On June 10, 2019, popular cryptocurrency news site CCN.com announced the closure of its operations, statedly due to an update in Google's algorithm, which, according to CCN, led to decreased readership numbers. Providing clarification on its algorithm, Google explained to me that its updates may have varying effects on websites.
The popular search site often updates its systems to keep up with the fast-paced internet environment, a Google representative wrote in an email to me in response to a question about Google's algorithm and any recent changes the company has made that may have affected crypto sites. Google aims to give relevant results to those searching the web, the email explained.
The Google representative added, “With any update, some sites might not perform as well as in the past, while other sites might perform better.” Google detailed that some sites, at times, may see better results after updates due to those sites not previously seeing benefits of their high relevance.
Mentioning Google's most recent update, the representative noted that Google provided the community with an explanation of the situation on Twitter, originally posted in October of 2018. The Tweets entailed similar information, expressing the occurrence of updates, and that some sites may be affected more than others. The representative also shared links for Google's webmaster guidelines page and its webmaster community forums.
CCN Shutting Down
CCN's founder Jonas Borchgrevink blames Google exclusively for needing to shut down its operations, according to my interview with him. After Google's Core Update on June 3, 2019, Borchgrevink said CCN saw a dramatic decrease in traffic. "Our search traffic dropped by more than 71% overnight," Borchgrevink explained to me. "With that, we saw a drastic decline in ad revenues," he added, noting a fall of "more than 90%."
This happened just after June 3rd and has been consistent after. None of our recent articles drew any significant traffic from Google this past week. We have never experienced that before."
In a CCN post about the news site's closure, Borchgrevink explained the intent to migrate CCN's whole team to HVY.com. "HVY Journalists is a news platform made by and for journalists," he wrote in the CCN article. CCN has been in the crypto news game since 2013, originally running under the name CryptoCoinsNews.
Comments on Twitter revealed a vast number of opinions and speculations on the situation. In response to my question inquiring if CCN's shutdown is a cover-up for a lack of funding, Borchgrevink responded to me, "You can ask any of our 60+ team members [...] They are all offered the same rates over at HVY.com," he noted. "I think they all have accepted the situation."
"We have not fired a single person [on] the team," he said, adding "we will stay afloat as long as possible on HVY.com."
When asked if other crypto sites should be concerned right now, Borchgrevink told me "I know they all are," adding, "I've been in touch with most of them."
Other Crypto Media Sites Respond
The Block, another popular media site in the crypto industry, noted minor effects from Google's update, according to my Telegram correspondence with Mike Dudas, founder, and CEO of The Block.
The Block's traffic was up 70% MoM [month-on-month] in May vs April, and we continue to see record traffic despite the Google Core Update, which had a minor negative impact on our traffic. Fortunately, we are not SEO dependent and receive direct traffic and referral traffic from Twitter and crypto partners that has helped us continue to grow. We also run a lean team and have a revenue model that isn't dependent on Google-fed low-CPM ad-based traffic. Rather, our primary model is our premium Genesis research and analysis product. That being said, we are troubled by the lack of transparency and warning by Google, who seems to have made a change to their algorithm that significantly impacted major cryptocurrency sites but have yet to explain why."
Crypto media giant CoinDesk noted an insignificant outcome from the Google update, as stated in my Twitter message correspondence with news editor John Biggs. In response to my question, asking if CoinDesk has felt any negative effects from Google's June 2019 Core Update, Bigg's said, "Not that anyone has noticed."
CryptoPotato cofounder Yuval Gov also responded to my Telegram inquiry on the situation, stating this particular update from Google caused more difficulty than usual. "After every Google update we see changes, usually in positive progress," Gov told me. "This time we were negatively affected and quickly discovered we were not the only affected crypto site."
Additionally, I reached out to CoinTelegraph but did not receive a response by press time.