People look at Fox News and wonder how the heck it manages to be taken seriously. Most of what is done on that station is not news, and it isn’t even commentary by any reasonable journalistic standards. Fox News is much of the time a mouthpiece for the Right Wing and the Republican Party. The rest of the timt, Fox News, astonishingly, seems to be giving the Right Wing and the Republican Party its marching orders. It seems to me that we can have news agencies that range across the liberal-conservative spectrum that also carry out their activities in a professional manner. In the old days, the FCC and various other agencies and organizations seemed to have some influence, even control, in these manners. Years ago I was the editor of a newspaper, and I remember learning that newspapers were classified into different categories based on percentage of advertising vs. content. In order to have credentials (i.e., your reporters get press passes, etc.) you had to be for real. If you were a rag with all ads, or a real estate handout or the pennysaver (or the newspaper I edited!) you were not for real, and you could not get press passes, or other things real journalistic enterprises get.
But that does not seem to be true any more. You can be Fox News and have a chair in the White House press room. This is preposterous.
Google has made an announcement that bears on this in an interesting way. According to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, web sites will be penalized in the Google Search Algorithm if they have too many ads.
If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.
We understand that placing ads above-the-fold is quite common for many websites; these ads often perform well and help publishers monetize online content. This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree, but affects sites that go much further to load the top of the page with ads to an excessive degree or that make it hard to find the actual original content on the page. This new algorithmic improvement tends to impact sites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads.
This algorithmic change noticeably affects less than 1% of searches globally.
The entire memo to the webmasters is here.
Now, if only we could get Google to not count Fox outlets in the “News” category in searches. Perhaps they can add a new category for entities like fox. “Clown” would work.
What do you think?