Got Travel Content ?


The rumors are true – this quirky site, basically created without much human intervention, is now online: 004Travel.com

One of my business partners and I are discussing the importance of “content” in terms of online empires. I’m experimenting with a new Godaddy service that actually builds a site for you and loads it with articles from around the web based on keywords you select. The cost is extremely cheap – 8 per site one time charge and far less in bulk. It’s a VERY interesting concept that really begins to blur the distinctions between super junky “auto generated” material and “real” but sort of “canned” material that is actually somewhat relevant for some readers.

Google generally frowns (reasonably) on irrelevant content that simply tries to optimize for valuable keywords, but they have always struggled (sometimes unreasonably due to non-transparency) with relevant content that is manipulative of their algorithm. It’ll be interesting to see how the amazing Googlebot treats 004Travel.com , a Godaddy auto-generated site using keywords like “Travel” and “Twitter”.

One humorous side of this is an article about “Time Travel”.

Obviously users are not served if their search takes them to irrelevant content, but much of this is “fair” content by my definition – certainly better than much of the stuff provided by the millions of sites that have no intention whatsoever of providing good material to users. Yes, that’s something of a rationalization here because I love the idea of creating fairly robust relevant websites for a few dollars. Let’s see what happens, OK?!

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About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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25 Responses to Got Travel Content ?

  1. FoolsGold says:

    At the mere mention of GoDaddy, I would stop all consideration of it.

    Alot of sites seem to appear high on a google search page but appear to be nothing but hastily assembled junk links based on a keyword search. Instead of absolute garbage it seems this service produces higher quality garbage. Well… it is still garbage.

  2. FoolsGold says:

    >One humorous side of this is an article about “Time Travel”.
    You may see humor, most web site visitors will consider it a death knell even if they do indeed see some humor in it as well. If I were to visit a site about travel and see garbage about Time Travel, that would end all trust in that site and all visits to it.

    Sure some of this site stuffing persists but quality is what wins out in the end. Some of those algorithms can even properly categorize this “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana” stuff, but in the end quality is what counts. Machine selected fluffwear based solely on keywords annoys the user. It doesn’t matter what your google ranking is or what your ad revenue is, if your site annoys your visitors you will not be making money with it. Machine selected shallow useless content annoys visitors even if the content is not as bad as some things.

    One google employee long ago used the example of site building wherein a travel site took content about snow skiing in Colorado and used it in a travel site about Miami, Florida. Not much snow in Miami and site visitors know that even if the keyword search algorithms do not!

    It doesn’t matter how many algorithms you use to find dozens of references to sites that discuss fine tailoring, we know the emperor is naked. So stuffing a site with GoDaddy located garbage is not going to work, no matter how low the charge for the service is.

  3. JoeDuck says:

    Thanks FoolsGold for excellent insight as usual. The kind of insight you might not see at what you very cleverly call “site stuffing”.

    However my interest in this is more crass and cravenly superficial, in that I have a lot of domains that just sit there and it would sure be nice to “jump start” the content with this so I can flesh it out later with more usuable stuff.

  4. horatiox says:

    You need to upgrade the SEO-speak, Mr Duck!

    Dynamic markets, vegas vacations and insider specials with cutting edge getaway bargains, coastside deals rent-a-car provided, unlimited mileage, all-inclusive showgirls, online blackjack and real estate investments, entertainment with free vacation, advantage bed and breakfast XXX with no hidden costs.

    Something like that, and you’ll be hanging with Stevie Wynn in no time.

  5. FoolsGold says:

    >>>I have a lot of domains that just sit there
    >>>and it would sure be nice to “jump start” the content
    >>You need to upgrade the SEO-speak, Mr Duck!

    >”word-salad” example:
    >Something like that,
    >and you’ll be hanging with Stevie Wynn in no time.
    Something like that you will be hung in effigy in no time!!

    Okay. Let us assume that Mr. Duck’s statement about a moribund domain was indeed correctly interpreted by poster Horatiox to embrace that JoeDuck’s Las Vegas travel site which I so rarely visit but have commented on from time to time.

    The site is rarely visited by me because its content is simply public relations handouts without any analysis, commentary and in some circumstances without any awareness of current developments related to the site’s posting.

