Fake news, it’s just gossip

Fake news, it’s just gossip…

Really is anyone surprised to find that if you enable people to publish and share what they like online, via Facebook, Google, Twitter, Word.Press – the list is long…some of it is complete tosh. Publishing it and sharing it does not make it credible.

If my car broke down I wouldn’t leave it in the street with a note on it saying “Please mend for free.”

News is the same. You get what you pay for.

But the investment in news, media and quality journalism is a big one. And always there is commercial conflict between integrity of news and selling advertising space. Without advert sales and paid for subscriptions whether via a ‘pay-wall’ or not; print costs and news quite simply can not be funded.

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It is the content not the technology that makes the expert

So just exactly how do the figures stack up for UK news groups?

The Economist Group is a limited company made up of famous brands such as: The Economist and EuroFinance. The Group has three types of share ownership, including trust shares and special shares. This means that the integrity of how the Group operates and the quality of its news reporting is protected by the structure and ownership of the company. In fact over 43% of the Group is made up of special shares and trust shares, meaning that integrity is a core value.
The Guardian Media Group (GMG) parent company for the Guardian and the Observer newspapers; is also trust owned at around 50.1%. GMG reported losses of £62.6m last financial year (2015-16) the majority of which funded the trust ownership of newspaper.  As quoted in the GMG financial statement: ‘The sole purpose [of this type of funding] is to secure the editorial independence and financial security of the Guardian in perpetuity.’

Whereas if we look at Facebook it had total assets of $64.96m at 2016 year-end, and total liabilities including stockholder equity, at $5.77m. Google on the other hand made $111,649.51m in total revenue at 2016 year-end with a gross profit of $68,275m.

Hmmm… this points to the money being in advertising, and if all you have to do as a publishing platform owner is – well erhh – publish then the outcome is lucrative. Thankfully both advertising platform owners are now taking steps to block fake news, and Facebook is piloting news feeds that contain interest and industry related news only, the feeds will not contain news updates from friends.

As to Twitter let’s hope it gets acquired by a trust or by a foundation, so that it can continue its heritage as a news micro-blog publisher and retain Wikipedia (or Wikimedia Foundation) credibility. For businesses and thinking people everywhere the lesson is to check the source of the news first, unless it comes from a trusted brand.

Google News pledges £107m to publishers over next three years

So Google News is in the news again, this time Google has pledged £107m to European publishers and news start-ups. As well as offering funding Google staff will be sharing knowledge with journalists on how to publish content so that it gets indexed correctly by Google.

What’s the point?

Well..

…if the ethos is that the best news is that which comes up in your search results, how do publishers fund that news, and make sure it’s indexed properly?

‘Ethical’ and well researched news doesn’t come for free, it’s written by experts who have niche knowledge. And if Google News want to stand out from Social Media as credible, and business orientated then they can’t go down the ‘most talked about’ route. ‘Most talked about’ might mean gossip or rumour, anyway it is unsubstantiated – sure it may be breaking news but it hasn’t been qualified yet. And until that journo is on the ground speaking to the authorities as well as eye witnesses who’s to say it’s true.

As regards Google compliance and the indexing of content, this takes different skills to that of journalism. There is a fine balance to be struck between a snappy headline and one that will make sense to the user that is seeking news or information. The blend of the dark art of SEO, not to mention responsive content, and intelligently written prose is the Editor’s daily challenge.

The move again highlights Google’s differentiation from other news sources, the recent partnership with Twitter emphasises a preference for trade, industry or business news as opposed to consumer-led interest.

Is there money in it?

Yes, businesses want to share their news, and speak directly to their clients or share holders – and not just from a pitching perspective. Business owners have sector knowledge and industry insight – who better to share news. And as traditional marketing continues to flag from cold calling to trade events, establishing credibility and therefore referral and recommendation has to be a more effective way to sell. And if the business sells ancillary products or services, advertising against relevant news in the right ‘section’ or ‘channel’ so that potential customers will understand the business proposition is  acost effective way to promote and position the product or service.

Reassuring too that the Financial Times, the Guardian and Die Zeit have joined the Google News foundation. It shows that regardless of history and credibility future proofing the freedom of the press is hard to do without funding or the support of Google.

