The triumph of a whistleblower, getting dangerously close to Orwell's vision, Playboy strips out the photos, open unhappiness at PepsiCo, Twitter's new executive chairman lacks tweets, Buy directly from Facebook, YouTube's subscriptions are coming, Uber strike, local delivery via Amazon, WNYC's podcating venture, diversification matters for movie studios, detecting sarcasm with machines, the password may be getting replaced, the effect of maximum phone, our weekly trivia challenge, the podcast of the week an opportunity from our sponsor and more, it's The Week in Digital.
A roundup of relevant links affecting our industry.
Each Monday we publish a newsletter that includes a series of links about current events and trends in the worlds of technology, business, digital communications and marketing in order to keep leaders up to date on changes, newsworthy items and content that might be useful in your job. A new issue is available every Monday morning. Please subscribe to keep up to date on developments.
News items are in regular text; additional commentary has been added in italics.
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Live video preview of The Week in Digital newsletter – October 18, 2015
Posted by Scott Monty on Sunday, October 18, 2015
- Once again, we return to the topic of ethics. Sniply, Peeple, ad blocking and click fraud have been our topics in the previous four weeks. And while those have been about using technology in a way that it perhaps was not intended, now we come to fraud.
- Last year, Scott Stratten called out Bell Canada [read it - it's an amazing story] for using its own employees to boost the ratings and reviews of its mobility app. Canada's Competition Bureau has levied a $1.25 million fine against the telco for its deceptive behavior.
- Amazon is suing 1,114 individual reviewers who make themselves available for hire. My naivety is exposed: I had no idea you could hire freelancers to fake reviews for you.
- We were trained to understand that "seeing is believing." But in an era when anyone can change the facts with a few keystrokes, just what is real? Does objectivity still have a place in our ever-morphing world? And what does that mean for historians? Ike Piggot takes a deep dive into a subject first broached by George Orwell in 1984.
- You probably could have seen this coming, but iconic men's magazine Playboy is doing away with nude photos, saying that the Internet meets demand. Insert your own supply-and-demand joke here. I'm glad to know I'm finally justified in saying I read it only for the articles.
- If you'd like to lay bare your interest in reading, check out Longform's collection of some of the best articles from Playboy over the years.
- In order to retain advertisers, magazines are promising advertisers their money back if ads fail to deliver. So that's why Playboy is nixing its photos...
- A PepsiCo executive isn't too thrilled with the ad agency world, complaining about complacency, outdated methods and global alignment. One has to wonder whether he's talking about agencies in general or Pepsico's agencies.
- The 6% of the U.S. population that are cord-cutters shouldn't stress out cable companies; it's the cord-nevers that are of concern. This includes 7% of the U.S. population.
- Out-of-home might seem outdated; it's anything but. In 2015, some 40% of OOH is digital content. The possibilities of offline-to-online continue to grow.
Trivia question: Pakistani entrepreneurs launched Uber for ________ last week. Fill in the blank.*
- Twitter has a new executive chairman: Omid Kordestani, the 11th employee of Google. Some think that his lack of tweeting is a detriment; on the contrary, it may be exactly the type of fresh leadership that the company needs.
- In a frank and refreshingly honest email, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that up to 8% of the company's employees would be laid off.
- Web users will be able to upload video directly to Twitter and mobile users can record a video directly in the app.
- What's killing Twitter? The same thing that's killing the rest of the social web. Namely, people.
- Shopping and Facebook are getting even more intertwined. A new ad experience called Canvas will allow users to browse and purchase products in-app through a Buy button. Expect this to be a major driver for Facebook to continue to prove its ad effectiveness.
- One of the biggest challenges in e-commerce is attribution. But most solutions look at how channels are related rather than how consumers are related. Facebook may have the solution for the current gap in family attribution.
- The Notify app is yet another weapon in Facebook's news arsenal, as it continues to build relationships with news outlets, publishers and a news-hungry user base.
- Facebook's On This Day can bring up painful memories for individuals who have lost a loved one or faced a tragic circumstance. After listening to feedback, Facebook created a new filter that allows users to remove the nostalgia that hurts them.
- While Messenger may seem terribly simple, it is Facebook's key to so much more.
- Facebook is going head-to-head with YouTube as Facebook video will offer video suggestions, a floating screen and a dedicated video feed.
- And YouTube is going up against Netflix as some of its videos will only be available through its subscription service. Expect to learn about the programming this week at YouTube's October 21 event.
- If you haven't been paying attention to YouTube stars, you need to be. The top earners made seven to eight figures last year. And they have tens of millions of loyal subscribers.
- Pinterest expects its revenue to increase by nearly 20X by 2018. With over 7 billion pinned places, local merchants could play an important role in that.
- Just last week we shared a link that opined that Instagram was still doing well because brands haven't ruined it yet. This week, we have a complaint that Instagram's standards for brand ads are getting lax. That didn't take long.
