Senate Holds Online Ad Company ‘Backpage’ in Contempt of Congress

The internet can be a wonderful thing and lets you view everything from your favourite show several days early to downloading the latest games on their day of release. The problem being though is that not all content on the internet should be there, with several groups using it to advertise less than legal practices. In a recent vote, the Senate has held an Ad company in contempt of congress for failing to provide details when asked for them.

The vote (96-0) finds Backpage, a classified ads company, in contempt of congress. Previously Homelands Security Permanent Subcommittee requested documentation on how it screens the ads the company was being asked to provide. The company in return shared general documentation, avoiding the specifics that the subcommittee wanted.

The company is currently being investigated after allegations that it allows ads advertising illegal practices through, even going to far as to edit the ads and using keywords that would help avoid the ad being flagged up for its content.

Backpage has apparently been waiting for the issue to go to congress, saying that their adverts are posted under the first amendment that protects free speech and that the law itself protects companies that post third-party content (that is content provided by someone else). It should also be noted that this is the first time the Senate has issued a contempt of congress charge since 1995, so it’s not an everyday action by any standard.

FTC Warns Apps Could Be Invading Your Privacy

We all love downloading that new app. Be it a game or something more practical for everyday use, we love exploring it and finding out what it does. Seems like some Apps may be returning the favour and not even telling us about it as several apps could be invading your privacy.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have warned several developers for mobile software that their apps may, in fact, be invading their customers privacy without even their notice. The Silverpush framework and several overs don’t request permission to use your microphone but still do. It only gets worse as it appears that the apps are capable of “producing a detailed log of the television content viewed while a user’s mobile device was turned on for the purpose of targeted advertising software and analytics”. So by having your phone near you when you watch TV means you could be advertising your favourite shows to third parties without even knowing it!

Silverpush is already known to listen for ultrasonic sounds to check for multiple devices within the vicinity such as your laptop or tablet. By knowing what devices you have around you the company is able to pick up and generate more detailed advertising profiles, some of which you are never even aware was being generated.

Silverpush, an India-based company, states that the techniques aren’t used domestically but the FTC want apps having to specifically request access to your device’s microphone.

German Court Rules Facebook’s ‘Friends Finder’ Unlawful

The highest court in Germany has ruled that Facebook’s ‘Friends Finder’ function is unlawful on the grounds that it scrapes the e-mail contacts of users in order to market the social media site to other users. The German Federal Court of Justice found that the feature – a complaint in a case brought against Facebook in 2010 by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) – constituted advertising harassment, upholding a previous judgement from 2014.

A summary from the 2014 ruling [PDF] described the function of the ‘Friends Finder’ feature as “undue, harassing, and therefore illicit advertising as defined by the German Law against Unfair Competition,” and argued that “the Find Friends feature violates German privacy laws. After the user clicks the Find Friends button, Facebook processes and uses personal data for advertising purposes without informing the user or obtaining the user’s consent as required by law.”

“What the judgment means exactly for the current Friends Finder, we now have to find out,” Klaus Mueller, head of the VZBV, said (via Reuters). “In addition to Facebook, other services use this form of advertising to attract new users. They must now probably rethink.”

In a statement, a Facebook Germany spokesperson said that the company was still awaiting receipt of the formal decision and that it would examine the findings “to assess any impact on our services.”

European ISPs Aren’t Delivering on Advertised Download Speeds

European internet service providers have been caught exaggerating the typical download speeds for end-users according to a study released by the European Commission. The report says:

“The difference between advertised and actual broadband speed in Europe remains the same: in October 2014 consumers received 76% of the advertised speed (the same as a year ago). Differences were smaller in cable (86.5%) and FTTx (83%) than in DSL (63.3%). Advertised and actual speeds have increased since 2013.”

Interestingly, USA service providers were much more honest about the advertised speeds but in general, faster internet incurs a higher price compared to Europeans. As bandwidth demands increase due to 4K video streaming, and detailed games, ISPs have to offer a better quality of service. In the UK, Virgin Media and BT are investing to produce the fastest mainstream lines. At the moment, Virgin’s premium 200Mb package destroys anything currently offered by BT. Although, this could change in the near future.

Many internet service providers engage in network traffic management and often reduce download speeds during peak hours. Additionally, the connection can be throttled when exceeding a certain amount of data in a 24-hour period. Ironically, the term unlimited is usually extremely limited and bound by a number of restrictions.

