When Google announced that it had a “crowdfunding tool for publishers” my twitter feed lit up. Crowdfunding journalism a subject that I think about a lot (1, 2, 3).
I was dubious as one who works at a news org tends to be any time a technology company says it can fix publishing as if it were a surgeon merely exacting a remedy on torn tissue.
There are certainly structural issues in the world of journalism and the wider publishing market, but incremental advances in the way display advertising works are only going to shore up Google’s own flaws. Reversing its own display performance declines disguised as a solution to the woes of an industry that were arguably a result of Google’s dismissal of that industry in the first place is a sign the company has truly failed to listen.
At a more fundamental level, swapping one display advertising solution for another is not the answer publishers need from Google.
It’s worth saying that being a fast-follower of the tech titans is not a bad strategy for publishers to use. But if you’re applying that strategy you must also recognize where departure is necessary.
Not viewing ads is a far cry from funding articles via the crowd.