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How to give an elevator story that people actually listen to

You can bump into your boss’s boss anywhere. Here’s how to be ready with an elevator story.

You could be anywhere when you bump into someone who is important to your career. It might be your boss’s boss, your CEO, or your key customer. How do you take advantage of this interaction? After all, you probably don’t have very long to seize the opportunity–maybe 45 seconds at most.

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La batalla por la internet física

Amazon se prepara para convertirse en un actor significativo en la llamada internet física, el proyecto para construir una red en las que las cajas se convierten en algo parecido a bytes que se mueven a través de la red de la cadena de suministro de forma parecida a como los datos lo hacen en internet.

La logística es una industria de 1.5 billones de dólares en los Estados Unidos que, según McKinsey, proporciona empleo a quince millones de personas y posee el tercer potencial más importante para la automatización. Los gigantes en esa industria, UPS y Fedex, controlan respectivamente el 40% y el 22% del mercado norteamericano, mueven una media de 15.8 y 3.4 millones de paquetes diarios, y poseen una flota combinada de 160,000 coches y camiones, además de 900 aviones.

En ese entorno, Amazon es sin duda un gran cliente, pero en dimensión de operaciones, es poco menos que un enanito. Sin embargo, no parece querer quedarse en eso: como corresponde a una parte de la cadena de valor de la que depende de manera evidente y que, además, tiende a originar una parte muy elevada de las reclamaciones de sus clientes, Amazon está trabajando en la integración vertical de su oferta de logística. Para ello, está llevando a cabo iniciativas que van desde la construcción de su propio aeropuerto hasta la creación de un ecosistema de micro-compañías y de servicios para hacer el envío de sus paquetes desde los almacenes al cliente final que incluye un cierto componente de uberización o variabilización del mismo, pasando por una fuerte inversión en automatización, una inversión estratégica en Deliveroo y una serie de programas para reducir las emisiones y la huella de carbono de sus operaciones.

Además, se ha lanzado a redefinir los estándares de servicio reemplazando el envío estándar gratuito de dos días para sus clientes Prime con un envío en un solo día y afirma ser capaz, con sus capacidades actuales, de llevar ese envío en un solo día a un 72% de la población norteamericana, una apuesta indudablemente fuerte.

¿Está Amazon en condiciones de plantear batalla a unos gigantes de la logística que, desde los inicios de la compañía, han sido los pilares en los que apoya su propuesta de valor? Sin duda, compañías como UPS o Fedex tienen una marcada dependencia de Amazon en sus cuentas de resultados, como la tienen muchas otras compañías de logística en todo el mundo. Pero Amazon, además, ha comenzado a plantear la logística como servicio y como centro de beneficio a muchos de sus principales clientes, lo que no solo compite con las compañías tradicionales, sino que además, le permite desarrollar un nivel de expertise cada vez mayor en el negocio.

Estamos presenciando la batalla para construir la llamada internet física, y Amazon pretende darle la vuelta a una situación en la que las compañías tradicionales, sobre las que pivotaba su negocio y que llevan más de un siglo dominando el panorama, se queden en poco tiempo no solo sin el negocio que mueve la propia Amazon, sino también sin una parte importante del que mueven muchas otras compañías. Para Amazon, que ya desarrolla servicios de almacenaje y gestión de stocks para muchas empresas de consumo, extender sus servicios a la logística completa es simplemente una cuestión de lógica. Para las compañías que venden a través de Amazon, que además de gestionar sus operaciones – y utilizar sus datos para mejorar su propio negocio incluso en ocasiones canibalizando el de sus clientes – utilizar los servicios de Amazon en un paso más no parece representar un problema, sino simplemente una elección en base a precio. Cuando ya proporcionas toda la información de tus operaciones a Amazon, añadir un paso más, el del envío, no parece diferencialmente preocupante.

Pero sin duda, los gigantes de la logística no van a quedarse mirando cómo alguien que solía ser su mejor cliente se convierte en su competidor más preocupante. En unos pocos años, sabremos si Amazon lo ha conseguido.


This article was also published in English on Forbes, «The battle for the physical internet«


Left is Right & Up is Down

Probably the single best video to watch to understand the power of Google & Facebook (or even most of the major problems across society) is this following video about pleasure versus happiness.

In constantly seeking pleasure we forego happiness.

