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Google News Badges getting a bad rap- everyone’s missing the point

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Google News Badges

The video above demonstrates how Google Badges works as a means to not only reward Google users for sticking with their products (Google Reader), but also to offer a means of organizing and prioritizing content for users. If a user desires, the badges can be shown publicly to show their Google social sphere what topics they really have an interest in, rather than just what they indicate on their profile (like on Facebook where users determine interests).

Responses from the tech world are fairly pessimistic. ZDNet’s headline read, “Google News badges: Yawn, what’s next?” while TechCrunch’s headline read, “Google News Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Google News Badges.”

Tech columnists weigh in

Those two headlines summed up most of the tech columnists’ sentiments, but are there practical applications aside from potentially organizing categories?

PCWorld says, “Second, companies and freelancers sharing content to draw attention to their product or service will have to, or should, gain a high level badge in their appropriate topics, which will demonstrate credibility. If badges catch on, it’s going to become increasingly easy to spot spammers simply looking to promote a brand without any knowledge of it. Authentic businesses (and individuals behind them) will get a credibility boost by displaying their high-level badges.”

We agree with that sentiment. But what no one is saying is that Google is releasing suites of new products and this, like Google Plus and Google News Badges is that Google is finding legitimate ways to index all web use and put ads on it.

The takeaway: bigger implications

If Google knows your web surfing habits and you tell it “+1” to thinks you really like, and it knows your news reading habits and you affirm that by making your badges public, and it knows who your friends are via your Gmail account and Google Plus account, plus it knows your demographics based on your Google Plus account, it suddenly becomes a more golden marketing opportunity than Facebook’s fantastic ad platform.

Google isn’t playing around, it’s all about the ad dollars and they’ve spent years experimenting and watching others, and now they’re making their big play.

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Mark Anthony Cianfrani

    July 22, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Exactly! The bigger implications are enormous. The badges are a way to possibly give +1s more weight. However "pointless" or "childish" everyone claims these badges are, they do ultimately give the user a chance to gain some ounce of credibility in a particular field. I really don't understand why this idea has offended so many tech bloggers. Beats me. Glad to see yet another article that tries to look at the larger picture.

    I wrote a pretty similar article over at my blog:

    The unfortunate side is this really just seems like a half-hearted effort by Google and with the recent closure of Google Health and Google Labs, I can only wonder how long these might last.

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Social Media

Facebook’s Résumé takes another shot at LinkedIn

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook took another swipe at LinkedIn by introducing a new Résumé feature.

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resume On This Day load bob alice terrorism trends fine spam facebook advertising jobs earnings

Any job hunter is likely familiar with the little section somewhere during the application process where you’re asked to enter in social media information. Thankfully, Facebook is usually an optional field.

While I try to keep what the public can see of my social media profiles toned down enough as to not cause my grandmother to blush, I’m still not quite comfortable sharing my profile with prospective employers.

I’m sure many out there feel the same, and Facebook knows this.

Tinfoil hat theories aside, LinkedIn may be shaking in their boots as Facebook begins to advance their growth in the professional sector in their pursuit of social media domination.

Facebook has begun experimenting with a new Résumé/CV feature that works as an extension of your standard “Work and Education” section on a Facebook profile page, allowing users to share work experience in more detail with friends and family but most importantly: potential employers.

Luckily, the new Résumé/CV feature won’t be sharing personal photos or status updates, but will rather combine all the relevant information into a single, professional-looking package.

So far this feature appears to be rolled out to a small number of users, and it’s unclear when it will be officially launched, but this isn’t the first time Facebook has dipped their toes in the waters of the job sector, or took a jab at LinkedIn.

Several months ago, Jobs was launched, a feature that allows Business Pages to post job openings through the status composer, and keep track of them on their Page’s Jobs tab.

A Facebook spokesperson commented on the intent behind the new Résumé/CV feature, “At Facebook, we’re always building and testing new products and services.