Who is your current ISP?

FCC To Post List Of Robo Callers

A thousand a day may seem like an exaggeration but when you pick up the phone to the robotic voice saying you’ve just won a great deal or that they are offering you the same deal you hanged up on five minutes ago, Robo callers and telemarketers can prove a nuisance.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in America hopes to combat this by releasing a list of all Robo callers and telemarketers that it receives complaints about. Recently the FCC reminded phone carriers that there are no legal barriers to do-not-disturb technology, a system where you able to block incoming calls from certain numbers, and the FCC hopes that its new list of potential offenders will be used by companies to help block and limit the number of robotic voices you hear on your phone.

Two things should be noted about this plan. The complaints that may end up with a number on the blocking list are not always fact checked by the FCC, so the system isn’t perfect for catching all the correct people (and maybe including some innocent ones). The other thing to note is that Robo callers are still legal in the US for charities, government and political groups, so it may not be so easy to catch all those calls.

How many Robo callers do you receive every week? Would you like to see a similar name and shame process put in place with your network providers?

Img Via

YouTuber Pockets £20,000 for Promoting Xbox One

A Federal Trade Commission investigation into publicity-for-pay allegations has revealed that one YouTube channel pocket nearly £20,000 for promoting the Xbox One console. The investigation by the FTC was launched on the back of revelations, back in January last year, that popular YouTube network Machinima was offering its partners bonus payments for in exchange for Xbox One plugs. It soon became apparent that the practice was commonplace, with game publishers secretly paying for YouTube advertising.

The FTC investigation has discovered that YouTube channel Syndicate took $30,000 (£19,639) for two videos promoting Xbox One, while SkyVsGaming was paid $15,000. Both channels agreed to mention Xbox One, without saying anything negative, and were contractually obliged to keep its agreement secret.

Microsoft has blamed Starcom, the advertising agency it hired to publicise its current-gen console, for the shady agreement, claiming that it had no knowledge of the practice. Such paid advertising is illegal in the UK, but is considered more of a grey area in the US. Nevertheless, the FTC has described such secret paid advertising as “false and misleading”.

“In numerous instances, [Machinima] has failed to disclose, or disclose adequately, that the individuals who posted the reviews were compensated in connection with their endorsements,” the FTC report reads. “This fact would be material to consumers in their purchasing decisions regarding Xbox One and the launch titles. The failure to disclose this fact, in light of the representations made, was, and is, a deceptive practice.”

Since its legality is fuzzy, the FTC has done little more than warn Starcom and Machinima to end its financial relationship and cease any other current or future paid advertising.

Hundreds of Wikipedia Editors Caught Promoting Brands

Hundreds of Wikipedia editors have been banned from the online encyclopaedia after being found promoting products and brands within articles for pay. Wikipedia’s CheckUser team has been investigating suspected brand promotion for a number of months, and banned 381 editors between April and August, with suspicions that companies had been paying for sock puppet accounts to push products and service over Wikipedia for a long time.

Rather than being instigated by companies, however, it was the editors themselves who were the masterminds behind the scheme. They were effectively extorting the businesses they were advertising, creating articles populated with promotional links, then approaching companies for a $30 monthly fee to keep the articles active.

Wikipedia has deleted any article deemed to have been created for promotional purposes by the offending sock puppet accounts, but it still in the process of investigating other suspected cases of paid-for advertising.

A statement on Wikipedia’s administrator board reads:

The list of articles created by the socks is located at Wikipedia:Long-term abuse/Orangemoody/Articles. This list is not considered complete; due to time constraints, there may be additional articles created by these socks that are not included here. Most articles relate to businesses, businesspeople, or “artists”.

Review of this list of articles reveals that the overwhelming majority of them would qualify for deletion under one or more speedy deletion criteria. In this specific case, however, in order to prevent article subjects from continued shakedowns by bad actors who are causing significant harm to the reputation of this project, the articles are all being deleted. It is important to break the cycle of payment demands, and to make it clear that the Wikipedia community, and not a small group of paid editor accounts, controls the content of this project. This mass deletion is without prejudice to recreation by experienced Wikipedians who believe that the subject is sufficiently notable for an article. We emphasize again that all indications are that the editing was not solicited by the article subjects.

