Article Factory—most don’t put robots on the job. Yes, for better or worse, some forms of AI copywriting are in the incubator.

However, most of your easy to find sources of cheap content writers recruit, vet and broker the writers. Prices and plans vary widely.

As you would expect, with the varied pricing plans comes varied levels of writing skills. However, a common thread among content writing shops is fast access to very low paid writers and speedy delivery of the work.

Could going this route actually help you accomplish your objectives?

Do you care whether or not your content is great? Will your content contain the important ingredients that make it great?

The allure of the dollar store

Now and then, you probably make your way to the dollar store in your city. You can pickup paper goods, containers, toys, party favors and find good deals on all kinds of things. For a buck you may even get yourself a really great pen.

A person who knows how to use it is not included.


Need a real writer? Contact Barry here.