Firefox

Ads Based On Browsing History Are Coming To All Firefox Users 526

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-what-you-wanted dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla has announced plans to launch a feature called "Suggested Tiles," which will provide sponsored recommendations to visit certain websites when other websites show up in the user's new tab page. The tiles will begin to show up for beta channel users next week, and the company is asking for feedback. For testing purposes, users will only see Suggested Tiles "promoting Firefox for Android, Firefox Marketplace, and other Mozilla causes." It's not yet known what websites will show up on the tiles when the feature launches later this summer. The company says, "With Suggested Tiles, we want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting users’ privacy and giving them control over their data."
Microsoft

Microsoft Study Finds Technology Hurting Attention Spans 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-does-what-now? dept.
jones_supa writes: Conducting both surveys and EEG scans, Microsoft has published a study suggesting that the average attention span has fallen precipitously since the start of the century. While people could focus on a task for 12 seconds back in 2000, that figure dropped to 8 seconds in 2013 (about one second less than a goldfish). Reportedly, a lot of that reduction stems from a combination of smartphones and an avalanche of content. The study found also a sunny side: while presence of technology is hurting attention spans overall, it also appears to improve person's abilities to both multitask and concentrate in short bursts.
Advertising

European Telecoms May Block Mobile Ads, Spelling Trouble For Google 198

Posted by timothy
from the scrabble-will-still-show-their-ads-to-me-I-bet dept.
Mark Wilson has news that may have a big impact on both advertisers and end-users who use their phones as portals to ad-supported websites. Several European telecom providers are apparently planning to use ad-blocking software at the data-center level, which would mean benefit for users (in the form of less obnoxious advertising, and less data being eaten by it) but quite a pickle for online advertisers, and sites that rely on advertising revenue. From BetaNews's article (based on this Financial Times article, paywalled): Talking to the Financial Times, one wireless carrier said that the software had been installed at its data centers and could be enabled by the end of the year. With the potential to automatically block most ads on web pages and within apps, the repercussion of the ad boycott could be huge as mobile providers try to wrestle control from the likes of Google. I just wish my mobile provider would start testing this out, too.
Censorship

Douglas Williams Pleads Guilty To Training Customers To Beat Polygraph 245

Posted by timothy
from the but-antipolygraph-is-still-up dept.
For quite a while, we've been following the case of Douglas Gene Williams, accused of and indicted for teaching people to pass polygraph tests that they might otherwise have been unable to, and for the claims he made in advertising this training -- and specifically for showing his techniques to some undercover Federal agents. Now, reports Ars Technica, Williams has pleaded guilty to five charges of obstruction of justice and mail fraud. From the article: Williams isn't the first person prosecuted for these type of allegations. An Indiana man was accused of offering similar services and was sentenced in 2013 to eight months in prison. The judge presiding over the case said the case blended a "gray area" of First Amendment speech and the unlawful act of instructing people to lie on polygraph tests issued by the federal government. Williams' site, Polygraph.com, is now defunct.
America Online

Closing This Summer: Verizon To Scoop Up AOL For $4.4 Billion 153

Posted by timothy
from the millions-to-slam dept.
MojoKid writes with this excerpt from Hot Hardware: We learned this weekend that AOL's dial-up business still has over 2 million customers who pay on average just under $21 per month for service. Regardless of how strange that seems to those of us that salivate over the prospects of gigabit Internet, folks are still clinging to 56k modems are adding millions to AOL's bottom line. However, also recall that AOL has a massive digital advertising platform with a heavy focus on the mobile sector and also owns a wealth of popular web destinations including Engadget, TechCrunch, and The Huffington Post. With this in mind, it shouldn't be too surprising that Verizon has offered AOL a marriage proposal. Verizon is acquiring AOL for an estimated $50 per share, which brings the total value of the transaction to $4.4 billion. Here are stories from The New York Times, NBC News, and NPR on the proposed sale, which it's worth noting isn't yet final, and is subject to regulatory approval.
Patents