The “feed” based central aggregation networks are just like slot machines in your pocket: variable reward circuitry which self-optimizes around exploiting your flaws to eat as much attention as possible.

The above is not an accident. It is, rather, as intended:

“That means that we needed to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever … It’s a social validation feedback loop … You’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology … [The inventors] understood this, consciously, and we did it anyway.”

  • Happy? Good! Share posed photos to make your friends feel their lives are worse than your life is.
  • Outraged? Good! Click an ad.
  • Hopeless? Good. There is a product which can deliver you pleasure…if only you can…click an ad.

Using machine learning to drive rankings is ultimately an exercise in confirmation bias:

For “Should abortion be legal?” Google cited a South African news site saying, “It is not the place of government to legislate against woman’s choices.”

When asked, “Should abortion be illegal?” it promoted an answer from obscure clickbait site listland.com stating, “Abortion is murder.”

Excellent work Google in using your featured snippets to help make the world more absolutist, polarized & toxic.

The central network operators not only attempt to manipulate people at the emotional level, but the layout of the interface also sets default user patterns.

Most users tend to focus their attention on the left side of the page: “if we were to slice a maximized page down the middle, 80% of the fixations fell on the left half of the screen (even more than our previous finding of 69%). The remaining 20% of fixations were on the right half of the screen.”

This behavior is even more prevalent on search results pages: “On SERPs, almost all fixations (94%) fell on the left side of the page, and 60% those fixations can be isolated to the leftmost 400px.”

On mobile, obviously, the attention is focused on what is above the fold. That which is below the fold sort of doesn’t even exist for a large subset of the population.

Outside of a few central monopoly attention merchant players, the ad-based web is dying.

Mashable has raised about $46 million in VC funding over the past 4 years. And they just sold for about $50 million.

Breaking even is about as good as it gets in a web controlled by the Google / Facebook duopoly. 😀

Other hopeful unicorn media startups appear to have peaked as well. That BuzzFeed IPO is on hold: “Some BuzzFeed investors have become worried about the company’s performance and rising costs for expansions in areas like news and entertainment. Those frustrations were aired at a board meeting in recent weeks, in which directors took management to task, the people familiar with the situation said.”

Google’s Chrome web browser will soon have an ad blocker baked into it. Of course the central networks opt out of applying this feature to themselves. Facebook makes serious coin by blocking ad blockers. Google pays Adblock Plus to unblock ads on Google.com & boy are there a lot of ads there.

Format your pages like Google does their search results and they will tell you it is a piss poor user experience & a form of spam – whacking you with a penalty for it.

Of course Google isn’t the only search engine doing this. Mix in ads with a double listing and sometimes there will only be 1 website listed above the fold.

I’ve even seen some Bing search results where organic results have a “Web” label on them – which is conveniently larger than the ad label that is on ads. That is in addition to other tricks like…

  • lots of ad extensions that push organics below the fold on anything with the slightest commercial intent
  • bolding throughout ads (title, description, URL) with much lighter bolding of organics
  • only showing 6 organic results on commercial searches that are likely to generate ad clicks

As bad as either of the above looks in terms of ad load or result diversity on the desktop, it is only worse on mobile.

On mobile devices organic search results can be so hard to find that people ask questions like “Are there any search engines where you don’t have to literally scroll to see a result that isn’t an advertisement?

The answer is yes.

DuckDuckGo.

But other than that, it is slim pickings.

In an online ecosystem where virtually every innovation is copied or deemed spam, sustainable publishing only works if your business model is different than the central network operators.

Not only is there the aggressive horizontal ad layer for anything with a hint of commercial intent, but now the scrape layer which was first applied to travel is being spread across other categories like ecommerce.

The more of your content Google can scrape-n-displace in the search results the less reason there is to visit your website & the more ad-heavy Google can make their interface because they shagged the content from your site.

Simply look at the market caps of the big tech monopolies vs companies in adjacent markets. The aggregate trend is expressed in the stock price. And it is further expressed in the inability for the unicorn media companies to go public.

As big as Snapchat & Twitter are, nobody who invested in either IPO is sitting on a winner today.

Google is outraged anyone might question the numbers & if the current set up is reasonable:

Mr Harris described as “factually incorrect” suggestions that Google was “stealing” ad revenue from publishers, saying that two thirds of the revenues generated by online content went to its originators.