Why Twitter and Google kissed and made up; it’s all about news

Okay so you may think that this is old hat – the Twitter Google reunion happened last month, before Valentine’s Day when my headline may have worked better but…

…Do you remember the first split?

Three years ago 21 Feb 2012 Twitter partnered with Yandex – the leading Russian search engine, so that Tweets could be published in realtime as news. This followed a split from LinkedIn and also Google; meaning that LinkedIn was no longer able to publish ‘trade news’ from it’s business member audience for which it had ranked so well. This was also true of Google, which was cut off overnight from real-time ‘trade news’ posted by Twitter members. Don’t forget that Facebook didn’t IPO until 18 May 2012, LinkedIn having IPO’d in late 2011 – the jury was out on Facebook as to what it what it would grow into. There had been some notable news partnerships ie with the Guardian, but many ‘news feeds’ on Facebook were app-led.  Twitter was to become associated with live trade news, causes and sport – winning the Olympics coverage later on in 2012.

Now flip forward to November 2014 and some European news publishers were mightily miffed with Google News for aggregating their paid content and deciding where it ranked. Why’s that a problem you may ask, Google indexes content well, it’s the biggest global advertising platform. If you ever worked in a news desk you will know that advertising is a dirty word – wash your mouth out. Journalists (rightly) pride themselves on being experts at sniffing out a story and validating information around it also providing context. Unlike gossip column writers they don’t dumb it down for us, but are able to relate it to their economics, politics or mechanical engineering degree. They also rub shoulders with the celebrities of their sector, our captain’s of industry, which means that they really are in the know. All this knowledge doesn’t come cheap, and publishers prize it – and we should too. There is a big difference between breaking a story – because you see it happen, and reporting on a story as it unfolds. Enough of my homage to journalists; the beef being that publishers invest in ‘expert comment’ whereas corporate communications (produced by copy writers and marketeers) serve a different purpose (to sell stuff) and don’t carry the same investment of time and learning. Therefore corporate comms should not out rank ‘independent’ and ‘credible’ news the publisher would say. They do have a point, however great editorial content – does sell ad space, and Google are the indexing experts also great at selling ad space – could the fight really be about ad revenue?

Some bloggers are industry experts, I would relate their challenging style to investigative journalism – the difference being how they get paid.

In addition this whole real-time news piece is relevant to us business people because we will check into our trade news channels Twitter, Mashable, Business Intelligence and professional networks like LinkedIn. Any self-respecting radio broadcaster or journalist will also have a Twitter channel. And let’s not get started on firewalls – they are just anti freedom of speech and curtail knowledge sharing, once more us business folk are rather into that.

Can you just climb aboard the news and media roller coaster with me one more time and flip forward to erhm yesterday – cool.

A little ity-bity change that Google News have made (11 March 2015) will have a big impact on the ranking of trade and corporate news. The change allows company statements (share holder investment news, press releases or published trading accounts) to rank above ‘news’. Previously only recognised ‘news’ providers TV stations, radio broadcasters and publishers were allowed to rank but now (Dah dah daah) corporate news, from small publishers, and or businesses themselves can also rank.

Here’s what Google had to say about it:

“The goal of search is to get users the right answer, at any one time, as quickly as possible. That may mean returning an article from an established publisher, a smaller niche publisher or indeed it might be a press article.”
[Exert taken from Business Insider UK/Tech]

Now who’s old hat!

Thanks for reading.

 

Facebook launches job board

Watch out LinkedIn

Facebook are playing down the launch of their job board (recruitment site) a little in the media, but we’re not fooled. Over at siteAssets we’ve been warning the recruitment and talent sourcing industry that as soon as Facebook got their act together they were a huge threat. Why is this so….

  1. Over half of US jobseekers use Facebook when job hunting;
  2. Of the companies that have Facebook pages and engage with applicants via these pages 54% anticipate recruiting heavily through these pages in the future;
  3. And the real biggie – Facebook’s Social Jobs Partnership with the US Labour department aggregates over 1.7m jobs, creating a fully interactive experience where candidates can apply within Facebook, sharing likes for jobs with friends.