Brainwave-Reading Patents Spike On Increase In Commercial Mind-Reading Apps 29

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-out-of-my-brain dept.
smaxp writes: Consumer market researcher Nielsen leads the pack, with patents describing ways to detect brain activity with EEG and translate it into what someone truly thinks about, say, a new product, advertising, or packaging. Microsoft Corp. holds patents that assess mental states, with the goal of determining the most effective way to present information. "Neurotech has gone well beyond medicine, with non-medical corporations, often under the radar, developing neurotechnologies to enhance work and life," said SharpBrains Chief Executive Alvaro Fernandez at the NeuroGaming conference in San Francisco.
Privacy

Researchers Detect Android Apps That Connect to User Tracking and Ad Sites 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-track-me-bro dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A group of European researchers has developed software that tracks the URLs to which cellphone apps connect. After downloading 2,000+ free apps from Google Play, they indexed all the sites those apps connected to, and compared them to a list of known advertising and user tracking sites. "In total, the apps connect to a mind-boggling 250,000 different URLs across almost 2,000 top level domains. And while most attempt to connect to just a handful of ad and tracking sites, some are much more prolific. Vigneri and co give as an example "Music Volume Eq," an app designed to control volume, a task that does not require a connection to any external urls. And yet the app makes many connections. 'We find the app Music Volume EQ connects to almost 2,000 distinct URLs,' they say. [Another major offender] is an app called Eurosport Player which connects to 810 different user tracking sites." The researchers plan to publish their software for users to try out on Google Play soon.
Businesses

Recruiters Use 'Digital Native' As Code For 'No Old Folks' 553

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-off-my-lawn dept.
bizwriter writes: Companies are trying to get around Equal Employment Opportunity Commission restrictions on age-discriminatory language (like "recent college graduate") by saying that they want "digital natives." So far, no one has complained to the EEOC, but that could change. "Since the 1990s dotcom boom, many employers have openly sought to hire young, tech savvy talent, believing that was necessary to succeed in the new digital economy. At the same time, age discrimination complaints have spiraled upward, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with 15,785 claims filed in 1997 compared to 20,588 filed in 2014.

Out of the 121 charges filed last year by the EEOC for alleged discriminatory advertising, 111 of them claimed the job postings discriminated against older applicants. The EEOC has said that using phrases like 'college student,' 'recent college graduate,' or 'young blood' violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1966. That federal law protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age."
Facebook

Facebook Wants to Skip the Off-Site Links, Host News Content Directly 51

Posted by timothy
from the a-few-seconds-a-few-seconds-there dept.
The Wall Street Journal, in a report also cited by The Next Web and others, reports that Facebook is to soon begin acting not just as a conduit for news links pasted onto users' timelines (and leading to articles hosted elsewhere) but also as a host for the articles themselves. From the WSJ article: To woo publishers, Facebook is offering to change its traditional revenue-sharing model. In one of the models under consideration, publishers would keep all of the revenue from ads they sell on Facebook-hosted news sites, the people familiar with the matter said. If Facebook sells the advertisement, it would keep roughly 30% of the revenue, as it does in many other cases. Another motivation for Facebook to give up some revenue: It hopes the faster-loading content will encourage users to spend more time on its network. It is unclear what format the ads might take, or if publishers will be able to place or measure the ads they sell within Facebook. It seems likely Facebook would want publishers to use its own advertising-technology products, such as Atlas and LiveRail, as opposed to those offered by rivals such as Google Inc.
Security

CareerBuilder Cyberattack Delivers Malware Straight To Employers 48

Posted by timothy
from the where-it-hurts dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Security threat researchers Proofpoint have uncovered an email-based phishing attack which infected businesses with malware via the CareerBuilder online job search website. The attack involved the hacker browsing job adverts across the platform and uploading malicious files during the application process, titling the documents "resume.doc" and "cv.doc." Once the CV was submitted, an automatic email notification was sent to the business advertising the position, along with the uploaded document. In this case, Proofpoint found that as a business opens the automatic email from CareerBuilder to view the attached file the document plays on a known Word vulnerability to sneak a malicious code onto the victim's computer. According to the threat research group, the manual attack technique although time-consuming has a higher success rate than automated tools as the email attachments are more likely to be opened by the receiver.
Television