“I’ve heard lots of people say that Google and Facebook are “ruthlessly stealing” all the advertising revenue that publishers hoped to acquire through online editions,” he told the gathering.

“There is no advertising on Google News. Zero. Indeed you will rarely see advertising around news cycles in Google Search either.

Sure it is not the ad revenues they are stealing.

Rather it is the content.

Either by scraping, or by ranking proprietary formats (AMP) above other higher quality content which is not published using the proprietary format & then later attaching crappier & crappier deals to the (faux) “open source” proprietary content format.

As Google grabs the content & cuts the content creator off from the audience while attaching conditions, Google’s PR hacks will tell you they want you to click through to the source:

Google spokeswoman Susan Cadrecha said the company’s goal isn’t to do the thinking for users but “to help you find relevant information quickly and easily.” She added, “We encourage users to understand the full context by clicking through to the source.”

except they are the ones adding extra duplicative layers which make it harder to do.

Google keeps extracting content from publishers & eating the value chain. Some publishers have tried to offset this by putting more ads on their own site while also getting further distribution by adopting the proprietary AMP format. Those who realized AMP was garbage in terms of monetization viewed it as a way to offer teasers to drive users to their websites.

The partial story approach is getting killed though. Either you give Google everything, or they want nothing.

That is, after all, how monopolies negotiate – ultimatums.

Those who don’t give Google their full content will soon receive manual action penalty notifications

The value of news content is not zero.

Being the go-to resource for those sorts of “no money here” news topics also enables Google to be the go-to resource for searches for [auto insurance quote] and other highly commercial search terms where Google might make $50 or $100 per click.

Every month Google announces new ad features.

Economics drive everything in publishing. But you have to see how one market position enables another. Google & Facebook are not strong in China, so Toutiao – the top news app in China – is valued at about $20 billion.

Now that Yahoo! has been acquired by Verizon, they’ve decided to shut down their news app. Unprofitable segments are worth more as a write off than as an ongoing concern. Look for Verizon to further take AIM at shutting down additional parts of AOL & Yahoo.

Firefox recently updated to make its underlying rendering engine faster & more stable. As part of the upgrade they killed off many third party extensions, including ours. We plan to update them soon (a few days perhaps), but those who need the extensions working today may want to install something like (Comodo Ice Dragon (or another browser based on the prior Firefox core) & install our extensions in that web browser.

As another part of the most recent Firefox update, Firefox dumped Yahoo! Search for Google search as their default search engine in a new multiyear deal where financial terms were not disclosed.

Yahoo! certainly deserved to lose that deal.

First, they signed a contract with Mozilla containing a change-of-ownership poison pill where Mozilla would still make $375 million a year from them even if they dump Yahoo!. Given what Yahoo! sold for this amounts to about 10% of the company price for the next couple years.

Second, Yahoo! overpaid for the Firefox distribution deal to where they had to make their user experience even more awful to try to get the numbers to back out.

Here is a navigational search result on Yahoo! where the requested site only appears in the right rail knowledge graph.

The “organic” result set has been removed. There’s a Yahoo! News insert, a Yahoo Local insert, an ad inviting you to download Firefox (bet that has since been removed!), other search suggestions, and then graphical ads to try to get you to find office furniture or other irrelevant stuff.

Here is how awful those sorts of search results are: Yahoo! was so embarrassed at the lack of quality of their result set that they put their logo at the upper right edge of the page.

So now they’ll be losing a million a day for a few years based on Marissa Mayer’s fantastic Firefox deal.

And search is just another vertical they made irrelevant.

When they outsourced many verticals & then finally shut down most of the remaining ones, they only left a few key ones:

On our recent earnings call, Yahoo outlined out a plan to simplify our business and focus our effort on our four most successful content areas  – News, Sports, Finance and Lifestyle. To that end, today we will begin phasing out the following Digital Magazines:  Yahoo Food, Yahoo Health, Yahoo Parenting, Yahoo Makers, Yahoo Travel, Yahoo Autos and Yahoo Real Estate.

And for the key verticals they kept, they have pages like the following, which look like a diet version of eHow

Every day they send users away to other sites with deeper content. And eventually people find one they like (like TheAthletic or Dunc’d On) & then Yahoo! stops being a habit.

Meanwhile many people get their broader general news from Facebook, Google shifted their search app to include news, Apple offers a great news app, the default new tab on Microsoft Edge browser lists a localize news feed. Any of those is a superior user experience to Yahoo!.

