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Google wants websites to adopt AMP as the default for building webpages (polemicdigital.com)
532 points by seductivebarry 74 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 340 comments



I don't like AMP at all and fully agree with all the lock-in concerns - but I didn't find this post particularly convincing.

This reads in places like a developer or publisher who has grown accustomated to stuffing his pages with gobs and gobs of javascript and questionable UI patterns and is now outraged at the prospect that someone wants to take that privilege away from him. I can't agree with that.

Examples:

> The underlying message is clear: Google wants full equivalency between AMP and canonical URL. Every element that is present on a website’s regular version should also be present on its AMP version: every navigation item, every social media sharing button, every comment box, every image gallery.

So Google's suggestion is that, if you've already chosen to offer an AMP page, that page shouldn't have intentionally worse usability than the original?

> For years Google has been nudging webmasters to create better websites – ‘better’ meaning ‘easier for Google to understand’. Technologies like XML sitemaps and schema.org structured data are strongly supported by Google because they make the search engine’s life easier.

Other initiatives like disavow files and rel=nofollow help Google keep its link graph clean and free from egregious spam. All the articles published on Google’s developer website are intended to ensure the chaotic, messy web becomes more like a clean, easy-to-understand web. In other words, a Google-shaped web. This is a battle Google has been fighting for decades.

Sitemaps and structured data were the non-proprietary attempts to structure the web. Those could have made the web more accessible for everyone, not just Google. They are something fundamentally different than AMP.

Yet, he condemns them too? Why?

He seems to argue that the chaos and messiness of the web infrastructure is itself a quality that should be defended. Why would that be the case?


>So Google's suggestion is that, if you've already chosen to offer an AMP page, that page shouldn't have intentionally worse usability than the original?

Google is using its dominance in search (again) to force sites to offer AMP versions. Like a "reader view", and lacking evidence at the moment, I bet many sites are building AMP versions with faster load times but reduced features to comply. Now Google is saying "Build your entire site according to our spec, or we'll de-rank you on search".

That is a very bold move, and one that would be making front-page news if they said it straight-up in a way that Buzzfeed could write about.


I, personally, hate websites that serve different content based on what device I'm using. It makes it difficult to customize a device to view things the way I want to view them. All of the changes to navigation and features makes it difficult to navigate and use the site.

I do think there could be a case made for Google abusing their power here but frankly I'm on their side for this: one site, one representation.

If you want a lighter load for mobile users, provide a lighter version for every user. If you want to keep features available, allow users to opt-in or out to such features.


I agree it's not ideal to have different experiences. But this wouldn't be true if Google didn't start imposing AMP through their influence. This has been an elaborate attempt to push everyone into a requirements system so that they can control how websites are built. Like an app store policy for websites. That's bad news, because their influence is real, businesses rely on search traffic to exist, and will have no choice but to comply.


I think there should be more regulation around such a large gatekeeper. It's a bad state of affairs where small businesses are beholden to one opaque company. Even more worrying if the small company offers a competitive product to one of Google/Alphabet's.


I think you're ignoring the capabilities and UX that desktop can provide vs. mobile. You're essentially asking for what Ubuntu did with Unity and GNOME with... well, GNOME, in that they're shoehorning a mobile/touch UX into a desktop. That isn't always the way to go.


I mean, an even worse example of that would be Windows 8. Metro everywhere was a colossal failure. Hence the dialing back for Windows 10.

There's nothing wrong with having different mobile and desktop experiences. Just make sure they have feature parity and behave in similar, expected ways.


> I do think there could be a case made for Google abusing their power here

Which is the concern here. Abuse of power in order to push your own agenda could just as easily turn into abuse of power to push an agenda you despise.


> one site, one representation.

I don't think that's a good idea. "Mobile first" doesn't mean "mobile everywhere". You can use umatrix and stylus Firefox extensions to eliminate most page bloat. Firefox's reader view can give the same look to each page if that's what you want.

Destroying the open WWW for the purpose of making all websites look the same on all devices doesn't seem like a good justification.


Are you saying you're opposed to responsive design?


Well, I am. We got "responsive design" when we need it least: the moment we have mobile devices capable to display desktop pages just fine, large screen, and tap to zoom-in/out to any area of interest...


I feel like we live in different universes; every time I use a desktop site on mobile, the touch targets are awful and it's hard to see content.


Yes. Moving content around when I resize my window is the opposite of functional. I don't get more screen real estate so websites can have bigger and more fancy text or pictures. I get more screen real estate because I keep things small and the screen full of information; high information density. I resize things often as they get moved around on my screen and resizing the window will move elements around nearly every time. It's the same any time screen rotation is enabled: accidentally tilt or partially rotate the device and then everything resizes and moves around. It's very jarring.

There's also the sites that take control of my keys so I can't use them to navigate; or those that disable operating system features such as copy and paste. Both of those are the opposite of useful.

If you want more trust: build and sign a native application, and don't be overly generous on the permissions you request. There's no reason a message app needs audio permission until the moment I intentionally start or join a voice conversation. Same for the camera. Same for saving data to the local disk, too, really. There's definitely no reason you should need administrator permission. And that permission should be revoked when the conversation is done.


Not at all. They are using their dominance to surface websites which provide a faster (and therefore better) experience to users. AMP happens to facilitate that, but if you're able to create a website that loads just as fast without AMP, it will probably rank just as high. I have yet to see proof that any AMP itself (beyond the benefits) is used as a factor to rank results.

Sadly, the reality is that the majority don't want to make the effort.


> I have yet to see proof that any AMP itself (beyond the benefits) is used as a factor to rank results.

For news articles at least, the only way to be shown at the top of the search results is to write your page using AMP: https://searchengineland.com/googles-amp-carousel-working-se....

Edit: from Google's own documentation (https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/mark-up-con...): "The Top stories carousel requires that your content be published in AMP".


That's from 2016. A lot has changed since. Try doing a search. There are plenty of non-AMP both at the top and in the carousel.


Just searched for "Trump". Every single carousel entry was an AMP page. So then I tried "Isis", "confirmation hearing", and "Angela Merkle". Same thing, 100% AMP in the carousel.

This is on an Android phone, using Chrome, with a US ip.


How does that show AMP is required, and not just that almost every major media site has chosen to serve AMP pages? I legitimately can't find a large media site that doesn't use AMP, so your observation is essentially meaningless. You're looking for a news site that doesn't use AMP (already extremely rare), makes their pages as fast as AMP pages, and is blocked from appearing in the carousel.


It is a response to the claim that "There are plenty of non-AMP both at the top and in the carousel".

News outlets use AMP because they get pushed out of the carousel if they don't. You have the cause/effect backwards.


> News outlets use AMP because they get pushed out of the carousel if they don't. You have the cause/effect backwards.

Looking at my Google News feed, I see articles from The New York Times and NPR listed prominently in the carousel, and yet neither use AMP.


>The New York Times and NPR listed prominently in the carousel, and yet neither use AMP.

Edit: NYT does use AMP: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2018/09/06/us/p...


It's possible that the article I was looking at was a non-AMP link. At least, it didn't have the lightning bolt symbol next to it.


>I have yet to see proof that any AMP itself (beyond the benefits) is used as a factor to rank results

The "benefits" shouldn't be used as a factor to rank results either.

I want the best page content-wise for my search. Not the fastest to load with irrelevant results.

Besides what kind of "proof" do you expect to see? All their rankings are hidden behind several layers of secrecy, and it's not like Google will come out and say it by themselves.

Web search is a public resource at this point, and Google is percentage-wise a monopoly on it, so we should dispense with opaque algorithms and behind the scenes manipulations.

It's bad for society and bad for democracy.

They should be forced to be able to explain any ranking, and give their algorithm at any point in time.


> > The underlying message is clear: Google wants full equivalency between AMP and canonical URL. Every element that is present on a website’s regular version should also be present on its AMP version: every navigation item, every social media sharing button, every comment box, every image gallery.

> So Google's suggestion is that, if you've already chosen to offer an AMP page, that page shouldn't have intentionally worse usability than the original?

