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Activist investors want to crank up the Twitter revenue machine

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When Elliott Management, a New York investment firm with an activist approach, sets its sights on a company, it usually means it has been under-performing, and it sees a ton of unmet potential. News broke on Friday that the company had bought a substantial stake in Twitter and was seeking board seats.

Sources have confirmed this information and say the stake is in the 4-5% range. The company is looking to take three or four board seats and wants to implement big changes, including, as reported, replacing Jack Dorsey as CEO.

Sources say that Dorsey has too many side projects, particularly Square, but also his growing interest in crypto currency and Africa, and that Twitter requires a full-time, focused chief executive. The sources indicated that they aren’t discounting Dorsey completely, and if he were willing to drop his other projects, the firm would entertain the idea of retaining him.

The company is also reportedly concerned about the constant executive turnover in key positions like product manager, and they are hoping to stabilize this. Yet like any Elliott target, this one is undervalued, but has the potential for much greater income than it’s currently generating.

As in the past, you can probably expect at some point that Elliott will share a public letter with shareholders outlining the problems it has observed, and the path, as it sees it, to a more stable and profitable future. The company sent such a letter to eBay last year, which announced plans to execute on that plan shortly thereafter. It is reasonable to assume it will follow a similar pattern with Twitter.

It is hard not to look at this deal in the context of Elliott founder and principal Paul Singer’s politics. He is a big contributor to the Republican Party, but sources say this deal is about money, not politics.

They say that the fund manages a large swath of investors, from pension funds to charitable endowments, with a fiduciary responsibility to those organizations, and considered the idea of introducing politics into an investment decision to be, in the words of one source, “ridiculous.” Voices on the Twitter platform over the weekend didn’t agree, suggesting it’s a political move by Singer.

Regardless, big changes will likely be coming to Twitter, and that could involve the user experience, new products and very likely more advertising, as the new boss looks to unlock the financial potential in the platform.

Twitter stock was up more than 8% on the news as we published this post.

TechCrunch

NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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