On August 19th, 2021, Google released a video on it’s Search Central YouTube channel, titled, Monetized websites, search experiments, and more!
Unlike most of the other videos I feature in my news items, this video was actually a podcast episode, #22 of the Search Off the Record podcast. This series is a behind-the-scenes perspective of the inner workings of Google, featuring Google staff members.
At around the 7:15 mark, the topic of website monetization, particularly with user-generated content, came up.
While addressing the question of monetization of user-generated content, Aurora Morales said, “We would have to understand a lot of things about your website
before I give you a straight answer.”
“Being Monetized but They’re Not Being Monitored”: The Tricky Thing With User-Generated Content
User-generated content pages can be monetized, but the webmaster has to take extra measures to be sure that both the core content of the site (the article) and the user-generated content (the comments) are monitored according to Google’s policies.
It was around this point (aside from some cajoling about Cookie Monster), that John Mueller brought up a point…
But, You Can’t Control What Someone Else Says…Right?
Muller said, “But I mean, user-generated content, I don’t have any control over that. By definition, it’s like someone created it and put it on my website, right?
“People ask us about this when it comes to Search as well, and they’re like, ‘You can’t penalize my site for something someone else did.’”
That’s right. However, according to Aurora Morales, it’s still your site: “the idea that ultimately it’s going to be your website, so take care of it holistically.”
Martin Splitt then said, “Moderate your stuff, John. Come on.”
A Possible Alternative to the Hassle of Monitoring User-Generated Content
It appears that, instead of enabling comments on his site, John Mueller would rather continue the conversation on Twitter. That way, the conversation goes social, and he doesn’t have to monitor his site for user-generated content that may cause issues.
That’s a good alternative as well.