Take a moment to read that again. Mobile has constrained screen real-estate, constrained bandwidth, and navigation typically requires fingers covering the screen - and yet it's still supposed to support everything the full site does, and be more performant, and (it looks like) all be done in a particular framework?

Google is talking crosswise, it's no wonder AMP is a pain that only benefits Google.


I'm confused, I thought AMP was only for mobile (accelerated mobile pages). By regular version, don't they mean the regular mobile version?


Some quick searching to double check, it seems like not. Everything I see is referring to the "canonical" page, without really defining it in context.

But based on the way you use it, the canonical version would be whatever the primary version of the site/page is, most likely the non-mobile version (among other things, this is the URL search results would send you to [0]). It all reads like the AMP version is supposed to replace the regular mobile version.

[0] https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=en#wh...


>This reads in places like a developer or publisher who has grown accustomated to stuffing his pages with gobs and gobs of javascript and questionable UI patterns and is now outraged at the prospect that someone wants to take that privilege away from him. I can't agree with that.

Well, it's not your job to agree with that or not though. He should be free to do as he pleases (so, the freedom to spew gobs of JS etc. should be unarguable) and you should be free to not visit his page.


Should they be free to spew gobs of JS?

The average person can’t tell in advance — or, often, after the event — that this will happen, and when it does happen it is bad for them.

Aside from the security issues, the current status quo shortens battery life, wastes bandwidth (which is still precious and limited on mobile, even if not on landlines), and is generally done for the benefit of everyone except the user.


>Should they be free to spew gobs of JS? The average person can’t tell in advance — or, often, after the event — that this will happen, and when it does happen it is bad for them.

If they can tell in advance, they can tell it after, and punish the page by not visiting it.

If they can't tell it after the event, then it shouldn't matter.


Analogy time: Which cigarette gives you cancer?

If they didn’t kill you by cancer and heart disease, but instead one in 1.4 million exploded and blew your head off, you’d know. Everyone would. The most explody brand would be punished.

The constant bit-by-bit risk of 1.4 cigarettes per micromort makes it ignorable, even though the risk is identical.

The only website I punish for their JavaScript content at the moment is forbes.com, and that’s because they have a combination of an adblock-blocker and (whenever I tried turning it off to read a story someone linked me to) ads which redirect me to scams.

That’s dynamite.

On my laptop I disable JavaScript everywhere unless it’s important to enable. I would do the same on my phone except the UI makes switching it in and off on a per-site basis much more annoying. The result is my phone battery, which can trivially record GPS traces all day while also managing day-to-day use of augmented reality translation all with negligible battery use, runs out of battery in a few hours of browsing.

That’s cigarettes.

Which site(s) killed the battery?


> If they can't tell it after the event, then it shouldn't matter.

Ah yes, the famous strategy for solving all problems: Hiding them, because if no one notices them anymore, they are not problems anymore.


Isn't that the definition of empiricism and/or utilitarianism?

If something doesn't impact someone in a way that they can ever tell, it is not a problem to them.


> ... and you should be free to not visit his page.

You mean restrict myself to the remaining two websites that don't do this?

Also, it's not like the website obesity crisis is a new concept: http://idlewords.com/talks/website_obesity.htm


In that case Google should be free to not index his page, or at least not show it to users who Google know are not interested in downloading it.


>In that case Google should be free to not index his page

No, it shouldn't. Google should reflect an accurate ranking of pages based on content relevance (as best as possible technically), not a curated list.


If the metrics Google collect indicate that visitors prefer quickly loading pages, that should be factored into the decision as what external resources to link out to.

The evidence that visitors find bloated pages an issue is slowly growing, from Amazon quantising the financial loss of slower loading pages [1], to more recently, Life Hacks taking advantage of GDPR-triggered quicker-loading less-bloated European-versions of news sites [2].

I guess the question worth asking is if a non-AMP page is objectively more-performant than an AMP version, does Google prefer the publisher to keep the slower AMP version?

In a sense AMP is user-focused, validating Jakob Nielsen's prediction of the end of Web Design, because "people spend more time on other sites" [3].

[1] https://www.fastcompany.com/1825005/how-one-second-could-cos... [2] https://lifehacker.com/to-make-websites-load-faster-browse-t... [3] https://www.nngroup.com/articles/end-of-web-design/


Is Google not a private company that can do what it wants? If they wish to offer a curated list, is that not their choice to make?


Why is Google held to a different standard here?


Because, as it constitutes an effective monopoly on search (monopoly doesn't mean "absolutely sole mean". There were other OSes besides Windows in the 90s too, and other telcos when Bell split (e.g. MCI)), it's ranking has enormous influence over news, information gathering, business, politics, and so on.

Too much to be left to some private interests to play with at their own opaque will (and sell to the highest bidder).


Both sitemaps and schema.org had strong influence from what google thought worked best. Other open efforts like microformats and RDF died a cold, lonely death.


Google is also trying to get rid of URLs in Chrome, which dovetails with AMP certificate-signed content, https://www.engadget.com/2018/09/05/google-change-interact-u...

> So we want to move toward a place where web identity is understandable by everyone—they know who they're talking to when they're using a website and they can reason about whether they can trust them. But this will mean big changes in how and when Chrome displays URLs.

There's an IETF proposal for certificate-signed web content (Web Packages) which can be rendered offline. The browser address bar will no longer show the URL of the web server (e.g. Google AMP), it will show the authenticated origin of the Web Package.

2017 IETF proposal by Google: https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-yasskin-webpackage-use-cas...

Video of a Chrome demo at 2018 AMP event, which looks like the latest Chrome proposal for hiding URLs in favor of “web identity”: https://youtube.com/watch?&t=9m03s&v=pr5cIRruBsc

There may be overlap in goals with W3C Web Publications, which is working to converge EPUB and Web: https://w3c.github.io/wpub/

What happens if your “web identity” certificate expires or is revoked/blacklisted? Does your web identity certificate require a separate yearly fee from the domain name?

Edit: Comments from Chrome dev team manager, https://twitter.com/__apf__/status/1037057121961967616 & https://twitter.com/__apf__/status/1037181065423515648

> URLs aren't usable, but people are forced to rely on them for so much -- browsing, security, sharing. Expect to see changes to how Chrome displays identity in the coming year.


Google is really losing its way. AMP always looked like an attempt to appify the Web on Google's platform, and that URL scheme makes it even more worrying.

When your AMP pages appear in Google's Search results, users aren't visiting your site. They are visiting a restricted shell of your site on google.com with functionality that benefits Google, not the website owner (examples: a back button to google.com, left-right swipes that take users off of your site, restricted monetization options, pages that don't display for 8 seconds if you block potentially-dangerous 3rd party scripts, etc.).

Is there no one left at Google who still believes in an independent, decentralized Web? The open WWW has always been under attack, but to see it fundamentally wrecked by Google is depressing.


These points are critical.

The fact that you have to surrender full control of your own site and content to be featured by Google is criminal.

They don't own the web.

They could improve their indexing to handle more of the web, but instead they're trying to shift the cost of indexing to people who publish on the web. The small guy. Not the near trillion dollar company.


You find it weird that you have to kiss Google's ass in order to get special treatment from them?


Not weird, just shitty

The most prominent results should be he most relevant results, not the ones who kiss the most ass

I know the formula is mostly about relevance, but ass kissing shouldn't even be in there


> Google is really losing its way.

You sure about that?

To me, it looks more like Google has just become emboldened enough to start openly abusing their position to gain control of the web. This has always been Google's way, it's just that they dressed it up in prettier PR speak previously or tried to do it more quietly to keep the "we're not evil" wool pulled over the eyes of most of the population.


I agree generally with what you're saying, but I think they once at least tried to not be "evil". I don't think they are trying very hard any more.

They were willing to give RSS/Atom a crippling blow at the launch of Google Plus.

I remember Usenet going downhill immediately after they started pulling it into Google Groups (an unusable discussion platform).

I suspect that it will be the end of the WWW if Google is successful with AMP and the removal of URLs. Something new will have to be created from the ashes, though it may be difficult if Google controls the hardware, software (browser, OS), and potentially the network.

