07-27-2012, 08:59 AM
Top 10 List of Top 10 Lists for your Top 10 List Compilation
The Only Constant is Change
When you think of all the implications of the above video (and all the things that are going on in machine learning & search), it can be somewhat difficult to think about sustainable strategies.
Want to fund in-depth automotive reviews in part based on your organic rankings? That business model breaks down when the organic SERPs move below the fold.
When platforms are new they start off as being fairly open to win attention & maximize their growth rates. Over time as they push to monetize they shift gears & what was once true becomes misleading. Thus a lot people likely come off as sounding like quack jobs because they keep having to reinvent themselves & reassess their belief systems as the markets change.
Hello Mr. Cynic
If you write things that sound like rants & complaints a lot of people mistake it as thinking you are a crank full of gloom & nonsense. For what it is worth, in many ways I think the future of the web will still be bright, but just relatively less bright than it was in the recent past for smaller players.
During the creation of any new communications network there are amazing opportunities, but over time they get arbitraged away & returns move more toward the typical norm in business as the platform gets locked down.
No Longer An Isolated Channel
The web is becoming more & more like the physical world (and is merging with it). For a long time search & online was largely a meritocracy, where the best person could easily win even if they came from the most humble beginnings.
In the offline world there are many hoops one has to jump through to win and the online market is just becoming more like that & at an accelerating rate due to network effects that allow big companies to saturate channels & tracking leading to asymmetrical advantages.
From Meritocracy to Corporatocracy
In search of years gone by, large & complex organizations that were overly bloated and inefficient routinely had their asses handed to them by smaller & more efficient operations. But then size became a primary signal of relevancy & quality, and that all changed. As Larry Page & Sergey Brin warned, the relevancy algorithms inevitably follow the underlying business model of the search engine.
That is a big part of the disillusionment with Google. For many years they were a leveler which was concerned primarily with quality. That grew the importance of search & differentiated them from everyone else, but then they decided to be "the same" & so many who promoted them felt a bit betrayed.
If a person gives you something and then takes it away you likely view them worse than someone who simply never offered that in the first place. As a species we are biologically aligned with being adverse toward loss.
Vertical AND Horizontal Integration
I was chatting with a friend about the above trend & his responses were:
■"you don't shoot the guy that didn't give you the job; you shoot the guy that gave you the job and then fired you"
■"their public image as being a leveler becomes more grating too, given how much they no longer represent that"
■"the biggest problem we have in search is that search engines don't view themselves as a medium. They want to be the cable operator + television show + in-show advertising + commercials...I'm not aware of another medium where it works that way"
The last of those 3 points is a big deal. Consider how popular music is & that Machinima drives about 2/3 as many video streams as all of VEVO does & yet Google invested directly into it. That gives Google power to rank the content (Google serps), host the content (YouTube), monetize the content (ads), and have an ownership stake in the content. All that is in addition to owning a browser, an operating system (make that two) & building hardware.
If Google's internal stats show someone else is catching up to a channel they invested in, Google can...
■relay this news across to drive editorial quality, content quantity, or even ad placement
■preferentially promote the network they are invested in (free ads, better rankings, more "you might also like" recommendations, more post-view recommendations)
■give a higher revenue share to the network they are invested in (or offer them early access to new betas and exclusives that increase monetization)
■slow the growth of the competing network by using more aggressive ad placement (or lower CPM ads)
■slow upload speeds for competing channels
If you are batting for the home team, such advantages are great. But they blow for everyone else in the ecosystem.
Any thought on that?
“Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”