Because so many of the articles contain unattributed material and/or copyvios, administrators are urged NOT to undelete articles or move them to userspace.

Thank you Vice Motherboard for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

UK Police Hijacks Ads on 251 Pirate Sites

City of London Police have seized ad revenue from 251 sites that host or link to copyrighted material and replaced and replaced ads with anti-piracy messages, a Freedom of Information request has revealed. For the last two years, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been working in conjunction with the film and music industries to attack pirate websites under the name ‘Operation Creative’.  As part of the deal, Police have struck an agreement with online advertisers to replace ads on infringing sites with Police banners.

The Freedom of Information request was submitted by TorrentFreak. The City of London Police told the site, “This is an ongoing investigation and disclosure to the public domain would raise the profile of those sites unlawfully providing copyright material. This would enable individuals to visit the sites highlighted and unlawfully download copyright material and increase the scale of the loss.”

PIPCU released figures on the effectiveness of ‘Operation Creative’ a few weeks ago that showed ad revenue for targeted pirate sites had decreased by 73%.

“Working closely with rights holders and the advertising industry, PIPCU has been able to lead the way with tackling copyright infringing sites by successfully disrupting advertising revenue,” said PIPCU’s Detective Chief Inspector Peter Ratcliffe.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Exeter Daily.

Ad for ‘Thinnest Smartphone’ Banned in UK for Sexualising Women

An ad for “the world’s thinnest smartphone” has been banned in the UK. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), said that the ad was “likely to cause serious offence” due to its “sexually suggestive” nature.

The ad in particular, for the Kazam Tornado 348, was banned by the ASA after they said that “much of the ad focused entirely on the actor in her underwear, including scenes that featured several close-up shots that lingered over her breasts, buttocks and lips.” The commercial seemingly focused on the woman a little too much, with not many references to the actual product itself. The ASA added that “the focus on the woman bore no relevance to the advertised product.”

The manufactuer of the phone, Kazam, said that the ad was only making reference to someone getting ready to go out and struggling to find their phone because it is too thin.

What do you think? Watch the ad below.

Source: The Verge

Twitter’s Video Platform More YouTube Than Vine

Details have emerged regarding Twitter’s forthcoming video function. According to a Twitter Video FAQ found by Daniel Raffel , it will support .mp4 and .mov formats, with an aspect ratio of 16:9, and videos can be up to 10 minutes in length.

https://twitter.com/danielraffel/status/551175241628520448

Remarkably, it seems Twitter is not limiting the size of the video files, and is “encouraging partners to use the highest resolution source video.”

The word “partners”, however, may prove portentous, suggesting that the Twitter Video could be aimed more at brands and businesses than regular users. Videos must be uploaded directly to Twitter Video, rather than in the form of a link to an existing video URL, which Twitter will hope severely marginalise YouTube.

Source: The Verge

Facebook Sued for Scanning Private Messages

A California judge ruled on Tuesday that Facebook must face a class action lawsuit for scanning users’ private messages without consent. Judge Phyllis Hamilton of Oakland, California affirmed the validity of the suit that was filed two years ago, accusing Facebook of violating user privacy by gathering data from private messages to use for targeted advertising.

If Facebook is found guilty, it could be liable to pay damages of up to $10,000 to every user whose messages have been scanned. The social media site would also be obliged to halt all further private message scanning immediately.

Facebook generates the majority of its revenue through advertising, so the company is sure to fight the case. It argues that an exception in the US Federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, protecting data interception for business reasons, applies in this case.

Source: The Next Web

Watch: Ad Campaign Completely Shot With iPhone 6 Plus

Luxury skincare brand Erno Laszlo had their entire Christmas ad campaign filmed with the iPhone 6 Plus. Ad agency Truth NYC produced the ad exclusively with Apple’s biggest handset.

“iPhone 6 Plus was instrumental in helping us achieve our creative vision for this project—and do it in a brilliantly fast and effective way,” said Kenan Aktulun, founder of Truth NYC. “It opened up possibilities by allowing us to explore the life and energy of the holiday season in New York, in a truly mobile way.”

The ads were all shot with the phone’s slo-mo feature, utilising its optical image stabilisation and all-round brilliant camera. The camera on the device is actually capable of shooting 4k video, something that can be enabled with a few apps (disabled by default because of the enormous size of 4k video).

