Posted by: Marshall Sponder | March 5, 2008

The Future Growth of Personal Media – Forget Google!

ConversationAgent got bitten by the Google bug, or it it the Google Penalty – join the club – a lot of blogs have been hit with pagerank downgrades that are often followed by sharp reductions of traffic within a few months of the initial penalty; Valeria Maltoni writes about it over at ConversationAgent in a post about the Future Growth of Personal Media, a future without Google.  Forget Google.

What’s common in just about every case of this “disease” (which to my mind is almost “inflicted” by Google) – no one seems to know for sure “why” they are being penalized or singled out.  Most people say they’re doing everything they’ve always done, nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that would go against Google’s Guidelines, as they understand it.   It’s Google that is changing and morphing into something else, what that is, we’re not sure.  Valeria wrote about in her post:

“..I’m not slagging Google — just our reaction to its influence. Take for example what happened this past weekend – more blogs were downgraded in Google PageRank (PR). ProBlogger by Darren Rowse and Copyblogger by Brian Clark, two blogs that have RSS subscriptions in the order of over 43,000 and 33,00 respectively, where downgraded a couple of months ago. Andy Beard drew some inferences on Google’s motives in a post back then.”

“….And more reasons are given in his post. Google was at it again this past weekend and this blog was downgraded from a PR6 to a PR4. What Google giveth, Google taketh away (note: those words were mine – not sure if she got them from me or came up with it herself). As a Google customer, I did not get the memo on why the readjustment. This site has grown organically with what I call sweat equity, one link at a time from relationships built here and at other sites. I accept no advertising and do no pay per post. On the other hand, there are plenty of blogs out there that scrape my content and get favorable Google rankings.”

“…If you need a bullet list of reasons of why I see the future growth of personal media going elsewhere, here it is…”

  • Google is a machine. A very smart machine, but a machine nonetheless.
  • We are not machines.
  • Google is teaching bloggers (and brand managers) to think like machines, not people.
  • Most bloggers have no need for Google insofar as traffic goes. Yes, Google search results will bring some traffic to the PR0-PR6 sites which make up the vast majority of the blogosphere. Whether this traffic is of value to the blogger is another question altogether.
  • Pro blogs and conventional commercial sites do need Google. Numbers matter in the sale of advertising and in click revenues. These sort of sites also tend to post frequently on a wide variety of topics, which makes them attractive to Google’s spiders. (I post regularly and on a variety of topics. Then again, Google spiders are not people.)
  • Consider, however, a hypothetical PR4 or PR5 blog. We’ll say its about marketing and social networking. How much traffic will Google really bring them — 200 visitors a day? Probably less.
  • Let’s go with 200 Google visitors a day, though I think most bloggers would be delighted with this number. Of this 200 visitors, 30-40% will bounce off the site immediately, not finding what it is they are looking for.
  • Up to 50% the remaining 130 or so visitors will look at one page and leave forever.
  • Of the 70 or so who are sufficiently engaged to read more than one page, perhaps 2% will actually comment or subscribe a blog’s RSS feed, which is the primary goal of most non-pro bloggers.
  • Thank you, Google, for 1.4 quality visitors per day.

That’s right … all this work for 1.4 visitors a day.  But honestly, does that surprise you?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at ranking reports that show sites with top SERPS getting next to no traffic.   I’ll tell you what got me traffic last year on …  two posts that I did on Hollywood Celebrity mishaps (which I looked at from the perspective of web analytics) – for a while I was getting 20,000 visits a day for that one post.

I guess Google noticed and decided that they don’t want to give anyone that much traffic and penalized me and the rest of the Know More Media Blog network, and a ton of other blogs and blog networks too.   But what did anyone actually do wrong?

Did Google ever tell anyone they did anything wrong?

I bet they don’t want to have a Conversation with you, me, Valeria, or anyone else – and that’s why the future of Media is not with Google.  And notice this closing statement she makes:

“…We need to think more clearly about the future growth of personal media, and the many ways of getting there. Why? Not only it is dangerous to rely too heavily on any one entity in any one space – competition and options are good for commerce – it is also restricting us to rules set by an organization that bases its value and living on something we do not see behind. It may be entirely different from ours.”


But notice that Google is doing everything to be just that – your everything – even you gene bank (23andMe), you radio advertising, your video advertising (they want to shuttle the Microsoft-Yahoo merger because it might actually give us an alternative place where we could run ads and maybe exist without Google), your document and spreadsheet (with Google Docs), your Network Cloud with distributed computing (Google Network Architecture can now handle this), your mobile device, your mobile network (with the 700MHZ Spectrum auction and the possible purchase of Sprint last year), Your Social Network (with OpenSocial and perhaps an acquisition of Facebook down the line), your Paypal (Google Checkout), your Amazon (with Google Books), your one stop Analytics vendor (with Google Analytics) and your market research, your Doctor and Therapist (Google Health), your political campaign management with Google handling the Republican Party Convention in Minneapolis later this year.

What else do they want a piece of?  And all for a sticking 1.4  quality visitors a day! 

Yeah!  I wear the Google t shirts alot (because I like the T shirts) – that’s where it ends.

God help us if the future of Media really is Google – and if it is, expect few explanations of your placement because Google won’t readily supply any.



  1. Cool article. It’s good to hear that Google isn’t the be all and end all. I started wondering about its ulterior motives back when Gmail first came on the scene. As I am just getting into blogging and will rely mostly on indirect methods of making money from my blogs – consultancy, writing, etc. – it’s quite possible that Google results will mean next to nothing to me and that social media and other forms of networking will be far more important. I wouldn’t have thought that without this article. Thanks.

    btw, found this thru a wordpress search, not google.

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