What this means for Facebook’s competition

  • UK jobs boards that don’t already have a partnership with Facebook or BranchOut will have to fight harder to get applicants to their sites;
  • In particular danger is LinkedIn because they do not have a Social Media partnership (their partnership with Twitter ended in the spring and they are in direct competition with Facebook); moreover as they, like most recruitment sites and jobs boards, are not an original news owner, and without fresh ‘trade’ content they will struggle for visibility online.

What this means for candidates

  • Whoop-di-dooooo – at last a candidate’s interests, location, skills and professional network can speak for itself – gone are the concerns over whether or not the candidates ever actually was at Southampton Uni and took Maths it’s all on Facebook and;
  • Oooooops guys and gals please think about privacy settings – Facebook can sell you or finish you with a prospective employer – ditch the drunk poses and stop swearing on Fb, also please don’t slag off your employers…

For more tips please follow our blog

Good luck peeps

siteAssets founder Sophie Relf

siteAssets founder Sophie Relf has over 10 years’ senior business development and marketing experience within leading media companies. Working for publishers such as the Guardian Media Group and Reed Elsevier owned totaljobs Sophie has had a wealth of cross-sector experience.

After leaving Totaljobs Group in early 2009, Sophie launched siteAssets. She quickly picked up a New Business and Marketing project with award winning media planner buyers agenda21 digital. Here Sophie gained rich insight and experience of cross-channel marketing. Whilst with agenda21 the agency picked up several awards and finalist positions for Social Media, SEO and Paid search campaigns. Sophie went on to audit Guardian Business and Professional, the commercial wing of GNM, and took a further project heading up Marketing Strategy  commercial with the Guardian. The focus was on unifying the marketing effort, and improving the Guardian’s portfolio of sites in terms of visibility and conversion. She also managed Guardian Jobs events, and ran several workshops and seminars on Social Media, Reputation Management, working with the Media, e-PR, Fair Access and Social Mobility.

Sophie has developed an unifying approach with organisations, able to spot gaps in the market and new opportunities. Big on resourcefulness, she looks for ways to leverage existing assets be they brand equity, individuals and team members, or unique products, or services.

Sophie is an award winner with OnRec 2006 for Best Marketing Innovation CLICK! and GradU8 – two virtual graduate recruitment fairs in the UK and also in NL. In 2012 Sophie was shortlisted by OnRec in the Technology Innovation category, and by the AoP in the Marketing Innovation category for the Guardian Jobs Facebook app that she developed for the Guardian.

Sophie has recently taken on the role of Campaigns Director for futuristic career social enterprise Enfuse Youth and is busy securing sponsorship for the NEW Campaign 2013.

Sophie is an IAB and an IPA member, and a published author on career management.

Endorsements

We think the best advocates for siteAssets consultancy are our customers hear what they say…

Pete Robins agenda21 Digital Founder/owner IPA Digital Board Director

We had the pleasure of working with Sophie when she was our client at totaljobs. We liked her so much we asked her to help us with our business development! Suffice to say her can-do / no-mess approach was a welcome fresh air, and I would gladly recommend her.

Wendy Berliner Education Publisher Guardian News & Media

Sophie has an extraordinarily detailed and practical knowledge of the best methods to deliver strategic marketing objectives effectively in the digital space.  She is a great enthusiast for what she does and brings energy and passion to the table and the day. A hard worker who makes a difference.

 

Twitter dumps LinkedIn – Ouch!

Twitter has ended its three-year partnership with LinkedIn, showing that LinkedIn always needed Twitter a whole lot more than Twitter needed LinkedIn. Why is this? Because LinkedIn lacks Social Media buzz, it’s a flat as Friends Reunited, and the end of this partnership means that LI may be headed that way too.