It is hard to see what Yahoo!’s role is going forward.

Other than the user email accounts (& whatever legal liabilities are associated with the chronic user account hacking incidents), it is hard to see what Verizon bought in Yahoo!.

Categories: 

La emergencia climática y la importancia del lenguaje

IMAGE: Takver (CC BY SA)

El prestigioso diario británico The Guardian cambia su libro de estilo para modificar la terminología con la que se refiere al mayor reto que la humanidad afronta en el momento actual, el problema medioambiental, como parte de una iniciativa para tratar de comunicar de manera adecuada y rigurosa, reflejando adecuadamente los fenómenos que

En lo sucesivo, términos como «climate change», «cambio climático», que evocaban simplemente un cambio en el clima que podría ser interpretado incluso como algo benigno, serán sustituidos por «climate crisis», «crisis climática» o por «climate emergency», «emergencia climática», que proporcionan una medida mucho más clara y evidente de la magnitud del problema, mientras que otros como «global warming» será sustituido por «global heating», igualmente con una interpretación más correctamente alarmante sobre su magnitud.

La iniciativa me parece mucho más importante de lo que parece, y de hecho, acabo de adoptarla en esta modesta página. El lenguaje condiciona muchas más cosas de lo que parece, y llamar a las cosas por su nombre es fundamental en este tipo de situaciones, como recientemente recordó la reciente portada de la revista Time, la gran Greta Thunberg, en un tweet.

Otro término importante actualizado es el de «climate sceptic», que pasará a ser adecuadamente formulado como «climate science denier», reflejando el componente de negación del conocimiento científico que supone esa postura considerada desde hace tiempo como completamente inculta e insostenible. El pasado septiembre, la BBC admitió en una nota interna que la información que proporcionaba sobre temas medioambientales no estaba en muchas ocasiones adecuadamente formulada, y dijo a sus redactores que las evidencias científicas no admiten equidistancia y que no era en absoluto necesario contar con la opinión de ningún negacionista con el fin de «equilibrar el debate»:

As climate change is accepted as happening, you do not need a ‘denier’ to balance the debate. Although there are those who disagree with the IPCC’s position, very few of them now go so far as to deny that climate change is happening. To achieve impartiality, you do not need to include outright deniers of climate change in BBC coverage, in the same way you would not have someone denying that Manchester United won 2-0 last Saturday. The referee has spoken.

El lenguaje, en efecto, es muy importante. Llamar a las cosas por su nombre puede contribuir a ponerlas en el contexto adecuado, y es una parte importante del enfoque en la solución de cualquier problema. Pero por supuesto, no lo es todo. Queda mucho por hacer, y el estado de opinión que ya predomina en el Reino Unido, donde el 76% de la población reconoce que estamos en una emergencia climática, y en otros países desarrollados está aún muy lejos de estar adecuadamente difundido en otros. Queda mucho por hacer. Hay que seguir trabajando.


An Update on Compensating and Supporting Facebook’s Contractors

By Janelle Gale, VP of HR and Arun Chandra, VP of Scaled Operations

The work we do to connect people around the world would not be possible without the talented and dedicated people who do contract work at Facebook. They are employed by outside vendor partners to work either part-time or full-time and provide important services across content review, security, culinary, transportation and other teams. We value their work immensely.

Today we’re committing to pay everyone who does contract work at Facebook in the US a wage that’s more reflective of local costs of living. And for those who review content on our site to make sure it follows our community standards, we’re going even further. We’re going to provide them a higher base wage, additional benefits, and more supportive programs given the nature of their jobs.

Raising Wages

In 2015, we introduced a new set of standards for people who do contract work in the US, including: a $15 minimum wage; a minimum 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time and vacation; and, for new parents that don’t receive paid leave, a $4,000 new child benefit that gives them the flexibility to take paid parental leave. Since 2016, we’ve also required vendors in the US to provide comprehensive healthcare to all of their employees assigned to Facebook.

In the years since, it’s become clear that $15 per hour doesn’t meet the cost of living in some of the places where we operate. After reviewing a number of factors including third-party guidelines, we’re committing to a higher standard that better reflects local costs of living. This means a raise to a minimum of $20 per hour in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and Washington, D.C., and $18 per hour in Seattle. We’ll be implementing these changes by mid-next year and we’re working to develop similar standards for other countries.

