Is Barry Diller building a content farm?
It certainly appears that he's tinkering with one, anyway.
According to an Ad Age report, IAC-owned Pronto has soft-launched something called The Writers Network, which solicits short and "How To"-style articles on a variety of topics -- a concept very similar to AOL's SEED, Demand Media and Yahoo's Contributor Network (formerly Associated Content).
Via Ad Age:
"Most of the assignments center around how to put together parties, such as one titled 'Formal Dinner Party Napkin Folding Ideas,' which pays $15, and 'How to Host a Nascar Party,' which pays $20. The fees range from $10 to $25. But unlike Demand Media's model, which creates assignments based on what people are searching for on Google, most of the articles from Writers Network appear to be designed for a specific IAC site: Home and Garden Ideas, which also appears to be managed by Pronto, a comparison-shopping engine."
Diller stepped down as IAC CEO last month, relinquishing the post to Match.com chief Greg Blatt. (Diller remains chairman.)
Ad Age senses the move is a traffic building experiment, with low-cost, "evergreen" content -- and that's what it looks like from here, too.
Pronto, a New York-based unit of IAC, claims it has 13.7 million monthly visitors who browse 60 million products.