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What Google Search Algorithm Changes Do To The Fourth Internet -- with Metafilter as an Example. Internet Preservation Society, anyone?

Stashed in: The Web, Marc Andreessen, Teh Internets, Monetization, Google FAIL, @alexia, startup, Content is king.

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What happens to your small business when you wake up one day and Google stops sending you 40% of your traffic?

Most websites now depend on Google, Facebook, and Pinterest for traffic -- a post-link Internet:

By relying largely on one advertising mechanism to generate profits and relying on word of mouth and serendipitous discovery for new users to find them, MetaFilter set themselves up for trouble when the almighty Internet search-engine gods shifted their Olympian favors.

Haughey is currently searching for remedies. As John Herrman of The Awl notes, we are increasingly entering a post-link Internet where Google, Facebook, and Pinterest--rather than links within ordinary webpages--are responsible for disproportionate amounts of online traffic.

Alexia wrote a poignant, sobering followup to this:

This broke my heart. In 2008, two Internets ago, Metafilter was my favorite site. It was where I went to find out what the next Star Wars Kid would be, or to find precious baby animal videos to show my cool boyfriend or even more intellectual fare. And now it’s asendangered as the sneezing pandas I first discovered there.

National Internet treasures like Metafilter (or TechCrunch for that matter) should never die. There should be some Internet Preservation Society filled with individuals like Herrman or Marc Andreessen or Mark Zuckerberg orAndy Baio whose sole purpose is to keep them alive.

But there isn’t. Herrman makes a very good point; Useful places to find information, that aren’t some strange Pavlovian manipulation of the human desire to click or identify, just aren’t good business these days.

And Herrman should know, he’s worked in every new media outlet under the web, including the one that AP staffers are now so desperate to join that they make mistakes like this.

The fourth Internet is scary like Darwinism, brutal enough to remind me of high school. It’s a game of identity where you either make people feel like members of some exclusive club, like The Information does with a pricy subscription model or all niche tech sites do with their relatively high CPM, or you straight up play up to reader narcissism like Buzzfeed does, slicing and dicing user identity until you end up with “21 Problems Only People With Baby Faces Will Understand.”

The threat is real. 

The idea of an Internet Preservation Society is very compelling to me. 

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