The greatest enemy of AMP is the company that designed it.
The fast universe of WordPress bloggers installed the AMP plugin as another means of making it easier for people to find their content online. But is AMP itself really serving its purpose? Or is it self-serving as a way of extracting content from individual bloggers? Perhaps there’s something more nefarious behind this simple protocol. Read on if you want to know more.
First and foremost: What the hell is an AMP?
Amp Plugin usage in WordPress.
For the most part, we agree with this protocol! Having an alternative to the glitz and glamor of what a website naturally throws out. Even though it seems counter productive as we have this near thing called “responsive design”. But Sure! Why not! This is why we initially installed the AMP plugin onto our WordPress engine. But as we poured through the code of AMP we began to notice some rather disturbing things about it:
'amp_runtime_script' => 'https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js', 'amp_component_scripts' => array(), 'customizer_settings' => array(), 'font_urls' => array( 'merriweather' => 'https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather:400,400italic,700,700italic', )'
If you dive into the amp\includes\class-amp-post-template.php of the WordPress plugin. You’ll see this little piece of code which eventually will get plastered onto every single one of your /amp/ pages. It’s making a call-out to https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js and also asking for CSS from the google fonts server to load the Merriweather font. If you’re like us who actually cares about the privacy of the people who read their content you may be asking this question:
Our rules, not yours!
Your content is not really your content anymore!
The number one reason why WordPress users enable AMP on their website is the simple fact that you will be ranked better. As long as you’re using all of googles technologies then google will place your results at the forefront above all others. Sometimes even scammers can get their web-sites above relevant links because they follow the rules of google. So far everything looks just fine and how the search engine should operate. By showing you links for the pages you look for google returns the results of those pages. Wait for it!
My site is going to google?!?
The problems begin when you actually click on the AMP accelerated page. You see that address up top? That’s Google CDN (Content Distributed Network) that you’re going to. You’re not going to the destination page your website generates . Instead you are being redirected to a page that Google caches upon their own servers the moment you enable the AMP protocol on your WordPress site.
What’s a CDN?
“Content distributed networks” is a feature that most server operators such as ourselves generally pay for (We don’t as we don’t make money. too expensive! Also generates security issues.) Imagine that you are in Australia and you wanted to visit this site which the data center is based out of Chicago, USA. Instead of going through 40-60 hops through various continental firewalls and routers which can take up to a minute to load. Instead you get routed to the nearest server on Australia that mirrors the data on my site? You get the content and information in seconds instead of minutes and it’s a lot harder for hackers to shut you down since your content is worldwide. That’s the true power of a CDN!
Back to Google’s CDN.
Unlike a traditional commercial CDN that mirrors the content of your site down to the web-address and all. Googles CDN doesn’t do any of this. The end result is your professional website does not even look like it is coming from you anymore but from Google! Also, when Google enables AMP for mobile phones that depending on the phone people are using it’s very difficult to disable the AMP feature and go to the legitimate site that the content is being hosted on.
In a word? “Control”.
Control also equals money and power! Right now there’s a war over information and who owns said information. There’s news agencies and even google who want to control the flow of information. Because if you can control the way people acquire information you could also control the way people think. By having a CDN that ‘mirrors’ the combined user-created data of everyone around the world. Even though you don’t really own the data it is still underneath googles CDN and umbrella. In effect, Google becomes the number one collective for news and media without really doing any of the work themselves making it profitable for ad-campaigns to invest in.
AMP Content misdirection.
In the same manner that YouTube propagates suggestions for the viewers that are looking for something. The google search engine adopts this same mentality for AMP as well. Google assumes that the majority of the web has no real idea what they are looking for! Agree or disagree with this thought process. But Google there-fore must provide a suggestion as to where they need to go. If you have a lot of articles about a particular subject and they are ranked rather high. This feature will be great for you because that simply means more traffic to your site. But if you don’t then google is redirecting traffic away from your site to more popular sites which can spam away content instead of edit the content for themselves.