Source: Truth NYC Via: The Loop 

ASA Tackles Vloggers Misleading Advertising

The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency has asked popular YouTube vloggers Dan and Phil to remove an ad for Oreo cookies, after it was found to be misleading.

The ad in question featured the pair competing with each other to see how quickly they could lick the filling from some Oreos. The ASA found however that the ad didn’t really appear to be an ad, possibly misleading viewers into believing Dan and Phil didn’t actually receive compensation for the video.

The video was never actually removed in the end, due to the fact that Dan and Phil complied with requests from ASA by placing an annotation on the video that reads “This is a paid for advertisement” (see below).

“In this case because the ads were on online video channels that were usually non-promotional, the commercial intent should have been made clear before viewers clicked on the content”. – The ASA.

The incident has raised the issue of advertisers using YouTube personalities without actually making it very clear that such content is advertising. The ASA says that this is misleading viewers and could damage the trust they hold in their favourite YouTubers.

Source: The Independent

Disneyland and Walt Disney World Become No-Fly Zones

Ever wondered why there aren’t many aerial photos of Disney’s theme parks around? Gizmodo has just complied information that they’ve become highly protected no-fly zones quite some time ago. These prohibited air spaces are said to come around for other reasons than general terror threat.

Flash back to 2003, Disney had successfully talked Congress into declaring the airspace around its theme parks as a no-fly zone. This reportedly came at a good time due to Congress passing big spending bills all centered around the war in Iraq, meaning Disney were able to sneak in their bill which had been on the table for a long time. The space in question actually includes a three mile radius around Disneyland and Walt Disney World, not just the buildings themselves.

According to reports, the main reason they wanted this passed wasn’t due to threat of bombing, photography or bird poop – it’s due to aerial advertisements. We further learned that other theme parks don’t get no-fly zone privileges, even if a terror thread is possible. A Disney spokeswoman, Leslie Goodman, announced at the time of the bill passing:

 “The sole and exclusive motivation for seeking these restrictions is for the safety and enjoyment of our guests”

She went on to explain that this restriction was targeted at things such as “banner ads from trial lawyers” and pilots “buzzing the parks.”

Due to this ruling, there was over 100 aerial advertising companies that were effectively shut down from operations, seeing them lose business until breaking point. However, you’re not plastered with advertisements while you’re trying to enjoy your triple priced hot dog and find your lost third son in the crowd.

Image courtesy of Travel Channel

Google Contributor Allows You to Pay Sites to Remove Ads

In another example of the increasing number of subscription over ads services, Google has announced ‘Google Contributor’, a new system that allows you to pay your favourite websites in return for the removal of ads.

By participating in the service, you can choose to pay between $1 and $3 a month to see sites part of the Contributor programme without advertising.

Sites that have partnered with Google include: Imgur, The Onion, Mashable, Science Daily, Urban Dictionary and WikiHow. Those sites involved with Contributor will remove ads completely whenever you visit, so long as you’re paying the monthly fee.

Google hasn’t yet made it clear whether you need to pay for individual sites or whether the money you pay covers all sites part of the programme. They also say that there are more sites involved, but haven’t revealed any others apart from those listed here.

To take part, you can apply for an invitation at contributor.google.com.

Source: The Verge

Google First to Use World’s Largest Video Billboard

Thought all those billboards in Times Square were big enough already?

Well you were wrong. Google has lead the way in renting the largest digital billboard ever created, one that is now standing in the world famous part of New York City. If you wanted to be like Google and use this 8 storey high monster of a display, you’d need to set aside about $2.5 million for 4 weeks use of the thing. The BBC say that it is “the size of a football field” and includes cameras for giant video conferencing. Well maybe not that, more like “interactive content” that the 300,000 pedestrians a day walking by could interact with.

Source: BBC News

Ad-Less Social Network Ello Selling T-Shirts to Pay the Bills

Ello, the currently invite-only (I’m still waiting for mine) social network, has decided it needs to sell t-shirts to cover its costs.

The site has always insisted it will forever remain ad-free and this statement has puzzled more than a few people, producing the question of exactly how will Ello make money? The shirts are being made in partnership with artist community focused e-commerce site Threadless. Artists who submit t-shirt designs to Threadless are being encouraged to design shirts themed to Ello’s logo and brand. The Threadless store will cycle through limited edition designs each month, with a a group of standard black and white shirts being sold alongside those for $25 each.

