My Five #425

In this week’s My Five, the Aussie tech giants war rages on (Google backs down, Facebook doesn’t) meanwhile Trustpilot leads the battle against fake reviews.

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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 Kerry.

1. Google agrees to pay for news content in Australia

A proposed law from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, requiring tech giants to pay news organisations for the articles shared on their networks, has been the source of much contention, with both Facebook and Google claiming this would not only be unfair, but actually set a dangerous precedent. 

In fact, Google even threatened to remove its search engine from the country, and claimed it wouldn’t be backing down on the matter.

It turned out neither was the Australian government, and on Wednesday, Google conceded and signed a three-year deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, that will see it pay for journalism carried across its 40 sites, including The Times and the Wall Street Journal.

News Corp stated it will be sharing its stories in exchange for “significant payments”, after previously criticising tech companies for not paying fairly for the journalism they benefit from, however no financial details of the deal have yet been disclosed.

2. Facebook does no such thing

Facebook didn’t take as kindly to the landmark Australian Law, not only refusing to pay media outlets for their contents, but actually removing Facebook pages of all local and global news sites. Australians woke up unable to read or access any Australian news publications on the network.

Some government health and emergency pages had also been blocked, although Facebook later clarified this was a mistake and has begun reinstating these.

Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, described Facebook’s decision to “unfriend Australia” as “arrogant and disappointing”, adding that he and other leaders refuse to be intimidated.

The new law was drafted with a view to redressing the balance between tech giants and publishers, in light of the fact that of every A$100 spent on digital advertising in Australia, $81 goes to Google and Facebook. However, the latter claims the legislation misunderstands the relationship between the two parties, with publishers benefiting from the traffic Facebook drives to them, which is quite difficult to deny.

Nevertheless, within hours #DeleteFacebook was trending, with users removing the social media app over the company’s decision to ban people from reading and sharing news on the platform.  

3. Trustpilot removed over 2 million bogus reviews last year

It’s estimated to take around 40 positive reviews to reverse the damage of one negative review, so discovering that someone has left you a less than glowing testimonial can hurt. Especially if it isn’t true.

Review platforms are working hard to deal with fake reviews – both positive and negative – and Trustpilot has recently announced it removed 2.2 million fake or harmful reviews in 2020.

It’s the first time the Danish company has published a transparency report in its 14-year history, which also revealed that 1.5 million of these were automatically deleted by its fraud detection software, with just under 660,000 removed manually.

Trustpilot also acknowledged that companies who regularly ask customers to leave reviews on average have higher star ratings, prompting discussion over whether the review industry needs tighter regulations; something welcomed by Trustpilot itself who claim they would be “very happy if the review sector as a whole can be a safe and secure place for people to come and find information.”

4. Responsive Search Ads are now the default in Google Ads

 Responsive Search Ads (RSAs), which allow advertisers to input multiple variations of headlines and ad copy, will become the default ad type for Search campaigns, Google has announced.

While users still have the ability to create expanded text ads, Google has made the update to recognise that RSAs provide more flexibility to address “changing market environments due to the pandemic”, as well as saving them time. By using machine learning, it determines which combinations of headlines and copy to use based on what people are searching for.

Google has recommended that those not currently using RSAs take into account best practice techniques, such as making use of the Ad Strength score available to improve performance, using smart bidding and broad match keywords, and taking advantage of local insertion and countdown customisers to display ads that are relevant to your audience.

5. Kit Kat takes a break from Zoom calls

We might not yet have mastered filters and muting, but as a nation we’re definitely suffering from Zoom fatigue, which is exactly what creative strategist Sam Hennig took advantage of when he mocked up this brilliant ad for Kit Kat which took the internet by storm this week.


However, Sam doesn’t actually work for Kit Kat, he simply submitted the concept via One Minute Briefs, who created the brief for fun. What I love most about it is that he’s playing on the well-known strapline, without actually having to say it anywhere. 

Needless to say, Kit Kat loved it:

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