Google has changed over the last few years, looking from the outside. That is expected as our world, and indeed everything, has changed. First is the advertising devaluation: if you needed 20,000 page views to make $1, Google could just wake up one day, and shift the goal post to 50,000 views for the same $1.
That is why in most websites, especially in Nigeria, media houses are adding ads everywhere just to make up what was “lost”; it is a vicious circle as they have no chance. You can call that free market pricing under market forces. But you need to understand that Google owns the open search and advertising planet, with Facebook participating via its walled planet.
It is extremely bad: you grow traffic, and you make less money. That is the world Google has given publishers. Sure, it can claim that advertisers are paying less. That is not true; Google’s profit continues to improve, and what that tells me, is that it is using its market power to extract more value from small publishers around the world. It is very fearful if you look deep on the power one company has.
So, the news that its workers want to form a union is a good one. I wish them good luck and hope they can change this company for good, not just internally but externally. But let this be known: this is one unification or “organizing” Google will fight, even as it promises to “organize” the world information!
In one of the first Big Tech unions, more than 225 workers at Google have formed a “minority union” with the Communications Workers of America. The more informal grouping allows for the inclusion of contractors at the Alphabet-owned company, who outnumber full-time workers, and doesn’t require contract negotiations. The announcement comes after demands by workers on such issues as pay and harassment, and is aimed at giving “structure and longevity to activism at Google,” according to the workers, writes The New York Times.
On the union, Samuel Nwite has a detailed report on it here for Tekedia: “This statement suggests that Google will not recognize the newly formed union and will carry on like before. But the union leaders said their goal isn’t to force a new system, but to ensure that things are done right. So for the year 2021, it is not going to be business as usual at Google.”
Let’s hope they include how Google prices its products for many independent publishers.
Everyone wants to be a publisher and depends on ads. But watch out, after six months, the vision goes. Google’s power on ad is more power than whatever Rockefeller did on oil many decades ago. This has made visiting local Nigerian newspapers challenging as they put adverts everywhere, pursuing an illusion.