It could be said that Ello can’t really survive on shirt sales alone, so it’ll be interesting to see what else they have up their sleeve to keep their “Public Benefit Corp” alive.

Source: Re/Code

Google Glitch Leads to Ad-Less Sites, Millions Lost In Ad Revenue

Google encountered an embarrassing glitch Wednesday morning when their ads caused major slowdowns to some big name websites. Twitter users reported sites including the BBC and USA Today displaying the problem.

The glitch appeared to be affecting a service called DoubleClick for Publishers, which provides ads that appear alongside news articles. The error, dubbed by people in tweets as #dfpocalypse  meant some sites had to go without their ads to keep everything running normally. Google issued a statement to CNBC stating “our engineers are already on this, and will be providing an update ASAP.”

Reports suggested the problem had been resolved after 1 hour and 25 minutes. We can only wonder how much money Google and those websites lost in that brief time.

Source: Mashable

Malicious Ads Hit Amazon, YouTube and Yahoo According to Cisco

In a new blog post, Cisco is describing the Malvertising Network dubbed Kyle and Stan. The network is targeting both Windows and Mac devices alike, with the old trick of sneaking malware into advertising. There are only a few big advertising players on the market, so if you manage to sneak a malicious ad past the security controls, it will reach thousands, maybe even millions of potential victims within minutes.

Talos Security Research has uncovered a major network that is doing exactly this and due to the naming scheme of hundreds of their sub-domains e.g. “stan.mxp2099.com” and “kyle.mxp2038.com” , they nicknamed the malvertising group Kyle and Stan. There are a lot of variations in the attack, but it always follows the same scheme. When served with the malicious advertisement you get redirected to a different website based upon your system, Windows or Mac, where it starts to download a malicious file.

Once the victim is redirected to the final URL, the website automatically starts a download of a unique piece of malware for every user. The file is a bundle of legitimate software, like a media-player, and a unique-to-every-user configuration of malware compiled into the downloaded file. The attackers are purely relying on social engineering techniques, in order to get the user to install the software package.

No drive-by exploits are being used thus far, but the impressive thing is that we are seeing this technique not only work for Windows, but for Mac operating systems alike.

The first hits are going back to the beginning of may with June and July being the ones with the biggest amount of traffic on the 74 sites the malvertising was detected on. The network consists of over 700 domains itself, making it hard for blacklists and other detection tools to pick up on it.

The list below are confirmed domains to have served the malicious ads at one point or another during the monitored time. The list contains popular sites such as Amazon, Yahoo, Winrar and YouTube.

  • 6nbzz.watch-now.awardcrowd.eu
  • 7ruzz.globalrewards.samplestation.eu
  • ads.yahoo.com
  • amazon.com
  • br5zz.watch-now.awardcrowd.eu
  • bvp.burstmedia.com
  • cdn.sharedaddomain.com
  • clkmon.com
  • cr2.gogorithm.com
  • grooveshark.audio-updates.com
  • gslbeacon.lijit.com
  • javaapx.com
  • javaupdating.com
  • johzz.watchnow.rewardbasket.eu
  • jvupdater.com
  • n11.adshostnet.com
  • serve.adsxgm.com
  • w0tzz.watchnow.rewardbasket.eu
  • www.alldldsoft.com
  • www.allsoftdll.com
  • www.allsoftpc.com
  • www.carefulclick.com
  • www.ddlsoftdirect.com
  • www.directdls.com
  • www.directsoftddl.com
  • www.dllfinalsoft.com
  • www.dllsoftultimate.com
  • www.dllultimatesoft.com
  • www.dlsofteclipse.com
  • www.downti.com
  • www.dwnllistsoft.com
  • www.dwnlsoft.com
  • www.dwnlultimatesoft.com
  • www.filenaut.com
  • www.filenetix.com
  • www.files101.com
  • www.filesbunker.com
  • www.filesonar.com
  • www.freeunlimitedvideos.com
  • www.getmplayer.com
  • www.getsoftdll.com
  • www.installrecommended.com
  • www.latestplayerplugin.com
  • www.lpdownclsva007.com
  • www.lpdownclsva011.com
  • www.mediaplayerinstaller.com
  • www.mediaplayertotal.com
  • www.moresoftdll.com
  • www.mysoftdll.com
  • www.newboxdl.com
  • www.newplayerupdate.com
  • www.pcsoftultimate.com
  • www.pitisoft.com
  • www.popdls.com
  • www.proplayersetup.com
  • www.recommendedfiles1.com
  • www.recommendedupdate.com
  • www.recommendedupdate14.com
  • www.softmediaplayer.com
  • www.softnewdll.com
  • www.softplayerdownload.com
  • www.softultimatedwnl.com
  • www.thelatestsoft.com
  • www.thesoftdll.com
  • www.totalsoftdll.com
  • www.totalsoftpc.com
  • www.ultimateplayersetup.com
  • www.ultimatevideoplayer.com
  • www.updatedrelease.com
  • www.updateneeded.com
  • www.winrar.com
  • www1.mediaplayernew.com
  • www1.updateplugins.com
  • youtube.com

