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Outraged Students Sue Facebook Over Privacy (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/students-sue-facebook-over-privacy-2012-12

max schrems facebook austrian law student

VIENNA (Reuters) – An Austrian student group plans to go to court in a bid to make Facebook Inc, the world’s biggest social network, do more to protect the privacy of its hundreds of millions of members.

Privacy campaign group europe-v-facebook, which has been lobbying for better data protection by Facebook for over a year, said on Tuesday it planned to go to court to appeal against decisions by the data protection regulator in Ireland, where Facebook has its international headquarters.

The move is one of a number of campaigns against the giants of the internet, which are under pressure from investors to generate more revenue from their huge user bases but which also face criticism for storing and sharing personal information.

Internet search engine Google, for example, has been told by the European Union to make changes to its new privacy policy, which pools data collected on individual users across its services including YouTube, gmail and social network Google+, and from which users cannot opt out.

Europe-v-facebook has won some concessions from Facebook, notably pushing it to switch off its facial recognition feature in Europe.

But the group said on Tuesday the changes did not go far enough and it was disappointed with the response of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which had carried out an audit after the campaign group filed numerous complaints.

“The Irish obviously have no great political interest in going up against these companies because they’re so dependent on the jobs they c! reate,” europe-v-facebook founder Max Schrems told Reuters.

Gary Davies, Ireland’s deputy data protection commissioner, denied Facebook’s investment in Ireland had influenced regulation of the company.

“We have handled this in a highly professional and focused way and we have brought about huge changes in the way Facebook handles personal data,” he told Reuters.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is due to hold a conference call later on Tuesday to answer customer concerns about its privacy policy, which will include representatives from Facebook Ireland.

LOSING PATIENCE

Schrems, who has filed 22 complaints with the Irish regulator, said more than 40,000 Facebook users who had requested a copy of the data Facebook was holding on them had not received anything several months after making a request.

The law student also questioned why Facebook had only switched off facial recognition for users in the European Union, even though Ireland is the headquarters for all of Facebook’s users outside the United States and Canada.

Facebook is under pressure to reverse a trend of slowing revenue growth by selling more valuable advertising, which requires better profiling of its users.

Investors are losing patience with the social network, whose shares have dropped 40 percent in value since the company’s record-breaking $104 billion initial public offering in May.

Last month, Facebook proposed to combine its user data with that of its recently acquired photo-sharing service Instagram, loosen restrictions on emails between its members and share data with other businesses and affiliates that it owns.

Facebook is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States, where it is charged with violating privacy rights by publicizing users’ “likes” without giving them a way to opt out.

A U.S. judge late on Monday gave his preliminary approval to a second attem! pt to se ttle the case by paying users up to $10 each out of a settlement fund of $20 million.

Ireland also hosts the European headquarters of other high-tech firms including Microsoft and Google thanks to generous tax breaks.

Europe-v-facebook said it believed its Irish lawsuit had the potential to become a test case for data protection law and had a good chance of landing up in the European Court of Justice.

Schrems said the case could cost the group around 100,000 euros ($130,000), which it hoped to raise via crowd-funding – money provided by a collection of individuals – on the Internet.

(Additional reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin; Editing by Mark Potter)

(This story was corrected to fix the headline, lead and the first paragraph to show that the campaign group plans to sue Irish regulator, not Facebook, in the first instance)

Copyright (2012) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 news No Comments

3 Myths About Facebook The Company Wishes Would Go Away (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/myths-about-facebook-2012-12

carolyn everson facebook

Ever since Facebook went public earlier this year — and was finally liberated from the SEC-required “quiet period” that all companies must go through when offering stock — Facebook has been trying to chase down several untrue rumors about how its business works.

As the old saying goes, a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.

We sat down recently with Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vp/global marketing solutions, and asked her what the most common misconceptions were among advertisers about the way Facebook works.

She told us that these are the three of the biggest:

1. “Facebook ads don’t work.”

Everson says: “I see it in the press sometimes. I will hear a marketer say, ‘Prove it to me, show me how Facebook marketing works.’ To me that’s code for ‘I haven’t believed it yet, or I haven’t seen enough data.’ And my team now is equipped globally with literally hundreds of examples and proof points of how Facebook advertising works [for] everything from Samsung launching a product down to your small/medium business trying to drive people into their stores.”

2. “Mobile is bad for Facebook.”

To be fair, this myth was started by Facebook itself, when it warned in its IPO papers that had not yet properly monetized mobile. It warned again in Q2that mobile may “negatively affect” revenue. Since then, however, mobile has turned out to be huge for Facebook.

