Tag Archives: legal

Want More TV-Style Ads? Facebook Has Got Your Back!

Imagine you are checking your Facebook news feed and there before your very eyes is a video ad just like the kind you skip over when DVRing your favorite TV shows. Wouldn’t that be neat?!

Well, according to a report from Bloomberg this reality may not be far off and if the numbers quoted are accurate, advertisers will be paying a pretty penny (actually up to $2.5m worth of pennies) to get in your feed. Now let’s remember kids, Facebook is free to the commoners so don’t gripe too loud.

The Bloomberg report tells us

Facebook Inc. (FB), seeking to break the long-held dominance of television over advertising budgets, plans to sell TV-style commercials on its site for as much as $2.5 million a day, two people familiar with the matter said.

The world’s largest social-networking site, which has 1.15 billion members, expects to start offering 15-second spots to advertisers later this year, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the plans aren’t public.

As with many of the new ways to advertise, I have two very distinct reactions. The first is as a Facebook user and anything that clutters up an increasingly cluttered news feed even more is met with a sigh and the recognition that it’s a free service. This is then followed by the question “Would I pay, say, $5 per month to have an ad free Facebook?”. Mileage varies on that one.

The other reaction I have is as a marketer and that one says at up to $2.5m per day, I will be writing about these and not placing them. Not to mention, it is likely a good thing for large brand advertisers.

Facebook’s stock is finally getting back to its IPO levels (For now at least. Oh and how smart do those folks who bought a crap load of the stock at $19 look about right now?) so any new options it can put in the marketplace to increase ad revenue is going to help investors get more comfortable. This means increased investment activity and more money to continue to build and refine Facebook for the future.

The Bloomberg piece continues

While the social network already allows advertisers to upload videos to their Facebook page and then broadcast them to a user’s news feed, the new service would let marketers buy their way directly into a person’s feed with a 15-second pitch, according to the people. That’s typically the minimum length of a television commercial.

At 15 seconds, the ads also would be the same length as Facebook’s Instagram videos — a feature that was added to the company’s photo-sharing service last month. That means the commercials would come in a familiar format for users.

Facebook members won’t see a commercial more than three times in a given day, the people said. Depending on how large an audience an advertiser plans to reach, the ads will range in price from $1 million to about $2.5 million a day, according to the people.

In total, the plan is to have these ads take up about 5% of a user’s news feed. Small ‘price to pay’?

So like the idea, hate the idea or be indifferent to the idea, it’s coming. What’s your take?

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Want More TV-Style Ads? Facebook Has Got Your Back!

More than Half of All Showroomers End Up Buying at Amazon

Unless you’re buying a puppy or a car, it’s kind of hard to beat Amazon, isn’t it? If you want it, you can find it there and usually it’s cheaper than buying it anywhere else. You can even buy used media items and save even more money! So it’s no surprise that 57% of showroomers ended up shopping at Amazon.

Let’s dig into this chart from a recent Harris Poll.

They asked showroomers: “which online retailer do you most frequently purchase from after visiting a brick and mortar store?”

showrooming table

Looking at the left side of this chart, there’s no competition. Literally.  The right side of the chart intrigues me but I’m not sure I’m reading it right.

  • 66% of Best Buy showroomers ended up buying from Amazon. Yes?
  • 72% of Target showroomers ended up buying from Amazon.

If that’s correct then it’s no wonder retailers are crying about the concept. Drop down and look at the Best Buy line. 12% of in-store shoppers bought from Best Buy online – that’s an okay trade off. The local store manager wouldn’t agree but at least the money stayed in the family. But all the other numbers show that there’s not much use for cross shopping the major stores.

Even eBay fails the showrooming test.  But how can there be “ebay showroomers?” Maybe I am reading this chart wrong. Someone help!

Here are the facts straight from Harris:

  •    Men prefer showrooming at Best Buy over Wal-Mart or Target (28%, 19% and 10%, respectively)
  •    Women’s first showrooming destination is Wal-Mart (23%), followed by Best Buy (17%) and Target (14%)
  •    Men’s average spend the last time they showroomed ($210.10) is significantly higher than women’s ($137.10)

amazon price checkSo how do you stop the showrooming leakage? 57%  of showroomers said they’d be more likely to buy in-store if the store price matched. It can be a tough cut to take but it beats losing the customer altogether.

I’d like to pause a moment for my true life customer rant of the week. I had to get a smog check on my car and while I waited, I browsed the automotive store and found a bright red iPad case for only $14.99. I’ve been looking for a bright case to replace my black one for awhile but they can be very pricy. I considered it fate and grabbed the only one left on the shelf. (Why are they selling iPad cases at an automotive store?) I was about to pay when I noticed that someone put their greasy automotive fingers through the “feel me” hole on the packaging, leaving behind a black smudge that wouldn’t come off. Obviously why the case was the only one left on the rack. I asked the manager if he’d take a little off the price because of the damage and he refused. He said it was “brand new” so he couldn’t mark it down.

