We love Mashable, its one of our regular reads for Tech News. Lately though the advertising has started to get a little bit in the way of the quality content and User Experience. When I say “a little bit”, I mean they’ve taken over. I don’t want to say it, but it’s some of the worst I have seen. Can anyone tell me what either of these articles is about?
First time was on Wednesday 6th June
And then again on Monday 11 June
[UPDATE] And yet again today…
It looks as though Mashable have dumbed down their content so far its gone below the fold.
It just shows there is a really fine line between the business models of a news platform monetised by advertising and an affiliate site.
Will they get a Panda Punch?
Googles Panda Update is largely about user experience and if this kind of advertising is over used I’m pretty certain its going to be reflected in their user metrics and ultimately their rankings. In an update on the Page Layout Algorithm posted to the Webmaster Central Blog on 19th January this year Matt Cutts clearly stated:
“This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree, but affects sites that go much further to load the top of the page with ads to an excessive degree or that make it hard to find the actual original content on the page. This new algorithmic improvement tends to impact sites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads. “
Cited from Matt Cutts post: Page layout algorithm improvement
Obviously this is not a permanent feature in their website design. Its going to be cookie/session driven to the user and will therefore not appear every time you visit the site/page.
The article does however state “persistently pushed down” so Mashable are probably not going to get penalised for doing this. However, if there is continued pressure from prospective owners (CNN) to monetise the model, and the smart cookies at Mashable can think of no better way than massive display advertising, then User Experience is going to suffer.
This type of advertising is known to be pretty effective so there is almost certainly going to be a continued demand and pressure for it. The bright sparks at Mashable have 2 problems to solve:
- Find a balance between User Experience (and SEO Rankings) and Monetisation.
- Find more innovative and less intrusive ways to monetise their platform?
The CNN Connection
I do not remember their website being this saturated with ads before the rumours and talks of CNN taking ownership. This could possibly be Mashable sweetening the deal to show CNN the no-brainer way of monetisation.
Unfortunately this simplistic and dated model may ruin Mashables image as it was nicely put here:
CNN may do a better job, if they let Mashable be what Mashable is rather than try to force it into new and uncomfortable shapes. But major news organisations trying to sprinkle themselves with tech-startup stardust often end up looking like a dad borrowing their teenage kid’s iPod for an office party.
Cited from Tom Chivers CNN buying Mashable: will they end up looking like a dad dancing at a teenager’s party?
For Advanced Understanding and SEO Insight
Head on over to Search News Central where the guys coined the term GooPLA (Google Page Layout Algorithm) and read the article by Dave Harry: Google page layout algorithm; page segmentation gets a new twist
Coincidentally the screen grab used by David in his article is also covered by CNN advertising. Funny that!