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WhatsApp Shaves Off a Little More Privacy
August 25, 2016
WhatsApp on Thursday announced an update to its terms and privacy policy -- the first in four years. Among other things, the changes will affect the ways users can communicate with businesses while continuing to avoid third-party banner ads or spam messages, according to the company. However, WhatsApp will begin to share some personal details about its 1 billion users with Facebook.
Google Cracks Down on Intrusive Mobile Ads
August 24, 2016
Google has announced that it soon will downgrade mobile pages in its search rankings if they carry ads that obscure content. Such ads "provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible," explained Doantam Phan, a product manager at Google. Techniques that reduce the accessibility of content include showing users a popup that covers the main content.
Verizon Toys With Risky App Revenue Plan
August 23, 2016
Verizon's reported consideration of a plan to preinstall mobile apps from major retailers and financial firms on users' smartphones has drawn sharp criticism. The carrier reached out to numerous retail and finance brands with an offer to preload mobile apps on its Android phones for between $1 and $2 per device, according to unnamed ad agency executives.
Google Beefs Up Phone App's Spam-Fighting Skills
July 27, 2016
Google on Tuesday released an updated version of its Phone app for Android with a new spam protection feature that warns users when an incoming call is likely to be spam. It also lets them block numbers and report spam. The app is available on Google Play. The spam warning feature works on Nexus and AndroidOne devices on the T-Mobile USA, Project Fi and Orange France networks.
Airbnb Fights City Hall Over San Francisco Registration Rule
July 8, 2016
Airbnb recently filed suit against San Francisco over a new rule governing short-term rentals, which the city's Board of Supervisors approved last month. An Airbnb-supported law adopted earlier this year requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city, but it's estimated that only about 20 percent of them have done so. The new rule requires services like Airbnb to enforce the law.
Twitter Applies '140' Rule to Video Seconds
June 22, 2016
Twitter on Tuesday launched enhanced video services that will allow users to post longer videos -- up to 140 seconds. It also announced a new platform for celebrities and public figures to share their stories. Because sports, news, music and other videos increasingly are the type of content that goes viral on Twitter, the company decided to expand content parameters.
Instagram Blows Past Competition to 500M Mark
June 22, 2016
Instagram on Tuesday said it had passed a milestone, with its community having grown to more than 500 million members -- more than 300 million of them using the site on a daily basis. The Instagram community has become more global, with more than 80 percent of Instagrammers living outside the United States. Instagram's user base has more than doubled in two years.
Snapchat Rolls Out Ad-Friendlier Design
June 14, 2016
Snapchat recently began rolling out its redesigned Discover page. It now displays images and headline previews of the content inside Discover channels and Live stories on the Stories page. It previously displayed only logos for publishers or events on those sites. Publishers now can include an image and a headline to promote each day's story.
Apple to Boost App Store Money-Making Opportunities
June 9, 2016
Apple is planning a major overhaul of its App Store, including the introduction of a new subscription model for developers and the implementation of a paid search ad program, SVP Phil Schiller indicated in interviews ahead of next week's WWDC. To encourage developers to sell their apps on a subscription basis, Apple plans to change the current 70/30 revenue-sharing structure.
Report: Smartphone Ad Blockers Picking Up Steam
June 1, 2016
At least 419 million people around the world are blocking advertising on their smartphones, according to a report PageFair released Tuesday. Most of those people -- 408 million of them -- are using ad-blocking browsers, notes the report. The use of ad blockers doubled in 2015, and the use of mobile ad-blocking browsers increased 90 percent during the same year.
Google Fattens Up Entertainment Programming Search Results
April 21, 2016
Google will begin listing live air times for TV shows in its search results, Danial Alegre, president of global partnerships announced Wednesday at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas. This new feature will allow users to search for movies and TV shows. Results will show availability on broadcast and cable TV channels, as well as streaming and online rentals.
Chatbots Drive Shopify's Kit CRM Deal
April 15, 2016
Shopify on Wednesday announced that it has agreed to purchase Kit CRM, whose Kit chatbot automatically sends out marketing text messages for online stores. It also lets businesses run targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram, make recommendations based on store activities, post on social media and use functionality provided by other social media apps, Shopify CMO Craig Miller said.
Apple Slips Native Advertising Into News App
March 16, 2016
Apple recently updated its iAd specifications to allow the display of sponsored posts directly in users' news feeds in the Apple News app for the iPhone and iPad. The ads will appear in native-banner format and can link to articles in the News app. They will be set in the same default font as News articles and will have the same look, with a title, text excerpt and a small image.
Facebook May Launch Risky Messenger Ad Program
February 22, 2016
Facebook has been preparing to push personalized ads through its Messenger app, according to a report last week. The company will allow brands to send their own marketing materials through the popular chat app, suggests a leaked document apparently intended for Facebook's advertising partners. The changes could go into effect during the second quarter of the year.
Investors Bet $57M on Jana's Global Internet Access Strategy
February 19, 2016
Jana on Thursday announced it has raised $57 million in Series C funding, enabling it to continue its plans to connect developing countries to the Web. Verizon Ventures led the funding round, with backing from Spark Capital and Publicis Groupe. The backing will give Jana the boost it needs to connect its next billion users, according to company spokesperson Meagan Ward.