Conde Nast To Announce VR Series 12

Posted by samzenpus
from the more-real-than-real dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Lifestyle and fashion publishing giant Conde Nast is planning to move into virtual reality in an effort to trial new marketing and advertising streams to attract digital consumers. The privately-owned company is expected to announce two new virtual reality series hosted by its TV and film division, Conde Nast Entertainment (CNE), at the Newfronts advertising and digital content showcase in New York tomorrow. The entertainment firm is not revealing much information on the shows that it is producing alongside virtual reality group Jaunt VR. However, it is thought that the series will follow a storytelling narrative – Conde Nast becoming one of the first publishing houses to use the technology in this format. The series will be aired on CNE's The Scene, a digital platform launched in 2014 to showcase video content from Conde Nast publications as well as media partners including BuzzFeed, Forbes, Variety and ABC News.
Advertising

German Court Rules Adblock Plus Is Legal 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the non-crazy-software-judgments dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Following a four-month trial, a German court in Hamburg has ruled that the practice of blocking advertising is perfectly legitimate. Germany-based Eyeo, the company that owns Adblock Plus, has won a case against German publishers Zeit Online and Handelsblatt. These companies operate Zeit.de, Handelsblatt.com, and Wiwo.de. Their lawsuit, filed on December 3, charged that Adblock Plus should not be allowed to block ads on their websites. While the decision is undoubtedly a big win for users today, it could also set a precedent for future lawsuits against Adblock Plus and any other tool that offers similar functions. The German court has essentially declared that users are legally allowed to control what happens on their screens and on their computers while they browse the Web.
Businesses

Twitter Moves Non-US Accounts To Ireland, and Away From the NSA 153

Posted by timothy
from the be-right-over-here-guys dept.
Mark Wilson writes Twitter has updated its privacy policy, creating a two-lane service that treats U.S. and non-U.S. users differently. If you live in the U.S., your account is controlled by San Francisco-based Twitter Inc, but if you're elsewhere in the world (anywhere else) it's handled by Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland. The changes also affect Periscope. What's the significance of this? Twitter Inc is governed by U.S. law; it is obliged to comply with NSA-driven court requests for data. Data stored in Ireland is not subject to the same obligation. Twitter is not alone in using Dublin as a base for non-U.S. operations; Facebook is another company that has adopted the same tactic. The move could also have implications for how advertising is handled in the future.
Google

EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-be-too-good-at-what-you-do dept.
Bruce66423 sends news that the European Union has decided to hit Google with antitrust charges that could lead to fines of over $6 billion. The EU has been investigating Google for five years now. "The European Commission has highlighted four main areas of concern in its investigation: potential bias in Google’s search results, scraping content from rival websites, agreements with advertisers that may exclude rival search-advertising services and contracts that limit marketers from using other platforms." They're also keeping an eye on Android-related business practices.
Businesses

IT Consultant Talks About 'Negotiating for Nerds' (Video) 61

Posted by Roblimo
from the paying-it-forward dept.
Matt Heusser did a Slashdot video interview back in 2013 titled How to Become an IT Expert Companies Seek Out and Pay Well. Despite noise from a few yammerheads about Matt getting 'free advertising' on Slashdot, which is unlikely since the vast majority of Slashdot users are more likely to compete with him than to hire him, most of the people who saw that video (or read the transcript) knew he was giving helpful advice to peers who might want to get out of the cubicle and work for themselves.