Holy shit! I’m uninstalling the AMP plugin right now!
Not so fast! Google AMP is a lot like heroine for your web-site. It may boost your numbers but it also robs you of your existence. By straight up uninstalling AMP and going cold turkey your site will go into a state of recoil. Resulting in a metric tons of 404 errors for your mobile users not being able to find your data which the Google search engine won’t be able to correct for weeks. To make matters worse there’s really no easy way to submit your website for re-evaluation without the AMP pages. If your website has a ton of 404 page not found errors then Google will start to down rank your site more and more.
How to stop your site from showing up on Google AMP fast.
Google assumes that once you installed one of their technologies and/or products that you’ll never-ever walk away from it. Like good sociopaths they can’t see a world without themselves in it. Since uninstalling is not the answer then the next step is to change the code. Make it impossible for their CDN to possibly accept/cache your site.
'amp_runtime_script' => 'https://www.mywebsite.com/v0.js', 'amp_component_scripts' => array(), 'customizer_settings' => array(), 'font_urls' => array( 'merriweather' => '', )'
Poison the well and watch the AMP leech run!
While we’re on the subject of page speed. Let me point out a graph that has been floating around social networks usually put up by people who are in the development industry known as the theoretical ‘bounce rating’. For those who don’t know what bounce is. Bounce is what happens when someone reads the first paragraph of one of our articles.
Ouch, a little too close to home. Fuck. Let us try to explain bounce again..
Bounce is the concept of user engagement with your website. That the longer the user is navigating and interacting with your site. The more important/relevant it is to the search engine. If a user visits a web-page for less then a few seconds then immediately backs out to Google search. That in return tells google that search result was bad and not what the user was looking for. As a result it will use that in-out cookie metric as a way of giving your site value. We personally do not know the bounce value of our site since we refuse to use analytic software but it does not stop google from attaching cookies to your browser in order to figure this out on their own.
To the eyes of Google/SOASTA Research. Everyone has the attention span of a hamster!
That’s right! You all have the attention span of hamsters to them! By distorting time down to seconds and in some cases even milliseconds. Google’s research becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where everyone is expected to build websites based around these absurd standards where waiting 1 second could cost you 32% to 123% bounce rating. On second thought, lets pause that right there. 123% percent bounce rate?!? That would mean people are leaving your site before they even thought about entering it. What the hell Google?!?!?
Google making the time warp fun again!
Mobile phones are not temporal paradox machines that could literally warp time to their outcome without considering its consequences. Mobile phones are unfortunately just small computers that visit the internet just like everyone else. So sorry to bust your bubble SOASTA Research. From the content provider point of view there’s no such thing as a bounce higher then 100. Physics and time doesn’t care about your statistics.
Also fun note:
Mobile phones depending on their location have their own lag time upon connecting between a GSM/2G/3G/4G/LTE tower. So regardless as to how well designed your website is. How much AMP enabling you do. Or how powerful of a commercial CDN service that money can buy. You are at the mercy and greed of 1st world mobile network technology. There-fore you are bitched in the time department no matter what you do!
Bounce-Rate is bullshit.
It’s a little disappointing that people feel that bounce has everything to do with the speed of your site rather then the content your site holds. Perhaps the people they are catering to want to host web-pages that have no relevant information what-so-ever. Yet still want to be at the top of every search engine.
In other words: Web-developers which are bankrupt in imagination.
If your website has data that people want then they are willing to wait 10-20 seconds. Hell, even a solid minute of your data is important enough to change something in their lives! AMP is an interesting argument about the net and how much of a cluster-fuck the net has become. But if Google can’t even get out of the way of itself then really whats the point of having such a protocol? We will be running a modified AMP plugin from here on out. If the usage drops to zero we’ll eventually uninstall AMP. When it comes to the speed of your site we recommend sites like pingdom to really get an accurate score as it compares your sites to others around the world instead of some moving fictitious line in the sand.
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