Ev erson says: “Mobile is fantastic for monetization. Fourteen percent of our revenue from the third quarter was from mobile. The CPMs are higher in mobile across the board. The performance in the news feed on mobile are 8 to 10X. Let me give you some interesting stats. Rosetta Stone, language provider, did an offers product. They got 560,000 claims, 98 percent of them via mobile. Lawson’s is a Japanese convenient store, kind of like 7-11, they got 598,000 claims, 93 percent from mobile. It is a very powerful way for our marketers to reach our users and I will tell you that when I sit with the client council members, Keith Weed at Unilever or Marc Pritchard at P&G, any of the top CMOs, they are entirely focused on how Facebook can help them in emerging markets … Clearly more people are joining Facebook on mobile, so mobile’s been very positive from a user growth standpoint.”

3. “Facebook only works for brand awareness.”

Everson says too many advertisers think Facebook is only good at generating vague brand image impressions, and it’s not for driving direct sales. But she believes Facebook has uses throughout marketing’s customer “funnel”:

“The third myth, Facebook only works for top-of-the-funnel objectives, for brand awareness, for people having conversations or earned media. What we have now demonstrated consistently is we deliver throughout the entire funnel. ”

Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 news No Comments

Online Doctor’s Sick Visits Could Be Coming To A Computer Near You

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/online-doctors-sick-visits-2012-11

doctor

Could we be seeing the end of routine doctor visits?

Scientific American reports that researchers are testing a new system for electronic doctor visits that could potentially eliminate the need for patients to see a doctor for routine illnesses.

Patients would simply enter their symptoms and health record into an online system, and doctors would use this information to send a diagnosis and, when necessary, a prescription.

Early reports suggest that such diagnoses were just as accurate as those given in person, although there are still some kinks that need to be ironed out:

Researchers analyzed some 5,000 doctor visits for sinus infections and 3,000 visits for urinary tract infection. Less than 10 percent of all visits were electronic. One possible e-visit drawback: doctors were more likely to prescribe antibiotics after an e-visit than a face-to-face.

But patients with an e-visit had just about the same rate of follow up as those who had an office visit. Which suggests that there was not a higher rate of misdiagnosis or treatment failure online. E-visits were also cheaper.

Detractors will note that this program only applies to relatively routine illnesses, but even so, this is nothing to sneeze at.

One of the primary goals of Obamacare was to cut down on the use of expensive emergency room visits for routine medical care, which was clogging up emergency rooms and leading to millions of dollars in unpaid medical bills. This looks like a much cheaper and simpler way to accomplish the same thing.

Naturally, we’ll need to see more studies before these programs can be rolled out on a national scale, but this looks like a good place to start toward improving the ! efficien cy of the health care system. Massive, top-down reforms like Obamacare get most of the attention, but it is smaller innovations like these will do the most to shape the healthcare of the future.

It also seems clear that letting consumers benefit from cheaper prices is a way to push the health care system as a whole toward less costly methods. E-visits for routine problems (and ultimately, perhaps, e-visits to nurses rather than to physicians) can offer better, faster, more convenient service at a lower price. Moving in directions like this is the kind of health care reform we desperately need.

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012 news No Comments

LinkedIn’s Ultimate Plan Is To ‘Map Out The Underpinnings Of The Global Economy’

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/future-of-linkedin-video-2012-11

LinkedIn has come along way from being just an online resume tool or a social network, with its news updates and discussion features.

At our IGNITION conference this week, we heard about the company’s most ambitious plans yet from its CEO Jeff Weiner

LinkedIn wants to become a sort of an economic tool that will be able to “map out the underpinnings of the global economy.”

“Imagine a digital representation of every economic opportunity in the world — temporary or full-time jobs,” Weiner told Business Insider editor-in-chief Henry Blodget. “Imagine all the skills required to obtain those roles would be digitally represented.”

