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 information.)
When Google’s priorities were about sending searchers to the best website online that had the information someone was looking for, it was great. This new era of competing against the websites themselves seems like it’s going to backfire. What incentive does a website have to exist, and how can it continue to exist, if it is cannibalized by Google once it gets popular?