Barry Diller's IAC Creates Own Content Farm - 12/23/2010

NEW YORK ( -- Barry Diller appears to be cultivating his very own "content farm" at IAC. Though he recently relinquished the executive reins at the company he founded, IAC property Pronto has quietly launched a company called The Writers Network that looks for people willing to write short-length, how-to articles, much like Demand Media, AOL's SEED or Yahoo's Contributor's Network.

Barry Diller
Barry Diller
According to the website, 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. An IAC spokesperson declined to comment, but an insider said Pronto is testing this new writer's network as a means to acquire more traffic.

In that sense, it's a bit more like AOL's SEED, a freelance network for low-cost content for AOL sites. Yahoo acquired another content farm, Associated Content in May and named it Yahoo Contributor's Network in November.

Pronto, a New York-based unit of IAC, claims 13.7 million monthly visitors who browse 60 million products through its site.

IAC named Greg Blatt, the CEO of IAC property since February 2009, to succeed Mr. Diller, who will remain as chairman. Match is IAC's best performing property, accounting for over a quarter of the company's overall revenue.

Mr. Diller's varied interests in internet startups led him to create and acquire a hodgepodge of companies, from CitySearch to College Humor to The Daily Beast, which recently merged with the ailing Newsweek.

Despite stepping down from the top executive spot, Mr. Diller remains the company's single-largest shareholder at 34%, and possibly stands to gain a bigger share should he exercise certain stock rights within the next year.

IAC and Pronto did not return calls seeking comment.

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