For workers in the US that review content on Facebook, we are raising wages even more. Their work is critical to keeping our community safe, and it’s often difficult. That’s why we’ve paid content reviewers more than minimum wage standards, and why we will surpass this new living wage standard as well. We’ll pay at least $22 per hour to all employees of our vendor partners based in the Bay Area, New York City and Washington, D.C.; $20 per hour to those living in Seattle; and $18 per hour in all other metro areas in the US. As with all people who do contract work, we’re working to develop similar international standards. This work is ongoing, and we’ll continue to review wages over time.

Caring for Content Reviewers

Beyond pay, we’re taking steps to better support the well-being and resilience of the teams that review content. All content reviewers — whether full-time employees or those employed by partner companies — have access to well-being and resiliency resources. This includes onsite trained professionals for individual and group counseling. And as with all people doing contract work, content reviewers also have comprehensive health care benefits.

We want to go further, and we are rolling out the first of many new programs and tools developed based on feedback from psychologists on our global resiliency team and from content reviewers themselves:

  • We’re working with our vendor partners to deliver ongoing well-being and resiliency training. It’s important to make sure that every person on these teams has the skills they need to care for themselves and for each other.
  • For the first time, we’re adding preferences that let reviewers customize how they view certain content. For example, they can now choose to temporarily blur graphic images by default before reviewing them. We made these changes after hearing feedback that reviewers want more control over how they see content that can be challenging.
  • We’re now requiring all vendor partners to provide on-site counseling during all hours of operations, not just certain hours of each shift.
  • We’re rolling out a resiliency survey to all partner sites around the world to get a better sense of the needs of our reviewers. We’ll do these surveys twice a year and use the results to shape our programs and practices.

Last month, we hosted our first annual vendor partner summit at Facebook’s Menlo Park Headquarters. Over 200 representatives from our vendor partners around the world joined us to discuss these changes and consider other ways we can better support our content reviewers. We heard great feedback and will continue to make important changes moving forward as these conversations continue.

Accountability

We’re working to make contracts across our Global Operations vendor partners consistent. This includes requirements like quality-focused incentives, no sub-contracting, overtime and premiums for nightshifts and weekends, and healthcare that meets the standards of the Affordable Care Act in the US and appropriate healthcare standards internationally.

It’s also really important that workers are being heard. We’re kicking off a biannual audit and compliance program this year for content review teams. This includes formal audits, unannounced onsite checks, and vendor partner self-reporting. We also have a whistleblower hotline where anyone who does contract work — including content reviewers — can raise concerns directly to Facebook. We’re working to make sure everyone knows about this hotline and feels empowered to use it.

Content review at our size can be challenging and we know we have more work to do. We’re committed to supporting our content reviewers in a way that puts their well-being first and we will continue to share steps forward on this important topic.

Left is Right & Up is Down

Probably the single best video to watch to understand the power of Google & Facebook (or even most of the major problems across society) is this following video about pleasure versus happiness.

In constantly seeking pleasure we forego happiness.

The “feed” based central aggregation networks are just like slot machines in your pocket: variable reward circuitry which self-optimizes around exploiting your flaws to eat as much attention as possible.

The above is not an accident. It is, rather, as intended:

“That means that we needed to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever … It’s a social validation feedback loop … You’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology … [The inventors] understood this, consciously, and we did it anyway.”

  • Happy? Good! Share posed photos to make your friends feel their lives are worse than your life is.
  • Outraged? Good! Click an ad.
  • Hopeless? Good. There is a product which can deliver you pleasure…if only you can…click an ad.

Using machine learning to drive rankings is ultimately an exercise in confirmation bias:

For “Should abortion be legal?” Google cited a South African news site saying, “It is not the place of government to legislate against woman’s choices.”

When asked, “Should abortion be illegal?” it promoted an answer from obscure clickbait site listland.com stating, “Abortion is murder.”

Excellent work Google in using your featured snippets to help make the world more absolutist, polarized & toxic.

The central network operators not only attempt to manipulate people at the emotional level, but the layout of the interface also sets default user patterns.

Most users tend to focus their attention on the left side of the page: “if we were to slice a maximized page down the middle, 80% of the fixations fell on the left half of the screen (even more than our previous finding of 69%). The remaining 20% of fixations were on the right half of the screen.”