    Its content is available sooner and better elsewhere so why should I visit that moribund LV travel site? What on earth would I gain from it. I did post a few comments about the Stratosphere. I think I may have been the only one to have even read much less responded to that posting. Would stuffing the site with Horatiox’s “word salad” help? No! Online blackjack is of no interest to someone bound for Live blackjack sessions in Vegas. An “all inclusive showgirl” sounds like something that should be advertized in that now-closed section of Craigslist. “Advantage” is a word best not used with regard to Vegas unless it refers to an Advantage Player. Stuffing the site with a word salad courtesy of Horatoix is even cheaper than stuffing a site with minimally curated content via GoDaddy, but its not going to attract any sort of visitors to that site.

    Whats the difference in value to the visitor between:
    An empty site,
    A site that is full but contains fairly low quality key-word stuff from GoDaddy,
    and a site that is sparse but has high quality items directly on point!

    I don’t think visitors want to wade thru word-salad induced fillers and more than they want to wade thru some relatively quick and cheap fillers provided by a minimally competent GoDaddy algorithm.

    Five GOOD entries will beat out fifty moderately relevant GoDaddy entries. And will probably be cheaper too!

  6. FoolsGold says:

    Concrete examples concerning the Vegas travel site:
    I have one acquaintance who is a low-roller that knows all the current bargains in a casino and who will list what else is available at that location or very nearby.
    Consider the very cheap steak special for anyone with a local address at one casino. It is only on Wednesdays but if you are going to go there for it, its nice to know that there are currently two added attractions at that particular casino and one at the casino next door. None of these added-value elements are particularly exceptional, but they add the liklihood that someone will actually make use of that Dinner Special.

    Or consider the fact that the MrDuck’sCurrentSite fails to differentiate between known “Sweat The Money” joints that offer dismal odds and better casinos offering much better odds?

    Smoking is a big deal to some people, yet the Duck’sVegas site doesn’t indicate which casinos will make you gag and which are tolerable. Nor is there any indication of which serve Coke and which serve Pepsi. Not a major decision point, but not an insignificant one either.

    Usefulness will win out over a whole list of stuff from GoDaddy.

    • JoeDuck says:

      Great stuff FG, and I take the criticism in the spirited way in which you intend it. I’m wondering if you are right that 5 good articles would beat out 50 crappy articles in terms of traffic and rankings. Google now seems to value many things that are not reasonably called quality. e.g. an LV celebrity site is likely to beat out the one you describe even if it offers nothing more than a lot of prurient pix. On Twitter, the Kardashian sisters do very well because they post pix of themselves. That is “valuable” content as defined by users clicks, but even those same folks would surely agree this is of less importance to them than, say “super targeted and relevant jobs info”.

      As a web content creator it is not easy to decide when to spend hours crafting a highly relevant and educational piece vs minutes crafting one that’ll likely make me more money. Google maintains – speciously – that these tend to align but they do not. Popularity and prurience beat out relevance and quality much of the time. If they didn’t Charlie Rose ads would cost a fortune and TMZ would be broke.

  7. horatiox says:

    Consider the very cheap steak special for anyone with a local address at one casino. It is only on Wednesdays but if you are going to go there for it, its nice to know that there are currently two added attractions at that particular casino and one at the casino next door.

    Quite right,, F-G! I did overlook the coo-linary delights of the Big V. So…. ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFETS! Fine dining. Steak, lobster, veal, and 1.99 spaghetti, free drinks on Tuesday. Golden Nugget dirtbag days, Texas hold-em potlucks on Saturday night, Bugsy’s and Paris, MGM, Mandalay Bay poolside, Kid Rock, free parking, world-class boxing, Jenna Jameson, Osmond family reunion tickets available cheap….

    This marketing’s stuff sorta fun.

    • FoolsGold says:

      LOL.
      I hereby sentence you to thirty hours of wading through all the search engine hits produced by your marketing language and require you to take advantage of the Mandalay Bay Poolside on the same day you attend the Golden Nugget Dirtbag event. All on foot of course!

    • JoeDuck says:

      Good stuff guys. If we ever meet in person dinner is on me. Expensive buffets will be included.

      • horatiox says:

        Was meant in jest of course. I’m for e-commerce–but some of the SEO stuff gets out of hand.

        Those new Vegas poolside par-tays do look rather inviting. But I don’t think they allow dudes over 40, or anyone making less than six figure salaries. Or buffett eaters.

