Tag: Google economy

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Living with Apple’s Mistakes

I lied, but not deliberately. One year ago today, I wrote: “Apple Lost My Heart to Google in 2015“, explaining that “my mainstays at the start of 2016: Chromebook Pixel LSPixel CNexus 6P, and Huawei Watch. I abandoned Apple and there are no plans to return..I will write more about Google in 2016 than previous years, because of the benefits I see. As for Apple, the company had my heart for the longest time. I challenge CEO Tim Cook to win back my adoration; skeptical I may be”.

By March, however, Apple won back my business with little effort, and I gave up the Google lifestyle. Transition back to the Orchard started with a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro: 3.1GHz Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, purchased from DC Computers. Three reasons: 1) I believed Mr. Cook’s privacy promises, all while my concerns about Big G information collection increased. 2) I found the visual acuity of Apple fonts and user interfaces to be far superior to Google’s, which helped compensate for diminishing reading vision (later recovered through eye surgery). 3) Google’s platforms proved inadequate for easily recording, producing, and publishing the Frak That! podcast, which is available on SoundCloud

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Apple Ad Blocking Blasts the Google Free Economy

On Sept. 16, 2015, Apple released iOS 9, which enables users of iPad and iPhone to disable ads. The company claims the capability improves the overall user experience. As someone covering the tech industry for more than two decades, I perceive it as something else, too: Competitive assault against Google and means of pushing publishers to iOS 9’s new News app. There is nothing friendly about Apple’s maneuver. It is aggressive and tactical. But does it really matter?

Stated simply: More than 90 percent of Google revenue comes from contextual and search-related advertising. Apple derives about the same figure from selling devices and supporting services. At the same time, mobile is the future of Internet advertising and the battleground where the two meet. The entities’ respective mobile platforms, Android and iOS, long ago put the tech titans on a collision course. Conceptually, what Apple can’t gain from iPad and iPhone sales, it can take by shaking pillars supporting its rival’s business. 

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Who Mourns for the Fourth Estate? (Part 1)

April 2009, I busily bang out a news analysis for Microsoft Watch, one of two news sites I edit for Ziff Davis Enterprise. My boss sounds alarm that there is some jeopardy to my job. I earn a six-figure salary, which panics investors/creditors that recently increased involvement in editorial operations. He infers that I am the highest-paid writer on staff.

Days later, he informs me that in two weeks, ZDE will lay me off—the first time this has ever happened in my long journalist career. My last day will be April 30. As the end approaches, but I continue to produce content normally, he returns with an offer: Stay on writing news stories for eWeek, take a 36 percent reduction in pay, and agree to a 5-story-per-day quota. I politely decline but privately fume. 

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What is the Google Free Economy?

Today I posted the third installment of my investigative news analysis series “What Does the ‘Google Free Economy’ Cost You?”, which is being crowdfunded through Byline: “Obituary for the Fourth Estate, Part 1“. The headline derives from a subhead in the first story, which I share here, below the fold.

During the editing, I nearly broke up Part 1 in two to make a third. The first of the pair recaps how the Google Free Economy illuminated a path for new media companies as the Fourth Estate lost its way. Part 2 will look at the rise of social media and how it has fundamentally shifted authority from a small number of editors and reporters to the audience of news consumers. The initial concepts build from my groundbreaking, but largely ignored, June 2009 analysis “Iran and the Internet Democracy“. 

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Please Support My Google Exposé

My mind is divided about Google, or is that Alphabet now? On one hand, I see the company as among the most innovative ever. I highly value many of Google’s products and they enable me to work more efficiently and to accomplish much more in far less time. On another hand, the search and services operation’s business model is hugely disruptive to people like me that generate content that is primarily consumed online. My profession is in shambles, with the “Google free economy” as the primary wrecking ball.