This behavior is even more prevalent on search results pages: “On SERPs, almost all fixations (94%) fell on the left side of the page, and 60% those fixations can be isolated to the leftmost 400px.”

On mobile, obviously, the attention is focused on what is above the fold. That which is below the fold sort of doesn’t even exist for a large subset of the population.

Outside of a few central monopoly attention merchant players, the ad-based web is dying.

Mashable has raised about $46 million in VC funding over the past 4 years. And they just sold for about $50 million.

Breaking even is about as good as it gets in a web controlled by the Google / Facebook duopoly. 😀

Other hopeful unicorn media startups appear to have peaked as well. That BuzzFeed IPO is on hold: “Some BuzzFeed investors have become worried about the company’s performance and rising costs for expansions in areas like news and entertainment. Those frustrations were aired at a board meeting in recent weeks, in which directors took management to task, the people familiar with the situation said.”

Google’s Chrome web browser will soon have an ad blocker baked into it. Of course the central networks opt out of applying this feature to themselves. Facebook makes serious coin by blocking ad blockers. Google pays Adblock Plus to unblock ads on Google.com & boy are there a lot of ads there.

Format your pages like Google does their search results and they will tell you it is a piss poor user experience & a form of spam – whacking you with a penalty for it.

Of course Google isn’t the only search engine doing this. Mix in ads with a double listing and sometimes there will only be 1 website listed above the fold.

I’ve even seen some Bing search results where organic results have a “Web” label on them – which is conveniently larger than the ad label that is on ads. That is in addition to other tricks like…

  • lots of ad extensions that push organics below the fold on anything with the slightest commercial intent
  • bolding throughout ads (title, description, URL) with much lighter bolding of organics
  • only showing 6 organic results on commercial searches that are likely to generate ad clicks

As bad as either of the above looks in terms of ad load or result diversity on the desktop, it is only worse on mobile.

On mobile devices organic search results can be so hard to find that people ask questions like “Are there any search engines where you don’t have to literally scroll to see a result that isn’t an advertisement?

The answer is yes.

DuckDuckGo.

But other than that, it is slim pickings.

In an online ecosystem where virtually every innovation is copied or deemed spam, sustainable publishing only works if your business model is different than the central network operators.

Not only is there the aggressive horizontal ad layer for anything with a hint of commercial intent, but now the scrape layer which was first applied to travel is being spread across other categories like ecommerce.

The more of your content Google can scrape-n-displace in the search results the less reason there is to visit your website & the more ad-heavy Google can make their interface because they shagged the content from your site.

Simply look at the market caps of the big tech monopolies vs companies in adjacent markets. The aggregate trend is expressed in the stock price. And it is further expressed in the inability for the unicorn media companies to go public.

As big as Snapchat & Twitter are, nobody who invested in either IPO is sitting on a winner today.

Google is outraged anyone might question the numbers & if the current set up is reasonable:

Mr Harris described as “factually incorrect” suggestions that Google was “stealing” ad revenue from publishers, saying that two thirds of the revenues generated by online content went to its originators.

“I’ve heard lots of people say that Google and Facebook are “ruthlessly stealing” all the advertising revenue that publishers hoped to acquire through online editions,” he told the gathering.

“There is no advertising on Google News. Zero. Indeed you will rarely see advertising around news cycles in Google Search either.

Sure it is not the ad revenues they are stealing.

Rather it is the content.

Either by scraping, or by ranking proprietary formats (AMP) above other higher quality content which is not published using the proprietary format & then later attaching crappier & crappier deals to the (faux) “open source” proprietary content format.

As Google grabs the content & cuts the content creator off from the audience while attaching conditions, Google’s PR hacks will tell you they want you to click through to the source:

Google spokeswoman Susan Cadrecha said the company’s goal isn’t to do the thinking for users but “to help you find relevant information quickly and easily.” She added, “We encourage users to understand the full context by clicking through to the source.”

except they are the ones adding extra duplicative layers which make it harder to do.

Google keeps extracting content from publishers & eating the value chain. Some publishers have tried to offset this by putting more ads on their own site while also getting further distribution by adopting the proprietary AMP format. Those who realized AMP was garbage in terms of monetization viewed it as a way to offer teasers to drive users to their websites.

The partial story approach is getting killed though. Either you give Google everything, or they want nothing.

That is, after all, how monopolies negotiate – ultimatums.

Those who don’t give Google their full content will soon receive manual action penalty notifications

The value of news content is not zero.

