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Harvesting Content

Mike Peters, 05-11-2007
I just got off the phone with a company (who is going to rename nameless) that is in the business of attending trade shows (all industries), then harvesting the trade show database of attendees and marketing the contact database back to attendees for 4 to 5 digits.

This particular company is very successful (the guy said they're doing $2M in revenues) and while their actions might fall under unethical / "black hat" techniques, it made me think about content in a new way.

Most people, when you tell them 'content', they envision hiring a copywriter to write a few articles, buying articles, using automated "article makers", rss feed scrappers and then monetizing on this content using contextual advertising channels such as AdSense, YPN, Kontera and the likes.

But what about phone numbers? names? numbers?

Content is not all about articles. The right pieces of information will be worth a lot to some people and while harvesting some databases is illegal, there is a ton of information out there that is publicly available and not copyrighted.

Cross reference between several pieces of publicly available "content" and you could end up with a site like www.50states.com or www.citysearch.com both big earners using publicly available information.

My point?

Content is not just articles.
And harvesting is not always a no no.
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