We're right in the middle of the Web 2.0 revolution! Didn't anyone tell you? (Actually, hanging around here, you could have missed it.)
Most Web 2.0 business models include some form of user-generated content. Business people, developers, and fly-by-night investors assume that by creating a site that accepts submissions from users, millions of people will flood in and provide worthwhile content, eventually resulting in a Google acquisition and a few million bucks for the founders.
This is a stunning lapse in judgment that makes far too many incorrect assumptions:
Because quality doesn't matter. Consider MySpace. YouTube. LiveJournal. GameFAQs. Fark. eBaum's World. Even Craigslist. I could go on.
Very little content on these sites is worth anything. Even the "a small percentage is good" argument falls apart for most of them. Yet, these sites have all been very successful and made millions for their founders.
Even here, one of my most popular articles is one I consider to be one of my weakest, and I rushed it off the front page the next day. Yet it has earned more inbound links than almost any other article I've ever written.
Maybe I've been wrong all this time when I tell people that the key to a successful website is high-quality, original content.