Google Drops Thousands Of Search Quality Raters In Latest Cuts

Jan 22, 2024 - 7:41 am 48 by
Filed Under Google

Upset Google Quality Rater Woman Google Logo

The big news from the weekend is that Google has terminated its contract with Appen, one of the largest sources of its third-party human search quality raters sources. Appen announced this in this PDF, saying it received notice of this on January 20th, and the contract ends on March 19, 2024.

It goes on to say they had no prior notice, adding that the reason was that Google did this "as part of a strategic review process it will be terminating its global inbound services contract with Appen, resulting in the cessation of all projects with Appen by 19 March 2024."

"In FY23, Appen’s revenue from Google was $82.8m1 at a gross margin of 26%," so that has to hurt Appen in a big way.

Cyrus Shepard first posted this news, as he works on the side for Appen as a Google Search Quality Rater and Appen emailed him the news. He posted on X saying, "BIG shakeup for Google Quality Raters. Google cancels contract with Appen/RaterLabs (the company that employs me as a Quality Rater). No idea what this means to the Quality Rater program."

Google has used quality raters for almost ever. At least 15 years now, from what I know. This does not mean Google stopped using all quality raters. All we know now is that its contract with Appen, which may provide a large number of those quality raters is ending in March.

Here is some of the SEO commentary on this news:

Will Google replace human quality raters with AI?

Are the other contracts going to end too or just Appen's?

Maybe the SERPs are to blame?

What do you all think?

Forum discussion at X.

Update: I spoke with Google and this seems like Google is transitioning away from Appen and will be moving these efforts to other suppliers. It does not seem AI will replace these jobs, at least this is what I believe from my conversations with Google.

"Our decision to end the contract was made as part of our ongoing effort to evaluate and adjust many of our supplier partnerships across Alphabet to ensure our vendor operations are as efficient as possible," a Google spokesperson told me.

Google told us they have been working on these restructuring efforts with vendors for over a year now. Google told us canceling this contract with Appen will not impact its products or services. Google confirmed that it works with several other suppliers to provide quality rating and external feedback on the experience of its products.


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