Fully automated copywriter launched

by Tom Albrighton 1 April 2010 Fun, Popular

Content To Serve, the Silicon Valley-based web application developer, has launched the world’s first completely automated solution for copywriting. The Holistic Online Automated Content System replicates all the functionality of a human copywriter, with none of the inconvenience and at a fraction of the cost.

Joe King, head of development at CTS, outlines the rationale behind the HOACS. “Essentially, copywriting is a lot like digging up turnips,” he says. “Humans can do it, but ultimately a machine can perform the same task more quickly and effectively. Our modular online application provides all the benefits of flexible, on-demand content generation – without the hassle of dealing with a thinking, feeling human being.”

Marketing content on demand

Perhaps surprisingly, the core ‘writing’ module of the HOACS was the easiest to develop. “In business-to-business mode, it just rehashes a competitor’s online content, inserting the words ‘solution’, ‘proactive’ and ‘flexible’,” explains Joe. “Article marketing turned out to be a breeze – just copy an existing article and rearrange the paragraphs, always remembering to change the byline and the backlink of course.”

HOACS-logoOver 90% of online content is now created for blogs, SEO, PR or articles – media characterised by a read-rate of practically zero. “Recognising that no-one has the time or inclination to read their content, our clients are happy to accept a cost/quality trade-off,” says Joe. “Why overpay for material that even GoogleBot struggles to get through? To cut costs even further, HOACS leaves sections such as ‘about us’ and ‘our values’ completely blank, with no noticeable impact on sales.”

Social media capability

The ‘moaning about clients’ module of HOACS was far harder to develop. “As it happens, this is one of the few areas where humans may still have the edge,” reveals Joe. “Client behaviour has to be analysed for reasonableness, anonymised and then posted in cryptic snippets to social-media sites. If too much detail is given, there’s a risk of the client recognising themselves; if too little, the material isn’t juicy enough to get retweeted.”

HOACS offers full online integration with the functionality of ‘find a freelance’ sites such as People Per Hour and Elance, as well as with ‘content on demand’ services such as Demand Studios. “With this feature, clients can often receive the content they need within seconds of posting a requirement online,” enthuses Joe. “The whole process is completely automated, from scanning the online brief through to nicking the content off Wikipedia. As a virtual copywriter, HOACS can submit highly competitive bids, and is happy to work unpaid on the strength of ‘lots of work in the pipeline’. Very soon, I believe we’ll see automation of the client’s role too – it’s really just a case of monitoring Google Alerts for key words, generating a simple two-line brief and posting it online.”

Improving on nature

However, HOACS doesn’t mimic every attribute of the biological copywriter. In terms of attitude and personality, CTS have made some marked improvements. “Human copywriters tend to be pedantic, self-important and rather smug,” notes Joe. “Our solution has an ‘utter humility’ setting that forces it to accept all amends uncomplainingly, even those that result in grammatical errors, inconsistency or rubbish word choice. You can even send the HOACS content written by your ten-year-old nephew and it will respond with sycophantic flattery.”

Traditional copywriters are highly inefficient, needing large quantities of tea, Cheddars and red wine just to achieve a basic working day of seven hours, of which at most two or three will actually be productive. While additional time can be extracted, the extra wine required makes for an unrealistic cost-benefit equation and a marked decline in quality. In contrast, the HOACS, being web-based, consumes only a nominal amount of electricity and is ‘always on’. “The different in carbon footprint is dramatic,” says Joe. “Plus you can impose the most ludicrous timescales without the tedium of negotiating.”

CTS’ next project is even more ambitious: a completely automated graphic designer. “We’re working hard on eliminating pretension, surliness and foot-dragging over client amends,” enthuses Joe. “Our aim is to create something rather like a Spirograph, but easier to use. And cheaper.”

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