Thank you Cisco for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Cisco and Southpark.

Is Using ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in Advertising Going to Far?

We have all seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos. Some we have laughed at, on some we enjoyed seeing our not-so-liked person icing them selves down and others were just hilarious. And all that for a good cause, to raise awareness and bring in the donations. And it has worked, big time, and we can only hope that this will bring the scientist a lot closer to helping those poor suffering people.

I have to admit, that by now it has gotten a bit boring for myself. I still watch the one or other that seems out of the ordinary, but otherwise it’s a closed chapter for me in this round. But not so for Samsung. In the past it was Samsung’s trait was to be water and dust-proof and their Galaxy S5 is so too. Samsung Mobile UK have now uploaded a video onto youtube showing just that phone taking the challenge.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”600″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w4Gqt-ljb4[/youtube]

A clever marketing gag, that already worked as I’m writing about it now. But is this taking it to far? Using a horrible and terrifying disease like ALS to market your smartphone? About a quarter of the thumbs on YouTube think so and are pointing down.

The video ends with the phone challenging the iPhone 5s, HTC One M8 and Nokia Lumia 930 to the challenge.

Amazon Could Be Planning Their Own Ad-Service

Amazon could be planning their own Ad-Service to replace their current usage of Google’s AdWords. Already having millions of customers shopping and window-browsing habits already stored in their database make this sound like a reasonable move.

Amazon is known as a sleeping giant in the ad industry because it has rich consumer data but has been tentative about using it for a lot of advertising.

It’s said that Amazon’s system would resemble Google’s AdWords, but it is planned to make it easier for marketers to reach the company’s users. There is a second tool in work to help advertising agencies to buy ads in bulk and then resell them to their own thousands of advertisers.

The company already has a minor advertising service they use on their own site, but this planned move, if true, could be a real game changer in the online advertising market dominated by Google.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Twitter Now Pushing Random Tweets into Your Feed

Recently we reported on Twitters change to start displaying your friends favorites on your timeline – now they’ve taken another step and made random tweet pushing a policy.

Twitter has officially updated its timeline explanation in recent days to reflect the fact that it will be adding tweets from people you don’t follow. The official website reads:

“Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.” Twitter Help Center

This move signals another Facebook-esque change to the social media giant – following the way of promoted posts and now random ‘popular’ memoirs pushed into your timeline. As we reported in the previous Twitter favoriting article – this is another push by twitter to keep its userbase actively engaged and end up turning it into profit. After all, that’s why companies like this exist.

What do you think of these recent changes to twitter? Do they ruin some of the apparent ‘purity’ of this social media application, or is it now an acceptable part of an essentially free service?

Image courtesy of 3Q Digital

Snapchat Exploring Advertising Avenues

Most of us have heard about it and many of us have strong opinions of it – there’s no denying that Snapchat has worked its way well into the lives of many of us and especially into our younger population.

For those unaware, Snapchat is an image sharing program where users can take a picture or a short video and send it to select friends – this media then deletes itself up to 10 seconds after it’s originally viewed or instantly after the video has finished. This is akin to its logo, a ghost.

Snapchat recently turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook last year, but the question remains – how do they make money?

We’ve learned, thanks to the Wall Street Journal, that they’re mulling over a new service called “Snapchat Discovery” which will allow media companies and advertisers to push advertisements to Snapchat’s userbase. According to this report, Snapchat have been in contact with at least a dozen media companies and are looking to launch this update in November 2014.

Unfortunately, no statement from Snapchat could be acquired at this time.