Today, Matt is with us again. This video is about 'Negotiating for Nerds.' Matt talks about negotiating a pay raise or consulting fee increase, starting with learning who has the actual power to negotiate with you. This is essential knowledge if you are employed (or self-employed) in IT and want to make sure you're getting all you are worth.
Businesses

New York State Spent Millions On Program For Startups That Created 76 Jobs 238

Posted by samzenpus
from the bang-for-your-buck dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes Last year, the New York state government launched Start-Up NY, a program designed to boost employment by creating tax-free zones for technology and manufacturing firms that partner with academic institutions. Things didn't go quite as planned. In theory, those tax-free zones on university campuses would give companies access to the best young talent and cutting-edge research, but only a few firms are actually taking the bait: According to a report from the state's Department of Economic Development, the program only created 76 jobs last year, despite spending millions of dollars on advertising and other costs. If that wasn't eyebrow-raising enough, the companies involved in the program have only invested a collective $1.7 million so far. The low numbers didn't stop some state officials from defending the initiative. "Given the program was only up and running for basically one quarter of a year," Andrew Kennedy, a senior economic development aide to Governor Cuomo, told Capital New York, "I think 80 jobs is a good number that we can stand behind."
Piracy

Nearly Half of Game of Thrones Season 5 Leaks Online 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the how-about-leaking-the-books-GRRM dept.
HughPickens.com writes Paul Tassi reports at Forbes that the first four episodes of the new season of "Game of Thrones", nearly half of the ten total episodes, have been leaked online to various torrent sites. The four episodes appeared to come from a screener sent to reviewers with the digital watermark blurred out and are in 480p video format, equivalent to standard-definition TV, not HD.The episodes have already been downloaded almost 800,000 times, and that figure was expected to blow past a million downloads by the season 5 premiere. Game of Thrones has consistently set records for piracy, which has almost been a point of pride for HBO. "Our experience is [piracy] leads to more penetration, more paying subs, more health for HBO, less reliance on having to do paid advertising If you go around the world, I think you're right, Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. Well, you know, that's better than an Emmy."

How the leak happened isn't a mystery. Television critics typically receive the first four episodes of an HBO show before its season premiere, and "Game of Thrones" is no exception. HBO could not immediately say whether the leak could be traced to screener copies of the show. "I suspect HBO may be a bit more restrictive about handing out Game of Thrones screeners to press, given the event-like nature of the show and its reliance on keeping spoilers close to the chest," writes Tassi. "I really don't see why commentary like that needs to exist in the first place." The network can take solace in at least one thing, though. Episode four ends on a heck of a cliffhanger, and those who pirated the episodes will be in the same boat as those of us who received them legally — waiting until May to find out what happens next. "I would imagine it's more fun to just spend the next month watching week to week as nature intended, even if you are watching illegally," concludes Tassi. "Game of Thrones is one of the last true "event" shows where it's something you want to talk about Sunday night or Monday morning with friends and strangers alike."
Youtube

Google To Offer Ad-Free YouTube - At a Price 358

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-up dept.
First time accepted submitter totalcaos writes YouTube announced today its plans for an ad-free, subscription-based service by way of an email sent out to YouTube Partners. The email details the forthcoming option, which will offer consumers the choice to pay for an "ads-free" version of YouTube for a monthly fee. The additional monetization option requires partners to agree to updated terms on YouTube's Creator Studio Dashboard, which notes that the changes will go into effect on June 15, 2015. We talked about the possibility of an ad-free model back in October.
The Almighty Buck

Google, Apple and Microsoft Squirm As Global Tax Schemes Scrutinized 312

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Google, Apple and Microsoft chiefs were hauled in front of an Australian Senate Committee on Wednesday and forced to answer questions about their tax dodging structures. "Under questioning from Greens Senator Christine Milne, [Google's Maile Carnegie] revealed none of the revenue derived from Google's lucrative advertising business is taxed in Australia, rather it is booked in Singapore where the corporate tax rate is set at 17 per cent, as opposed to Australia's 30 per cent. ... However in the strongest defense yet of the company's complex tax structure, Ms Carnegie attempted to highlight the hypocrisy of criticising global technology companies for using the same approach that Australian mining firms, like Rio Tinto, use when deriving profits from China. 'These are international tax arrangements and what Google is doing in Australia is very very similar to what Australian companies are doing outside of Australia. I am not sitting here today trying to defend whether those practices are right or wrong, they are simply the way the global tax system is currently working and we are trying to operate within that.' Ms. Carnegie said it was up to the government to create a different system, which the company would then abide by."