Meet Shane Snow, the founder of Contently, which pimps writers out to corporate capitalists like American Express, Coke, GE, Google, Walmart, and General Motors. The service sold is “content marketing,” meaning fake journalism designed to sell more corporate products and otherwise advance the aims of big business marketing campaigns.
Ad Age reports that such efforts are a major boom industry. The various overclass flagships “are expected to spend nearly $2 billion on sponsored content in 2014.”
Mr. Snow does his pimping by “licensing software to brands to help them manage content-marketing projects and connecting these companies with freelance writers, for which it takes a 15% fee.”
As actual journalism dies via strangulation and systemic neglect, here’s how the action looks at Contently:
There is a range of writers and prices from which brands can choose. There are, for instance, best-selling authors and Pulitzer Prize nominees, youngsters fresh out of journalism school and a number of others who work for major publications but freelance on the side. Contently’s stable includes about 50,000 writers, according to Mr. Snow.
“It’s like a supermarket for writers,” said Tomas Kellner, managing editor at GE Reports, GE’s content-marketing site. “People like me, who need to scale up their operations, can get access to writers for a specific project.”