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Last Week Online #36 – Three tech giants tries to fix some things they broke along the way

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

Google will highlight the original reporting in its latest search algorithm

This week, Google revealed that its new algorithm would give more influence to original reporting in the search results. The change is likely to benefit the news outlets who invest time, effort and resources to report stories. On the other hand, it will punish news aggregators and other actors who are mainly relying on search traffic to make a profit from digital advertising.

The change comes after years of complaints from publishers. In the print era, original reporting was exclusive to the original publication for at least a day. Publicists lost this advantage when moving over to digital distribution of their news. Today, a website publishing a rewrite of an article can get as much, or even more, traffic as the source.

Richard Gingras, Googles Vice President of News, states: "While we typically show the latest and most comprehensive version of a story in news results, we've made changes to our products globally to highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting."

Spotify tries to battle family-plan sharing by asking users for their geo-location

Spotify updated their terms and conditions for the Premium Family subscription. Under "Eligibility and Verification" it states that when you activate your account, Spotify will ask for a home address to be verified. But that's not the only time users location might get checked. Spotify writes: "We may from time to time ask for re-verification of your home address in order to confirm that you are still meeting the eligibility criteria."

Spotify's family plan requires that all users live at the same address. By collecting location data from users, they hope that it can stop non-families from using the $15 family plan. Something that would make users pay only $2.5 instead of the full price of $9.99. The new policy went into effect in the United States on September 5th.

Just because Spotify now can verify users location, it's still unclear if they will use this kind of account verification. Or, if they intend to cancel accounts violating the geographic limits. Privacy advocates have criticised Spotify for the updated terms and conditions and encourage users to boycott the service until they stop collecting location data.

Youtube removes paid views when calculating its music charts

When a new music video launches on Youtube, it's common practice within the music industry to run it as advertising before other videos on the platform. If watched long enough, an advertised session would count as a view. Hence, the method became a way to "buy" a spot on YouTube's charts within the first 24 hours of a published video.

But YouTube will no longer count "advertising views" when it's calculating its music charts. Instead, the ranking for top-watched music videos will only include organic plays. The plan is to address the advertising campaigns that are explicitly launched to land a music video on YouTube's charts.

YouTube has published the changes in a blog post where they acknowledge that people use these stats as a "definitive representation of its instant cultural impact". These days record-breaking 24-hour views are often reported, in the news and within the music industry. Because of this practice, it wants to ensure those numbers are accurate.

Tool of the week: Litmus

Litmus is a tool for anyone sending emails at scale. You can get a peek at how your emails look in every single email provider and make sure they are as pretty as you intend them to be. You can also use Litmus builder to improve your email design.

Additionally, you can get statistics on subscribers and how they open and consume your emails, as well as details about how to avoid ending up in the spam filter. According to Litmus data, 70% of emails show at least one spam-related issue that could impact deliverability, and a lot of email marketers have problems with emails ending up in the spam folder.

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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