Google is motivated by getting people to click on ads. That's why Google Chrome's URL auto-completion is so bad -- you're supposed to go to Google Search on the way to your destination and click on well-concealed ads. I'm guessing that somewhere in the plan to hide URLs is a scheme to get people to depend more on search (to click on ads) and less on going directly to the destination. With AMP, the search and the destination are both google.com.


> I remember Usenet going downhill immediately after they started pulling it into Google Groups (an unusable discussion platform).

Don't get me started on Google Groups... The UI is so bad it looks like an hackathon-level quality...


> The UI is so bad it looks like an hackathon-level quality.

It's called Material Design.


I'm not against Material Design personally, you have plenty of websites & apps with good Material Design, Google Groups just has shitty UI.


Could be time for grassroots UI/UX to have cool logos and brands, like security vulnerabilities.


Based on those links, it doesn't look like Google is trying to get rid of URLs. It looks more like they're trying to make sure that URLs can still be used to locate content and ensure it hasn't been tampered with, but removing the need for browsers to make a round-trip to the origin server to retrieve it.

If anything this has the potential to help further decentralise the web, by allowing users to retrieve content via whatever protocol works best for them, without losing the benefits of URLs.


At work I develop mapping apps for projects which are shared using a URL in an email. This can be confusing for people as they have no intuitive way of knowing if data is live or not. It is very useful to have URLs that record a moment in time for record purposes. But people also sometimes expect the data to update automatically to the current version. You also, have issues with authentification and user accounts being needed.

Normally when you share a document on email it is very intuitive. People realise that it is not live data, and that they can share it with anyone over email. It would be good to have a web package format that could be sent by email and treated like a normal document. But also benefit from server based resources when neccessary.


> It would be good to have a web package format that could be sent by email and treated like a normal document

I'm setting up a static server to deal with hosting analyses purely because there's no current good solution to this and my approach otherwise is "tell people to download then open this html file" which is merely bad for techies but atrocious for non-techies.

I would absolutely love a format I can deliver some HTML + bits of data in that's treated just like any normal document that can be sent around.


I want to try something like this with a plain HTML file. It would need a way to include data that is not processed by the browser at load time, but selectively processed in JavaScript when needed.


This "hide the url from the user" is exactly what America Online did back in the day to try and keep everyone from leaving their garden. I remember being offended by it and trying to explain to people what that meant and that they should cancel their AOL accounts over it, with little success.

How did Google get this bad? Why are we letting the internet devolve back to the early 90s?


Google is panicking over user behavior changes. Fewer people using the traditional search, more people using voice search, more people using a mobile web browser which they can't control. Someone is plotting the use of paid search ads in 2028 and it doesn't look pretty.

If Google doesn't aggressively pursue things which jack up their revenue, they switch from a growth company to a non-growth company sooner rather than later. Instead of a P/E of 52, maybe thats a P/E of 10 or 20. If that happens too soon, then their ability to attract and pay talent diminishes significantly. Thus, "don't be evil" is replaced with the ends justifying the means.

The only big reprieve we have here is that if Google comes up with some wacky new idea which breaks w3c standards and Apple doesn't go along with it, it probably doesn't get adapted.


To be honest I think that's jumping to conclusions based on an article that's absolutely leaping to conclusions. It's highly unlikely Google's web crawling team conspired with AMP to force the web to convert to AMP


Are you replying to the correct comment? Was that claim made in this thread?


This thread is in response to a section of the article where this claim was made


That claim was the basis of the entire article. Did you read it?


Yep. For those not familiar with the heyday of AOL: "Type in AOL keyword XYZ to buy an XYZ"...where AOL sold the keyword to the highest bidder. They weren't selling the top spot in a list, it was exclusive placement.


"All the real magic happened really behind the scenes, utterly invisible to you"

applause from the crowd

So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause

What happened to the 'View Source' ethos?!


> What happens if your “web identity” certificate expires or is revoked/blacklisted?

There are no "Web Identity" certificates. Just standard X.509 certs, like there have always been. As for what happens to Web Packages when they expire, that's also exactly what you'd expect: https://wicg.github.io/webpackage/loading.html#trusting-cert...


Stop using chrome, now, do it, it's easy, there are alternatives.


Web packages / wpub look fantastic. Are these things purely at a proposal level or are there demo implementations anywhere? I didn't spot anything obvious but then this is the first I've heard of them.


Thanks for the links--I checked out the AMP event. This quote and after got me thinking:

> From a user perspective, they want to see...where is this content coming from?

It's interesting because it sounds like he's saying: If the bits are coming from Service Y and not literally "Joe's Closet," we want to show people that this Service Y stuff (like Google's AMP URL for Joe's content) is essentially still Joe's Closet.

I'd be more worried for domain registrars in this case than anything. URLs could indeed stop being so meaningful as a faux-ID, because now Joe has much more flexibility and less concern for this or that domain. URL segments to the right of the domain name will be even more of a back-office concern than they are now.

And the big infrastructure cats like Google, who "own" the methods by which published things are effectively spread to audiences, get to now "own" the content, but only if you look at "own" through the old URL-based lens. That's interesting because after this change, what does "my own digital real estate" mean? It effectively means that I own an identity or group of identities, and now vendors get to compete for rights to carry or express my identity. URLs were similar but this can remove a deceptive that's-a-scam-site-even-though-my-name-is-in-the-URL part and allow in a Google-owned-domain part.

And hopefully there really will be more than one entity that can compete. Right now the scary part is that for example if I'm using AMP to publish news, Google gets to express my "everything ADHD news" by default, because they have so much leverage there. (I did catch myself using !gn a lot this week in DDG...mmmph)

Anyway: Remember when you HAD to have a .com to be taken seriously? Wow, "those were the days" comments incoming in the next 5-10 years if this lands well...

Still, I don't know if it's "good" or "bad" so much as another layer through which to work with connectivity.

> What happens if your “web identity” certificate expires or is revoked/blacklisted? Does your web identity certificate require a separate yearly fee from the domain name?

Or maybe more practically: If you have like 100 different hobbies, is a single identity certificate which becomes associated with one of those hobbies going to jack up your chances of getting "found" in some way for the other hobbies? URLs handle this really well.

Also, think about some pretty-good-case benefits: Your domain name or URL problems will no longer get in the way of your "stamp of quality" identity, assuming your identity is looked at well _by some content consumer or group of content consumers_. You have always been a brand just by having a name and an objectively-sense-able set of properties. Now the subjective question is deepened--the quality of what you produce and represent.


RealNames for everyone, Google+ lives!

If pseudonyms are permitted, then how will collisions be handled? Aren’t we right back to DNS namespace collisions and years of case law on domain name trademark disputes?

Organizations that paid millions for domain name real estate will object to their assets becoming worthless overnight. Can they sue Google?


Yep, anon and semi-anon are certainly needed. My guess for a pseudonym mechanism would be borrowing someone else's ID as an umbrella. Going a bit abstract, that's what the Guardian is providing its staff, in that you just see "The Guardian", yet you will probably still be able to find favorite authors there even if they don't use their own special ID certificates.

I'm guessing this won't really (or doesn't _have to_) impede anonymity so much. Some kind soul will set up the "GeoCities / NeoCities of Online Identity" and from there it's just a question of whether you care how you are perceived while using that particular umbrella. Domain names would be the big losers.

But this is just my brand-new mental model for what's going on...


I think ultimately it will have to be social proof that proves which identity a website has. This sounds weird at first but think about it, any type of other identification is going to be text or image based - which is easily spoofed. Certificates can be sort of spoofed too, I mean who looks exactly at that certificate everytime they visit? The certificate itself has a long string in it so the problem really hasn't improved much. For letsencrypt websites the common name actually seems to be some kind of autogenerated string so good luck explaining that to a user (not that he should have to ever check this type of stuff) Google has a social network, they should just integrate URIs aka. "apps" with their social identity. This is also a win&win for them.

