Tag: advertising

Twitter’s woes deepen

TwitterThe social notworking outfit Twitter, which has been unable to sell itself, has now seen its advertising revenue fall.

Twitter posted the slowest revenue growth since it went public four years ago.

Shares fell 10 percent as investors feared that Snapchat and Facebook were winning the advertising war.

Revenue from advertising fell from a year ago and a 4.0 percent year-on-year rise in users to 319 million fell short of Wall Street forecasts as well.

There had been some amusing analysts who thought that Donald (Prince of Orange) Trumps’s obsession with Twitter would make the social notworking site great again. It didn’t – Trump’s fans relationship with the internet is somewhat limited.

The microblogging service has struggled to find a formula that will attract a new crop of users or advertisers even as rivals have ridden a wave of rising investment in internet advertising.

The lack of revenue growth has raised questions about Dorsey’s leadership and whether the company would be bought by a bigger media firm. Financial markets speculated about a sale of Twitter last year, but no concrete bids were forthcoming.

Dorsey told analysts on a conference call on Thursday that Twitter was investing in machine learning and searching for ways to engage advertisers.

“It will take time to show the results we all want to see, and we’re moving forward aggressively. The whole world is watching Twitter,” he said.

Advertising revenue in the fourth quarter declined 0.5 percent year-over-year to $638 million, and the company said that advertising revenue growth would continue to lag user growth during 2017.

Facebook to check its facts

funny-pictures-auto-news-france-387930After the fiasco of the US election which saw a candidate being elected on the basis of Russian supplied fake news, Facebook has decided to clamp down on the phenomena.

The social notworking site  said it will implement new measures to combat the so-called fake news and lies spreading via its platform. Facebook was used for circulation by fraudulent “news” sites, whose operators posted false headlines that were shared widely, driving web traffic and generating ad dollars. But they were also fooling unintelligent people who believe in bizarre conspiracies and think the word “libtard” is amusing

Now Facebook has a plan to cut off phony sites masquerading as news sources and to clearly label fake news. In the process, it might help restore programmatic ad revenue to legitimate publishers that have seen marketing dollars siphoned off by bogus sites.

Facebook is deputizing reputable, third-party fact-checking sites to label posts as “disputed,” a warning that will appear prominently in the Facebook feed and pop up when someone tries to share the post. The fact-check organizations include Snopes, FactCheck.org and Politifact, which are part of Poynter’s International Fact Checking Network.

Adam Mosseri’s, Facebook’s VP of product for News Feed said that the fact checking will provide more context can help people decide for themselves what to trust and what to share.

“It will still be possible to share these stories, but you will see a warning that the story has been disputed as you share.”

The process for flagging fake news starts with Facebook’s everyday users, who will be able to report any posts they consider suspicious. Once flagged, independent fact-checkers will determine whether it deserves the “disputed” tag or not.

Facebook also is going after the money that funds the fake news. Facebook said it will shut down links to spam websites, which often use spoof domain names that sound like reputable news sources. When people click on the “spoof” domains they mistakenly go to sites that are covered in ads and fake news.

“We’ve found that a lot of fake news is financially motivated. Spammers make money by masquerading as well-known news organizations, and posting hoaxes that get people to visit to their sites, which are often mostly ads.”

Ad technology has been blamed for helping fake news. During the election BuzzFeed uncovered overseas schemes with people making money by hosting websites filled with outrageous stories and driving traffic to them through Facebook.

Watson could sort out advertising woes

Dr Watson and Sherlock HolmesBiggish Blue has turned its AI supercomputer Watson onto the small matter of advertising and will actually go live with a service.

The Watson-infused ads, initially announced in June, are rolling out on The Weather Co. properties such as its mobile app. Already Andy Warhols’ favourite Campbell’s Soup  is using it to market based on weather patterns, location and other attributes.

Jeremy Steinberg, global head of IBM’s The Weather Company, said Big Blue is pondering various business model for the Watson cognitive ads.

Unilever, GSK and Toyota are expected to follow. Steinberg said that IBM is trying to figure out a long-term model. Subscription is a possible as is advertising as a service.

What makes Watson ads interesting is that they are about engagement not necessarily clicks or CPM. They are about engaging customers and driving action.

Watson can deliver recipes based on Campbell’s soup based on its knowledge of cooking. Watson has had extensive training with chefs. Watson will also integrate what other users are making. Add it up and one benefit of a cognitive ad is that it can serve as a focus group to some degree.

4Chan broke

cashThe message board 4chan is about to go under unless someone can work out a way for it to make money.

The site’s owner Hiroyuki Nisimura wrote in a post that “4chan can’t afford infrastructure costs, network fee, servers cost, CDN and etc, now”.