Hmm. . . what does new have to do with it? It’s damaged and it’s obviously been sitting on the shelf because of it. Wouldn’t you rather sell it for $2 off than not sell it at all? Who is going to pay full price for a damaged case? He literally spoke to me like I was a criminal for asking. I left without buying and he lost a customer. Really? And you wonder why people buy online?

Rant over. Here are the reasons why people will purchase in-store rather than online:

  • Being able to take the item home immediately (86%)
  • Taking advantage of sales in store vs. prices online (84%)
  • Ability to touch and feel item (83%)
  • Not having to deal with the hassles of returning online such as paying for shipping and/or having to pack item (83%)

And having a manager who is interesting in keeping the customer happy helps, too.

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More than Half of All Showroomers End Up Buying at Amazon

Yahoo to Email Subscribers: Upgrade or Get Out

yahoo mailYahoo is in the news once again (is that a good thing or a bad thing) thanks to a mouthy mandate for all Yahoo Mail users: upgrade to the new version with personalized advertising or get out.

To be fair, everything Yahoo posts sounds more urgent and stringent because of all those exclamation points, but it’s hard to misinterpret this paragraph:

Other Options

If you don’t want to use the new Yahoo! Mail, you may consider these other options:

Download your Yahoo! Mail using IMAP: (instructions omitted)
Close your account: Learn how to close your account.

What? No “we’re sorry to see you go” or plea to give them another chance? Maybe they’re just not all that worried because of this:

You cannot just delete a single Yahoo! product. You will lose access, data, and settings for all Yahoo! ID associated with the closed account – This includes all messages in Yahoo! Mail and any personalization made in Yahoo! Mobile, and any other area of Yahoo! which can only be accessed with your Yahoo! ID and password.

As you can see from the image on this post, I don’t use my Yahoo! Mail account so it’s filled with spam posts. I do use my Yahoo login for other sites. Originally it was for Yahoo Groups which, sadly, have fallen to the wayside. I also use it to log in to some other system I use regularly but I can’t remember what. I’m sure if I delete my account, the answer to that question will become clear and I’ll be out of luck.

Better to just do as I’m told:

Beginning the week of June 3, 2013, older versions of Yahoo! Mail (including Yahoo! Mail Classic) will no longer be available. After that, you can access your Yahoo! Mail only if you upgrade to the new version. You should have received an email from Yahoo! letting you know that your account required an upgrade.

Actually, I didn’t see an email, so maybe I’m already upgraded. It’s hard to tell. So what happens next?

When you upgrade, you will be accepting our Communications Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. This includes the acceptance of automated content scanning and analyzing of your communications content, which Yahoo! uses to deliver product features, relevant advertising, and abuse protection.

If you prefer to opt out of interest-based and contextual-based advertising resulting from your scanned and analyzed communications content, you can change your settings at any time using our Ad Interest Manager.

This is what Gmail does, right? It scans my messages to find keywords then serves up relevant ads. I’m okay with that but I can see where others wouldn’t be. These kinds of systems are often misunderstood. My feeling is, if I have to see ads, I’d rather see ones that I’m interested in. And sometimes the choices are really amusing.

If you go through with the upgrade, you can still opt out or change your preferences. Here’s what that looks like:

ad management

In order to opt-out, you have to have cookies enabled. Does that mean, if I do one of those clean computer sweeps where I clear cookies, it switches back? I wonder how many people do that without realizing it?

In the big picture, this Yahoo! Mail shift is nothing major. It’s simply bringing the product in line with Gmail. Actually, Yahoo! Mail looks nicer and handles better than Gmail and yet I find myself reluctant to switch. I guess that’s a subject for my next therapy session.

How about you? Are you still using Yahoo! Mail for anything but as a junk mail collection point? And are you prepared to upgrade without a fight?

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Yahoo to Email Subscribers: Upgrade or Get Out

A British Court Finds Tweet Libelous, Leaving Others to Wonder, “Really?!”

LegalScaleandBooksA recent ruling in a British court should make a few people nervous about what they are saying about others on Twitter.

Actually, it shouldn’t because even though the case was ruled that a particular tweet was indeed libelous when you look at the situation through an American point of view you wonder what in the world the judge was thinking.

The situation as reported by Digital Media Law looks like this

A British judge’s decision that a tweet by Sally Bercow (wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow) libeled Lord Robert Alistair McAlpine (former Deputy Chairman and Party Treasurer of the Conservative Party and an aide to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) shows — if anyone still had doubts — that tweets can indeed be libelous. In doing so, the ruling provides a good model for analyzing Twitter posts to determine whether they are defamatory.