Let me explain, if you enter facébook.com then on the url bar it will not show that your friends are on this site as well. The exact gui is irrelevant, the point is that it will be easy to tell whether you are on the right website that you are used to navigating to based on the indicator of amounts of friends and who is using and recommending that site. This will also cultivate a certain awareness that if you are navigating outside your usual url space then you will probably be more careful because it doesn't show that any of your friends are on there yet. Banks might offer a service where their bot "befriends" you on socialnetwork XYZ to get that nice little indicator that you are on the right banking website without anybody else actually having to use it. This system might work for any website actually. If there is a concern that this disincentivizes people from using new websites then I think it will be outweighed by several factors like your desire to establish social proof - meaning that you might be more likely to share the new website you found so you can be safer when visiting it next time because you only have to look at the url indicator and see that friend X that you recommended it to has also added this website to their profile.


> it doesn't show that any of your friends are on there yet.

That wouldn't work in practice. People shouldn't have to share the list of websites they visit with third party entities, and some of us don't use social media. Some people's social media "friends" lists are full of people who they don't know. The future of marketing and phishing would be for bots to befriend unsuspecting people in order to build trust for their sites.


Yeah that's gonna be a no from me dog...

As a marketer I've been fortunate enough to avoid most of the AMP fallout because of the specific makeup of my clientele. However, my colleagues who have to deal with AMP want Google to kill it forever and never bring it back.


Having worked with trackers, and used the sorts of pages your colleagues prefer, I have arrived at a slightly different conclusion.

Your colleagues are the problem that AMP is unfortunately necessary to solve. There are too many bloated, slow, design-forward and tracker-infested pages that take ten times as much memory and time as is required for the core content to be loaded and presented. This means the core of the user experience in AMP-land is generally much, much better.

It didn't have to be this way. AMP is necessary because the web user experience has become atrocious. There have been many years, flush and bountiful with opportunities to improve this. Most websites remain blessed with this wondrous panoply.


As a user, I hate AMP as well. I have plenty of data. Show me the whole page by default

AMP seems to be solving for a problem that doesn't seem to exist anymore. Data is absurdly cheap now. And wi-fi is never hard to find


As somebody with fast Internet at home and at work, I still want to see far smaller page weights because I spend a lot of time working on trains or browsing the web on my phone. Internet connections in those situations can be fast, but they are often very inconsistent, both in terms of speed and latency.

I've lost count of the number of times a page has unnecessarily been rendered unusable because although it had loaded all of the important stuff, it was waiting around for a web font or JavaScript to finish loading and I was going through an area with poor signal.

That's in a developed country with solid, ubiquitous telecoms infrastructure. Most of the world – and most of the people in the world – don't have it as good, so it matters even more for them.


You live in a little bubble: the developed world, where data and wi-fi are plentiful.


I live in India. 4G is dirt cheap here. I pay less than $6 for 3 months of data capped at 2GB/day.


WTF. I pay €8 per month for 1.5 GB / month, and that's pretty cheap by German standards.


A big Indian conglomerate, Reliance, recently launched a service called 'Jio' that basically disrupted the entire mobile internet landscape.

Broadband access has improved drastically as well in the last one year. I've gone from paying $40/month for a 16mbps connection with a data cap of 80GB to $12/month for a 50mbps connection with no data cap.

It's come to a point where I don't think at all about data usage or my phone bill.

Which is why I say that AMP is a solution in the wrong direction. If India can make data so cheap, it's only a matter of time before other markets follow suit. AMP is a solution to a dying problem, not an emerging one.


The German telecom and ISP markets are a joke. Paying a fee just to be connected, most people being locked in for 2 years, garbage speeds and FUPs, the lack of local wireless ISPs, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if the average consumer was worse off that in the US, even though the country is mostly flat and relatively small so presumably easy to cover.

Hard to imagine how it could get this bad.


If a low income country like India could do it, I think it's mostly because of regulatory, not technical reasons.


Yes, a big part of the reason is that 3G/4G/5G frequencies were auctioned off by the state, and the bids reached absurd heights. To recoup that initial investment, each new generation of mobile broadband starts out at a huge premium compared to similar markets, and then those premium prices become the norm.


In Italy now I pay €5.99 / month with 30 GB of traffic (plus unlimited calls). free.fr came in Italy (branded as Iliad) and changed the market.


That sounds like quite a deal. I pay about 3€ a month for 1GB of data though a 4G connection.


Then only serve AMP pages to people from the developing world, why do I need to deal with a crippled version of the web because some other people have crap internet ?


Data may be absurdly cheap and free wifi might be easy to find where you live, but it certainly isn't everywhere.

Even if you do find wifi, it's often slow or totally broken. It usually requires you to log in and be tracked. Often the wifi network operator knows every place you visit when they have a network located there, even if you don't deliberately log in at those locations.


I need to ration about 40MB of data a day, which means i appreciate the effort


I was going to tank the downvotes and just post a root comment saying nothing but "no", because it's the correct response. But you did a better job than I would have :P

s17n 74 days ago [flagged]

The fact that marketers hate it can only be taken as evidence that it's a good thing.


I know this is a bit cheeky, but HN sometimes has this comically simplistic view of other professions. It's as bad as the older C_Os who refer to all of dev and IT as "computer people." As someone who is both a developer and a marketer I can tell you both fields have depth and value, and neither is easy to do well.

Success often hinges on making something people want. Marketing done well is hugely helpful in determining both what people want and whether they perceive a product as a solution to their problems, and it can help guide product development with marketing analytics and other user data. I don't think I'd ever have been successful without a marketing background.

To take it back to the original point, I will never move to AMP. I spend a lot of time speeding up my pages through simplification, caching, and any other trick that makes sense (deferment, lazy loading, minification, combining, etc.) But there are a lot of reasons to not want your link to start with amp.google.com when someone shares my page.

* Any links to that URL rely on the good graces of the search engines to "count" for rankings and continue sending traffic. This is especially worrying if I decide to change standards. Will my rankings tank? Will the crawlers get totally confused and think I have a bunch of 404s? Both have been reported. These are not risks I'm willing to take with my sites that took so much work to build and promote.

* When someone shares my page I want my URL to be clear - not some google.com URL. That's both confusing for the user and bad for building a brand. Even if it was a cname to my own subdomain I'd feel better, e.g. amp.mysite.com

* Aside from the reason above, the lock-in is philosophically problematic. I intentionally use cross-platform apps on my phone because I don't want to be locked into an ecosystem. I don't foresee switching to Apple, but I didn't foresee switching to Android either. The point is that I could. This freedom is important to me.

* I don't trust that Google is committed to me and my content. Just look at the YouTubers getting screwed over by Google's lazy copyright policy. What makes you think they're going to suddenly staff up and/or care more on web content?

Anyway, as a writer, marketer, business owner, and web developer: fuck AMP.


> I don't trust that Google is committed to me and my content.

This * million. The only thing I can reliably trust google is that when I type a search query, results will be meaningful.

Regarding them keeping my data secure, not selling out to NSA, dropping support for things on a whim, kicking users out of their platform, I can’t really trust them.

Google or anyone else.

It’s just not their core business. They don’t really make much money from AMP. It feels like some VP’s pet project to get a big fat stock bonus.

If you run a serious business. Stay the hell away from AMP.


> This * million. The only thing I can reliably trust google is that when I type a search query, results will be meaningful.

Even that is pretty dicey these days. Search for `keyword1 keyword2 obscure_but_important_keyword3` and `obscure_but_important_keyword3` will just get dropped from your query.


Yes! wtf is it with this these days? double quotes in google search used to have meaning... now you just get spammed with completely irrelevant crap and only a few instances of results with that word hidden after the first 20. It's like they are trying to hide from you that there are only a few _real_ hits.


Repeat `keyword3` to increase it's weight: `keyword1 keyword2 keyword3 keyword3`


Quotes make keyword3 a requirement


You can work around this by putting the dropped keyword into double quotes.


Except double-quotes work only as suggestion, they haven't been enforcing a verbatim search for quite a while now (AFAIR there is/was a "verbatim" switch hidden somewhere in Search Tools).


I use !gvb on duckduckgo to search on google with verbatim turned on. It's the only way to make it work more-or-less properly for me.


> You can work around this by putting the dropped keyword into double quotes.

Often. It seems sometimes I get selected for an A/B test where they just ignore parts of my query even if I use doublequotes and verbatim option.

Also this becoming standard means Google have taken a(nother) step backwards since 2009.

Which might be a good thing in the long run. It means competition has even better chances. :-)


DuckDuckGo has improved a lot for me the past year. I used to retry my query on Google when the results were not enough but I don't need to as often now.