Nisimura says ads haven’t been effective enough to support the site, nor have subscriptions offering additional features. “We had tried to keep 4chan as is. But I failed. I am sincerely sorry. Parts of 4chan may have to close”

Three things could keep 4Chan alive. More subscriptions, include “much more” ads, or cut traffic to the site in half. This could be done by closing message boards, slowing down the site, or reducing the size of images that can be posted.

All this will mean an end to the site’s Wild West Culture. 4chan is the land of script kiddies, countless memes, racism, sexism, and otherwise purile discussions and Gamergate which was about hassling women online.

While few people would miss the death of 4Chan, there is an element of “who the hell is able to make any money from the internet these days?” News sites are closing as advertising fails to make any money for anyone other than Google.


Alphabet sorts out its advertising soup

Alphabet Soup-001Alphabet, the outfit formally known as Google, which has somehow becomes Google’s parent has said that its efforts to push its vast advertising business toward mobile is paying off.

The company posted second quarter earnings which beat Wall Street’s expectations and put to rest lingering concerns about how the rise of mobile might impact Google which has relied on desktop search traffic to power its profits.

Alphabet said revenue grew by 21.3 percent to $21.5 billion, while earnings jumped to $4.88 billion from $3.93 billion for the comparable period a year ago.

The company’s shares rose 6.5 percent to $816 in after-hours trading on Thursday.

Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said during a call with investors that videos were also doing well. Over the past year, Google, Facebook and Twitter have all doubled down on video, a format where advertisers are willing to pay a premium for a few seconds of users’ undivided attention.

Google has used artificial intelligence to improve video recommendations to users, driving more engagement on the site, Pichai said.

“Video is a huge component of digital content, and YouTube continues to shine,” he said. “It’s a thriving home for creators.”

Google and other tech players are hoping to siphon advertising dollars from traditional television, where advertisers will spend a projected $70.6 billion in the U.S. this year, according to market research firm eMarketer. YouTube is in a prime position to strike, with an audience of more than 1 billion users, including more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any U.S. cable network.

Revenue at Alphabet’s Other Bets business rose 150 percent to $185 million, while operating losses widened to $859 million.

The division includes broadband business Google Fiber, home automation products Nest, self-driving cars and X – the research facility that works on “moon shot” ventures.

Google’s ad revenue rose 19.5 percent to $19.14 billion, while it notched a 29 percent rise in paid clicks, where advertisers pay the company only if a user clicks on the ad.

Google’s other revenue surged 33 percent, driven by gains in the cloud computing business, in which Google competes with Microsoft and Amazon to rent computer servers to other companies.


Advertisers snub adblock plus

Lesley_Gore_-_It's_My_PartyThe Interactive Advertising Bureau has thrown its toys out of the pram and refused to invite the makers of Adblock plus to its annual shin-dig.

The top brass at the US IAB don’t want us coming to its Leadership Summit next week in Palm Desert, California, even if representatives from Adblock plus were there last year and was keen to go to this one.

IAB dis-invitation

The move had the Adblock Plus people scratching their heads.  They has some good relationships within the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and coaches many IAB members about our Acceptable Ads guidelines for reasonable, nonintrusive ads. It has even spoken on some IAB panel discussions.

Writing in its bog,  Adblock Plus said that dis-inviting us will not make the problem somehow go away. It ontacted the IAB’s CEO Randall Rothenberg directly to ask him to reconsider this decision, “and we got … crickets …”

It added that ad industry pundits have blamed themselves for the meteoric rise of ad blocking, and some of IAB’s own lieutenants have called for Rothenberg’s resignation. Not over this issue of course, but it is a similar issue.

There does appear to be a split in the IAB with one IAB executive  going on record saying “we messed up” by allowing online advertising to become overly aggressive, and thus helping to fuel ad blocker installs.

The over 400,000,000 downloads of Adblock Plus are not going to “go away.” Dis-allowing Adblock Plus from attending your event solves nothing. We will proceed to work with others to build a sustainable monetization model for the Internet, the blog moans.

Bluetooth low energy beacons will have their day

cashA report said that Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons will hit the mainstream market.

ABI Research said that in the third quarter of this year some big names bought into the technology.

Those include McDonalds, Carrefour, IKEA, Pizza Hut, and H&M.

Another trend leading to their use is that Group, Facebook and Google are bringing their beacon strategies to market.

Patrick Connolly, a principal analyst at ABI, said that most vendors are shipping multiple contracts in the 10s of thousands.

There’s evidence of a strong push for the beacons in India too, he said. InteractionOne has just deployed a 1,000 beacon network.

Applications straddle more than 20 vertical markts including industrial, vending, hospitals and airports.

