Digiday: Facebook will ‘completely deprioritize publishers’: Confessions of a publisher audience development head. “Many of the publishers that spent 2016 and 2017 investing in Facebook products like Instant Articles and news feed videos enter the new year with new perspective on the relationship they have with the world’s largest social platform. For the latest installment of our Confessions series, in which we exchange anonymity for candor, we spoke to an audience development head at a midsize digital publisher that resisted the temptation to go all-in on those products. The conversation has been condensed.” Please don’t tell me you’re shocked by this.
The Verge: Google will stop letting sites use AMP format to bait and switch readers. “Google today announced a forthcoming update to its Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, web format that aims to discourage website owners from misusing the service. The company says that, starting in February 2018, AMP pages must contain content nearly identical to that of the standard page they’re replicating.”
Wonkhe: A beginner’s guide to Open Access. “If Sci-Hub steals from the pockets of academic publishers, where do the contents of said pockets come from? Some argue that academic publishing provides a valuable service to researchers – signalling consensus, supporting peer review and maintaining high standards. Others would suggest that they profit from reviewing and editorial work carried out – largely or wholly unpaid – by academics, and an increasing compulsion to publish early and often.”
Gizmodo: Scientific Journals Publish Bogus Paper About Midichlorians from Star Wars. “The science community has long known that certain ‘predatory journals’ will publish almost any paper for a fee without proper peer review. Some watchdogs have submitted fake papers by fake researchers to these journals to highlight how bogus journals harm the integrity of the Open Access publishing movement, by taking advantage of a loophole. This newest sting from the anonymous science blogger Neuroskeptic is truly astounding for just how silly the fake paper is.”
Digiday: Facebook always wins: Data shows publishers are buying far more Facebook traffic. “Publishers may have bones to pick with Facebook over declining organic reach and monetization issues. But that hasn’t stopped them from buying a lot more traffic from the platform lately. According to analysis of over 1 million dark posts, or paid posts targeted at a specific audience segment on a platform, shared by more than 400 publishers, the average number of paid monthly impressions from Facebook over the past 18 months has more than doubled, according to Keywee data.”
The Economist: Peer review is a thankless job. One firm wants to change that . “Peer review underpins the entire academic enterprise. It is the main method of quality control employed by journals. By offering drafts of a paper to anonymous experts, poor arguments or dodgy science can be scrubbed up or weeded out. That is the theory. In reality, things are murkier.”
The Register: Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web. “Quite a few high-profile web developers have this year weighted in with criticism and some, following a Google conference dedicated to AMP, have cautioned users about diving in with both feet. These, in my view, don’t go far enough in stating the problem and I feel this needs to be said very clearly: Google’s AMP is bad – bad in a potentially web-destroying way. Google AMP is bad news for how the web is built, it’s bad news for publishers of credible online content, and it’s bad news for consumers of that content. Google AMP is only good for one party: Google. Google, and possibly, purveyors of fake news.”
Reuters: German court refers publishers’ case vs Google to European court. “A court in Berlin on Tuesday said it was referring to the European Court of Justice a dispute in which German publishers are accusing Google of abusing its market power by refusing to pay them for displaying newspaper articles online.”
Bloomberg News: News outlets seeing few returns from social media partnerships. “Newspapers and other media outlets are struggling to make money from their partnerships with tech giants such as Facebook and Snapchat, raising concerns over their business models in a news landscape increasingly dominated by social media platforms.”
Very good stuff from Sean Blanda: Medium, and The Reason You Can’t Stand the News Anymore. “Companies from Medium to The Washington Post to Mashable to Buzzfeed all eventually run into the same unthinkable truth: The methods used to fund modern journalism simultaneously undermine trust in the news outlets. Editors, writers, and executives at today’s news outlets are all in a no-win situation where they are forced to contribute to the causes of their own demise to survive.”
Pando — The most no brainer move of 2017: Medium should buy Patreon. “…there does seem one obvious, quick, and easy thing that Medium should do right this very second: Buy Patreon. [Ev] Williams says he does not want to continue to build on an ad driven framework. And he says he wants to make sure writers get rewarded by the millions of people who want to read intelligent content based on writing great content.”
The New York Times: Google Helping Mobile Publishing? Some Publishers Are Not So Sure. “Last month, Federico Viticci, who runs MacStories, a news site devoted to Apple and its products, made a change in how the site publishes articles for mobile gadgets. MacStories, he declared, would no longer support a Google-backed method for faster loading of mobile web pages, called AMP.”
Yay! From Search Engine Roundtable: Google Calls Out Sites With Taboola Or Outbrain Links. “Nathan Johns, a relatively quiet search quality analysts in the Google Search department posted on Twitter that sites writing about fake news should ‘think twice’ about placing taboola or outbrain links on your site.” It isn’t clear this is an official Google position, but it’s good to see that SOMEONE affiliated with Google feels like this.
Poynter: Google is becoming less of a traffic powerhouse, new report suggests. “No surprise: Facebook remains dominant, sending 37 percent of all referral traffic across the 700-website network. That’s down a few percentage points from a year ago, when it drove 41.4 percent of referrers. But the story is different for search engines, most notably Google.”
Digiday: Scale-hungry Facebook video publishers are in trouble if they don’t think long term. “Ad revenue from Facebook through its suggested videos product is still incredibly small, publishing sources say, and user-generated clips aren’t a format that can be licensed to different platforms and territories. Which means as soon as the video is finished, it gets lost in the growing sea of content on Facebook, never to be thought of again. And that’s the ugly truth in the age of Facebook video: publishers that chase quick scale without an eye toward establishing a long-term video business are in for a lot of trouble.”