      • FoolsGold says:

        Ah, so now I’ve got yet another person willing to spring for a meal on my next trip to Vegas. How nice. So far I have one lunch and two dinners awaiting me. ‘Tis nice to know people are willing to feed a degenerate gambler.

        Buffets. A perfect example for a “Travel Content” blog thread. Buffets vary in size, quality, variety, freshness, line length, seating, unique aspects. There are also all day passes and all-our-casinos passes, as well as many places that have 2for1 buffets as part of a room deal or as part of a fun-book. How on earth does a general travel blog deal with this much less a travel blog devoted to Las Vegas? I would chose The M Resort for its prize winning buffet but my reason would be the free wine and free beer that is included with it. Some breakfast buffets in Vegas have merely the same old items, some have rather unique offerings. One of the best breakfast buffets that I like is a very small and limited one. One small room fewer than 12 tables. It is only a modest charge which I bill to my room and then get totally comped when I check out of the hotel, so it works out as totally free. Most of the people reading a travel blog about Vegas would not care for this particular buffet though. So how is GoDaddy ever going to be able to select good content?

  8. JoeDuck says:

    I submit this clever presentation with a funny-but-nicely-researched bit about boobs increasing ad clicks helps to support my points – or rather my conflicts with quality content vs moneymaking content:
    http://www.shoemoney.com/facebook-advertising-soup-to-nuts-guide/

    However I suppose you could reference one of my own sites – U-S-History.com as a counterexample. In that case the content (minus the junky ads and marginal layout – long story there) is very good and unique. That site gets huge traffic – we’ll probably top 3 million uniques per month this fall. Unfortunately history does not pay much. Hmmm – should I put up KardashianOfied advertising there?

  9. FoolsGold says:

    >Popularity and prurience beat out relevance and quality
    >else CharlieRose ads would cost a fortune;TMZ would be broke
    Yes. Perhaps so.
    I guess one will always sell more salted peanuts than caviar.

    I wish I could recall right now the name of that Google search employee who appended “nude” to her name and watched her website’s traffic increase markedly despite there being no nudity on her site that discussed internet search engines.

    I do agree that “scholarly quality” differs from “marketing quality”. I wonder if your GoDaddy links will raise traffic and whether that traffic will simply be instant-clickers who think that history means a photo of Kardashian that is two weeks old. What does GoogleAds pay for Kardashian-related over-saturation content?

  10. FoolsGold says:

    Okay.
    Lets talk about Quality and Las Vegas.
    Now that is almost as absurd as talking about Quality and Hollywood, but lets give it a try.
    Consider MrDuck’sVegasSite.
    What would be a good draw: Horatoix suggests adding keywords about Super Buffets and 1.99 spaghetti feeds. Clearly that will indeed draw some traffic and perhaps some clickers.

    What would be a better draw?

    Well, several months ago the Nevada Gaming Commission ordered a downtown bar near the courthouse to up the Payout on 15 of its Video Poker machines from 1,000 dollars to 9,000 dollars. I won’t waste your time with the reasons, all you have to know is that the odds of getting a Royal Flush on the machine did not change one bit but the payout for that event sure did! Now this bar already has the usual stuff that downtown courthouse area bar offers: good Happy Hour Specials, good food, fairly good Eye-Candy, but its just a bar and no matter how good the free appetizer is and no matter how stunning the waitress is, any discussion of that bar on a website is NOT going to get many visitors to MrDucksSite and darn few would click on anything even if SnazzyMarketingText is supplied by HoratoixSEO.

    But would a simple paragraph about a darned good gambling opportunity have brought traffic to a Vegas related website?
    I don’t know but I tend to think so.

    Many advantage gamblers who normally play elsewhere flocked to that bar. One man ordered a drink and sandwich and before either of them arrived he had won eight grand. One woman put five dollars in the machine and within an hour had won six thousand dollars. Some Vegas sharpies were playing those machines in relay teams and splitting the prizes. It was a real good deal, albeit a temporary one.

    Which of these two options represent “quality” for a Vegas oriented website?

    • JoeDuck says:

      would a simple paragraph about a darned good gambling opportunity have brought traffic to a Vegas related website?
      I don’t know but I tend to think so.

