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Image fact-checking, above vs. below the fold and Google paying up?: What we read this week (6/26)

Without further ado, here is what the News Dashboard team read this week.

Google working on new product that pays publishers

News publishers have long had a can’t-live-with-it-can’t-live-without-it relationship with Google. And with belts tightening across the news industry, (the most recent revenue bust due in large part to a drop in advertising in a world stricken with COVID-19) lobbying groups have gotten more forceful in recent years, pushing governments to act.

Not long ago we mentioned how Google has been under pressure from Australian and French regulators to pay publishers and share ad revenue for articles that appear on Google’s platforms.

Now Google is working on something big which could help put more revenue into publishers’ pockets and slow down a slew of proposed regulations targeting Google’s massive ad revenue stream.

Google executives told Axios the company was working on a “licensing program” to pay publishers as part of a new news product.

Axios has a nice overview of some of the details.

Google plans on fact-checking images

The Internet’s collective Photoshopping skills have become increasingly sophisticated.

Undoubedtly the next time a hurricane hits a major coastal city, faked or edited images of sharks in city streets will circulate. And when that happens, Google may very well fact check those images directly in Google Images.

On Monday, Google announced it was adding a “Fact Check” label to Google Images.

Google has worked to promote fact-checks across some of its products including Google News and Google Search It also has a specific search engine just for fact checks. The search giant also provided $6.5 million in funding, via the Google News Initiative, to support fact-checking organizations.

Above vs. below the fold CTR

How valuable is ranking “above the fold” for a particular keyword in terms of click-thru-rate? Morby Oberstein at Rank Ranger sought to answer that question in an analysis posted June 17.

First, let’s define above vs. below the fold. Above the fold basically means the SERP results that display for a user before he/she scrolls down the page. Typically users see 3-5 results before needing the scroll further.

Oberstein concludes:

“Clearly, ranking above the fold is better at driving clicks. To qualify that, it’s about 30% better at driving up your CTR between positions 3-5. To perhaps put this more concretely… the data shows that ranking #5 above the fold is literally the same thing as ranking #3 below the fold (from a CTR perspective). “

Read his entire analysis and methodology below.

The News Dashboard authors post on State of Digital Publishing

Lastly, a little bit of self-promotion. On Friday we published an analysis of “coronavirus” and the publishers most visible for them on the State of Digital Publishing. Shortly after COVID-19 became a pandemic, Google rolled out numerous virus-related widgets and search algorithm changes to point users toward reliable, and oftentimes local, information.

Which publishers were the most visible to users for coronavirus-related coverage? Check out our post.


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