Answers.com – Now Offering Free Advice On Selling Drugs To Kids, Finding ‘Bukkake’ For Your Wife

By   |  January 11, 2014

How do you counteract unemployment?

“Sell drugs too [sic] children,” is a good solution, according to Answers.com, now one of the most visited reference communities on the entire web.

Update 1/14/2014: It appears that Answers.com has quietly deleted the above content without comment, in response to our tweeting the story.

The website, which hosts thousands of user-generated “question and answer” types of posts alongside millions of encyclopedic pages that have been scraped directly from Wikipedia, is now the 198th (at least) most visited website in the world, according to Alexa, a web analytics company owned by Amazon.com.

The vulgar entry is one of many that, despite Answers.com maintaining hundreds of paid employees and exploiting thousands of unpaid “supervisors” who are tasked with regulating and improving various categories of the community, continue to infiltrate the website in a manner that, back in 2011, spelled death for similar online reference communities when Google strongly penalized those companies whose growth strategy relied solely on spamming the web with junk content.

Answers.com was one of those companies initially penalized by Google in 2011, and responded by quickly delisting itself from NASDAQ and selling off the company to AFCV Holdings, a private portfolio company of growth equity investor Summit Partners. While Answers.com temporarily suffered in 2011, they are back stronger than ever, recently receiving $300 million in funding in December to acquire ForeSee, a customer analytics service. (They even tried to buy About.com in 2012, their last remaining serious competitor besides Yahoo Answers, but their $217 million bid was not high enough.)

The story of Answers is particularly illustrative of how, despite Google’s denials, many corporate-backed websites are once again thriving with massive traffic from the search engine, no matter the quality of their content. At the time of this writing, for example, searching Google for “how to counteract unemployment” displays top results from Answers.com, despite many assertions from Google that web pages with short, irrelevant, and grammatically-poor content will no longer be emphasized.

Back in 2009, founding member of Answers.com Gil Reich revealed on his personal blog that, even though Google had decided not to partner with their website any longer for dictionary definitions, it didn’t really matter because the “bulk” of traffic was already driven by the Q&A topics appearing in Google search results, and the “bulk” of financial revenue was from their contract with Google’s Adsense advertising network.

The strategy behind spam sites like Answers.com comes full circle when you learn that the majority of visitors are under-educated, under-privileged minorities who tend to visit websites like Univision TV, Greyhound Bus, and the University of Phoenix homepage, an un-accredited online career institute. In other words, by partnering with search giants like Google and Ask.com, these websites full of junk content attract unsuspecting visitors who are easily confused by the messy page layout and unintelligible answers, and end up clicking Google’s ads – everyone wins, except the users themselves, of course.

If the Web 2.0 era ushered in social networks and “online exposure” for all kinds of data, then perhaps what can be called Web 3.0 is simply the conclusion that the Wild West days of the web – where anyone could succeed – are over, and corporate control of information flow is ultimately the future of the internet. (Take, for example, this man from Massachusetts who was arrested for violating his restraining order when Google Plus sent an automated email to his ex-girlfriend without his knowledge or permission.)

Nothing sums it up better than a question addressed to the “experts” in the fetish category that asks, “How do you setup bukkake for wife?” in an apparent reference to the sexual act made popular by Japanese pornography, whereby a group of males surround a female subject and consecutively ejaculate onto her face and body.

“The safest way is to go through a bukkake agency,” answered a topic expert, whose identity and credentials are not shared. It is unclear what exactly a ‘bukkake agency’ might refer to, as the answer does not elaborate further.

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