NYT Suing Microsoft and OpenAI

Hello, readers. We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Hell, we hope you had a wonderful 2023.

Local Viking and Local Brand Manager users certainly did. We added a ton of bussin’ features and improvements this year, but the two things we put the most time and effort into are the keyword/location audits we released a few months ago and GeoBooster. GeoBooster is the mobile app (that many of you are neglecting to your detriment– it’s an easy sell and close-to-automatic additional revenue stream) we made that lets businesses simultaneously post to their Google Business Profiles, Facebook Pages, websites, and Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts.

There were plenty of entertaining news stories this year. One of our favorites was when a $200 million F-22 Raptor fired a supersonic, heat-seeking Sidewinder missile to notch its first air-to-air kill, dropping a Chinese bogey in American airspace into the ocean from 60,000 feet. We’re also pretty intrigued by the $2 billion Sphere in Las Vegas. It stands a good chance of becoming the first U.S. building in living memory to serve as a shorthand for the city it’s located in, much like the Space Needle in Seattle, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and that mirrory pinto bean thing in Chicago.

The year isn’t over just yet though, so the lawsuit the New York Times filed against Microsoft and OpenAI two days ago can bookend the big 2023 stories. The Times is suing the tech giant and its somewhat non-profit pet for using NYT news stories to train the large language models that have added tens of billions of dollars of value to both Microsoft and OpenAI. The lawsuit asserts that OpenAI especially prizes NYT content for the research that goes into its articles and their high quality. To back its arguments, The New York Times demonstrated that Browse With Bing reproduces Wirecutter recommendations nearly word-for-word when users ask for product suggestions.

It’ll be interesting to see how the lawsuit plays out because there are so many implications for the future of generative artificial intelligence (a misnomer that peeves us, given the fact that artificial intelligence isn’t [yet] real). Many observers think that the case will ultimately land in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Google was in the courtroom all year, defending itself against antitrust charges brought on by the Department of Justice. Only one of those antitrust cases has concluded, and it is the least consequential of the bunch. Earlier this month, Google was ordered to pay a $700 million settlement because of the monopolistic practices that its Android app store engaged in.

Despite that antitrust case’s lack of media coverage (that Google successfully lobbied for), some valuable SEO information found its way to the public. Search Engine Land did an excellent job of compiling ranking factors and other practical knowledge that came from both prosecution and defense witnesses in 7 must-see Google Search ranking documents in antitrust trial exhibits, which they published in November. We couldn’t agree more with the use of “must-see” in the title of that article. You’ll find slides from internal Google presentations (like the one above this paragraph) as well as quotes from Google employees explaining what does and doesn’t go into determining the way websites appear in search results.

A year is a long time, and we’ve clearly left a lot of information on the table. We’d ask you to cut us some slack– the days between Christmas and January 1 constitute the least productive work week in all industries. We’ll put a more comprehensive rundown of 2023’s big stories together and have it ready for you next week.

The first of our closing links today is Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing. It’s especially useful for anyone interested in increasing their conversion rates. Next, we have a listicle from LinkWhisper called 17 Timely SEO Tips For Higher Rankings and Traffic. It is perfectly summarized by its title. Finally, the best, most fun Christmas gift that we came across this year: a brass spinning top from a tiny, hipster company in Brooklyn called CW&T. This gift inspires intense jealousy, so be mindful of who you do and do not give it to.

That’s it for  ̶t̶o̶d̶a̶y̶ this year. Be safe this weekend. If you’re one of the folks celebrating Kwanzaa, enjoy lighting up your Ujamaa candle tonight.

We’ll see you again in 2024.

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