Why the partnership was so great for linkedIn; explained from an internet marketing perspective:

  • LinkedIn made Tweets visible in Google search results by publishing LinkedIn member news (in the form of individual Tweets) on their site;
  • This meant they were able to attract lots of professional users to their site;
  • This is why when you looked at what people [used to] search for before they arrived on the LinkedIn site you could see users searched on trade news items/hot topics (eg iPhone);
  • This was a bit of a coup considering that LinkedIn is not (and was not) an original news owner or publisher. In addition almost all (98%) of the traffic they got from their audience’s shared news and LinkedIn brand name searches was natural (organic or SEO) search traffic – which means that it was free!
  • So for three years LinkedIn overtook trade news owners from Brand Republic to the Guardian and also jobs boards growing their audience to over 4m unique visitors a month – that’s a lot. But now without visibility of all that trade news in the form of Tweets
And without…
Five months grace from 21 Feb* when LinkedIn member Tweets were still be published on LinkedIn and so were still being made visible by Google…
Now we (marketers, recruiters and jobseekers alike) need to look for some alternatives!
*Twitter shut Google out (21 Feb 2012) by partnering with Google’s biggest rival Yandex effectively bringing down an iron curtain on Google and its access to Twitter functionality and Tweet visibility in search results.

What this means for you as a jobseeker:

Think about your professional online brand, if you haven’t set up a Twitter account do it, and do it now. Check your privacy settings on Facebook and what you are saying during work hours. You are entitled to a social life, but consider having a professional Facebook account, one that you’d be happy to show a prospective employer. Whilst you are on Facebook check our BranchOut it is LinkedIn’s biggest threat. Based on what you do on Facebook and what you have put on your profile, you can connect with like-minded professionals on Facebook. Remember what’s visible on Facebook is down to you and your privacy settings, the BranchOut app is great – give it a go. Never share your Social Media logins. Do give yourself the best chance of getting hired.

What this means for you as a recruiter/hiring manager/HR professional/marketer:

If LinkedIn don’t start to pay to attract a trade reader (professional) audience the quality and volume of traffic hitting (and staying) on their site will fall. Check out BranchOut on Facebook, the app leverages a Facebook user’s network connections and has sophisticated likes and preferences data behind it. You are more likely to find talented professionals via this app.

What this means for LinkedIn:

They need to hire some skilled digital marketers!

For more web-savvy tips visit siteAssets, we run Social Media Recruitment workshops at a very reasonable price.

Good luck peeps.

It’s all about the money on Twitter

Good to see that Twitter are starting to take a stronger stand against trolling and have suspended a bogus Bill Murray account that had acquired some 136,000 followers; even managing to squeeze cash out of some of them after promising the reward of follows. It took Twitter a while to catch up with the author (or authors) as they kept changing their account name, whilst still retaining a high number of followers and cash for return follows, oh the attraction of fame…

From our perspective it’s taken too long. Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington recently quit Twitter because she was besieged by #PrincessTrolls – easily the worst type. They b*tched about her appearance and can be found sending hate messages to boy band, footballer, model and actor girlfriends. Our own Tweets on the subject of #PrincessTrolls both in Twitter and Facebook have mysteriously disappeared making us sure that it’s bot.txts (robots or automated) systems that are deleting offensive Tweets  Facebook wall posts. Perhaps Twitter just didn’t like our call to ‘sort it out’.

For advice on how to manage your Social Media accounts or any other digital marketing channels please visit siteAssets.co.uk we’ll be happy to help!

Facebook for pre-teens

You may have recently read that Watchdogs are urging Facebook not to advertise to pre-teens.

Whilst wholeheartedly understanding the concerns of Watchdogs around appropriate advertising to this impressionable group; teachers, parents and marketers will all know that this group are some of the most prolific Facebook users already. Reports of [illegal] 10 year old and younger users of Facebook are all over the education press; as are near hysterical reports of cyber bullying [by this group] and trolling.

Aren’t we just witnessing the definition of early adopter?

And rather than double locking the stable door after the galloping steed has bolted, why don’t we focus on educating pre-teen users AND their parents and carers. It’s safe to assume that advertisers, brands and marketers are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Here are some tips for parents taken from whatspinktoday.com

  • Talk about internet safety – it’s quite common for porn or gambling sites to clone well know children’s entertainment sites and games channels;
  • Know what social media accounts children have, and go through privacy settings with them;
  • Ban the use of expletives; and racial, cultural, sexual orientation or religious belief discriminatory comments. Posts or Tweets of this nature will render the commentator unemployable and they may be subject to a criminal prosecution. Comment is not free if it is bigoted;
  • Zip files, block/moderate sites, and flag problems to watch dogs and official site owners.

As it’s safe to assume that advertisers, brands and marketers are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, let’s just let the ASA do it’s job, and let the parents do theirs.