Regular readers know I’m not religiously opposed to so-called content farms – businesses that create content to match search keywords – but it’s a tough to balance their low-cost creation model with medium-scale quality. Associated Content is all but buried in Yahoo and Demand Media is trying to raise the quality of its product, partly in response to Google’s “Panda” anti-farm algorithm and partly to try to raise ad rates. Now, it looks like the New York Times is about to unload its About.com unit, one of the original lifestyle-content semi-pro sites. About used to be the engine of the Times’ digital ads business, but it hasn’t responded well to competitors or Panda, and the Times hasn’t been able to mold it into effective branded content offers. It may be the end of an era, but not the end of the concept.