Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) CEO Richard Rosenblatt used his company’s first earnings conference call as a public company in part to defend it against criticism that the content it produces is shallow and of poor quality, saying that traffic and Facebook “Likes” proved that the company’s content was valuable. “What is arcane to some is exactly what millions of people want,” he said. As an example, Rosenblatt said thousands of people had visited articles the so-called “content farm” had published on how to make “roof rakes” and “flying paper lanterns.”
Rosenblatt also said that Demand Media’s quality-checks exceeded those of many traditional media organizations. “Like all fast-growing companies we won’t be able to catch everything but we promise to get better,” he said. Rosenblatt added that the company was working on a new “curation layer” it would be adding to its sites that would allow visitors to provide feedback on the content of articles and make suggestions for improving them.
The comments come as many have complained loudly about the type of content being produced by Demand Media properties, such as eHow, and Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has said in response that it is examining ways to ensure its search results are not overridden with content from so-called content farms. Asked about Google’s statements, Rosenblatt said Demand Media was “very careful” about following all of Google’s guidelines. “Since day one, we realized (Google) was a very important partner to us and we consider ourselves very white hat,” he said.
One other highlight from the call: Rosenblatt said the company was winning over brand advertisers to its sites, saying that a number of big companies including American Express, Home Depot, L’Oreal, Dole and Samsung were now buying ads from Demand Media and were happy with the results. He said the company was continuing to open new sales offices and hire sales people to attract more ad dollars from brand advertisers.