In an inexplicable move, Facebook is now facilitating and allowing its advertisers to use racial profiling in targeting their ads. They say it’s so that advertisers have the ability to exclude race groups as they test their marketing.
If you have noticed that ads from Facebook (not for Facebook, from Facebook) are now showing up in apps on your phone or tablet, you’re not alone. Facebook announced the ‘Audience Network’ (FAN) in 2014, which is a way for advertisers on Facebook to extend their reach (and their ads) into non-Facebook apps, and it seems that more and more app-makers are serving up these ads in their apps in order to generate advertising revenue.
Google announced yesterday that they have started putting sponsored images in their Google image search results. By allowing Adwords advertisers to put image ads in the Google image search results, Google says that it is a new way “to be there and be useful for mobile shoppers.”
We’ve all seen them – there are all sorts of ads for scams on Facebook, and all sorts of scammy ads and false advertising on Facebook (such as the ones suggesting a famous actress such as Betty White or Judi Dench has died). In fact, for many of us, not a day goes by that we don’t see some ridiculous ad on Facebook and think “How can Facebook let them get away with that ad?” In part it’s because Facebook relies on people reporting scammy ads to Facebook. So here’s how to report ads on Facebook.
Behavioral advertising, also known as behavioral targeting or behavioral marketing, is when an advertiser or advertising server hooks into the data that is stored by your browser or app, to serve you interested based ads. These things tell the advertisers and networks things such as what searches you recently conducted, what sites you visited, etc.. Behavioral advertising is increasingly being used by advertisers and their publishers (Facebook just announced they are using behavioral advertising), and consumers are becoming increasingly concerned for their privacy. So how can you opt-out of behavioral advertising?
If they are to be believed, Tumbledown Trails golf course was trying to do the right thing when they offered a special 9/11 discount to their golf course in Verona, Wisconsin. But, they clearly went about it in the wrong way, and the wrath they incurred has apparenty led to their taking their Facebook page down.
Google is yet again finding themselves in hot water as the Federal Trade Commission is poised to slap them with an antitrust lawsuit. The FTC staff recommendation for the antitrust lawsuit is not unexpected given the swift investigations of Google by California, New York, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas. On top of the U.S. investigation, there is also an antitrust investigation of Google taking place in Europe.
Perhaps iOS 6’s Mapplegate was simply meant to be a great distraction from the fact that Apple is now covertly tracking users through IFA (or IDFA) tracking technology with the iOS 6 update. While Apple had disabled the tracking of iPhone users by advertisers by disallowing app developers from using the data from Apple devices through the unique serial number permanently assigned to each device, it seems that iOS 6 has brought tracking back.
With the announcement that they are introducing, “expecting a baby,” as a life event option for parents-to-be, Facebook is once again proving that they have mastered the art of capitalizing on their users’ lives. And in true Facebook fashion, they claim that, no, this is just another thoughtful tool for excited expectant parents to share their overwhelming joy with their loved ones…but that perhaps they will consider using it for advertising at a later date.
You knew that Facebook uses you in their advertising, right? Those sidebar advertisements (so called “sponsored stories”) where you often see your friends featured – “So and so likes this advertiser” – they do that with your likeness too. We have often ranted about it – now someone is doing something about it: In the case of Fraley v. Facebook plaintiff Fraley and others are suing Facebook in a class action suit, and the Federal court has approved Fraley versus Facebook moving forward. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh agreed that there was a chance that the plaintiffs could win their case based on claims that Facebook has committed fraud, and violated California law with unauthorized use of their image and name, in using Facebook friends’ images and names in advertising displayed in the Facebook sidebar.
Amazon has announced a new, cheaper, reduced-price Amazon Kindle. The new ad-supported Kindle with Special Offers, as it is known, is identical in hardware to the wifi Kindle – in fact it is a wi-fi Kindle, only it displays advertising along the bottom of the home screen, along with “sponsored screensavers” (which users get to help pick using Amazon’s ‘Hot or Not’ style Admash. In exchange for letting Amazon have your eyeballs in this distinctly Google-esque manner, you get your wireless Kindle with ads for $25.00 less – $114.00 instead of $139.00. Worth it?
At this point in your Internet life, it should hopefully come as no great shock that Google watches just about everything you do on the Internet, and one way that they do that is with the cookies that they’ve planted in your browser (in fact if you use both Google and Facebook, it’s a good bet that very little that you do online isn’t being tracked by one or the other, if not both). This includes a tracking cookie that Google has ‘helpfully’ given you for Google ads (that advertising by Google that is known as Adsense to website visitors and publishers, and Adwords to the advertisers who advertise in those ads by Google). based on what they perceive to be your preferences. Interestingly, Google also gives you a way to modify the information in that cookie, so that Google can show you more advertising that you ‘want’ (for some value of want).
In addition to the new iPhone 4 being announced this week, Apple released a new free update to its web browser, Safari. The new Safari 5, for both Mac and Windows, offers a few new features, but none as interesting – or as controversial – as the new Safari “Reader” view or, if you will, Reader function. The new Safari 5 Reader button instantly strips out nearly everything on the page that isn’t part of the article you are reading – ads, external links, pop-ups – everything – and gives you a view of whatever you are reading that has only the content text, and any attendant images or videos.
Imagine our surprise today when, while checking out Slashdot’s RSS feeds (or, as those in the biz like to call it, /. ) we noted a full-colour advertisement exhorting us to check our credit score, and another for Tek Systems. In fact, there is now an advertisement along with every story summary in the Slashdot RSS feed – ads for penny stocks, even ads for Google Chrome.
Facebook has been in the news quite a bit lately (stay tuned for our upcoming story on the woman who was arrested for poking someone on Facebook!), and there is increasing awareness over just how intrusive and invading of their users’ privacy many of their money-making practices are, such as using their users (you and your Facebook friends) in their Facebook advertising. Here’s a real-life example of someone being used in Facebook ads, and information on how to opt out and stop Facebook from doing it to you.