Putting The ‘Intern’ In Internet; Will Google Play ChatGPT Whac-A-Mole?


Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

AdExchanger’s daily news round-up will return on Tuesday, January 17. We will not be publishing any content on Monday, January 16, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Nonhuman Capital

Is AI the new intern? For one agency, the answer is “yes.”

At Codeword, a tech marketing agency that sits within WE Communication, its new “interns” come in the form of software models that produce content and graphic design, Axios reports. (It’s unclear if Codeword is simply leaning on ChatGPT and DALL-E or has a different software provider.)

The Codeword interns are named Aiko and Aiden and, apparently, they report to actual human beings. Aiko sits under Senior Art Director Emilio Ramos, while Aiden will face performance reviews by Senior Editor Terrence Doyle. (Seriously, both will receive performance reviews.)

Aiko and Aiden aren’t ready for client-facing work – but that’s not the point.

“It’s an opportunity to streamline internal processes by eliminating necessary but mind-numbing and time-consuming tasks – or at least to pass them off onto emotionless interns who can’t get bored,” says Terrence Doyle.

Like so many unpaid interns before them, Aiko and Aiden receive no compensation. Instead, Codeword says it will donate the equivalent hourly intern salaries to the Grace Hopper Celebration

This Was Written By A Person

Speaking of AI developments, tech news and reviews site CNET has been quietly using “automation technology” to create a series of articles framed as financial explainers, Futurism reports. 

The byline credits “CNET Money Staff,” which, when you click, does acknowledge that the articles were created using automation.

Still, the first-layer obfuscation is noteworthy, as Google in particular is laser-focused on weeding out AI-written content and AI-created images from its front-page search results.  

Over the past few months, Google has been making big updates to its search algos in order to diminish spam and low-quality content. Interestingly, Google considers “low-quality” and “AI-generated” content to be practically synonymous. In Google’s eyes, content written by tech (*cough* ChatGPT *cough*) is junk regardless of the quality of the end product.

Google will probably dig its heels in on that position once Microsoft completes a reported $10 billion investment in ChatGPT’s parent company, OpenAI, and incorporates ChatGPT responses into the Bing search engine.

Look forward to lots of great debate about whether Google is the one ruining the news by siphoning off ad revenue or whether ChatGPT is taking over newsroom jobs. Can’t both be true?

What Killed The Growth?

A full-blown recession hasn’t hit yet, but Apple’s ATT policy created a mini recession within the social media advertising economy, writes Eric Seufert at Mobile Dev Memo.

Throughout 2022, Big Tech stock prices dropped as interest rates rose. But ATT’s effect on revenue was apparent even before the Fed started hiking interest rates in March 2022.

Google, Meta and Snap all cited rough macroeconomic conditions as the reason for missed growth targets. But consumer brands like Nike, Walmart and Costco have seen their sales and revenue numbers continue to grow.

While consumer spending remains healthy, advertiser spend has crumbled thanks to ATT’s effect on overall ROAS. When direct-response advertising is less efficient, marketers reduce their budgets. The share of ad revenue generated on iOS devices shrank from 60% in 2020 to 46% in Q2 2022.

Need more proof? Although ad-dependent tech companies are implementing mass layoffs, the same isn’t true for the wider US economy. Unemployment remains around 3.5%, a 53-year low.

Guess social media and DTC advertisers can blame Apple, and not the economy, for their woes.

But Wait, There’s More!

Lowe’s is bringing the ad sales and operations of its One Roof Media Network in-house. [Ad Age]

What happened when this olive-oil startup apologized. [WSJ]

Neiman Marcus execs make the case for sustainable retail profitability. [WWD]

Gamers are flocking from premium titles to free, ad-supported games in an unstable economy. [Digiday]

You’re Hired!

JEGI Clarity promotes Rich Kanefsky to managing director. [release]

Power Digital brings on Michael Murray as chief product officer. [release]