- Why I Unfollowed You on Instagram is less about the platform and more about the need to have an intelligent interest-based feed rather than one based on individuals. Isn't that what the hashtag is for?
- A group of Uber drivers calling themselves UBER Freedom chose to strike over the weekend, calling for the addition of a tip option on the app, a 60% increase in UberX fares and an increase in the minimum fare.
- They might want to try Lyft, which is offering perks for its drivers, such as gas discounts, optional tips, and a direct deposit option.
- Stuck in an Uber while the game is on? No worries. Uber and AT&T are pairing up to offer streaming college football games in vehicles.
- UberRush is a local merchant delivery program that is official in New York City and is expanding to Chicago and San Francisco. It already faces competition from incumbents like Deliv and now Amazon has launched Flex, its package delivery service. This will be the ultimate test of Uber's logistics capabilities as they try to coordinate deliveries with ride hailing.
- Sometimes, you need something different. Like the new ride-hailing service Schlep.
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- WNYC is opening its own podcast division. The NPR powerhouse will now no longer rely solely on NPR for distribution, but will have a solid set of its own shows going out via the web. They'll be able to retain talent and attract a loyal core group of listeners as well.
- Spotify rival Deezer is raising $343 million as it plans its IPO in France. Audio — particularly streaming audio — is big business.
- New feature: our Podcast Recommendation of the Week. This week, check out WNYC's own Radiolab, a podcast weaving stories and science into sound and music-rich documentaries. Do you have a podcast recommendation for us? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts
- Warner Bros. is having trouble with the financial performance of some of its movies; its videogame division however, is raking in the money. Studios — as well as many diversified companies — are wise to consider where else they might apply their franchises.
- You say "content marketing," but are you actually referring to advertising? See what the godfather of content marketing has to say about it.
- The best-kept secret of content marketing isn't marketing at all.
- Publish or perish is as true in the content marketing and social world as in academia.
- While 53% of U.S. consumers feel there's too much content online compared to five years ago, a clear majority have doubts as to the authenticity of that content. Ref: trust, ethics above.
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Disclosure: affiliate link
Metrics / Measurement / Data
- One of the most difficult things to measure online is sarcasm. It's a very human trait and even with machine learning, it's difficult for an automated process to detect. Bloomberg is working with Cornell University to productize sarcasm detection under the Cornell Tech Challenge. Yeah, that'll work.
- Using metrics to help align your PR and sales efforts.
- If you're using video, you'd probably like to know how your video efforts are performing. Google's Brand Lift is one way to go about it.
- Engagement rates are down; you might want to be sure you're measuring the right KPIs.
- Twitter suspended the DeadSpin and SBNation Twitter accounts last week for violating copyrights of the National Football League. Their offense? They shared animated GIFs of game highlights and the NFL filed over a dozen DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown notices. But who is in the right here? Journalistic use of content should fall under the concept of fair use, and shutting down an entire news outlet is a drastic measure.
- You probably heard that Dell is buying EMC for $67 billion. But at the same time, they're spinning out their cybersecurity unit in an IPO, giving IBM some competition.
- Yahoo! is doing away with passwords for Yahoo Mail. Instead, they'll be using a feature called Account Key that will tie your email address to your smartphone. Don't have a smartphone? You're out of luck. In every way.
- If you don't have a smartphone, odds are you have a face. Facial recognition is another valid form of identification, and MasterCard says that within five years, selfies will kill off passwords. Great. Now can someone invent something that will kill off selfies?
* Answer to the trivia question above:
- Pakistani entrepreneurs introduced Uber for rickshaws. I can only imagine the planning that went into this.
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- Phones are an essential part of our everyday lives. But how much is too much?
- If you have teenagers, you might want to share this with them. Compulsive texting might be indicative of (or causing) other issues such as lower grades, memory issues, anxiety, and general attention issues.
- And if they don't care to listen to you about their grades, perhaps they'd like to take a look at the effect of too much screen time on their posture — known as "text neck."
- One photographer edited smartphones out of these photos. The effect of shared solitude is eerie.
- Industrial giant GE has evolved into a digital powerhouse. In this interview with CEO Jeff Immelt, he explains how GE has considered its digital future.
- If you're traveling for any reason, you might want to check out the Westin Out of Office Generator.
- The Social Brand Forum in Iowa City, IA wrapped up on Friday, and it had some top-notch speakers, including Mitch Joel, Amber Naslund, Tom Webster, Mark Schaefer, Justine Jordan, Laura Fitton, Tim Washer and Tamsen Webster. Orchestrated under the capable and enthusiastic leadership of Nick Westergaard, many of the talks centered around to the very fundamentals of marketing and communications that we may have lost sight of, thanks to the wonders of technology. And Seth Sparks provided this fine wrap up video:
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I advise agencies and brands to help them improve their corporate and digital acumen. Please get in touch if you'd like to put my experience and digital smarts to work on a project, to consult with your group, or to address an audience at your next corporate or industry event.
Image credit: Wolf Gang (Flickr)