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Few search experts doubt that social media will have some impact on the SERPs in the future, but up until now, it hasn't been very clear that search engines like Google and Bing quite know the best way to integrate social content and signals into their algorithms and UIs.
But if several changes spotted in the wild on Google News results are any indication, they're increasing their rates of experimentation.
Linkbait may be good for online publishers' traffic levels, but what does it do for their bottom lines? According to research conducted by Perfect Market, not much.
The company, which aims to help online publishers, including newspapers, better monetize their properties, analyzed more than 15m articles across 21 newspaper websites this summer to determine which types of articles bring home the bacon.
The music business isn't as easy as it once was, and record labels often blame the internet for that. After all, the internet has enabled piracy on a scale never seen before, which is often cited as a major reason CD sales have declined so much.
While the internet did usher in an era of digital piracy, the truth of the matter is that industries change over time, and the strongest players in them find ways to adapt.
The rescue of 33 miners in Chile this week is the 'feel-good' story of the year. No fictional Hollywood movie could surpass the hope and joy it has inspired around the world.
Yet according to some journalism academics, what happened in Chile is really "a story about journalism’s failure."
The Financial Times is one of the few major print publishers that has succeeded in a big way with paid content. And while other print publishers who hoped that the iPad would help them revitalize their businesses struggle with the iPad, the FT looks like it has extended its existing success to the platform.
According to The Guardian, the FT's iPad app has now produced more than £1m in ad revenue since it was released to the public in May. What's more: of the 400,000 people who have downloaded the app, a decent number are subscribing; the iPad app now delivers 10% of the FT's new digital subscribers.
Prior to the launch of the iPad, many magazine publishers hoped that the iPad might do for them what the iPod and iTunes did for digital music: provided a viable marketplace for them to sell their wares. Operative word: sell.
Getting consumers to pay for content has, of course, proven challenging for many magazine publishers. And despite the warm reception the iPad has received from consumers, it hasn't exactly meant overnight success for publishers that have rushed to develop iPad versions of their magazines.
Back when social media first burst into the mainstream in a big way and popular Web 2.0 services like Digg and Flickr were the subject of articles touting phrases such as "the wisdom of crowds" and buzzwords like "democratization," it might have seemed that the web was truly changing the fundamental dynamics of information distribution.
But a new CNN study hints that some of the hype around this notion has been overblown.
On Wednesday, the world's largest social network, Facebook, announced several new features. One of the biggest: a new "Download Your Information" feature that, as the name hints, gives Facebook users the ability to export and download much of their profile information in a single ZIP file.
It's something that just a year or two ago probably would have been inconceivable. After all, if Facebook controls your content, chances are you won't leave Facebook. But at 500m users and growing, Facebook doesn't seem concerned that freeing user data will lead to a mass exodus.
When Google TV was first announced, I wrote that it "might be one of the most important things the company has attempted." If successful, Google would do nothing less than realize the dream of television-web convergence.
But I also noted that execution was key, and there was no shortage of skeptics who questioned whether Google would be able to put it all together.
Newspapers? Dying? Television? Might as well die too. New media? That's where future empires will be built.
At least that's what some have been claiming since blogging and 'new media' became a mainstream phenomenon. And to be sure, new media's future does look bright. But is it as bright as many had predicted? Perhaps not.
Google may be the most dominant search engine in many parts of the world, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have its work cut out for it in meeting future challenges.
One of those challenges: tapping into all the links that are being shared on services like Facebook and Twitter. After all, the links sharing that takes place on these services represents a potentially valuable 'signal' that Google can factor into its algorithm.
If you're the head of a struggling newspaper, The Huffington Post has an enviable business model. While content production is almost always the greatest cost in running a publishing/media business, it largely relies on the writing of an unpaid army of contributors. The value proposition the HuffPo offers them: exposure to a very large audience.
It's a model that has been the source of controversy. After all, the HuffPo is a for-profit business, yet it doesn't pay the vast majority of the individuals who labor for it. That's an especially interesting thing for a company founded by a person who wrote a book entitled "Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption Are Undermining America."