Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.
This week’s My Five is by Ali.
1. Google flexes its muscles at bloggers
Google has generally monitored bloggers from afar with a light touch, until now… The blogging community is starting to feel the full force of the search giant on the prickly subject of links for goods: bloggers were warned a month or so ago that offering links in return for free goods, is not playing fair. Google advised that any blogger writing about a specific product and then directing their readers to a particular page where the goods can be purchased, should ensure that all related links are nofollow.
Over the weekend, it appears that Google has put its money where its mouth is and delivered manual action penalties to a number of unsuspecting bloggers.
In most cases, it’s difficult for Google to determine the relationship between the blogger and a brand at all – did the blogger receive free items or did the blogger decide to review a product that they’ve genuinely purchased themselves or perhaps they simply received a press release about the product?
The general thinking is that Google has no hope of really knowing but by handing out a few penalties, the higher profile bloggers who are knowingly abusing the rules, will pay attention and take heed. Everyone else will also be running scared and the problem will just about solve itself.
2. European referendum social media stats
It was this week that the Electoral Commission announced who would lead the campaigns urging Britain to stay and leave the European Union. Vote Leave backed by Boris Johnson which has the support of prominent Conservative MPs was selected, and Stronger In, headed up by David Cameron, is in the other corner.
Whilst the Twitter and Facebook stats at this point, 24 hours after the leading groups were announced, will undoubtedly increase, it is interesting to put a marker in the sand about where the two stand at this point in time.
This is obviously about as unscientific as you can get and doesn’t take into account the individual social media followings of the leading figures spearheading each side and the fact that the Vote Leave followers are currently spread across several other campaigning groups. It is interesting nonetheless, but the stats can’t call it. Vote Leave has the edge on Twitter and Stronger In wins on Facebook.
This caught my eye whilst doing the research. Funny how things come full circle…
3. Google Calendar becomes your very own PA
Google has created new functionality in its Calendar update. The most recently added feature is goals, which allow users to set a target and certain parameters for a particular activity and hey presto, Google will schedule in appropriate sessions based on your free time. Apparently, the more you use the setting, the more Google will learn and the better it will understand your preferences.
The theory is good but there might be some practical limitations such as having the right equipment on hand to do said activity. And also, sometimes you just need to be in the mood to do something – a spontaneous run or telephone conversation can be much more satisfying than an ominous to do list staring you in the face all day.
I give it six months – shall I schedule that in?
4. So long The Stig?
According to the Telegraph, it may soon be a sad day for the The Stig. With the appointment of drivers like Chris Harris and Sabine Schmitz to the new Top Gear show, the need for the anonymous character may be somewhat diminished.
The Stig’s name apparently derived from Jeremy Clarkson’s days at Repton School where new students were called ‘Stig’ and it was perhaps a little more socially acceptable than the original proposal for the character – The Gimp.
If The Stig is dropped from the BBC, would it be possible for him to re-emerge on the new Amazon Prime show (yet to be named apparently)?
With over 15k followers, he is clearly a well loved British icon. If you want to wish him well, here’s the Twitter feed: @the_stig_blog
5. A warm fuzzy YouTube clip to finish with
Leopold Wilbur Reppond is a four month-old baby who has had the world oohing and aahing over the past week. He was born with a rare condition called oculocutaneous albinism which affected his eyesight but having been fitted with his first pair of glasses, the smile he gave his mother when seeing her for the first time is just heart-meltingly lovely.