Being the go-to resource for those sorts of “no money here” news topics also enables Google to be the go-to resource for searches for [auto insurance quote] and other highly commercial search terms where Google might make $50 or $100 per click.

Every month Google announces new ad features.

Economics drive everything in publishing. But you have to see how one market position enables another. Google & Facebook are not strong in China, so Toutiao – the top news app in China – is valued at about $20 billion.

Now that Yahoo! has been acquired by Verizon, they’ve decided to shut down their news app. Unprofitable segments are worth more as a write off than as an ongoing concern. Look for Verizon to further take AIM at shutting down additional parts of AOL & Yahoo.

Firefox recently updated to make its underlying rendering engine faster & more stable. As part of the upgrade they killed off many third party extensions, including ours. We plan to update them soon (a few days perhaps), but those who need the extensions working today may want to install something like (Comodo Ice Dragon (or another browser based on the prior Firefox core) & install our extensions in that web browser.

As another part of the most recent Firefox update, Firefox dumped Yahoo! Search for Google search as their default search engine in a new multiyear deal where financial terms were not disclosed.

Yahoo! certainly deserved to lose that deal.

First, they signed a contract with Mozilla containing a change-of-ownership poison pill where Mozilla would still make $375 million a year from them even if they dump Yahoo!. Given what Yahoo! sold for this amounts to about 10% of the company price for the next couple years.

Second, Yahoo! overpaid for the Firefox distribution deal to where they had to make their user experience even more awful to try to get the numbers to back out.

Here is a navigational search result on Yahoo! where the requested site only appears in the right rail knowledge graph.

The “organic” result set has been removed. There’s a Yahoo! News insert, a Yahoo Local insert, an ad inviting you to download Firefox (bet that has since been removed!), other search suggestions, and then graphical ads to try to get you to find office furniture or other irrelevant stuff.

Here is how awful those sorts of search results are: Yahoo! was so embarrassed at the lack of quality of their result set that they put their logo at the upper right edge of the page.

So now they’ll be losing a million a day for a few years based on Marissa Mayer’s fantastic Firefox deal.

And search is just another vertical they made irrelevant.

When they outsourced many verticals & then finally shut down most of the remaining ones, they only left a few key ones:

On our recent earnings call, Yahoo outlined out a plan to simplify our business and focus our effort on our four most successful content areas  – News, Sports, Finance and Lifestyle. To that end, today we will begin phasing out the following Digital Magazines:  Yahoo Food, Yahoo Health, Yahoo Parenting, Yahoo Makers, Yahoo Travel, Yahoo Autos and Yahoo Real Estate.

And for the key verticals they kept, they have pages like the following, which look like a diet version of eHow

Every day they send users away to other sites with deeper content. And eventually people find one they like (like TheAthletic or Dunc’d On) & then Yahoo! stops being a habit.

Meanwhile many people get their broader general news from Facebook, Google shifted their search app to include news, Apple offers a great news app, the default new tab on Microsoft Edge browser lists a localize news feed. Any of those is a superior user experience to Yahoo!.

It is hard to see what Yahoo!’s role is going forward.

Other than the user email accounts (& whatever legal liabilities are associated with the chronic user account hacking incidents), it is hard to see what Verizon bought in Yahoo!.

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A Times Square billboard caught fire, and the tweets were lit

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New York City’s Times Square is a famous for its towering digital billboards. However, they’re typically not on fire. 

That all changed Saturday when a billboard advertising Skyy Vodka went up in flames around 3 p.m. The video ad, featuring drag queen Trixie Mattel, continued to play as the fire grew and tourists looked on. 

The resulting tweets, perhaps predictably, were lit. 

Keep your loved ones close and your billboards closer today. ❤️

— Trixie Mattel (@trixiemattel) May 18, 2019

@trixiemattel you were too hot to handle.

— Mia Helena Targaryen (@Mia_TheBlessed) May 18, 2019

holy shit we’re casually walking through times square and there’s suddenly tons of fire trucks and ambulances and BOOM! a big ass fire the next block up from the line friends store! pic.twitter.com/tAvuKyhvSw

— METLIFE | 🤪 𝚙𝚛𝚘𝚝𝚎𝚌𝚝𝓉𝒶𝑒𝚜𝚚𝚞𝚊𝚍 🤪 (@taesyellowberet) May 18, 2019 Read more…

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