Why AMP is bad for your site and for the Web
AMP — which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages — was introduced by Google in October of 2015. AMP is an open-source custom web development framework created to speed up the loading time of web pages on mobile devices.
While the idea of having a faster mobile internet with content that loads instantly sounds like a great idea, there is a lot of concern among web developers when it comes to AMP. And these concerns should have publishers equally worried.
Here are just a few reasons why AMP is bad for both the webmasters and the web as a whole.
Disappearing links (and ad revenue)
One of the problems with the Accelerated Mobile Pages concept is that content built utilizing AMP is served up through a cache on Google’s server rather than actually linking to the original page on a publisher’s website. This means that the reader is spending more time on Google’s site and will be seeing Google advertising as opposed to any paid advertising on the content provider’s site. More money for Google, less money for the actual content creator.
Just last month, Google stated that it is working on fixing this problem so that linked pages will appear under the original publisher’s URL.
Less analytics and more work
Although AMP works with Google Analytics, you have to use a different tag, which can be quite time-consuming. If you don’t include the new tag, you miss out on a ton of analytics information.
Plus, AMP is not particularly easy when it comes to installation. You basically have to do all the coding manually. This puts you before a dilemma: either design your site the way you want it and the way it will convert, and set it up for AMP later, — or disregard conversion and aesthetics and make it an AMP site from the start.
Less control of your content
Because AMP is a stripped-down version of your original content, you are at Google’s mercy when it comes to how (and even if) your content is actually displayed. You give up the overall styling of your page in return for a really quick download. If your site features a lot of video, AMP would not be that beneficial for you as the download time would pretty much remain the same.
Less control of your design
Basically, Google is “forking” the web into a version of the internet that looks exactly like Google wants. The amount of tags is very limited, so most AMP pages have a very plain look — an custom web development becomes sort of an unrealistic and unnecessary field.
Harder to spot “fake news” stories
With more and more emphasis being placed on the damaging effects of fake news, AMP makes it even harder for readers to spot these types of stories. Because AMP strips content down to the bare bones and hosts it all within Google’s server, everything starts to look alike. This means that you can have fake articles and phishing clickbait stories appear right beside legitimate news.
In conclusion, while we can all agree on the fact that a faster mobile web experience is better for everyone — especially since the majority of web surfing is now done via mobile — the costs of implementing AMP may just be too high. If you have a well-designed responsive website with optimized images and video, you really don’t need to worry about AMP.
There are reports that Google is mostly pre-occupied with chasing their competition lately. Likewise, the AMP introduction seems to be Google chasing Facebook / Instagram / Messenger ecosystem: carousels, instant articles, stories. AMP works the same way to bring the content into Google’s properties: search result pages and Gmail.
Not everyone feels comfortable to give up their content and let it be served from Google’s cache. But not every webmaster acknowledges their choices!
Thing is, Google is pushing AMP adoption by their regular means of propaganda — “AMP sites will rank higher on Google!”. Moreover, a partnership with WordPress might bring AMP enabled by default to millions of unsuspecting webmasters.
As a result of AMP implementation, most web surfers won’t ever leave Google, since everything they search for will be served to them on Google’s “portal”. This is not really a “web” of interconnected websites anymore, but a centralized dystopia.
More info on AMP
Further (and deeper!) reading on the subject, so that you can see I’m not the only one bashing AMP:
…And an impressive Twitter rant by a web developer @ activist Luke Stevens, read it all if you haven’t:
AMPlified. - ethanmarcotte.com
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