Same for me. I've had DDG as the default search engine for a while now. Initially mostly for the instant results and bang shortcuts, but these days I find myself using !g very very rarely.


Same here as well. And I've been finding DDG to even given better results increasingly often, at least on the sample of searches that I've used multiple engines for.

The one thing I really miss is insta-results for things like 'population of USA'. On the other hand, I think Google was going a bit too far with that and started giving insta-results that at times were subjective, or even simply wrong.


Time for the next step: An open source search engine.

I've been using findx.com as my default search engine lately. I still use the find on google option often though, since it's not nearly as good as DDG (There is a search on DDG option next to the Google one as well).


> The only thing I can reliably trust google is that when I type a search query, results will be meaningful.

> Regarding them keeping my data secure [...] I can’t really trust them.

Really? I trust Google more than pretty much any other company to keep my emails secure, for example. Very curious what companies you would consider trustworthy from a security standpoint, unless by security you misspoke and really meant privacy.


I trust Fastmail because I pay Fastmail to provide a secure mail service.

I also have a gmail account. Google is upfront about stating they read my email through gmail. Many times I’ve seen Google use dark UI patterns to hide their tracking and snooping. E.g. location tracking on Android or the way they ignore thr Do Not Track header.

Even though they might not sell data directly, they are insistent on gathering it for their own hidden interests.

I don’t trust Google.


I wonder what distinction you draw between privacy and security.


It's the difference between bodyguards and curtains.


Hey, if the bodyguard is tall enough and stand in front of the window, he'll also serves as a curtain!

/jk


Curtains are also a form of security. Attackers can only use your information against you if they have access to it.


What’s another phrase for privacy? “Securing your data.”


non-private data is often insecure data.


> The only thing I can reliably trust google is that when I type a search query, results will be meaningful

Even this is getting less reliable, image search at least.

Reverse image search (from what I can gather from using it) used to try and match the image to existing images it knew, then tried to tell you where it came from and what it was based on data it gathered from the page it came from.

Today it appears to use a machine learning to decide what the image is, then show similar images of the same object with the same visual appearance.

The difference to the end user is before if you searched using a still of a film it would almost always successfully identify it and provide links related to the film and the location of the still in particular.

Today if you do the same then Google will identify the picture has a woman in it using ML and return a search for the word "woman" with just random stock photos of women in similar images then the search listings will just be links to Pintrest boards containing the searched image.


I honestly don’t care about the NSA; nothing I am doing would even be remotely interesting to them. I am more concerned about my privacy being exploited by advertisers, banks, credit bureaus, political campaigns, and over-zealous local governments.


But do you trust the NSA to store all your private data forever and keep it safe from hackers, other governments and even their own employees?


You also need to assert that you will never care about the NSA. If, in the future, you decide to take up a public role of any sort, the NSA already has decades worth of dirt on you.


...assuming there is dirt to be found, I interpreted the parent as saying there would not be any dirt of interest to NSA


I would be surprised if there existed a person whom you cannot get any dirt on.


Do intelligence agencies exist to "keep us safe", or to advance the state's economic interests?


I guess one could think of that as a false dichotomy. I’m not sure you can necessarily cleanly separate these two things.


Those two things are more similar than they are different.


> I honestly don’t care about the NSA; nothing I am doing would even be remotely interesting to them.

If that's true then why are they dedicated to harvesting and processing all your data?


They're not really. They just don't care enough about the privacy of all the people that don't matter to them. It's still troubling, because there is every reason to expect that people that have done nothing wrong will have someone poke around in their data for the wrong reasons, but I don't have a problem understanding why people are prepared to disregard them - most people will be noise to the NSA. Meanwhile most people are potential revenue to a marketer.


> I know this is a bit cheeky, but HN sometimes has this comically simplistic view of other professions. It's as bad as the older C_Os who refer to all of dev and IT as "computer people." As someone who is both a developer and a marketer I can tell you both fields have depth and value, and neither is easy to do well.

I don't think this is the real root issue you're thinking of. I don't believe HN has a simplistic view of marketers (to contrast, I'd say it seems to have a simplistic view of management). Many people here, myself included, would never deny that the job of marketer is difficult, challenging, and has a lot of depth. The issue we have is with the job itself.

> Success often hinges on making something people want. Marketing done well is hugely helpful in determining both what people want and whether they perceive a product as a solution to their problems, and it can help guide product development with marketing analytics and other user data. I don't think I'd ever have been successful without a marketing background.

This is perfect. This is exactly what marketing should be! Problem is, it's rarely it.

The marketing as we usually encounter it, on the receiving end, isn't about "making something people want". It's about "making people want something". This simple transposition of words is the point at which marketing turns from objectively valuable into malicious and exploitative, and ultimately the source of hate against the whole field.

You wrote that marketing done well "is hugely helpful in determining both what people want and whether they perceive a product as a solution to their problems, and it can help guide product development with marketing analytics and other user data". Yeah, sure. Except it's motte-and-bailey again, because we all know that's not what's going on. The data isn't used to optimize the product to deliver better value, it's used to optimize the product to trick the buyer into purchase. And analytics aren't just guiding product development (in either direction), they're also resold on the side, so that someone else can better trick the buyer into purchasing something else they don't need.

The social contract between the individual and the firm is: the individual gives the firm money, in exchange for the firm delivering value. Marketing, as implemented in practice, is the art of maximizing the money received while minimizing the value given back (because value costs money to make). Hence the hate.


Desire is not a bad thing, and the reason why someone wants something doesn't matter after the point at which they want it. I'd much rather people have agency over their decisions than complain about an entire business concept.

Also products are definitely getting better all the time. Feedback is a part of marketing and personalization to predict consumer needs is the next wave. Tricking users is not a viable business model for any legitimate company.


Then a lot a profitable companies aren't legitimate.

Just yesterday I saw a documentary (in German TV) about magazine ads for overprized health products with little to no actual health benefit (like a shoe insert which, literal quote, "instantly cures 100s of chronic ailments"). These ads always have testimonials from doctors, but when the journalists tried to find those doctors, they always turned out to be stock photo models.

That's marketing at its worst. But also the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of marketing.

Maybe marketing is similar to infrastructure. When it's good, it's invisible; so you only notice it when it fails.


Yes, clearly a health product with no health benefit and marketed falsely is not legitimate, and in many places there are rules against false advertising.

I'm not sure if you're trying to disagree with my comment or making a different point...


> Desire is not a bad thing, and the reason why someone wants something doesn't matter after the point at which they want it.

It matters if they didn't want the product before your marketing campaign, and started to want it after. Desire itself is not a bad thing. Inducing desire in people is a completely different topic.

> I'd much rather people have agency over their decisions

Sure. And marketing as an industry mostly works to override people's agency. That's what all the tricks from Cialdini's book do. That's why the industry is so keenly weaponizing research from psychology and cognitive sciences.

> Also products are definitely getting better all the time.

That's a tangential topic (and a big one), but I very much question the thing those products are getting better at. It somehow never is about maximizing value to the buyer. Quite the opposite, actually - everything from white goods through tools, clothing, cars, to software, is getting less useful, more disposable, less repariable, of worse quality, and locked behind DRMs and service-instead-of-product schemes.


Why does it matter? You haven't answered that, other than seemingly stating that you don't like it.

No, agency is not overridden. That's a crazy stretch. The most advertising can do is create desire, but a person still has to make the decision to act. Otherwise you're talking about mind control and if we had that then the world look very different.

Re: product quality, you're just making quite a lot of subjective statements so I'll skip it.


What value do marketers add to people’s lives? Can you give me an example?

Follow-up question: Do you think the impact of marketers on people’s lives globally is net positive, or net negative?


They enable you to sell the stuff you produce.


How, though?

Do you need them to just announce to the world that your product exists and solves a particular set of problems? Or do you need them to break through the noise caused by all the other marketers? ;).

It's a self-sustaining industry. If you squint, it's basically rent-seeking.


Everyone hates advertising, until they lose their dog.


Information about lost pets or belongings has nothing to do with marketing, and is usually published using in different sections of any communications medium than ads are.