There’s a few famous quotes I think relate to this situation. The first being “Hell, it’s about time” from Blizzard’s ever popular game Starcraft II and a common saying which is “money makes the world go round”. As much as we all love a free service, it was only a matter of time before Snapchat had to start earning something back.

As reported by ComScore, an industry researcher – Snapchat is the third-most popular social media app among people between the ages of 18 and 34, so it only makes sense that now is the time for them to strike.

Image courtesy of Business ETC

Creator of Pop-up Add Says Sorry, Blames Its Design on Sex

The pop-up ad may not be as much of a problem these days, especially given that most browsers come with some form of pop-up blocker pre-installed, but back in the early days they were a huge pain in the ass. Pop-ups were everywhere and it seemed like for every site you visited you were closing down half a dozen other windows, and it was all because of Ethan Zuckermans work.

Ethan Zuckerman was a designer and programmer for Tripod.com and when one of their advertising clients (an unnamed car company) freaked out that their advertisement (a banner ad) was appearing on a webpage which “celebrated a**l sex”, something had to be done. The company didn’t want to be associated with such things and demanded their ads were removed (and likely a refund). The solution? What if an advert could launch in its own window. Zuckerman wrote the code and the rest is history, for better or for worse.

“I’m sorry. Out intentions were good.” said Zuckerman.

The pop up advertisement may have been a hateful thing, but it waved the way for the internet to become as big as it has. It showed that the web was commercially ripe for the picking and that lead to huge investments and it’s all because of a car manufacturer didn’t like porn.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of The Verge.

New Graffiti Artwork Uses GIFs as Modern Street Art

Pedestrians walking down the streets of London have been greeted with some amazing and funny works of art. This is the making of Guus ter Beek and Tayfun Sarier, who apparently used a picture frame around an iPad to display some of their GIF artworks, taping the device in various places for people to enjoy and be amazed.

The colorful, lively and funny GIFs have been an eye-catcher for people walking down the streets, having them stop, take notice and even take some pictures of what the two artists displayed. It is said that after the GIFs got some attention, ter Beek and Sarier would then remove the iPad and place it in another location, recording people’s reactions as they walked past or stopped to admire them.

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101718999[/vimeo]

The two are said to be working in advertising, but also enjoy creating art projects on the side. They are said to be constantly showing each other GIFs, which is how the two came up with the project to “integrate the world of GIFs with our favorite hangouts.” The GIFs have also been chosen to ‘reflect their surroundings’, having an infinite hamburgers GIF for example placed in an area where food franchises are present.

However, ter Beek and Sarier are not the first to get creative with GIFs. The Photographer’s Galley in London and the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City are also housing similar forms art.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Images and video courtesy of Mashable

HP’s ‘Fanless’ Chromebox Uses a Fan to Keep Itself Cool

Earlier in the year, HP announced the imminent arrival of their ChromeBox, the desktop answer to the popular Chromebook line of systems that a number of manufacturers are offering. As a part of their product design and advertising, HP have stated (as can see in a shot of their website below) that users will get “The silent operation of the fanless design prevents dust from being funneled through computer case.” Well it appears that HP never got the memo to say that in order to qualify as a ‘fanless’ product, you can’t put a fan inside the chassis. To me this sounds like a simple concept to grasp but apparently I’d be wrong about that.

Following a video review on the system, YouTuber Lon Seidman discovered that HP have been sneaky placed a fan inside the chassis to keep things cool under the collar. This would therefore indicate to us that HP may have had a couple of problems during development to keep their Chromebox cool. The fact that there is a grill on the back of the chassis to ventilate heat through is also a bit of a give-away that there is some forced cooling going on. Placing the fan inside the chassis not only means that the Chromebox doesn’t qualify for the fanless tag, but their claim that dust is not being sucked into the case is also false – this is actually false advertising and can lead HP into a lot of trouble on the legal side of things.

As for the end-user, what does is mean to them? Well it simply means that the $10 premium that you would be paying to have a ‘silent and fanless’ unit over that of Asus’ offering is actually not worth the paper that it is written on. Simply put, save your money and get the cheaper unit that is (bar aesthetic design) identical. For such a big and well know vendor such as HP, this is to be perfectly honest a bit of a shameful discovery and we look forward to hearing their response on the subject.

 

 

Source: Geek.com

Image courtesy: CartridgeLink