If brand safety in the 2020 election season does not immediately seem concerning, consider the following: You’re an advertiser hoping to run digital ads for your advertising tech solution. You pay a publisher with huge traffic big money to score impressions on its platform. But as soon as a Democratic voter navigates to the site and sees your ad, along with it pops up a big Trump ad making inflammatory claims about Biden. The web surfer navigates away from the site. Who wins?
Local businesses are struggling to adapt to a world where online reputation drives offline sales, and fake reviews are making the transition harder. What’s more, the fake review problem is getting worse. A Harvard study found that fake reviews on Yelp grew from 5% to 20% over several years.
There are lots of reasons for this trend, but this is an area where big data can be used to the benefit of consumers and businesses to increase trust. This means it’s on the tech community—not small businesses—to fix fake reviews. Just as media platforms have a moral obligation to avoid the spread of fake news, review sites have a responsibility to their users and businesses to ensure their content is as accurate as possible.
“Given the primacy of Google’s market position, and the primacy of Knowledge Panels in SERPs—also a conscious product decision on Google’s part—the percentage of customers who are likely to come across fake information is great,” David Mihm tells Mike Blumenthal in their biweekly column.
“Fake news” is actually about stories written to win clicks (and potentially do harm). Losing the focus on this accurate definition to spin and political jockeying creates a challenge for the business of marketers, advertisers, and publishers.
A recent controversy finds the search giant caught in a contradiction. The company has strong financial interest in acting as the gatekeeper to the news. But Google also has a strong interest in portraying itself positively in the news that it effectively controls.