Don't know how you would avoid this. Maybe with a kind of five-year plans for the national economy [1]. But this concept wasn't really successful.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-year_plans_for_the_nation...


Huge restrictions of available forms of marketing would be a good start. Done top-down, this levels the playing field, and reduces the advertising expenditure companies need to make - as most advertising costs go towards cancelling out equivalent spending from your competitors.


Introduction of a five-year plans for the national economy would cancel out all the spending from competitors.


I'm not thinking "five-year plans", I'm thinking GDPR + more restrictive laws on advertising content + ban on city billboards, ban on leaflets, + other regulations intent on heavily restricting all other forms of advertising.


> How, though?

You can't buy a product/service you don't know exists.


Product discovery is not why advertising is done.


> Product discovery is not why advertising is done.

Actually, it is. What do you believe is the purpose of ads? More importantly, how do you interpret the fact that any product release is based on an advertisement campaign?


Pushing to people instead of letting them pull, + having to outshout the advertisers from your fellow competitors.


Could you explain how product discovery without advertising would work?


Word of mouth. Also, pull instead of push. I could walk around the shop and discover a new product on the shelves. Or, pick up a catalog with local companies. Or, pick up a magazine dedicated to companies announcing their products in particular domain. Or these days, Google for a solution to a particular problem.

Product discovery should involve me consciously, purposefully looking for a product, not all possible products trying to come to me all the time.


> Word of mouth.

How do you win your first few mouths?

> I could walk around the shop and discover a new product on the shelves.

What is the shop owner incentive to promote your product this way before he can be sure that he will sell some of your stuff.

> Or, pick up a catalog with local companies.

Your local car manufacturer?

> pick up a magazine dedicated to companies announcing their products in particular domain.

Without ads, how would those magazines be monetized?

> Or these days, Google for a solution to a particular problem.

SEO = Marketing


> How do you win your first few mouths?

Family, friends, people living in the neighbourhood of your business. If it's any good, it'll spread. If it isn't, it doesn't deserve to spread.

> What is the shop owner incentive to promote your product this way before he can be sure that he will sell some of your stuff.

It can be either way for the shop owner; your product might turn out to be a flop, or an overnight success. Stocking shelves is an active process, an exploraition vs. exploitation problem.

> Your local car manufacturer?

Word of mouth. Regular (i.e. not rich) people don't buy cars off adverts, they buy off experiences of other car owners. This works well enough in practice already.

> Without ads, how would those magazines be monetized?

Companies would pay to be put in them, obviously. Also, without ads being prevalent everywhere, people might even be inclined to buy them. The difference is, it would be people who choose when they see ads, not the advertisers.

> SEO = Marketing

SEO == fucking up the Internet by greedily exploiting imperfections of search engine ranking algorithms. It is indeed marketing, and something I'd love to see disappear. I hate SEO, and have been on the receiving end of SEO practices (i.e. blogspam) in the past.


No less so than the people who make the products they help sell.


I get that this is a joke, but I also can't wait for AMP in its current form to die. Relatively lightweight pages = good… centralizing the web under Google's control = bad.


Yeah and the fact it doesn’t always work well. Trying to navigate and it isn’t working cos I need to break out of amp first.


It breaks most sites I use, unfairly promotes sites buying in toward the top, and I spend more data, time, and frustration than I would otherwise because I need to proceed to the actual page to get what I need.

It’s a pure negative.


Waiting for Apple to introduce a 'show originals rather than AMP' default into iOS Safari.


This feels inevitable, culminating in "Default Reader Mode." It makes one wonder why Google didn't bury some option to disable AMP to head this off.


This exactly...So frustrating clicking a web page and then inside the webpage parts of it are broken because you are actually at the amp site not the actual site. I haven't looked at how I can just avoid amp sites all together but if I had the choice I would.


Marketers are the group who initially welcomed this. A shift is happening.


It wouldn't be a HN comment section without unnecessary hate on marketers.

Not all marketers sell snakeoil and used cars, you know


> It wouldn't be a HN comment section without unnecessary hate on marketers.

Marketers are the single most destructive force impacting the lives of anyone using the internet nowadays, whether from attacks on privacy to manipulating democratic elections.


Of course, the blame is on marketers using Facebok to manipulate elections. The programmers who make Facebook's entire marketing platform possible are completely blameless in this, aren't they?

I really expect more nuanced comments than this on HN.


Tech hype on k8s could also be seen as marketing. CTOs couldn't resist eh!


I see what you're getting at, but in my experience at my own company, the hype around k8s didn't come from the CTOs, it came from the actual users and cluster operators. Our team adopted k8s in 2015, not because any manager told us to, but because our lead architect pushed it inside the team. Other teams started using it themselves and it became so popular that we built not one, but two Kubernetes-as-a-Service solutions in different parts of the company (in a sort of accidental grassroots situation).


That's what I mean. CTOs have more management mindset or awareness than operators. And they love and trust their engineers. That's why they couldn't resist what their team embraces. They are willing to take technical debt risk because they think their team can handle it.

There are categories of company. Yours has a dedicated team taking care of cluster, even has enough resource to make it k8s-as-a-service. Whatever hype rarely affects companies that have resources (money, human, time etc.)

But hype doesn't choose companies, it spreads and kills approaches that are more proper than k8s to a lot of companies. I'd love to see how many SMEs even need servers clustering.


It's not just marketers who hate it.


Sometimes the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy, because he's just an asshole.


I can't take criticisms of AMP seriously when they (so frequently) pretend like there are no upsides.


What does a marketer do on a daily basis?

Edit: Removed "Is it different than advertising?"


Its very diverse. Most people dont realise and I often see people say 'I want to work in marketing'' which is about as specific as saying 'I want to work in IT'.

Even with advertising alone there is 1) buying it, 2) concepting the brand message 3) writing the specific content 4) creating how it looks 5) creating the material and 6) Placing it 7) project managing the process 8) analysing the results - all as separate fields.

And within above people can specialise in specific categories like online, above the line (e.g. billboards), below the line offline (e.g. snail mail), TV, sponsorship etc

And that's just getting ads live....

I googled 'types of marketing jobs' and read about 5 articles and they all have different guides about what makes marketing roles and none seems to cover it.... One article put sales in marketing which is a common misunderstanding of what marketing is, and several times I've seen companies put top sales management in charge of marketing because 'they can sell' which does not work as its a surprising different skill set.

But here's a couple of articles to cover the common areas;

https://www.localwise.com/a/313-21-types-of-marketing-jobs-t...

https://marketingwit.com/types-of-marketing-jobs

Or you could go with the sometimes tech view... the guys that play with crayons and waste money :)


> above the line (e.g. billboards), below the line offline (e.g. snail mail)

What is "the line"?


> What are ATL and BTL activities? They seem simple enough. Above The Line (ATL) advertising is where mass media is used to promote brands and reach out to the target consumers. These include conventional media as we know it, television and radio advertising, print as well as internet. This is communication that is targeted to a wider spread of audience, and is not specific to individual consumers. ATL advertising tries to reach out to the mass as consumer audience.

> Below the line (BTL) advertising is more one to one, and involves the distribution of pamphlets, handbills, stickers, promotions, brochures placed at point of sale, on the roads through banners and placards. It could also involve product demos and samplings at busy places like malls and market places or residential complexes.

http://www.theadvertisingclub.net/index.php/features/editori...


The line is the eyeline. If you’ve looking up - like a highway billboard, it’s ATL. If you’re looking down - at a brochure- it’s BTL.

Of course this definition is not exactly correct or exhaustive anymore, this is just the origin. Now it’s understood as defined by the other commentators.


Interesting, ut I didnt catch what “the line” is. is the terminology related to “above the fold” and “below the fold” from the print industry?

As a terminology aside online retail sales still uses “hard lines” and “soft lines” as product & organization categories!


I'm intrigued that a billboard is above the line, but banners and placards on the roads are below the line.


It has to do with reach - billboards are typically high-volume, low-specificity impressions while placards and banners are typically event-specific and have a lower, more targeted audiences. There's gray area, obviously, like billboards in airports.


