Humans Claim AI Scalp

Twitter Facebook Linked In Paper Plan

A case study in site reputation abuse and its consequences.

Written by Brook Schaaf

Online publication Futurism posted a lengthy exposé about low-quality content in, and out, of the affiliate space, a follow-up to their piece about Sports Illustrated posting AI-written content by fake AI-generated writers with fake AI-generated headshots.

The focus was on AdVon Commerce, a company long active in the affiliate commerce space, which reportedly provided content for the since-shuttered Amazon Onsite Associates Program. As detailed in the piece, AdVon has more recently provided content to an impressive roster of local and national media companies. 

Borrowing the much-discussed term from Google’s announcement, Futurism characterizes this as an example of “site reputation abuse,” though it is unclear if there was ever a search penalty or that any given piece of content was necessarily monetized with affiliate links.

Certain observant humans raised a hue and cry, resulting in the loss of the commercial content relationship, the CEO’s job, and the rights to the intellectual property of Sports Illustrated by the publisher, The Arena Group.

This is the “tsunami of crap.” Any media company (and just about every business and person might be a media company today) probably has some incentive to produce as much as it possibly can. This has more or less been true for decades, but what’s different now is the average consumer’s easy access to everything and the inability to sift through it all. Indeed, many have speculated that Google itself is poorly equipped to police this.

What comes next?

First, don’t kid yourself. AI content quality will improve, even if the hallucinations never go away. Amazon just appointed to its board AI heavyweight Dr. Andrew Ng, who has researched the application of multiple models (think AI writer, editor, reviewer, etc.). This will make the sifting harder. 

Second, if trust is lost because readers are overwhelmed, many consumers may stop searching for “best” reviews, the way they seem to have for coupons, which means there could be a drop in, or at least slowed growth of, commerce revenue for the affiliate channel.

Third, more people go straight to Amazon. 

Rumor has it that poor quality content is one reason Amazon shut down the OAP. What a prescient competitive move it will turn out to have been should that content have polluted the rest of the internet, making it too risky to even use.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts