• collage image title



    Click here to sign up for our free monthly newsletter—which provides tips on efficient researching, interesting information sites, and industry news.
  • collage image title



    Click here to learn what people are saying about Mary Ellen Bates' workshops and presentations, to book a presentation, or to see when she is speaking at a venue near you.
  • collage image title



    Click here to listen to a recent interview. As an internationally-recognized research expert, Mary Ellen is frequently interviewed about information technologies and trends.
Mary Ellen Bates
Bates Information Services, Inc.
8494 Boulder Hills Dr.
Niwot, Colorado 80503 USA
Tel: 303.772.7095
Skype: Mary.Ellen.Bates
You have probably run into content farms without even realizing it. What's that, you ask? A content farm is a web site that has large quantities of low-quality text, often written by poorly-paid freelancers. The content is designed to be search-engine friendly and to generate large numbers of page-views, which leads to revenue from advertising on the page. (For examples of content farms, see, and Often, when I am researching a topic, I find a number of articles from content farms on the first page of search results. Fortunately, we now have a couple of ways to avoid encountering content farm manure.

First, consider using Google's Domain Blocker. It's still in development, so some features are still changing, but here's how it works. First, you need to be signed in to Google and using the site. In the search results page, if you click on a link and then use the browser BACK button you'll see a new option for that hit: Block all [domain name] results. If you don't like what you saw on that page and don't want that site to show up in any other future search results, click that link. You can also manually block any unwanted domains by going to

Another option is to search using, a fairly new search engine that features filters (called slash tags) that let you limit your search result. You can create your own filters and you can use the public ones (see for the list). In addition to that cool feature, Blekko has removed from its index all content from 20 content farms. I'll be covering Blekko in more detail in my next newsletter; at this point, I encourage you to give Blekko a try, particularly for searches that turn up a lot of spammy sites.

March 2011
Mowing Down Content Farms
by Mary Ellen Bates
Bates Information Services

Site Map || Contact