[Many publishers] no longer have audiences in real sense; what they have instead is traffic — a huge stream of drive-by readers, delivered by search engines, that they can monetize primarily by getting them to make attributable purchases.
Casey Newton writes on Platformer about the emerging wave of AI and how it will disrupt search and publishing.
Many publishers already operate like spam operations and the time may be running out for them to be able to convert human journalists’ output into Google search results and then sales, Newton says.
Some of this is probably fine, or at least inevitable. If you run a men’s health site, there are only so many ways to tell your readers to eat right and get regular exercise.
… with digital publishers’ businesses already hugely dependent on search traffic, and traffic toward news sites declining precipitously, the incentives are for almost any publisher to transform into an AI-powered, SEO-driven content farm as quickly as they can.