Welcome to another episode of the Publisher Lab, hosted by Ezoic’s Chief Marketing Officer, Tyler Bishop, and Ezoics’s Events and Brand Promotions Manager, Whitney Wright. Both hosts are remote this week and delivering news about EU and Chat-GPT, Facebook traffic falling, and new revenue eligibility for YouTube.
EU privacy regulator raises concerns, prompting Google to delay launch of AI chatbot
The European Union (EU) has decided to delay the launch of its AI chatbot, Bard, due to concerns surrounding privacy regulations. The specific date for its release remains uncertain, as Google has not provided sufficient information and documentation to address these worries. As a result, Bard’s introduction to the European market is facing challenges, and it is unclear when it will finally be made available.
This delay in launching AI chatbots is a common issue faced by major tech platforms when they strive to keep pace with advancements in AI technology while making commitments to consumers. As a prominent public company, Google’s reputation and stock prices can be significantly impacted if a project encounters significant difficulties. Unlike AI startups or entities with fewer responsibilities, they cannot swiftly adapt and respond as well. Consequently, Google may lag behind other players in the field.
Drawing a parallel, the situation resembles the past competition among game console manufacturers for dominance in the market. I personally lost interest around the time of the PS2. During that era, there was intense rivalry between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo to deliver the most exceptional gaming systems with superior graphics and other advanced features. However, Nintendo eventually shifted its focus towards enhancing user experience by introducing innovative elements such as the Wii and motion-sensing technologies. This move catered to the preferences and needs of users. Similarly, Google’s strength in the AI landscape may lie in implementing AI technology into their existing products and prioritizing practicality and user-friendliness over pushing the development of Bard. Although they might not lead in terms of the most advanced AI models, they can excel in creating AI products that effectively serve their user base.
While Google should strive to stay abreast of industry trends, it appears that ChatGPT, OpenAI’s rival chatbot, currently holds a more advanced position and enjoys greater popularity. This does not imply that Google should cease the development of Bard entirely, but it should not be their primary focus. A wise approach would involve closely examining user behavior and metrics derived from Bard. If the data indicates that users are not utilizing the chatbot as anticipated, prompt adjustments and pivots should be made. Ultimately, success lies in attentively listening to users’ needs and delivering solutions that address those requirements effectively.
Nosedive in Facebook traffic
While fluctuations in Facebook referral traffic have been observed in the past, some experts believe that the recent decline, which began around the middle of last year, may be more than just a temporary dip. Facebook has traditionally been the primary source of social referral traffic for publishers, making this decline a cause for concern. One possible contributing factor could be Facebook’s recent conflicts with legislators, leading some users to back away from the platform. However, the shift away from Facebook onto other platforms has been gradually happening regardless of these conflicts, suggesting a larger trend of Facebook’s decreasing relevance in terms of traffic generation.
There is a growing sentiment that Facebook’s role as a social networking platform may be becoming obsolete in terms of traffic concerns. While Facebook remains focused on its various projects, such as Instagram, which has shown more promise in adapting to new social platform innovations, Facebook itself seems to lack a clear roadmap for the future. The company’s constant shifts in focus and announcements regarding its news feed have left some questioning its direction. Additionally, Facebook’s growth has been closely tied to regions with limited internet access, creating a unique user base that may eventually dwindle as more competitors enter the market. Although upcoming election cycles in the US might temporarily sustain growth, without significant changes, Facebook’s relevance as a traffic source for websites could diminish in the coming years.
To combat the declining Facebook traffic, it is essential for publishers to shift their focus away from relying solely on external sources for traffic generation. Building a resilient audience through strategies like email marketing and creating valuable content tailored to the audience’s interests can help mitigate the impact of declining Facebook traffic. Instead of depending on Facebook as a primary traffic source, exploring alternative avenues and investing in audience growth directly can provide long-term stability.
Eligibility for revenue on YouTube just changed for the better
YouTube, a platform that is striving to regain relevance, has made changes to its eligibility rules for earning money through its YouTube Partner program. The platform now allows creators to access monetization features earlier, making it easier for people to make money off their videos. The new threshold for eligibility includes having 500 subscribers, three public uploads in the last 90 days, 3000 watch hours in the past year, or 3 million Shorts views over the previous 90 days to be eligible for the partner program. The eligibility used to be having at least 1,000 subscribers; and either 4,000 watch hours in the past year or 10 million Shorts views in the last 90 days. This adjustment is seen as a direct competitive move against platforms like TikTok, as YouTube aims to retain creators and prevent them from switching to other platforms for monetization, such as Patreon or Substack.
While YouTube still holds a dominant position in the online video space, it recognizes the need to provide features that creators are looking for to maintain their loyalty. Creators seek more control over how they present themselves and interact with their audiences, as well as alternative forms of monetization. However, there is a delicate balance between offering these features and ensuring that creators do not feel restricted or lose control over their content. YouTube’s challenge lies in striking the right balance between providing attractive features and maintaining the platform’s usability as a search engine, considering that many users turn to YouTube for instructional content or specific information.
YouTube’s decision to lower the eligibility threshold for monetization may have short-term implications for platforms like Patreon. However, in the long run, it could potentially drive creators to seek alternatives and diversify their monetization strategies. Content creators often prioritize maintaining control over their audience and revenue streams, which can lead them to explore other platforms or even establish their own websites. This shift in monetization rules by YouTube highlights the ever-changing nature of digital publishing and serves as a reminder to content creators that relying solely on a single platform for traffic and revenue can be risky. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, creators must adapt and explore various avenues to monetize their content effectively.
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