Twitter's New Algorithm Raises De-Democratization Fears
February 10, 2016
Twitter on Wednesday gave users the option of using a new algorithmically organized feed that would deliver more relevant messages -- not necessarily the newest -- first. The new approach to disseminating tweets was spearheaded by Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey, who is under pressure because of the company's lack of growth. Compared to other social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter is lagging behind.
Google Strikes Back at Ad Blockers
February 6, 2016
Google this week reportedly pulled one mobile ad blocker from the Google Play store and prevented another from being updated. The moves come on the heels of Samsung's announcement this week that it was opening up its mobile Web browser to ad blockers. AdBlock Fast, which was one of the first blockers to take advantage of Samsung's largesse, was tossed from Google Play.
Samsung Answers Android Ad-Blocking Call
February 2, 2016
Samsung on Sunday released a version of its mobile browser that supports applications that block advertising on Web pages. The browser upgrade can be applied to devices running Android Lollipop and higher. Apple released similar support for the Safari mobile browser last year, but this is the first time a major maker of Android hardware has supported ad blocking.
Facebook Bathes in Q4 Mobile Magnificence
January 28, 2016
Facebook on Wednesday reported earnings of 79 cents per share on $5.84 billion in revenue for Q4 2015, and annual revenue of $17.93 billion, an increase of 44 percent year over year. Net income for the full year ended Dec. 31 was $3.69 billion. Analysts reportedly had expected per-share earnings of about 68 cents on revenue of $5.37 billion for the quarter.
AOL Buys AlephD to Boost Publisher Support
January 26, 2016
AOL on Monday announced that it has agreed to purchase AlephD as it ramps up efforts to boost its key assets: its global content brands, millennial-focused over-the-top content, original video content, and programmatic advertising platforms. AlephD's algorithms focus on publisher analytics and price floor optimization. They let publishers control and optimize inventory pricing and packaging.
Execs Exit as Dorsey Works to Reshape Twitter
January 25, 2016
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Sunday announced that four executives have exited the company. Alex Roetter and Kevin Weil, who managed the engineering teams responsible for generating ads; Katie Stanton, who helped guide the international offices; and Skip Schipper, who oversaw HR and recruiting, all have departed. Roetter, Weil and Stanton each had been with Twitter for more than five years.
Android Is Download King, but iOS Reigns Over Revenues
January 23, 2016
Worldwide downloads of Android apps in 2015 were double those for iOS, but revenues from iOS apps were nearly twice those of Android, according to an App Annie report released this week. First-time device owners in emerging markets drove the huge increase in Android downloads, researchers found. "This growth opens up avenues for publishers to create new markets," the report says.
Foursquare Shifts Gears
January 16, 2016
Foursquare cofounder Dennis Crowley has assumed a new executive role, and the company has raised $45 million in a new round of funding led by Union Square Ventures. Crowley has moved from his perch as CEO into the newly created position of executive chairman, which will let him focus on developing new products. Jeff Glueck, who served as COO for the past year, has taken the CEO helm.
iAd Shakeup May Be in the Works
January 15, 2016
Apple is phasing out its iAd sales team and moving toward an automated system, according to news reports this week. Then-CEO Steve Jobs launched iAd six years ago to provide an alternative to existing mobile advertising platforms, but it never caught fire. Under the new iAd platform, publishers reportedly will be more easily able to sell directly through the platform.
Apple Loses Track of News App Traffic
January 13, 2016
Apple this week revealed that technical difficulties with its News app have led the company to underestimate usage figures for the more than 100 publications offering content through the software. The company discovered an error in the app that's resulted in underestimating the number of readers using the software, according to Apple's Eddy Cue, who said the company is fixing the problem.
Periscope's Live Streams Now Pop Up in Tweets
January 13, 2016
Periscope on Tuesday announced integration with Twitter, allowing users to view its live-stream broadcasts directly in the Twitter iOS app. Previously, Periscope broadcasters could share only links to their videocasts in tweets. Now they can embed video directly into tweets, and the content can be set to autoplay. Periscope has more than 20 million user accounts, according to CEO Kayvon Beykpour.
Home Broadband Use Falls as Consumers Go Mobile
January 4, 2016
A recent Pew Research Center study found that adoption of traditional high-speed Internet in the U.S. has fallen to 67 percent, the lowest level since 2012. More consumers were using mobile phones, the study found. Thirteen percent of respondents said they were smartphone-only customers, compared with 8 percent in 2013. Fifteen percent said they have cut the cord on cable and satellite TV.
Mozilla Launches Free Ad Blocker for iOS 9
December 9, 2015
Mozilla on Monday launched Focus by Firefox, a free ad blocker for Safari users on iOS 9. It lets users block the same trackers blocked by Private Browsing with Tracking Protection in Firefox for the Windows, Mac, Linux and Android platforms. The protection is based on Disconnect's open source block list. Focus by Firefox doesn't work with Firefox.
Google Updates Android for Web Lite
December 3, 2015
Google on Monday announced an update to Data Saver mode in Chrome on Android designed to make loading Web pages on a slow wireless connection easier. The update will remove most images when loading a page on a slow connection, reducing data consumption by up to 70 percent, Google claimed. After a page has loaded, users can tap to show all images or just the ones they want.
How to Go Viral: E-Commerce Marketing Strategies
December 1, 2015
Once you've started your e-commerce business, one of the first steps toward success is to get the word out about your products. With all the different social media and other platforms available, however, effective marketing is more complex than ever. It's important to have a balanced and far-reaching strategy -- one that's just as focused on reaching long-term goals as it is on going viral.
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