Yesterday, June 10th 2019, Jonas Borchgrevin, founder of CCN, took to his website to announce the end of the world’s leading crypto news website.
Within the announcing post Borchgrevin wastes no time in explaining the reason behind the shutdown. He explains that the latest update from Google has resulted in an overnight drop in traffic.
The core update from Google is one which alters the way their search algorithm ranks traffic. As a result CCN have seen a ~71% drop in mobile traffic and ~53% drop in desktop/laptop based traffic.
Borchgrevin explains that, the dramatic drop in traffic has destroyed their ad revenue. The company has seen over 90% of their ad revenue wiped away overnight.
Within the same announcement Borchgrevin goes on to mention the fact that CCN are not alone in the Google shakedown. He explains that Coin Desk are also seeing dramatic drops in traffic for both mobile and desktop users.
Looking away from the cryptocurrency industry, it would appear that Google’s update is far more wider reaching than most would have expected.
Publications such as the UK’s Mirror and Metro have seen drastic increases in their search engine visibility. While websites such as Iceland (a UK based affordable supermarket which provides a lot of frozen goods) and Vimeo (a competitor of Google’s YouTube) have seen significant drops.
Whatever their reasoning, Google’s brash actions have clearly had a direct impact of the livelihood of many people.
Ok, Traffic is Down But Why Shut Down?
This is true, they didn’t begin with a high volume of traffic. Although, as the company saw increases in traffic, and ad revenue, the staff expanded. This means that the expenses grew.
To quote Borchgrevin: “The money we
make made on advertisements was directly funnel[l]ed back into growing the team.”.
Basically put, the choices which CCN have to choose from are either close down the site entirely or fire some of their staff. Some might say this is a no brainer, just fire the staff.
However, this would be something which disrupted harmony within the remaining team. It would also beg the question of who to fire when nobody is at fault?
Another point on the notion of simply firing staff, doing so would mean the diversity of writing styles present on CCN would drop. This would mean a degradation in the content which is provided. Something which could further lower the website’s traffic.
Looking at the Bigger Picture
If one sole centralised entity, Google, has the power to literally destroy websites overnight should they not be required to do all they can to limit the affect their algorithm changes have?
After all, this is people’s livelihoods we are talking about. The fact that a centralised entity has this power is one which should not be taken lightly. What/who will be next?
Does this not mean that Google have the power to literally control what the average person is reading on a daily basis? Does this not also mean that Google literally has the power to be the sole decider in what is considered real or fake news? I think it does.
It also means that Google are, in turn, able to influence which of their advertisers are successful. The web is at risk of becoming Google’s playground and, if we as a society do not make stand we may lose its free nature for good.
Love, peace and happiness?