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On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google 108

Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "MetaFilter recently announced layoffs due to a decline in ad revenue that started with a mysterious 40% drop in traffic from Google on November 17, 2012, and which never recovered. Danny Sullivan at SearchEngineLand explores in detail how MetaFilter 'serves as a poster child of problems with Google's penalty process, despite all the advances Google has made over the years.' Caitlin Dewey at the Washington Post puts it more bluntly: 'That may be the most striking, prescient takeaway from the whole MetaFilter episode: the extent to which the modern Web does not incentivize quality.'"
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On MetaFilter Being Penalized By Google

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @07:25PM (#47079885)

    If you depend that heavily on ad revenue from Google then you really need to re-think your business model

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @07:32PM (#47079947)
    It's worse actually. They're dependent on Google not only for ad revenue, but for simple exposure.

    Honestly I never knew what metafilter was for. I've been on the Internet since 1994 (god, 20 years!) and metafilter never really caught my eye as knowing what they were for. If their goal was to be a front-door for the Internet, an aggregator of cool stuff, I have plenty of other sites to do that through that each seem to do a good job. If their job was to be a question-and-answer forum, I've got several forums for specific topics that I can visit and get better answers, and where if I give answers, they're both appreciated and discussed at length (sometimes ad-nauseum) so that they stay relevant.

    If metafilter broke their somewhat parasitic arrangement with an entity that isn't forced to send them traffic, then I don't really know what to say to them.
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @07:52PM (#47080095)
    ... that google appears to be the main generator of traffic for some websites. The way to solve the root problem is not to change how google does or does not work, but to bring other traffic generators on board.

    A company that relies upon one customer for a great majority of its sales will always be beholden to that customer. That is why companies diversify their customer base.

    Websites should diversify their traffic generators instead of just relying on good ole google to generate traffic for them.

  • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @08:10PM (#47080199)


    I'm also one of those oldies, and never heard of that particular site. However I'm on Slashdot from not too long after the beginning (many years of just reading - not commenting) - my friends told me about this site over a beer in the students' club. Good old days.

    To come back to Slashdot and Google: I'm using Google quite extensively to search for all kinds of topics, including tech related ones. I don't recall having ever seen a link to a Slashdot article appear in Google, not even a link to a comment (which is of course where the real interesting bits can be found), probably as Slashdot doesn't produce any new content, they just aggregate what they find elsewhere. If Metafilter is indeed also just an aggregator, good that Google skips their links and instead provides the links to the actual content instead.

  • by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @08:17PM (#47080231)

    That's pretty hypocritical considering how much hardcore porn is indexed by Google image search.

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:31PM (#47080669)
    That's irrelevant. ANY business that relies solely on another unaffiliated business is doomed to fail, eventually. That's Business 101 and has been true across every industry, since the birth of capitalism.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:38PM (#47080721)

    The videomakers are free to establish their own service. They choose to publish on Youtube and I don't think it is unreasonable to subject them to whichever whims Youtube might have.

    The issue isn't the proportion of payouts but the entitlement issues some people get. Youtube is not a publicly funded service. You have no rights there. The fact that you can make money there at ALL is an incentive they use to get you to produce videos. This is the fundamental misunderstanding Totalbiscuit had.That is why any complaint he has is entirely unjustified.

    If he makes his own video distribution site, he can run it as he pleases. Until then he can abide by Youtube's policies and like it unless he wants to come off as the spoiled crybaby he is. It's him and his kind with their distribution networks and *constant* dmca drama and general bitching about everything under the sun that he doesn't like that has made Youtube in general and letsplay communities in particular into the toxic mess they are in today. Fame creates followings and these people run their own personal armies of fans who are in constant pissing matches with other players. It gets so old when all you want to do is watch a good game and hear some nice commentary from someone who isn't guarding his every word because he is afraid of losing subscribers and that sweet ad revenue he has become addicted to.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:54PM (#47080801)

    No one is holding a gun to Youtube's head and demanding that they change their policies. No one is saying they're entitled to control the entire website, either.

    You see, there is this thing called "criticize." People usually criticize others that do things they don't like in an effort to get them to stop doing those things. Whether the people listen to the criticism is usually up to them, and criticizing something doesn't mean you think you're entitled to control it.

    Seriously, what's with the dumbasses who kneejerk in response to any criticism and tell others to go start their own business/make their own website? Yeah, asshole, everyone knows that if you owned the website you could do as you please with it; no need to state the obvious.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @10:44PM (#47080975) Journal

    It introduced me to some new things, porn included.

    Kids these days. Why, when I was young, we were introduced to porn by the Sears and Roebuck catalog or our parish priest.

  • by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @03:41AM (#47081897) Homepage Journal

    Sorry to have to break this to you, but you're a total sell-out. You'd rather remove serious content and treat a topic as taboo than lose your Google ads? Shame on you!

  • by MTO_B. ( 814477 ) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @07:31AM (#47082321) Homepage
    I cant live without money, I live with what I earn from AdSense. Yes, I'm too dependent on Google, but it's how it is.

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