Facebook Instant Articles, Google AMP.
It’s all just one long push to the bottom until publishers are few and weak enough that either Google or Facebook get to fully dictate terms. Unless you’re BuzzFeed, where your business model is totally ad free, I don’t understand why anyone signs on for either service. Sure, if you’re large enough you get to grind your enemies into dust by taking losses to force them off the board… but the losses you have to take yourself to do so are going to be way too high to really recover from.
It’s the Uber model: drive profit below costs (into losses) long enough to eliminate competition and hope that there’s enough of your own savings left to recover once you have a monopoly. It’s crazy. Uber only pulls it off because they have endless VC pouring in. Even then there’s going to come a point where they just collapse, because at the end of the game you really can’t control the whole market forever.
This strategy only makes sense if you are too ill-informed to know what you’re getting into, lack any sense of forethought, or just greedy and think you’ll get out before the collapse comes. Where are we going from here? Have we let the technology sector push publishing to give up on running their businesses ethically? This is a mess and I don’t know how we’re going to escape from the bed we’re making.