We’re currently testing a work histories feature to continue to help people find and businesses hire for jobs on Facebook,” and so this is just the beginning of Facebook’s plan to become a one-stop-shop and create a more seamless way for people to find and get jobs.

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Tag photos, connect with friends, order food?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seems to be sprawling into every nook and cranny of life and now, they’re infiltrating food delivery.

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food delivery facebook

Facebook is now bringing you food! Although, no one was really asking them to.

In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is attempting to transform into more than just a social media platform. They have partnered up with food delivery services to help users order food directly from their site.

They hope to streamline the process by giving users a chance to research, get recommendations and order food without ever leaving the site.

Facebook has partnered with their existing delivery services including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo in addition to restaurants to fast track the process.

The scenario they imagine is that while scrolling through the newsfeed, users would feel an urge to eat and look to Facebook for their options.

After chatting up friends via Facebook Messenger to ask for the best place to go, users would visit the restaurant’s page directly, explore their menu and decide to order. When ordering, you will have the option to use one of the partnered delivery services either with an existing account or by creating a new one.

The benefit is you stay on one site the entire time. With the time you save, the food can get to you faster, which is a plus for everyone.

Assuming that people already live on Facebook 24/7, this seems like a great update. If you like getting recommendations from your favorite social media resources, it’s even better.

The problem is that in recent years their younger audiences have dropped off in favor of other sites. Regardless of what they think, not everyone is flocking to Facebook for their every need.

My guess is that this service will benefit those already using Facebook, but is less likely to draw new audiences in.

Adding more services may not be the key to success if Facebook can’t refine their other features. They have already been criticized for their ad reporting practices, though they seem to fix everything with a new algorithm.

Facebook has continued to stray away from their original intent, and food delivery won’t be their last update.

Facebook wants to be everything, but not everyone may want the same.

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Social Media

Hate Facebook’s mid-roll ads? So does everyone else

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Those pesky ads that pop up in the middle of that Facebook video, aka mid-roll, seem to be grinding everyone’s gears.

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mid-roll

In an ongoing effort to monetize content, Facebook recently introduced “mid-roll” ads into videos by certain publishers, and it has now been testing that format for six months. If you aren’t a big fan of those ads interrupting your content consumption experience, you aren’t alone; publishers aren’t crazy about them either.

In a report on the program, five publishers working with Facebook’s new mid-roll ad program were sourced and all five publishers found that the program wasn’t generating the expected revenue.

One program partner made as little as $500 dollars with mid-roll ads while generating tens of millions of views on their content.

Two other partners wouldn’t specify exact revenue number, but they did acknowledge that the ad performance is below expectations. As far as cost goes, certain publishers mentioned CPMs between 15 cents and 75 cents.

That range is large because a lot of the data isn’t clear enough to evaluate their return on investment. According to the Digiday report, publishers receive data on total revenue, along with raw data on things like the number of videos that served an ad to viewers.

The lack of certain data points, along with the confusing structure of the data, makes it difficult to assess the number of monetized views and the revenue by video. For context, YouTube, as arguably the biggest player in video monetization, provides all these metrics.

Another issue is that licensing deals are cutting into margins. Facebook pays publishers, via a licensing fee, to produce and publish a certain number of videos each month. In exchange, Facebook keeps all money until it recoups the fee, after which revenue is split 55/45 between the publisher and Facebook.

While these challenges doesn’t change the fact that revenue is low, it does make it difficult to dissect costs in a meaningful way.

Why is revenue so low to begin with?

For starters, a newsfeed with enough content to feed an infinite scroll probably isn’t the best format for these kinds of ads. As a user, when I’m watching the videos and the ad interrupts the experience, I’ve always scrolled right on through to the next item on my feed. It’s a sentiment echoed by one of the publishers in the Digiday story.

Because of that, Facebook’s new Watch program, which creates a content exclusivity not found on the news feed, might produce better results in the future. Either way, Facebook will need to solve this revenue challenge for publishers, or they might pull out of the programs altogether.

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