Advertisers invest in Bond-style spyware

GadgetPrivacy advocates are warning of a new style of advertising which uses James Bond technology to monitor users habits.

The adverts apparently use inaudible, high-frequency sounds to surreptitiously track a person’s online behaviour across a range of devices, including phones, TVs, tablets, and computers.

The ultrasonic pitches are embedded into TV commercials or are played when a user encounters an ad displayed in a computer browser.

Tablets and smartphones can detect the sound and browser cookies can now pair a single user to multiple devices and keep track of what TV commercials the person sees, how long the person watches the ads, and whether the person acts on the ads by doing a Web search or buying a product.

The Centre for Democracy and Technology wrote in recently filed comments to the Federal Trade Commission and apparently the FTC is somewhat worried.

Often, people use as many as five connected devices throughout a given day—a phone, computer, tablet, wearable health device, and an RFID-enabled access fob. Until now, there hasn’t been an easy way to track activity on one and tie it to another.

CDT officials wrote. “Cross-device tracking allows marketers to combine these streams by linking them to the same individual, enhancing the granularity of what they know about that person.”

The officials said that companies with names including SilverPush, Drawbridge, and Flurry are working on ways to pair a given user to specific devices. Adobe is developing similar technologies.

AMD sued over Bulldozer core shortage

KT1136WM_CatBulldozer_LS2__99528.1420733846.1280.1280Troubled chipmaker AMD has been sued over the number of cores in its Bulldozer chip.

A class action lawsuit, led by a bloke called Tony Dickey, claims AMD tricked punters into buying its Bulldozer processors by overstating the number of cores contained. Bulldozer was advertised as having eight cores when functionally it actually only had four.

Part of the problem is that AMD’s multi-core Bulldozer chips combine the functions of what would normally be two discrete cores into a single package, which the company calls a module. Each module is identified as two separate cores in Windows, but the cores share a single floating point unit and instruction and execution resources. This is different from Intel’s cores, which feature independent FPUs.

But the suit said that Bulldozer cores cannot work independently, and as a result, cannot perform eight instructions simultaneously and independently. The plaintiffs claim that this results in performance degradation, and average consumers in the market for a CPU lack the technical expertise to understand the design of AMD’s processors and trust the company to give accurate specifications regarding its CPUs.

The suit argues that tens of thousands of consumers were misled into buying a Bulldozer CPU that cannot perform in the same way as a true 8-core CPU. If this is true AMD violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California’s Unfair Competition Law, and was guilty of false advertising, fraud, breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.

AMD is being sued for damages, including statutory and punitive damages, litigation expenses, pre- and post-judgment interest, as well as other injunctive and declaratory relief as is deemed reasonable.

Yahoo signs Google pact

French_surrenderYahoo has signed a search advertising deal with Google which it claims will boost its efforts to turn around the company.

The deal, which is a bit like the French surrender during WW2, was announced as Yahoo reported revenue and profit that fell short of what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street predicted.

The deal with Google builds on an existing search partnership with Microsoft under which Yahoo gets a percentage of revenue from ads displayed on its sites.

The companies have agreed to delay implementation of the deal in the United States to allow the antitrust division of the Department of Justice to review it.

Yahoo has been struggling to boost revenue from ad sales in the face of stiff competition from Google and Facebook.

It  is a sign of how bad things are getting at Yahoo, when the Google deal is cast as one of the few bright spots included in the company’s third quarter results.

Yahoo said it expected fourth quarter revenues of $1.16 billion–$1.20 billion, well below the average analyst estimate of $1.33 billion.

Mayer, in her fourth year as chief executive, said the forecast was “not indicative of the performance we want”.

“We are also experiencing continued revenue headwinds in our core advertising business, especially in the legacy portions,” Mayer said. Maybe the word should be headaches.

Yahoo said the proposed spinoff of its 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding – a key matter for shareholders – will go through in January.

Yahoo earlier this year sought a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service to confirm whether the transaction, worth about $27 billion currently, would result in a tax obligation. The tax agency denied the request, but Yahoo said it would go ahead with the spinoff by the end of the year anyway.

Many analysts attribute little value to Yahoo’s core business without its Asian assets, which also include a 35 percent stake in Yahoo Japan.

Other good news came results came from Yahoo’s emerging businesses, which Mayer calls Mavens – mobile, video, native and social advertising.

Revenues in that area rose 43 percent to $422 million in the quarter. Native advertising refers to ads that blend into the type and style of the content being viewed.

Revenues after deducting fees paid to partner websites fell to $1.0 billion from $1.09 billion, and the company forecast a drop to $920 million-$960 million in the current quarter.

Traffic acquisition costs, the amount Yahoo spends to attract users to its websites, jumped to $223 million in the quarter from $54 million a year earlier. Whatever that means.