Content Aware media news: November 23, 2023

Published: 24 November 2023

What lies behind Google turning publisher traffic on its head?

Whose business gets set on fire by Google today, and other search-related meltdowns - all in this week's Content Aware.

Hello to those of you who joined us at the Media Strategy Network USA event in Manhattan last week - it was great to see you and hear your concerns about the challenges we all face.

You'll not be surprised to read below that much of this week's edition of Content Aware is dedicated to arguably the most pressing issue of the day for publishers: what do we do about Google?

We hosted several roundtables at the event for US media leadership, and the primary point of debate was quite what options are open, and what experiences and insight we could share, about the mouse-vs-elephant position the industry feels itself as being in. 

One thing is for sure: we're not the elephant, and the problem is not currently getting better. 

The giant selling fire extinguishers keeps torching your house
A key focus of talk at the inaugural Media Strategy Network USA in New York last week - a gathering of media leadership looking at current and future trends for the industry - is the vice-like grip Google has on the health of media and publishing. As one article put it, "Publishers are mad as hell and they're not going to take this any more." After all, one Google person's core update is potentially thousands of people's collapsed business.

You can't send a letter to Google - but you can fill in this form
If you have experienced a traffic collapse after recent Google algorithm changes, you should take the time to fill out a form linked via this article. After all, how else are we supposed to let them know their fiddling often leads to Rome burning?

"10.6 million clicks to 0 overnight in less than 3 months. Just crazy."
More on the piece referenced above which shows the strength of feeling among publishers wondering what they did to deserve being shut down by Google search.

Corbidge comments on... measuring the unmeasurable
Meanwhile, what else is on Google's plate, and could be behind their haphazard recent actions? Our self-described human search engine Rob looks at the metrics being used by the likes of Google to make their search engines more likely to eliminate users needing to check onward-linked sites - all of which can have profound impacts on the fortunes of publishers.

Who is this Al Gorithm, and can we fire him?
One editor loses his patience with the complete powerlessness he and many of his colleagues feel at being held to an unknown standard by an unknown measure.

X's 'reverse ferret' on headline ban
Remember that piece we linked to you about all the workaround publishers were using to adapt to Twitter's decision to cut headlines from news articles? Now they have to undo it. If you were mid-process of adapting, time to cancel the meetings.

Weibo enforced a ban on anonymity - what happened next won't shock you
What would happen if social media anonymity was removed? China can show us: new rules there saw social platforms require popular figures and influencers to reveal their real names. Many ditched their accounts entirely, or found workarounds including culling their follower counts to dip below thresholds.

Watch out [insert newspaper brand] - your logo is at risk!
We love old-style newspaper mastheads which look like they have been in use forever and a day, and sometimes need to be viewed with a squint to read. Their future might be limited, however.

AI translations - sounds good!
FT Strategies is the latest to outline its hopes and concerns over the rise of AI in the newsroom, what roles it can play and what hurdles it can present. Translations is highlighted as an interesting possible use case: we agree, but since GPP is shortly to introduce GAIA's Translate feature into its internationalisation feature set, we'd be mad to argue!

Adieu, Facebook news partnerships
So fades the Meta venture into Australian news partnerships with publishers, as the last of its people connected with doing deals for content (an obligation under local law, remember) gets moved to industries who don't troublingly ask for recompense for using their content - err... music! One wonders if the music industry will tolerate the same voracious use of its content to boost Meta's ad rates.

Want Content Aware when it is published to subscribers? Use the form above to sign up.