The power of Google

Another Google algo update and, as ever, original, interesting, useful content is key to SEO success. The hit eBay’s taken is interesting, though… An 80% drop in Google traffic coukd be a business-killer for anyone less big. And their content surely *is* original and relevant, what with the products changing all the time? Possibly another impact from the authorship/Google+ changes the Google guys have introduced? After all, eBay product page writers are hardly likely to be verified Google+ authors. Is this why eBay are starting to invest in creating narrative content around their auctions? Update: See also the ever-excellent Matthew Ingram on this, who points out the extremely worrying hit the long-running and much-loved Metafilter has taken: “Reliant on Google not only for the bulk of its traffic but also the bulk of its advertising revenue, Metafilter has had to lay off almost half of its staff.” The lesson? Google can kill a site on a whim, and even the experts can’t tell us how or why, because Google’s algorithms are even more secret than the Colonel’s delicious blend of herbs and spices. Any site dependent on search for the bulk of its traffic is playing a very, very dangerous game. Update 2: More detail on the Metafilter revenue/traffic decline, complete with stats. The related power of Facebook to stifle updates from sources it has deemed to be suspect for whatever reason simply – and even the New York Times’ recently-leaked innovation report’s charts In the decline of its homepage – makes an obvious cliché all the more true even it comes to Web traffic: don’t put all your...

Atomisation: Good vs gimmick?

I love Quartz. I love news “atomisation” app Circa. I am fascinated by the future of news. So unsurprisingly yesterday’s launch of Quartz’s new Glass site – focused on the future of news via an experimental bite-sized format – got me rather excited. But a day in, I can’t see the point of the atomisation format for this kind of site. The perils of high expectations What we get are Tweet-length (or thereabouts) snippets of media news, usually with a link – similar to the linklogs popular around the late 90s / early 2000s (think Memepool, Fark, LinkMachineGo) – or some kind of opinion, often with a little arrow indicating that you can click for more. A linklog aggregating media news is fine – a useful addition to my Twitter list of handy sources of industry info, with some useful selections. But why this atomised opinion approach? It’s like a choose your own adventure book, only with argument/opinion – subsequent points hidden until you click – for reasons that largely escape me. Form vs function Take this piece on the (excellent) Fargo TV series. That link takes you to the full post – with all the subsections expanded. It reads fine – just like a regular blog post. But come to it from the front page? You get the first paragraph only. Click down, you are presented with the tier two paragraphs (numbers 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10). To get the full post, you have to click an additional four times to get paragraphs 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11. That’s five clicks to get one story. What...

Is collaborative newsgathering the way forward?

Being a foreign affairs geek, the decline of overseas bureaus has long been a concern. Yes, the web could mean that information from overseas is easier to access and verify remotely than ever before (see the success of the Dublin-based Storyful in rapidly verifying UK from all over the world), but having your own trusted people on the ground? Surely that’s an advantage? Well, yes and no. A correspondent can’t be everywhere at once. In a fast-moving situation like the one ongoing in Ukraine, with so many unverified stories and deliberate falsehoods and fabrications being set up, this becomes even more of a problem. And so the just-announced Ukraine Desk collaboration between Vice, Quartz, Mashable, Digg, Mother Jones, and BreakingNews.com – pooling their on the ground resources to improve the reliability of their information – is a fascinating one, which I’ll be following with interest (both in the subject and the process). Could collaborative newsgathering and media coalitions be a way to break down the economic challenges of having reporters on the...

Yet another blog about the future of media?

A few years ago, after I won the European Parliament Prize for Journalism for a post on my politics blog, I told an interviewer that I believed that the arrival of the web heralded a new golden age for journalism