Weekly Digital News Roundup: August 13 – 17
- Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan reports that Google’s anti-spam “Penguin Update” will have more jolts in the coming months as the company continues to adjust it. In contrast, monthly updates to the Panda algorithm aimed at low-quality pages are now so minor as not to be noticed.
- Google rolled out its Panda Update last year and designed it to penalize (or adjust) pages that had poor quality content. Each further update produced changes in the search results, creating winners and losers that were felt across a wide-range of publishers. “But kind of like a major earthquake,” Sullivan writes, “each Panda update was more like an aftershock to the main quake, where the effects were less dramatic. Now Panda’s updated on a roughly monthly basis and the changes are so subtle that few notice.”
- Penguin is different. Head of Google’s spam fighting team Matt Cutts said that because the Penguin algorithm is newer, it will face bigger adjustments and thus be more “jolting” for people it hits until it smoothes out over time similar to Panda. He said, “We’re still in the early stages of Penguin where the engineers are incorporating new signals and iterating to improve the algorithm. Because of that, expect that the next few Penguin updates will take longer, incorporate additional signals, and as a result will have more noticeable impact. It’s not the case that people should just expect data refreshes for Penguin quite yet.”
New Twitter Rules Spur Online Protests
- Mashable reports that, shortly after Twitter announced a stricter set of rules for its application programming interface (API), developers and engineers turned to platform to use the #OccupyTwitter hashtag in protest. Nova Spivack, CEO of Bottlenose.com, started a Change.org petition to urge Twitter to keep its developer API ecosystem open. He said, “Twitter, what kind of bird are you becoming? Are you still that cute little bird that everyone loved, or are you becoming a scary bird of prey?”
- While Spivack’s fears might be overblown, it’s clear that Twitter seeks to limit the number of third-party app users by barring apps from supporting more than 100,000 users. If they already over the limit, they will not be allowed to grow beyond 200% of their user base without Twitter’s permission.
- Aside from limiting user growth, Twitter will be imposing more stringent authentication rules. It will also compel developers to take a different direction in creating apps by “encouraging” them to focus on engagement and analytics. After the updated API is launched, developers will have a six-month deadline to migrate to the new version. Here’s Mashable’s coverage:
More Brands Join Instagram
- Forbes reports that more and more brands, especially the big boys on the brand block, are joining Instagram – the mobile only app that, as per Wikipedia “allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it, and then share it with other Instagram users they are connected to on the social network as well as on a variety of social networking services.”
- Originally available only to iPhone owners and now available to Android users as well, Instagram has seen a remarkable growth in the first seven months of 2012. It went from 15 million users in early 2012 to 80 million in July – an increase of over 400% in just seven months. Apparently, big brands are taking notice according to a study conducted by Simply Measured. 40% of the brands listed in Interbrand’s Top 100 have set up shop on Instagram.
- According to Simply Measured, the leaders in the Instgram clubhouse right now are luxury brands with Burberry, Tiffany and Gucci among the brands with highest number of followers. MTV and Starbucks have the highest number of followers overall among brands but brands such as Audi and Nike are doing a better job in terms of engagement. From the conclusion of the Simply Measured study: “For brands that continue to hold out and watch as their competition is engaging users and measuring results, 80 million potential customers are being ignored.” Check out the chart: