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Last Build Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 01:11:11 +0000


Comment on Pure Money Gifts Are Basically a Bad Idea by Newsbound - “Write It All Down!”

Fri, 10 Aug 2012 01:11:11 +0000

[...] recently it was an excerpt from this Josh Young blog post, which I’d noted back in November. In the piece, Young examines the “pay what you want” [...]

Comment on About by Response to @jny2: Single comment solution does not fit all:

Tue, 01 Jun 2010 05:21:19 +0000

[...] topic of my previous blog post, is clearly worth more discussion. A bit of brow-beating of me by Josh Young, social news editor for, today on Twitter gives me the opportunity to continue [...]

Comment on The Great Unbundling: A Reprise by News organizations: less reaction, more prediction | Toronto NewsBIZ | Toronto NewsFIX

Wed, 10 Feb 2010 21:04:40 +0000

[...] paper and everything would be cool. They didn’t think about disintermediation. They neglected the great unbundling. The commoditization of content escaped them. [...]

Comment on News Is A Medium. It Carries Our Conversation by FFFFIN » News is a medium. It carries our conversation

Sun, 07 Feb 2010 23:54:03 +0000

[...] article in Networked News which makes the case that in reading news online “what carries our conversation is not the [...]

Comment on Speculation on Links, Traffic, and Authority by Businesses Can Use Twitter to Predict Sales | tom altman's wedia conversation

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 13:02:11 +0000

[...] Speculation on Links, Traffic, and Authority ( [...]

Comment on Speculation on Links, Traffic, and Authority by Lyn Headley

Mon, 30 Nov 2009 18:15:54 +0000

When I typed "Tiger Woods" into a google search box at 12:43pm on 11/30/09, the second result that appeared was called "News results for Tiger Woods." The authority algorithm that ranks and selects these news results is different from the algorithm that ranks and selects organic or web results, and the two kinds of results are blended together in the Google search results interface. Do these facts have any bearing on your claim that "very much authority has shifted from the newspaper to Google?" It seems to me that web search and news search are rather different things, and that google dominates one category much more -- or at least differently -- than the other. If this is true, then instead of a shift from one locus of authority to another, we are in the presence of the emergence of multiple centers of authority, each one having a different and unique type of authority, without any single most-authoritative center. Perhaps this point is encompassed by your claim that "the search engines we all enjoy and love today–search engines that have made the Internet a way better place–suck as a discovery mechanism for the news." But if so, perhaps for the sake of clarity it should be translated into the statement that Google web search has a different basis of authority than news search, and that the relationships between them are up for grabs. In addition, the value and the meaning of a link from "google" is very different in the context of a news event and a web result, and the debate between Google advocates and newspaper spokespersons is about the relation between those two (or more) different kinds of authority systems. This reframes the issue away from Google vs newspapers and toward the question of the proper constitution of multiple centers of authority and their relations to each other.

Comment on Speculation on Links, Traffic, and Authority by Josh Young

Fri, 27 Nov 2009 22:56:42 +0000

Thank you, Daniel, for the comment. It's fun to have a real, live googler here! I'm just not sure very many users ascribe much at all to the source once google's delivered them. But I agree the point I'm trying to make is vague. Consider the hypothetical bar bet over whether proposition P is true or false. Two people agree on a query to be offered to google, and they agree to count as authoritative the highest page that speaks to the truth-value of P. If the top search result remains silent on P, they'll check the second, then the third, and so on, till they find a source that affirms or denies P or pretty clearly implies P or not-P. Between them, the two folks in the bet are wholly ignorant of whether it is the case that P or not-P. Because they and their interests are diametrically opposed, in other words, we can understand them--as a unit--to have no prior knowledge that might reinforce, confirm, or fit with each search return. So, essentially, the pair has no way as a unit to make independent judgments about each source's authority. Google is, quite literally, all they got. And so--I agree with you--it seems to me that it's actually impossible for them to credit google for routing them to an authoritative source. (That's an approximation, of course. They are inevitably some signals about a page that they can use to form independent judgments about a page's authority in the realm of P. If P were "marmite is an australian yeast-extract food product," for instance, the two might be mutually happy deciding on the fly to skip studying a page that is obviously about somali pirates. Marmite is brittish, by the way, while vegemite is its australian competitor.) Okay, so what about ascribing authority to the source because google routes them there? Is that what's going on? Well, in some sense it is. The source is what contains the affirmation or denial of P, after all. Google isn't the container for P; the source is. And without that source, or another that speaks to P, google has nothing to which to route anyone. But I think my point is different--and draws on my reading of Shirky's explanation of how authority comes alive. His is a discussion of *reasons*--or justifications that one person offers to another with the expectation, an inherently social one, that the other person will count that justification as legitimate or relevant under the circumstances. And so we can get some insight into what's going by taking a look at what reasons people give to one another. My sense is that the source itself rarely enters into the reasons the folks on opposite sides of the bet offer one another. Of course, if google's top result is a page about somali pirates wielding animated gifs, then we might hear reasons about the page itself. Short of those extremes, however, "P is true because google routed me to its affirmation" seems to me--intuitively--to be a sufficient reason in many cases or contexts for me to take P to be true and expect the guy on the opposite side of the bet to take it to be true too (and pay up!). So, at last, I don't think people ascribe authority to sources because google routes them there. Google does the work. Google gets it right. Why should this be so surprising? Why should we be so shocked to think that the one router and the uncountably many sources compete for authority? The amount of aggregate trust in the world isn't fixed, but it also seems far from limitless. Indeed, I think it's fair to call it scarce. And if we suspect some competition for such a potentially lucrative resource, why then can't we work backwards from prevailing market conditions--google's awesome acsendance and the newspaper's precipitous tumble--to see that very much authority has shifted from the newspaper to google? It's far from obvious, I re[...]

Comment on Speculation on Links, Traffic, and Authority by Daniel Tunkelang

Fri, 27 Nov 2009 17:10:11 +0000

The sentence that stands out to me is "Google pushes the traffic but keeps the trust—or much of it, anyhow." I suspect that many content consumers, rather than crediting Google for routing them to an authoritative source, instead do the converse and ascribe authority to the source because Google routes them there.

Comment on Speculation on Links, Traffic, and Authority by Josh Young

Thu, 26 Nov 2009 14:10:03 +0000

Thanks for dropping by, Danny, and thank you for the comment. I think we agree far more than may be apparent. Part of what I want to do, really, is caution newspaper types who already know they're terrible at catching and monetizing organic search referrals that search as we know it today might not the best long-term solution for building and monetizing a userbase.

Comment on Speculation on Links, Traffic, and Authority by Josh Young

Thu, 26 Nov 2009 14:02:03 +0000

Jeff, the search engines we all enjoy and love today--search engines that have made the Internet a way better place--suck as a discovery mechanism for the news. That's the point, translated.