      Well, we’d agree this is a great story and probably better than the ones I’ve been putting up at the blog LasVegas1.net, but I’m not convinced that traffic would flow from this type of story as much as more general things that would rank in Google. Of course a good site would have both types of content, but that takes more time given the low payout per site like that.

      It’s a very complex topic because you can make the case that Google will rank unique relevant material more highly over time for targeted searches, but users will still be searching for “Las Vegas Strip” a lot more than other terms. More complications from the fact that there are perhaps 100x as many sites with general info than with specific high quality info splitting that higher number of queries for the general info. Also, the fact that Google prefers older, established sites for various reasons.

      The takeaway moral of the sin city story? Not sure.

  11. FoolsGold says:

    I know what you mean by the time and effort being balanced with payout but I think the trick is to maximize use of your readers time and effort rather than doing it all yourself.

    • JoeDuck says:

      I like it – publishers have an obligation to the readers to make good use of their time. One of the reasons Google ads are not offensive to most is that the reader has a lot of control over them, cf TV, Radio, or popup ads.

  12. horatiox says:

    According to reports, the Vegas Strip economy’s like ….sucking mo’ than Pammy Anderson out on a yacht cruise wit’ Tommy Lee (sry…but keepin’ it real for the V-town peeps). So about anything might move product on the Strip these days–like Pammy! Joe Duck presents….:|.

    The new massive hotel-casinos may bring in huge profits for contractors involved and maybe a few workers, but they don’t really help the local economy that much, except for the casino and culinary slaves. A big mess, really. Vegasnomics nearly has some reach for the cliffsnotes to the Best of….Karl Marx (and pray to gods the H20 doesn’t dry up… Vegas and surrounding communities–and SoCal as well– have already tapped the Colo. River nearly to its max).

  13. FoolsGold says:

    Water?
    Water makes headlines in Vegas all the time, but in Mesquite which has plenty of water, the casinos did far worse. Its a question of numbers.
    In bad times, the numbers in Vegas decline. In bad times, the numbers in Mesquite disappear.
    Perhaps its the same way with site visitors.

    • JoeDuck says:

      Mesquite, NV. Wow, am I out of touch to never have even heard of that nice city?

    • horatiox says:

      That’s like near Arizona–Mormon-land, brutthrrr.

      Rhyolite or Beatty: now dem’s real Nevada towns, Nye County county style. Paraphrasing ZZ Top, they got some nice grrrls up there…ah huh huh huh huh… V-town playboys head up to Nye when they really want to par-tay.

      Serio, Nye and Esmeralda counties are right out of the old west. You expect to seee some aged gunslingers appear in the dusty streets at high noon and settle their scores with some colts. Actually, for gambling-related road trips I prefer putting up to ..Carson City (also booo-coo old west vibe ), or Reno.

  14. FoolsGold says:

    Perhaps the problem of “content quality” should be addressed from the viewpoint of what actually is meant by the term “Vegas”?
    For some its a weekend destination for what is oft referred to as The World’s Oldest Profession.
    For some its a psychological state exemplified by the Mega-Resort in which one gawks at the architecture, the ladies, the shops, the shows, the nightclubs, the buffets and above all else one gawks at the money!
    For some the focus in Vegas is all about the number “21”, for others its the 38-DD of the 21 dealer.
    Vegas is often defined by geography: The Strip, Downtown or the magic marketing word of Locals wherein we have “Locals Casinos” and denizens who are considered to be Locals.
    Locals don’t wander The Strip gawking, they’ve seen it all and they don’t even trek to The Strip unless they really have to. Locals often wander into a slot machine joint down on the corner. Or Locals are those that flock to Plain Vanilla Casinos with their Social Security checks in hand. The most profitable customer for a casino is not the nightclubbing Yuppie ordering Bottle Service at 300 dollars per bottle, it is the Geritol Guzzling Retiree who only wants a Red Button in front of them and a Red Bull beside them.
    So you want “Travel Content”? Particularly you want Travel Content relating to Las Vegas, NV? Okay! How are you going to select “content” when some Vegas Visitors make their way to a slot machine whose payout table has been calculated by them to six decimal places and other Vegas Visitors will wander around aimlessly not even knowing the basic rules of play?

  15. Water is the most profound aid that one can use
    in a weight loss diet. But rather than scold them into eating their fruits and vegetables,
    I find that being creative works much nicer.
    I like my smoothies frozen and make them
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