Google is killing MetaFilter and nobody can figure out why

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Is Google broken? Or is your site broken? That’s the question any webmaster asks when she sees her Google click-throughs drop dramatically. It’s a question that Matt Haughey, founder of legendary Internet forum MetaFilter, has been asking himself for the last year and a half, as declining ad revenues have forced the long-running site to lay off several of its staff. Reports Business Insider

MetaFilter, Haughey told me, made the bulk of its revenue through Google’s AdSense program. That is, MetaFilter worked with Google ad representatives to place advertising on its pages that was served by Google. In turn, most of MetaFilter’s visitors came via Google searches. (MetaFilter’s members pay a small one-time signup fee to see no advertising; I am a member but not a terribly active one. I should also disclose here that I used to work for Google and my wife still does.)

Founded in 1999, MetaFilter, or MeFi, quickly earned a reputation as one of the most intelligent and civil discussion sites on the Web. A core group of sharp, technically savvy users discussed culture high and low, while a small group of moderators walked a careful line between policing abuse and allowing free expression. Early users included some of the key movers in blog culture, including Anil Dash, Jason Kottke, and Meg Hourihan. Read more

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