Few sad as About.com closure announced


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/27/few-sad-as-about-com-closure-a.html


What’s to miss about “relevant” “content” written by “experts” that popped up first on google searches due to aggressive (and sometimes vaguely unethical) SEO?

I believe they lost up to 80% of their traffic when Google put them in the penalty box.


I think the last time I found About.com useful was in 2006 when I was looking up how to apply for a marriage license. That was in the era where not everything was easily available online. But then again that might have been the only time I found About to be useful.


Haven’t thought about them for years so no loss.

I think it was “about” time anyhow.


We had great content, but we were doing the wrong thing.

I think there’s a typo in the above statement. It should read:

We had shite content, and we were trying to monetize it to the great annoyance of every single user of the web.


I remember a mutual acquaintance getting me together for some meetings with Scott Kurnit back when it was called miningco.com : a smart and pleasant guy with what (at the time) was a smart and innovative idea. We had some great talks about where the Internet could go and the potential for the service (the terms “content mills” and “SEO” never came up). Times change, of course, and so do corporate priorities and missions, and I agree that no-one will miss it now.

[Between this post, the one on horrible tech trends and the NYC in 1993 video one it looks like it’s nostalgia day around here for me.]


I suppose the URL is still valuable even if the content is not.


I used to follow this one dude’s blog about action figures (it was really cool!) and then he shut it down when he was hired by About to redo their toys section. So all I had left of that dude’s musings was that shitty site. :frowning:


At least some of the technical articles seem to have been moved over to thoughtco.


They tricked me so many times! I’d click one of the first results, only to realze - too late - It’s about.com! Nooooo!


I wrote some copy for about.com as a freelancer a few years ago. They paid on a per-piece basis, and the pricing wasn’t great. The only way to actually make any money writing for them was to churn out as-fast-as-possible dreck that was just good enough to get past the editors, who were also being paid piecemeal and therefore zipping through edits just as quickly as possible.

I wouldn’t put my actual name on that garbage, so I used a pen name that was an anagram of “Link Farmer”.


Now if they’d just shut down Pinterest, I could start using Google again…


Unfortunately, given their taste for SEO sleaze, I can only suspect that “Vogel says he will take parts of the website and turn them into separate niche verticals” implies the SEO equivalent of deciding to release a swarm of MIRVs and decoys as you approach the target.



I’ve known a few people that wrote for About.com on the side – one was an actual employee (not freelance) for About.com for a while in the late 1990s (back when they were MiningCo).

I have always been astounded at how long About.com managed to stay alive despite it being a content mill barely scraping above the quality of Yahoo Answers in most cases. There were a few good writers there, but as @shikata_ga_nai mentioned, the typical motivations were to churn out as much content as possible rather than high quality content.


and now to the deep void for sweet fuck all

I would like to engrave that piece of poetry on my tombstone.


Fink Larmer, is that you?! Huge fan!


You have my blessing. Provided, of course, you’ll have it done in Comic Sans.


Well, back to Plan A: never dying.


This. One million times this.