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Google recently released their June 2019 Core Update, which immediately decreased the webpage visibility for many news sites, including CCN seeing a 53.1% drop on desktop and 71.5% drop on mobile forcing them to shut down operations.
CCN cited that their daily revenue is down by more than 90% and that even though their visibility is still around where it was a year ago, they “do not want to downsize the team” and “do not want to break the morale of the team”. Thus, they decided to shut down since they are “a small independent news organization that has never received any outside funding” and that “[t]he money [they]
make made on advertisements was directly funneled back into growing the team”.
Other cryptocurrency outlets such as Coindesk and Cointelegraph also saw a decrease in visibility by 34.6% and 21.1%, respectively. Additionally, other news outlets also saw significant visibility drops even though they have nothing to do with cryptocurrency related news, such as the UK’s Daily Mail seeing a 43% decrease in visibility. However, some other news outlets actually saw a boost in visibility thanks to the new Google update. Nevertheless, there was very little explanation of the changes made that affected numerous outlets, which allowed speculation to fill the void on the Google Webmaster Forums and wider internet, as Barry Schwarts from Search Engine Land discusses.
“Speculation and theory. There is a lot of speculation floating around this drop in Google visibility for The Daily Mail’s website. People are speculating it has to do with the ads, the site speed, the content, the political slant, and so forth.”
Fighting for free and equal discussion of ideas
Cryptocurrency emerged out of the need to preserve monetary and financial independence as central bankers, governments, and private bankers have historically done otherwise, to paraphrase Satoshi Nakamoto. CCN discussed how they have openly allowed the free discussion of ideas in their op-ed and opinion pieces to follow in Satoshi’s footsteps of freedom of information for individuals to choose among. CCN even cites a Breakermag.com investigation where they were one of the few cryptocurrency outlets who “gave a clear refusal to run any content that was sponsored without a clear label”.
CCN then makes a plea for Google to honor the standards of transparency that they demand from news outlets in order to truly give consumers an unbiased choice.
“While Google demands that news organizations must be trustworthy and transparent to be featured in searches and on Google News, Google is allowed to dictate how we all shall behave through secret updates and algorithms by being untrustworthy and non-transparent. Who is in charge of the Google June 2019 Core Update? What is his or her phone number? Or email address? Or business address? (The same is required of news organizations to be included in Google News and must be shown publicly.) It is a paradox never witnessed before in the history of the press. Diversity is at risk. Freedom of the Press is at risk. Freedom of Speech is at risk. Freedom of Information is at risk.“
Dash finds ways to completely separate from the old news world
While CCN was pursuing the noble goal of informing individuals about the benefits of cryptocurrency in providing more financial and monetary freedom, they themselves, as a news outlet, were still tied to the old financial world by relying on advertising revenue that is being allocated by a large, centralized organization using traditional banks to send money. However, Dash, with its DAO treasury model, is able to become more separated by funding its own projects, such as news at DashNews.org. This ability to not need to focus on ad revenue and clicks allows more time to be focused on informing the community of relevant news, as well as influencing and converting new members.