Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Demand Media About Latest Google Algo Impact: Move on, Nothing to See Here

Tonight, Demand Media–in reaction to a new study showing that its flagship eHow site had now gotten much more negatively impacted by Google’s rejiggering of its search algorithm than previously–released a statement and blog post about the tempest.

In it, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company reaffirmed its outlook for fiscal year 2011, noting, in part:

“Certain third parties that have published reports attempting to estimate the effect of recent search engine algorithm changes made by Google on traffic to the Company’s owned and operated websites have significantly overstated the negative impact of those changes on traffic to eHow.com, as compared to the Company’s directly measured internal data.”

The company, though, declined to give specific details about the impact of Google’s attempt to clean up its search results by tweaking its algorithms to cut out poorly made material from so-called “content farms.”

While others had apparently been initially impacted by Google’s first foray, such as Yahoo’s Associated Content unit, Demand had not been.

That is, until a recent Sistrix poll (see chart below), showing eHow has now been hurt badly by even more Google search changes, codenamed Panda.

While acknowledging a decline in search traffic on eHow from the Google changes, Demand said the Sistrix data was way off.

In a blog post, Larry Fitzgibbon, Demand’s EVP of Media and Operations, wrote, in part:

“However, recent third-party reports attempting to estimate the impact to our search driven traffic, including one projecting a 2/3rds decline in eHow.com traffic, are so significantly overstated that we decided to comment.”

When Google began making changes to its search formula, Demand CEO Richard Rosenblatt told MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka in an interview that its relationship with Google was all sunshine and roses.

When asked how its relationship with Google was, Rosenblatt said:

“This is why our partnership with Google makes sense. 1) We help them fill the gaps in their index, where they don’t have quality content. 2) We’re the largest supplier of all video to YouTube, over two billion views and 3) we’re a large AdSense partner. So our relationship is synergistic, and it’s a great partnership. And it’s a partnership that we’re excited to continue to expand.”

It will be interesting to see how he feels now.

Here are both Demand’s official press release and blog below:


Demand Media Reaffirms Outlook for Fiscal Year 2011

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Apr 18, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE)

Demand Media, Inc. (NYSE: DMD), a leading content and social media company, announced today that it is reaffirming its financial outlook for fiscal year 2011 that it previously provided on February 22, 2011.

Certain third parties that have published reports attempting to estimate the effect of recent search engine algorithm changes made by Google on traffic to the Company’s owned and operated websites have significantly overstated the negative impact of those changes on traffic to eHow.com, as compared to the Company’s directly measured internal data. Recent search engine algorithm changes have negatively impacted search driven traffic to some of our websites, including eHow.com, resulting in moderately lower year-to-date page view growth for the Company’s owned and operated Content & Media properties compared to page view growth rates before the algorithm changes. Nevertheless, the Company currently expects that its year-over-year page view growth across its owned and operated Content & Media properties in the second quarter of 2011 will be comparable to, or greater than, the year-over-year page view growth achieved in the second quarter of 2010.

As previously announced, the Company will report its first quarter 2011 financial results on May 5, 2011. The Company will host a conference call to discuss the results at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (2:00 p.m. Pacific Time). A live webcast of the conference call will also be available and can be accessed within the investor relations section of Demand Media’s corporate website at ir.demandmedia.com.

Another Statement About Search Engine Algorithm Changes

Posted by larry fitzgibbon at 4/17/2011 10:05 PM PDT

It’s hard to imagine a company more focused on the connection between consumers and content than Demand Media. That point of connection gives us the opportunity to inform, engage and serve the consumer. And it’s where trusted relationships start. So, how our content reaches the consumer–whether it’s through direct visits, social media referrals, apps or search–continues to be top of mind with everyone at the company. Consumers are connecting with more content than ever before as social media and mobile access have emerged to play huge roles that didn’t even exist just a few years ago. And search engines, of course, continue to play an integral part in content discovery and have been hard at work improving their products to create the best consumer experiences possible.

As I discussed on my last blog post, Google recently made significant search algorithm changes in an update dubbed Panda that has rolled out in various capacities from late February thru mid-April. With respect to Panda’s mid-April update, some of our properties saw Google search referrals move up while other properties, including our largest property eHow.com, saw these referrals go down.

As I said in my prior post, we generally do not comment or speculate on changes by major search engines, as these changes can happen nearly daily. However, recent third-party reports attempting to estimate the impact to our search driven traffic, including one projecting a 2/3rds decline in eHow.com traffic, are so significantly overstated that we decided to comment. As discussed in our press release issued today, we currently expect that in Q2 2011 our owned and operated Content & Media properties will generate year-over-year page view growth comparable to or greater than the year-over-year page view growth reported for Q2 2010. We have also reaffirmed our calendar year 2011 financial guidance in this press release.

Demand Media has a myriad of impactful sites and many sources of traffic. We are encouraged that the investments we’ve been making in site experience and content quality are making an impact with our consumers. Organic growth in visits from non-search sources to eHow continue to grow rapidly and Cracked.com is now the most visited humor site on the Internet with the majority of its page views coming from direct visits. Improvements have been registered from eHow’s recent redesign and the introduction of new video series leading to significant growth in Facebook likes. Our brand advertisers have also reported encouraging results with their intent-targeted campaigns. Rest assured, just as we have been innovators in building one of the largest online audiences, we are applying that same rigor and intensity to delivering a quality experience for consumers and advertisers.

As a disruptive digital media and technology company, we have been operating in a fast moving environment since the company’s founding five years ago. While change is frequent, one thing is certain–Demand Media is steadfast in our commitment to produce great outcomes for our consumers, advertisers and community of creative professionals. We’re in the trenches listening, learning, adapting and innovating–and we are very excited about the opportunity in front of us. We look forward to providing details on all of these topics and more in our previously announced conference call at 5:00pm (Eastern) May 5th, 2011 to discuss first quarter 2011 financial results.

Larry Fitzgibbon is Demand Media’s EVP of Media and Operations, and manages the company’s rapidly growing network of consumer properties.


Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post