Forget About Working For The Man. We Now Work For The Machine.

This article from the New York Times, states that newspaper editors are increasingly adjusting their content to suit Google. Of course, economics are driving this shift. But putting that aside, wouldn’t it make more sense for Google to adjust to newspapers?

Journalists over the years have assumed they were writing their headlines and articles for two audiences — fickle readers and nitpicking editors. Today, there is a third important arbiter of their work: the software programs that scour the Web, analyzing and ranking online news articles on behalf of Internet search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.
The search-engine “bots” that crawl the Web are increasingly influential, delivering 30 percent or more of the traffic on some newspaper, magazine or television news Web sites. And traffic means readers and advertisers, at a time when the mainstream media is desperately trying to make a living on the Web.
So news organizations large and small have begun experimenting with tweaking their Web sites for better search engine results. But software bots are not your ordinary readers: They are blazingly fast yet numbingly literal-minded. There are no algorithms for wit, irony, humor or stylish writing. The software is a logical, sequential, left-brain reader, while humans are often right brain.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. and how would they train a machine to do all those literary devices? I would guess you would have to have a very, very sophisticated linguistics department.
    Well at least when a machine screws you over, you can’t get pregnant? Or can you?

  2. Thought of after the fore mentioned play on words:
    Hello Nancy!
    I thought the comedy routine was that heads are either working up above the neck or down below the beltway.
    Old, but still app licable.