What’s been happening in the world of digital publishing over the last week? Here’s your weekly round-up of news, announcements, product launches, and more.
Substack makes a pitch for your podcasts
Substack wants you all to know that it isn’t just a newsletter platform — it’s a podcasting one, too. Or at least, it’d like to be thought of that way.
The company announced this morning that three Patreon-hit podcasts are jumping ship to join Substack: The Fifth Column, which has more than 4,100 subscribers paying a minimum of $5 per month; American Prestige, which has more than 2,200 subscribers at a minimum of $3 per month; and Tangentially Speaking, which has around 300 subscribers at a minimum of $1 per month. Read more
Why it matters: As the article points out, “There is still one big benefit in Substack’s favor: if you get fed up with the platform, you can take your subscribers’ email addresses and payment information and leave.”
Audience engagement and growth
Le Monde launches digital English language edition, partly translated by AI
One of France’s leading newspapers, Le Monde, has launched its first English-language digital edition with articles translated in part by artificial intelligence.
The paper said it would start releasing a large range of English-language content as part of a mission to double its subscriber base to one million by 2025. Read more
Why it matters: “The paper had considered launching an English edition several years ago, it said, but instead opted to deepen its reach in the French-speaking world, launching Le Monde Afrique in 2015.”
iHeartMedia building new NFT network for podcasts
iHeartMedia, the holding company of iHeartRadio, is pouring several hundred thousand dollars into purchasing the rights to roughly a dozen NFTs to create a new NFT-based podcast network, executives tell Axios. Read more
Why it matters: As the authors point out, “It marks one of the first major media franchises to introduce a podcast slate of characters and voices united across prominent NFT collections.”
Dailyhunt and Josh apps parent firm raises $805 million at $5 billion valuation
At a time when a number of startups are finding it difficult to raise capital, VerSe Innovation, the parent firm of news aggregator app Dailyhunt and short video app Josh, said on Wednesday it has raised $805 million.
The startup, which has built one of the largest adtech businesses in the country and is also driving commerce through its apps, is valued at nearly $5 billion in the new round, up from about $3 billion just eight months ago, its co-founders told TechCrunch in an interview. Read more
Why it matters: “News aggregator app Dailyhunt, which operates in 15 languages and has a creator ecosystem of over 100,000 content partners, has over 350 million users, whereas the startup’s recently launched app PublicVibe now serves over 5 million monthly active users.”
Twitter is wiping embeds of deleted tweets from the web
The edit tweet button isn’t Twitter’s only new feature that can rewrite history. The company has apparently changed the way it handles embedded tweets that were deleted after the fact, littering web pages across the internet with holes.
Previously, a deleted tweet embedded in a web page would still display the text content of a tweet. Now that text is gone, showing only a blank box. Read more
Pinterest bans all climate change misinformation on its platform
Pinterest announced today it’s becoming the first major digital platform to introduce a comprehensive misinformation policy designed to combat false and misleading claims around climate change on its platform. According to the company’s newly updated misinformation guidelines, Pinterest will now be able to remove content that denies the existence of impacts of climate change, denies human influence on climate change and denies climate change is backed by scientific consensus, among other things. Read more
Why it matters: As the article points out, “The company noted the new Community guidelines don’t only apply to posts on the social network, but also to ads. Pinterest advertisers will have to follow the same rules and the Pinterest Advertising guidelines were updated to also prohibit ads containing conspiracy theories, misinformation and disinformation related to climate change.”
Meta Reportedly Working on Virtual Currency ‘Zuck Bucks’
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is reportedly planning to introduce virtual currency to its apps, according to a report Tuesday by the Financial Times. Employees have internally dubbed this virtual currency “Zuck Bucks,” according to the report.
The currency is reportedly unlikely to be a form of crypto based on blockchain. Instead, Zuck Bucks are more likely to work as simple in-app tokens, similar to Roblox’s Robux or Fortnite’s V-Bucks, according to Financial Times. This new project comes after the Meta left behind Diem, its troubled cryptocurrency project, earlier this year. Read more
Why it matters: The article points out: “This push to find alternative revenue streams won’t come from just virtual currencies: CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last month that NFTs would be coming to Instagram.
Meta’s efforts to jump into financial products and services come as Facebook and Instagram face increased competition from other social media platforms, like TikTok.”
Google Says AI Generated Content Is Against Guidelines
Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller says content automatically generated with AI writing tools is considered spam, according to the search engine’s webmaster guidelines.
This topic is addressed during a recent Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout in response to a question about GPT-3 AI writing tools. Read more
Why it matters: “The Associated Press began using AI for story generation in 2014. Putting AI to work in content creation is not new, and the most important factor here is its intelligent application,” Miller says, noting that using AI can help content creators overcome language and literacy barriers, improve the quality of their writing, and more.
Google’s new ‘multisearch’ feature lets you search using text and images at the same time
Google announced today that it’s rolling out a new “multisearch” feature that allows users to search using text and images at the same time via Google Lens, the company’s image recognition technology. Google first teased the functionality last September at its Search On event and said it would be launching the feature in the coming months after testing and evaluation. Starting today, the new multisearch functionality is available as a beta feature in English in the United States. Read more
Why it matters: As the article points out, “The new functionality could be especially useful for the type of queries that Google currently has trouble with — where there’s a visual component to what you’re looking for that is hard to describe using words alone. By combining the image and the words into one query, Google may have a better shot at delivering relevant search results.”