> but banners and placards on the roads are below the line

I would include that as above the line. My understanding is ATL is for mass viewing. While BTL directly or reasonably targeted to the individual. I say 'reasonably' as often EDM/DM (emails and mailers) have broad targeting cohorts & elements but are considered BTL.


This is a good post, but OT I had not heard “concepting” before...

https://muddlesintomaxims.com/2016/02/27/verbing-weirds-lang...


Branding or brand strategy would have been better language/jargon... not that this helps with verbing!


Marketing can be super broad - but let's say you run a business that solves a problem for a specific type of customer.

A marketer would find your marketable database of potential customers, work on messaging that appeals to the needs of the different audience types, find ways to target these audiences through channels like email, search marketing, content/SEO, social, etc., allocate budget broadly to test the different channels, and then turn dials accordingly dependent on where marketing budget has the best return.

The daily tasks of this can be anything from producing new marketing collateral, testing new channel tactics, adjusting lead flow and lead distribution to a sales team, managing agency support, cozying up with PMs/engineers to get product features added, calm a sales manager who is pissy about why leads aren't flowing or being properly distributed, etc.


Advertising is a subset marketing, specifically the communication part. The rest of marketing includes pricing, positioning, customer personas, etc.


I would broadly describe my role as a 'marketer' and, in all honesty, I add nothing of any value to my clients.

It's a kind of wealth distribution, nothing more.

I've had jobs in the past where I've been paid more for doing less. I've also experienced the exact reverse. I think a lot of people are in denial because they haven't had the life experience where they can say the same?


> It's a kind of wealth distribution, nothing more.

If this is truly how you feel, why not try to add value for your clients instead of just taking the money and not contributing? I work in digital marketing and what I do, among other things involves:

- conducting split testing experiments to evaluate which types of marketing copy or site UX lead to better conversion

- evaluating client's web properties to improve SEO, things like semantic content layout, redirect types (301 v 302 etc), accessibility, logical information architecture

- writing code for custom event tracking, implementing schema-based markup for better search engine discoverability

- creating outreach campaigns via email, social and paid search channels, each of which requires has its own KPIs and require a fair amount of domain knowledge to implement and measure effectively

- analyzing search trend data to figure out if the product copy language is similar to what users are searching for


I've worked in client side businesses with marketing teams of 5-30 people, two of those in marketing. A lot of the day to day the marketing teams do is manage outside agencies who do the creative, ad-buying, events and present that up to the stakeholders. There obviously is strategy work which is pre-campaign and is what the more senior marketers do (even though this is the most emphasized part in uni.) There are a few more functions which are more likely to not be subcontracted like CRM (emails), content (blogs etc), analytics, social media management and corporate comms.

For your original question, the difference between this and advertising is an advertiser receives a brief and builds creatives appropriate to whatever channels they and the marketer choose.

This is my experience and a few marketers have disagreed with this - obviously it varies between companies.


Depends on the type of marketing, at a large corporation this is broken out into various functions as a lot of roles roll up into marketing. Some categories:

Advertising - digital, physical

Analytics - web traffic, roi analysis, data-mining, segmentation etc

Brand marketing - ads, identity / messaging, etc

Content - creating new content for the business around product/service to support promotional activity

Email - "subscribe to my newsletter", but at enterprise scale and managing content for the millions of subscribers you have

Product marketing - often a function in large enterprises, may be involved with things like messaging within a product

Web - website, seo, design, architecture, UX etc all fall under marketing

There's also a lot of functions that support many of these marketing roles, like the tech that powers all this, keeping things working smoothly, including integrations, compliance with stuff like GDPR, CASL etc


That's a little like asking "What does a blacksmith do? Is it different than making horseshoes?"


I know it was a "stupid" question. But, sometimes I do that in the hopes that someone will provide a guide to a better understanding of the topic. Plus, HN is a good place for anecdotal stuff and "war stories" that are hard to find on other parts of the WWW.


I think it's a fair question. It's not an industry you hear lots about day to day, so the average person has no idea what's involved other than "they make ads".

I've worked in large companies with 20+ person Marketing/PR departments and I'm not actually sure what their day to day job entails, and would totally be curious to know more. It's a major part of society these days, whether we love it or hate it. We all know IT has phone support roles, application development, system admins, project managers, etc... but I couldn't really tell you what all the different roles are in marketing.


Marketing is extremely technical these days, IMO. Learning to work with API's and even learning Python seems like it would really help anyone in most fields.


I understand that Google may want more and more control over the web, but we need a free and open Internet, for both business innovation and non-economic societal growth. It's a good thing we have other data giants like Facebook and Amazon to say no to Google when moments arise like this.

And I predict that future technologies will democratize the ability to 3D-print hardware to be used with open-source networking and web software to connect to each other in ways that don't depend on single web companies like Google in order for it to be cheap and nice to use.

Think about this: no consumers care whether Google succeeds or not - people just want the web services that they want. Google could easily fade away and be supplanted by another entity in ten years' time if something sufficiently innovative and disruptive arrives on the scene.


I'm not sure I completely agree - I think the internet is so laissez faire that it attracts centralized powers to fill the vacuum it creates. The future of the internet and what it looks like is probably going to depend heavily on the net neutrality legislation that is passed on the next decade.


>people just want the web services that they want. Google could easily fade away and be supplanted by another entity in ten years' time if something sufficiently innovative and disruptive arrives on the scene.

Google has enough services that even if google searching became obsolete, they could fall back on their other services that are currently free like email and docs.

Apple isnt quite like this. A bad/boring iphone=end of Apple.


The idea of moving en masse to a technology that's controlled by a single company just doesn't sit right.


Can't companies host and control their own version of AMP?


They can, but don't get credit for it in Google's page rank. Which to me makes the whole complaint sound dishonest. They want to have their cake and eat it too.


>don't get credit for it in Google's page rank

How do you know that? There are very few people in the world who can claim that with evidence.


I haven't tested it but google shows a lighting bolt next to amp sites so maybe the custom amp websites dont get the bolt.


That should be easy to test, given that cloudflare hosts a top-level AMP cache. Just check if a cloudflare-cached website gets the bolt.


They do get the bolt.


This isn't true. Example:

- Miami herald rolls their own amp pages: http://amp.miamiherald.com/news/business/article135187364.ht...

- Here's the icon in search for the same page: https://i.imgur.com/43Hk7tV.png

From what I understand, google bots detect the amp standard and flag it with the amp tag for mobile search results.


They host their own pages using AMP, but they still are forced to use the one centralized JS file implementing AMP.


The point was that even if websites host their own AMP standard, they still get the AMP icon in mobile search results.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make about using js files.


What do you mean by "their own AMP standard" then? I thought that meant a customized version of the AMP elements/framework.


Isn't this what Google is essentially trying to achieve? Email, video streaming, advertising, etc...


Buy a 5$/month Protonmail account and forward your gmail to it, and slowly migrate all of your various email-authenticated services to point to your protonmail account. Plus Protonmail makes it very easy to run email from a domain that you already own, like your portfolio domain.


Are you actually willing to pay for an email provider that don't support SMTP and IMAP?


IDK about Protomail, but Fastmail of course supports these protocols. Happy customer here, as are more than a handful of HNers.

Reply to sibling: Why would anyone call an email provider a walled garden, especially if using your own domain name?!


I pay for Fastmail and I don't even use them (waiting for multi label support) just to ensure they remain an option when they support the feature I need to move away from Google.


Switching from labels to folders has been painful as part of the FastMail transition, but I'm largely glad I made the change. Now my mail is standards-compliant and I don't have to deal with all sorts of crud when I have third party mail clients that don't support Gmail's custom stuff.

I know FastMail is working on JMAP, which ideally will be a new standard that supports labels, but if it takes off, it'll be a number of years before labels is something you can assume a given mail client will support. I use platforms that rarely have official app support (aka, not iOS or Android), so wide standards compliance is a big key.


Legitimate concern.


Yes, because at least then it's obvious how they make money.


It's baffling that people are willing to pay for another walled garden.


For everything else (docs, hangouts, calendar etc.) simply host your own nextcloud. You can also go one step further and run a searx instance and you wont even have to rely on Google search (well, still kind of) anymore.


