Every minute, 600 new websites are generated; 48 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube; and 600,000 pieces of content are shared on Facebook. And that does not even begin to scratch the surface of online data generation (wired.com).
“Content marketing” has become a mainstay of marketing efforts large and small, with companies and organizations seeking to provide useful and interesting online content to attract and engage potential customers and build brand loyalty.
According to an article on PBS.org, a recent survey showed that 92 percent of business-to-business (B2B) companies and 86 percent of business-to-consumer (B2C) companies now use content marketing, including blogs, case studies, research reports, webinars, infographics, podcasts and e-newsletters. But with so many companies (and countless individuals) posting “information” online, you can see where there would be a tremendous amount of redundancy.
Kraft Foods was a pioneer in content marketing, with one of the earliest information-rich website filled with recipes, kitchen tips and more. Even now, upon landing on the Kraft Foods corporate home page, , the viewer is met with an immediate and simple choice: Corporate Information or Recipes and Product Information.
The recipe reservoir is a cornerstone of Kraft’s online presence, but a search for the word “recipes” on Google and yields about 271 million listings. Let’s refine it: Chicken Recipes — 116 Million. “Chicken Soup” Recipes: 8.2 million results.
There are Recipes.com, food.com, allrecipes.com, www.epicurious.com and countless spinoffs of traditional companies – The Food Network, Cooking Light magazine , McCormicks spices… all have recipe sites.
But this is just one example. We could say the same for pet care or parenting, motorcycle maintenance or gardening; candle making, the history of rock and roll, or the philosophical implications of the doctrine of karma. The point is, there is becoming an over abundance of informational sites.
Some of these are created because people and organizations want to ‘talk’ about what they know, but many are created to help sell products, attract attention or generate back-links to sites for purposes of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). (Uh-oh, I just linked to Wikipedia. My friends, family and students will have a field day with this, given my adamant position that “Wikipedia cannot be cited as an authoritative source!”)
It is impossible to measure how much data is actually available via the Internet because websites and other data sources are stored on servers all around the world; there is no central repository or clearing house. What we do know is that we have gone from measuring data as bits and bytes to kilobytes, megabytes and gigabytes to today’s zettabytes (1000 to the 7th power) and yottabytes (1000 to the 8th power, or a 1 followed by 24 zeros)… and that there are 8.2 million sites that reference recipes for chicken soup.
How long can this infinite generation of “information” continue, and at what cost? Does having this many articles on the same or similar topics dilute the power of the Internet or enrich it?
What do you think?