At the end of it, we just said ‘Look, we’re not comfortable
“But then they went ahead and took the data anyway.”
In February 2016, Google started displaying a Featured Snippet for
each of the 25,000 celebrities in the CelebrityNetWorth database,
Warner said. He knew this because he added a few fake listings for
friends who were not celebrities to see if they would pop up as
featured answers, and they did.
“Our traffic immediately crumbled,” Warner said. “Comparing
January 2016 (a full month where they had not yet scraped our
content) to January 2017, our traffic is down 65 percent.” Warner
said he had to lay off half his staff. (Google declined to answer
specific questions for this story, including whether it was
shooting itself in the foot by destroying its best sources of
That’s just outright theft, pure and simple. And it’s foolish — the only reason the good data from CelebrityNetWorth exists is that the site was able to make enough money to hire a staff of researchers. Now that Warner has had to lay off half his staff, the data is surely going to suffer. Forget about “Don’t be evil”, how about “Don’t be stupid”?