The first click is a necessary step, but it is on the second click that you can start to get something back from the reader, Galai said. The first click could come from a search engine, but the second is created by the user and once you get that engagement, you could interrupt with advertising, he said.
Outbrain powers ‘recommended links’ services for organisations such as CNN and the Daily Beast, which is one way to generate this second click.
Galai described what he sees as a “virtual piggy bank” behind every publishing operation: not a piggy bank of money, but of reader goodwill. Publishers need to deposit more reader goodwill than they extract from it if they are to build a good business.
The last ten years have been “a bit of an anomaly,” however, said Galai. “I blame search engine spiders for this,” he continued, explaining that many publishers have started to cater to the spiders rather than to humans.
In the same period, content has gone from being scarce to abundant, and the amount of goodwill that publishers need to deposit has increased. In an abundant world publishers need to create a lot more value than they extract, Galai said, pointing to Google as an example of a company that creates a lot more value for us than it extracts.
This ‘piggy bank’ used to be managed by one publisher, but online, the goodwill is split between different companies, and it’s possible to spend someone else’s goodwill, by keyword tinkering, for example.
Google’s new Panda algorithm, which intends to reward good content with a higher place in search results, is the first step to ending this ten-year anomaly, Galai believes. Google realized that by keyword tinkering, publishers were using Google’s product to take advantage of and reduce Google’s store of ‘goodwill, and the company is now taking steps to stop this.