You can also host your own inbound mail, and use gmail for sending. You can add your personal domain email as a "send mail as" entry on gmail, and configure your personal email to use Google's smtp servers. That way you avoid issues with your domain's IP not being trusted by other mail servers.


Consider that only the biggest and largest companies can meet all of google's expectations.

Single person websites wont be able to compete.

This means 'for profit' websites rather than free blogs take priority.

This sounds like how Facebook killed their brand.


AMP has horrible UX for mobile, I hate when I click on an AMP link because I am suddenly in some wierd web Twilight zone where the UX for my browser has changed for the worse.

It has been a net negative for usability in my book.


This is how it looks to an average consumer: here is a shitty version of Apple's reader mode that doesn't really work, brought to you by Google.com.


I always end up scrolling back on the url to change 'amp' to 'm'. Manually editing a URL on a mobile device, it just makes me sad.


On desktop I use an extension that redirects any AMP page (I don't come across them often, but people share links) to the canonical page. It would most likely be possible to install it in Firefox mobile too.

I also have all amp-related addresses blocked in my host file, which is probably less feasible on mobile.


I haven't had the misfortune of coming across an AMP page in awhile (perhaps due to using Firefox exclusively on mobile) but this bothers me too. The worst part about it is the lack of a search feature. It's something that has been implemented into every other web browsing experience for decades, yet they are somehow that far behind.


It also breaks the "tap the notification bar to scroll to the top" functionality on mobile Safari, it's infuriating.


Amp websites often don't even work for me because the site owners were unable to get it working in amp so they give you this half baked crap.


There is an add-on for Firefox to autoload the non-AMP version of any website, IIRC


I hate how I can't see the real address without two clicks, and you have to scroll all the way to the top of what might be a massive article to make the bar appear


AMP is in two parts: the HTML/JS spec, and the Google implementation and cache.

Putting aside the Google bits, is there a case against building within the AMP HTML and JS spec? Or is the case against all down to Google's ownership of the project?

On my iPhone AMP is frustratingly buggy: rotation doesn't work properly, the URL bar doesn't disappear on scroll, Reader mode works inconsistently, etc. But these seem like issues with Google's cache and hosting, not the spec.


So, we spent ages getting to where everyone agreed on standards and they were correctly implemented.

Google are now making new standards which don't conform to the agreed standard, which restrict how you can build your site. If you don't do it, they'll destroy your traffic.

AMP is text book Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. No ad network but the Google ad network allowed.

We're sleep walking back into the same thing MS did 30 years ago, with Google this time. They really have just lived long enough to become the villain.


> AMP is text book Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. No ad network but the Google ad network allowed.

Are you talking hypothetically? Because right now...

https://www.ampproject.org/docs/ads/ads_vendors


Somewhat ironically that link doesn't work on my mobile device...


Aren't these vendors all using Google's ad network?


> No ad network but the Google ad network allowed

This is not true.

https://www.ampproject.org/docs/reference/components/amp-ad#...


Not only that, but the opensource nature also means that any network not currently on there could also integrate easily, and many have.


> So, we spent ages getting to where everyone agreed on standards and they were correctly implemented.

What are you talking about? What standards? Most content websites are a combination of incompetence and active hostility to the user. The less control publishers have, the better.


> Google are now making new standards which don't conform to the agreed standard, which restrict how you can build your site. If you don't do it, they'll destroy your traffic.

If this "your traffic" is traffic from Google to your website, it isn't "your" traffic, it's Google's. If that traffic from Google is important to you, then it's in your best interests to work with Google's requirements.


> They really have just lived long enough to become the villain

People throwing this line out has ruined the dark knight for me.

Anyway, you're exactly right. It's textbook EEE.

Their behaviour with Android is also pretty bad.

and their security disclosure policy.


I already have an HTML spec; it's called HTML.

I already have a javascript spec; it's called ECMAscript. (still wish I could back in time and stop whatever fool decided to shove "java" into the name)

> Putting aside the Google bits, is there a case against building within the AMP HTML and JS spec? Or is the case against all down to Google's ownership of the project?

It's all down to how Google treats AMP pages in their SERPs. They only feature the ones in the Google cache.

Imagine if Google put sites hosted at GCE on the first page of results, and moved any site hosted by AWS or Azure to the 2nd page of results. Think anyone would get mad about that?

Why should it be remotely OK for them to use AMP to do the same thing?


AMP is a subset of HTML that is safe to prerender. Pages hosted on GCE are not automatically safe to prerender.

That is why it is reasonable to promote AMP results. They load instantly instead of merely quickly.


>is there a case against building within the AMP HTML and JS spec?

Yes, you shouldn't need javascript for basic functionality like images.


What about async autoloading images below the fold that help improve initial page load? You don't need it, but if you've got a more interesting design or a more content-heavy front page it could be a performance improvement.


> What about async autoloading images below the fold that help improve initial page load?

That sounds like an optimisation that should be implemented by the browser, not the webpage.


The concern is that Google can unilaterally change the spec any way they want, so even if it's fine now it may get worse in the future.


I think OP was sort of getting at the idea of AMP becoming a standard owned externally to google.

But the likelihood of that happening seems... low.


Wouldn't that be an excellent solution for Google to silence the critics? (Excellent for them, not for us.) Donate the whole thing to a non-profit like Apache, who barely have the manpower to do more than host it, then still regain control by having many of the contributors on payroll?


The real complaints are not about AMP per se but about Google's market power, so it's not clear that Google can do anything to satisfy critics. (Even splitting search into a separate company would still leave that company as a monopoly.)


Probably, but I doubt they even do that.

Is google the worst company around when it comes to this sort of almost faux open source?


The problem is that you can and should build fast, lightweight websites without AMP, but that won't improve your Google search rank, which will favor and only reward the AMP version, thereby forcing a specific, self-serving set of means instead of rewarding the ends, which are achievable in countless other ways. This results in the ridiculous, absurd and unnecessary situation where heavy websites that build a lightweight, Google-hosted AMP version on top are better off than your hopefully well optimized, yet AMP-less website which has been lightweight from the beginning.

Fast, lightweight websites are great - it's just that AMP is completely unnecessary to achieve that goal and instead serves as a way pretense to keep users and content within the Google eco system. Google could just as well rank sites on how fast and optimized they are, regardless of AMP usage, and I'm sure we would see a race to remove the bloat the web is currently plagued by.


They seem to address this on their site:

https://www.ampproject.org/about/amp-design-principles/

No whitelists.

We won’t give any special treatment to specific sites, domains or origins except where needed for security or performance reasons.


So why do we need AMP at all?

Even if it were proposed in good faith, the power it gives google is too dangerous.


> is the case against all down to Google's ownership of the project?

My main issue is that Google hosts your site and tracks all of your visitors directly, whereas you never (directly) see any of those visits. This of course depends on your definition of "ownership of the project" and whether that extends to "ownership of your site and its visitors".

> these seem like issues with Google's cache and hosting, not the spec.

Based on your brief description, these don't sound like they could be issues with the cache or hosting; rather they sound like they're likely with Google's JS implementations of AMP JS libraries.


> My main issue is that Google hosts your site and tracks all of your visitors directly

Sounds like your problem is specifically with Google's cache. Anyone can host an AMP cache. If you afraid of them tracking visitors, you're free to pay for your own hosting and host your own cache, instead of using their free one.


You can't really use your own cache; all Google searches only go to the Google AMP cache ("to ensure optimal performance" or whatever).


Sounds like you don't quite understand how the AMP cache works. Any link source can host an AMP cache—the cache is distributed with each link source choosing which cache (if any) to use. As a website owner, you have no control over which AMP cache is used, or which host tracks your visitors.

For Google Search (probably the primary link source on at least the anglophone web), Google hosts your content and tracks your visitors.


Not if you want to appear in search results for Google.


Oh wow, these type of behaviors is why I’m starting to lean onto the idea of splitting these monopolists into their own companies. I wasn’t sure why it made any sense in the other article today from The Verge: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17918264

But now...


I would much prefer a market based solution.

Searching news on Google is a bad experience. AMP has made it even worse.

There’s room in search.


I still miss when Reader was still very popular.


The headline is also, probably in reality: "A small subset of Google wants...'

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