Why Content Is Killing The Web

by Mara Lewis

A decade ago Search was awesome. You typed in a keyword, and like magic, there were a list of articles telling you exactly what pages had the info you wanted.

But as the web evolved, so did the types of sites being launched.

Websites went from being pages of data, pictures, articles, essays, and media content - to include a new generation of resource-based sites, services, tools and apps.

The creation of tools has influenced human evolution more than anything else. The rise of tools on the web is a big deal, and it signifies a necessary change in how we share, navigate, and discover relevant websites and apps.

The Rise of Resources

Resource-based sites are not natural content producers, meaning their business model doesn't revolve around the constant flow of articles (like a publication) or products (like a shopping site).

Resource-based sites are the fastest growing business category on the web. In fact, an estimated 81% of the startups on AngelList are considered resource-based. Yet these resources continue to struggle for discovery in a system optimized for content. And they can't compete.

Content Is King

People are more likely to discover this essay about website and app discovery than they are to discovery my website, StoppedAt; a social platform for website and app discovery.

Since search was designed to display results based on page content, and social media was designed to increase the reach of that page content, brands are naturally obsessed with creating page content. It's like marketing crack - and with good reason. If you want to be discovered be content. Being anything else just sucks.

But the web is now drowning in content overload. It's like being in a room where everyone is yelling louder than the next person. It is not a sustainable system for discovery - especially when the Internet is growing at a rate of 150,000 new websites a day.

Throwing Out The Playbook

When I think about Search I can't help but picture a bird flying into a glass window. Over and over again - continuing to do what isn't working. Maybe it's time for someone to open the window and make things easier.

  • What if we changed the rules of search?
  • What if it wasn't about content search, but about interest discovery?
  • What if it wasn't about ranking pages, but about surfacing resources?
  • What if results weren't listed by page, but curated by category?

I'm not sure what prompted this essay tonight. Maybe I'm just frustrated because searching on the web sucks so bad. Maybe it's because I'm tried of defaulting to "Top 10 Lists" about resources, instead of finding the resources themselves. Maybe it's because I know exactly how much people are missing out on, just by using my own platform. There are so many sites, tools, services, and communities that I could have benefited from - but couldn't find.

We couldn't agree more.

Comment Stream