A depressing look at the ad-funded web today, and what it’s like to depend completely on Google for your business. Google owns the ad-driven web: their search brings all of your pageviews, and their ads bring all of your income. You’re just along for the ride, hoping to stay in Google’s good graces — an arbitrary, unreliable, undocumented metric that changes constantly. (Google’s only “open” with the trivial, unprofitable parts of their business. Search and ads are closed, proprietary, and opaque in every possible way.)
Matt Haughey and company are good people who won’t do crappy things to make more money (or try to regain fallen income). But if you look at the position this puts publishers in — downsize or shut down, or fill your site with more intrusive, crappier, sleazier ads — it’s no wonder the web is full of garbage from people with lower standards.
People wonder why I’m so skeptical of Google and careful not to rely on them for too much. This is why: they’re in this unassailable position of absolute monopoly power for such a massive part of web publishing because too many people aren’t so skeptical.