Welcome to Publishing Pulse, your weekly source for industry updates in online publishing. Stay informed about the latest trends and breakthroughs in the ad ecosystem, content creation, SEO, AI technology, and monetization.
If you prefer to listen to industry news, you can tune in to The Publisher Lab podcast. New episodes are released weekly on Thursday.
New Search Features in Google Chrome
Google is rolling out exciting updates to the Chrome address bar, enhancing website discovery and the overall user experience. Both desktop and mobile versions of Chrome will see these upgrades, including:
- Suggestions for Unvisited Sites: Chrome will now suggest popular and relevant websites, even if the user hasn’t visited them before.
- Advanced Autocomplete: The autocomplete feature will provide smarter suggestions that go beyond previously typed URLs.
- Automatic Typo Corrections: Corrections based on browsing history will streamline the search process.
- Bookmark Search: Users can now search their bookmark folders directly from the address bar.
- Visual Enhancements: Improvements in readability and responsiveness for a smoother browsing experience.
For SEO professionals, the new ‘Suggestions for Unvisited Sites’ feature opens up opportunities to optimize websites with targeted keywords to appear in these Chrome address bar suggestions. These updates are all about making browsing faster, easier, and more intuitive for users, ultimately saving them time and enhancing their online journey.
X Adds Premium Subscription Options
Elon Musk is set to expand X’s Premium subscription offerings with the introduction of two new tiers, aiming to cater to a wider range of user preferences and enhance revenue streams:
- Budget-Friendly Tier: This new tier will be priced lower than the existing $8 per month plan. It will maintain the current level of ad exposure, not reducing the number of ads seen by subscribers.
- Ad-Free Premium Tier: For users seeking an ad-free experience, Musk is introducing a more expensive subscription option that will completely block all ads.
The pricing details for these new tiers have not been finalized yet. The introduction of these subscription options is a strategic move, especially considering the recent 59% drop in ad revenue since Musk’s takeover. The introduction of an ad-blocking premium service could further influence X’s advertising landscape, depending on how users respond to these new subscription options.
Moreover, these changes are part of Musk’s broader strategy to combat bot activity on the platform. By implementing a small monthly fee for all X users, the cost-effectiveness of operating bots is expected to decrease. The lower-tier pricing option is also designed to discourage bots, making it more challenging for them to operate economically.
Overall, these developments indicate a significant shift in X’s business model and user engagement strategies under Musk’s leadership.
The “Verified” Social Movement Poses Challenges For PR
The landscape of social media verification is undergoing a significant change in 2023. With platforms like Meta Verified and X Premium offering verification badges for a monthly fee, the once-exclusive symbol of influence and credibility is becoming more accessible to a broader audience. This evolution presents both challenges and opportunities for the public relations (PR) industry.
The focus is shifting from merely securing verification badges to crafting lasting brand images through compelling storytelling and active audience engagement. The importance of an organic media presence, authentic endorsements, and earned media placements remains paramount in building a credible brand image.
The changing nature of social media verification is reshaping the PR industry’s approach, steering it towards more authentic, story-driven, and long-term brand-building strategies.
How Brands Are Really Feeling About X (Twitter)
The recent Digiday+ Research survey reveals a shifting landscape in how brands and retailers interact with X (formerly Twitter) from 2022 to 2023.
Notably, there’s a substantial decrease in the platform’s usage, with only 35% of brands and retailers posting content in the past month of 2023, compared to 73% in 2022. This trend starkly contrasts with the steady engagement observed on Meta platforms, where usage rates for Facebook and Instagram remain high at 84% and 88%, respectively.
There’s a notable decline in content posting frequency on X. Daily postings have slightly reduced, and weekly postings have seen a more marked decrease, although there’s an uptick in monthly posting. A significant change is observed in the approach toward original content for X, with a majority of professionals in 2023 indicating no investment in this area, a stark increase from the previous year.
Furthermore, perceptions regarding X’s appropriateness for brand promotion have shifted negatively. A considerable proportion of professionals now view X as less suitable for brand-related content. However, more than half still consider it somewhat appropriate, even though this is a decrease from the previous year’s figures.
Overall, these trends point to a reevaluation among brands and retailers of X’s role in their digital marketing strategies, marked by reduced activity, lowered investment, and growing skepticism about its effectiveness as a branding platform.
DALL-E 3 Image Generator Now Available In ChatGPT Plus
OpenAI has broadened access to its AI image generator, DALL-E 3, through ChatGPT subscriptions, enhancing its image creation capabilities with advanced natural language processing.
Microsoft has incorporated DALL-E 3 into Bing Search and Chat, although initial content filter challenges emerged, prompting OpenAI to strengthen safety measures. These include limiting harmful imagery and preventing the mimicking of specific artists or public figures.
With the development of a “provenance classifier” to identify DALL-E 3 generated images, OpenAI is addressing complex issues like copyright infringement and nonconsensual imagery. Continuous refinement and expert guidance are planned to navigate the ethical and content-related challenges in AI-generated imagery.
Superfy: App Connecting Users to Non-AI Generated Answers Online
Superfy is a mobile app designed to facilitate real-time connections between users seeking advice and others with relevant expertise. Leveraging its Matchpoint AI technology, the app efficiently matches users based on expertise, behavioral patterns, and personal relevance. This AI-driven system creates a dynamic database from user interactions, enhancing its matching capabilities over time. Remarkably, Superfy reports that 90% of user inquiries are answered by real people, with an impressive median response time of just 20 seconds.
Targeting a predominantly young Gen Z demographic in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Superfy offers a more personal and interactive alternative to conventional question-and-answer platforms. Users are highly engaged, spending an average of 31 minutes daily on the app, fostering meaningful conversations.
Supported by $5 million in funding and planning for additional investment rounds, Superfy is expanding its presence in the market. The app is available for free on iOS devices, with no in-app purchases, making it readily accessible to its target audience.
AI Protection For Artists
Nightshade, developed by Ben Zhao’s team at the University of Chicago, enables artists to embed invisible changes in their artwork before online upload. This strategy aims to disrupt AI models trained using these images without consent, potentially leading to chaotic AI outputs, like misidentifying dogs as cats.
It addresses a vulnerability in generative AI models reliant on large image datasets from the internet, where “poisoned” images can cause faulty learning.
“I think this is a brilliant thing that’s badly needed,” says Tyler Bishop on this week’s episode of The Publisher Lab podcast.
Although effective disruption requires numerous altered images, Nightshade symbolizes a push for artist control and proper AI model training practices. It also emphasizes the growing importance of protecting AI systems from data poisoning, as these tools become increasingly integral and reliable.