The case stemmed from a Nov. 2, 2012, BBC report on alleged sexual abuse at a foster care home in Wales in the 1970s and 1980s. A victim of the abuse alleged that one the abusers was a “leading Conservative from the time.” The abuser was also referred to as “a leading Conservative politician from the Thatcher years,” “a senior public figure,” “a shadowy figure of high political standing,” and “a prominent Tory politician at the time.” While the BBC report did not name the alleged abuser, the identity of the alleged abuser was leaked to the political editor of Britain’s Channel 4, who tweeted that the alleged abuser — also without identification — denied the claims.

But speculation was rampant on social media, with many naming Lord McAlpine as the alleged abuser. Bercow’s tweet, “Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*,” was sent two days after the BBC report aired.

I am not a lawyer, and yet again not having stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, I shouldn’t have an opinion here but it’s hard not to. First, the crime is heinous. There is no other way to describe it even being spared the details.

That aside though the situation quickly escalated and speculation on social media hype machine rolled on unimpeded. In the end, however, the speculation was wrong. The finger had been pointed at the wrong man. Jobs were lost and ultimately the tweet from Ms. Bercow was found to be libelous by the British court system.

So what’s the big deal? Well, there needed to be a lot of ‘filling in the blanks’ to reach this kind of verdict. Be honest; you read worse, or even posted worse, yourself, right?! If we are being honest many of us can admit falling short of the ideal of social media etiquette on some days. Is this kind of statement really libelous? It’s a big jump as far as I can tell. The tweet alone makes no sense unless you cobble together the context which is what the court did but even then the ruling seems ridiculous.

Greg Sterling of Marketing Land puts it this way

Perhaps the most incredible thing about this ruling is that it takes into account facts and information that the tweet impliedly refers to without stating directly (the BBC program and its implications as well as others’ social media speculations about the sex offender’s identity). Thus, the broader “context” of a tweet becomes a basis for a finding of defamation as much as the language of the tweet itself.

As unfortunate as the ruling may be, it’s consistent with the history of UK (and broader European) law that protects reputation at the expense of other values, such as speech. Twitter was not a party to the lawsuit.

So what’s the point here? The point is that you need to tread lightly in the world of social media. There are probably more cutthroat lawyers that are licking their chops to set up situations to make this kind of thing happen with the intent of cashing in on a ruling or two. (If you want to insert your favorite lawyer joke here feel free)

So where are the boundaries? If this is one of the bars being set it is pretty low. I’m not saying this would fly in the US but you never know. If there is one thing one can never do in the online world is assume an outcome of any kind. If you do you know what happens when you assume, right?

What’s your take? Is this something you would view as libelous or is it simply in bad taste or none of the above?

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A British Court Finds Tweet Libelous, Leaving Others to Wonder, “Really?!”

The WSJ Increases Subscriber Stickiness with New Social Network

contentLate last week, News Corp addressed investors with a slide presentation that outlines the future of their massive content network. Their overall plan for success is to create great content, make it available across a dozen different platforms, then sell it for a reasonable price. Sounds simple when you put it that way.

Since 52% of the company’s revenue comes from advertising, the real secret is making properties such as The Wall Street Journal sticky. And how much do you love that term?

The plan, is to turn The Wall Street Journal into a destination for business men and women. Not just a place to read the news, but a place to network, exchange ideas and even store personal information.

The first piece of the puzzle was a section called My Portfolio. This app lets WSJ subscribers track their investments and get relevant news all on the same page. It’s an excellent example of how to personalize global content.

my portfolio

The next piece is a social network to rival LinkedIn.

wsj social

Subscribers will have their own profile page which links them to customers with similar interests. The site will be designed to encourage social sharing and conversation. It’s hard to see in this image but the profile page includes sections for Work Experience, Affiliations, Awards, Education and Contact Information. A the bottom is a custom news feed and tabs for My Research, My Portfolio, My Blog and My Recommendations.

There’s also a “Chat” button that presumably leads to an instant messaging system. Beneath that are comments people have left on the profile.

Looking at this, I wonder when we stopped calling these things forums and started calling them social networks. The main difference is the focus. Social networks start with a person and ideas radiate and bounce back from there. Forums start with an idea (a thread) and people come in to leave their a opinions. Both are about connecting people who are interested in the same things and both are about conversation but social networks are more about the “me, me, me.” Or am I off base?

Look, the Internet doesn’t need another massive social network, but I still think this is a good plan. If they can get it rolling, it will increase time on site and in turn increase ad dollars. As a side benefit, consumers might find a new boss, a mentor or a soul mate. That’s nice.

Do I think WSJ is going to put LinkedIn out of business? No. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.


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The WSJ Increases Subscriber Stickiness with New Social Network