Crowdfunded Journalism
Exclusive Milestone 1.

What Does the 'Google Free Economy' Cost you?

Joe Wilcox photo
Joe WilcoxSan Diego, Calif.
What Does the 'Google Free Economy' Cost you?
Google is Gatekeeper to the Internet, controlling access to the vast majority of online information.

On August 10, 2015, Google announced a major reorganization, which full scope won’t be clear until fiscal fourth quarter or thereafter. The search giant becomes subsidiary to new entity Alphabet. The implications are astounding, if for no other reason than Google being one of the most-recognizable brands on the planet. But the company also has good reasons to bury that brand, as consumers and regulars rail about privacy concerns and the European Union fields two antitrust investigations—one into search and another into Android.

As Alphabet subsumes Google, questions loom about the future of the core search operation and whether or not business as usual will be the operating norm. The answers’ importance cannot be overstated. Monopoly enables Google to demand that content producers give away their valuables for free, supported by an advertising platform that the company controls.  The "Google free economy" rewards the spread of rumors and misinformation to rack up pageviews that are essential to generating ad-related revenues. 

This investigative series seeks to offer one of the most brutally honest assessments of Google's search and information business ever, even as management shakes up the letters to become Alphabet.

 You will learn how search really works and who are the greatest beneficiaries. We will explore myth of the ""funnel effort"", which asserts that Google's search algorithm delivers most queries from a small number of sites. The reporting will answer: Is contextual adverting supporting search a broken business model? How much information does Google really collect--and should you even care? There's more, but we don't want to reveal too much, too soon with the search giant watching.

My initial funding goal is modest, $250 within 40 days. Reaching the first milestone will test interest in the project. If there is enough, the project will continue, setting new funding goals. Achieving the second and third milestones would allow me to only work on this project, writing frequently about Google.

Crowdfunded journalism is the antithesis of the pageview model and by pushing against it, Byline is appropriate place for an exposition about the give-it-away-for-free model that Google pushes by way of its search monopoly.

A series like this one requires time to write and report. When you run the pageview treadmill, by posting one story after another as so many bloggers do to meet daily quotas, what time is there for in-depth reporting? Your contribution, which if appropriate could mean source as much as funder, will enable me to bring this news analysis series to life for you.

If you would like to contribute something to the series, or be a reliable (and vetted) source, please email my personal address created for the campaign.

#privacy, #mobile advertising, #Android, #monopoly, #Google Now, #Paywall, #Competition Commisison, #gatekeeper, #Alphabet, #clickbait

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