Overnight, I started an investigative report that will, in the early stages, primarily focus on how the information giant’s business disrupts the news media and some other content producers. “What Does the ‘Google Free Economy’ Cost You?” is crowdfunding through Byline. Should I achieve my modest milestone goal—$250 over 40 days—another milestone would follow with larger goal, and the reporting will expand into additional areas of concern, such as privacy or even how Google could influence the outcome of the U.S. 2016 Presidential election. 

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Responsible Reporting Section 1 ‘News in Context’: Chapters I and II

My ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers is divided into three sections. The first, “News in Context”, is a state of the online news industry. The second, “The Five Journalisms”, examines five categories of news gathering most relevant to the age of context. The last, “What You Must Do”, applies concepts from the other two to present guidelines for responsible reporting.

In this second installment, I present two chapters from the first section. Opener “In Just Eight Years” is in part adapted from my June 2009 analysis “Iran and the Internet Democracy“, which is a provocative lens for looking back to look forward at the state of the news industry. 

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I am NOT an Old School Journalist

Dumb-ass me, something seriously needs explaining. If you follow my posts, they might seem all hoity-toity with respect to blogging versus journalism ethics and tactics—that Joe Wilcox clings to past methods while the future is about a new news paradigm. If you have that impression, and I take full responsibility for creating it, let me correct the record.

My book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers lays out clear principles that anything but cling to the old guard. The audience, and building and maintaining trust with it, is in my view the news gatherer’s greatest responsibility. Putting audience trust before accuracy is anything but traditional. J Schools typically make seeking truth the journalist’s primary objective and ethical responsibility. In the contextual news era, audience matters more. 

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What is Clickbait?

My definition is the authoritative answer. Period. Journalists and their readers debate about what is clickbait, and also linkbait, and whether or not they are the same. They most certainly are not, and neither has a place in responsible journalism.

Both are constructs of the Google free economy—that is giving away valuable content subsidized by online advertising to get high search ranking. Problem: There is too much content, and too much of it alike, for ads to financially support. Excessive ad space means lower page rates and greater competition for advertisers. The shortage encourages even more clickbaiting and linkbaiting, which generate more pointless posts that suck limited advertising from high-value news content. 

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Like I Said, Aggregation is Plagiarism

File this in the “When things are too much alike department”—and I meant to write this post last week. Better late than never, eh? Scrolling through my RSS feeds on Friday I came upon this Gizmodo story which matters to me: “HBO Is ‘Seriously Considering’ Offering HBO Go Without Cable TV“. Pranav Dixit’s piece provides no real reporting but aggregates from Quartz’s “HBO is now ‘seriously considering’ whether to offer HBO Go without cable TV“.

I recognize there are only so many ways to write a headline with quote “seriously considering”, but c`mon. Aren’t bloggers embarrassed puking out someone else’s digested food? There is something like alien culinary abduction here, and the results are disgusting. How hard would it be to get the quote, rather than lift it from someone else? What if Quart’z John McDuling misquoted (he doesn’t) such that Giz and countless other aggregators regurgitated and the social web smeared it all over their Walls? 

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Go Google, or Go to Hell

If there is a villain in my book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, Google is it. I fiercely criticize bad reporting practices perpetrated on behalf of the Google free economy, where a mighty monopoly extends incredible influence over advertising dollars and content distribution. Flip around to one of my other tomes, The Principles of Disruptive Design, and the search and information giant is praised for innovation that promises to usher in the “Star Trek”-era of touchless computing. So what? Is Google devil or savior?

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Kurt Sutter correctly calls Google a ‘Parasite’

As a content creator my feelings about Google are mixed. Philosophically, I believe in the openness of information and non-restrictive copyrights that let the producer profit from his or her good work in the present but benefit everyone later on. Last-Century revisions ruin the latter ethic. Life plus 70 years is a ridiculously long copyright that rapes the very concept of public domain.

Google’s business model enables free spread of information, which supports my other ethic. But there’s rot at the core—the free-content economy that search demands. As I explain in my new ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, “the search giant profits from your good work, reducing its value in the process”. Google produces no content, while its whole business model is about profiting from others’ content.