Find out what LinkedIn may be capable of in the future below:

 

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Produced by Business Insider Video

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012 news No Comments

Google acquires coupon-focused Incentive Targeting for undisclosed sum

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/28/google-acquires-coupon-focused-incentive-targeting-for-undisclos/

Google acquires couponfocused Incentive Targeting for undisclosed sum

Google is no stranger to the business of discounts and special offers, but it looks like it’s decided to reach outside the company to further bolster its offerings. The company confirmed today that it has acquired the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based marketing firm Incentive Targeting for an undisclosed sum. While not offering too much in the way of specifics, Google said in a statement that “we look forward to working with Incentive Targeting in our ongoing efforts to help consumers save time and money and enable retailers deliver relevant discounts to the right customers.” For its part, Incentive Targeting has said that it “set out to do for retail couponing what Google had done for online advertising: make it simple, relevant, measurable, and effective,” and to that end it has developed a variety of tools for retailers and manufacturers alike, all designed to deliver coupons and discounts in a more targeting manner. You can find the company’s full statement on its website.

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Via: TechCrunch

Source: Incentive Targeting

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Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 news No Comments

A Day of NYC’s Public Transport, Visualized

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5963851/this-is-what-a-day-of-nycs-public-transport-looks-like

Gripe and moan about it all you like, but public transport is a fundamental part of keeping any big city running—and this data visualization shows just how complex New York City’s public transit setup is.

Put together by YouTube user STLTransit, the video is a visualization of a single day’s public transit, between 4:00am and 4:00am. It’s made possible by the open source General Transit Feed Specification data from the MTA. Personally, I love the way that the routes become obvious as the city wakes up. [YouTube via Verge]

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Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 news No Comments

7 Retail Tricks Designed To Make You Spend More

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/7-ways-stores-make-you-spend-more-2012-11

black friday teens shoppingThis post originally appeared on Bankrate.com.

Today’s retailers have uncovered the science behind shopping. Your favorite mall stores actually hire such retail researchers as Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping.

Underhill has tracked hundreds of thousands of shoppers to study how they shop. “There is nothing random about how a store is arranged and designed. It is carefully calculated to appeal to you in every possible way,” he says.

“The stores have a plan, so you should, too,” says Dave Ramsey, best-selling author of The Total Money Makeover and host of a syndicated financial talk show on the radio.

1. Display ‘magic’

We can learn a lesson in Underhill’s book from a story told by a retailer about a tempting display of T-shirts.

We buy them in Sri Lanka for $3 each. Then we bring them over here and sew in washing instructions, which are in French and English. Notice we don’t say the shirts are made in France. But you can infer that if you like. Then … we fold them just right on a tasteful tabletop display, and on the wall behind it we hang a huge, gorgeous photograph of a beautiful woman in an exo! tic loca le wearing the shirt.”

Resist the urge: “Write a monthly mall shopping budget and stash cash in an envelope specifically for that purpose. When the envelope is empty, stop spending,” says Ramsey. “A written budget makes you think twice when you are tempted by impulse buys.”




2. BOGO and 2-fer deals

BOGOs (buy one, get one), two-fers (two for the price of one) and bundled-item promotions successfully tempt you into shopping more often and spending more to raise the store’s number of sales as well as ticket averages, or amount of each sale. T

hey’re not always a good deal for you if you’re not familiar with the store merchandise and its regular prices. “You’re not saving if you are actually spending more than you planned,” says Underhill.

Resist the urge: “Know your favorite retailers, brands, regular prices, promotions and discounts, and always check the clearance area first to find a similar item on sale to avoid buying two of anything and spending more,” says family financial expert Ellie Kay, author of The 60-Minute Money Workout. “Ask yourself, ‘Do I really need two sweaters or two of the same jeans?'”




3. The right aisle trick

“Retail shopping studies have found that most people turn right when they enter a store. That’s because the majority of the population is right-handed and right-oriented,” says Underhill.

Knowing this, stores highlight tempting new items and trends to the right of the entrance. You’ll find that the music is louder and the displays are brighter to attract you where you will look and turn first. This is also where the most expensive items in the store are generally displayed.

R esist the urge: “Shop with blinders on,” says Kay. “Stick to your list with the cash in your hand. Avoid credit card debt at all costs, and head straight to what you came for.”




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Monday, November 26th, 2012 news No Comments

Remember When Facebook Wanted Your Phone Number For ‘Security’? It’s Using It To Sell Ads (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-phone-number-security-being-sold-to-advertisers-2012-11

Mark Zuckerberg

Since about September, Facebook has offered its advertisers a powerful new way to track its users as they surf the web: It’s called “phone number retargeting.” The move came after Facebook made a big effort to collect its users’ mobile phone numbers to prevent security breaches.

More recently, according to AdExchanger, Facebook has combined phone retargeting with a new “conversion pixel” — a type of tracking  device, basically — within ads displayed on Facebook.

The combination of phone retargeting and conversion pixels allows advertisers to target you directly with ads and then measure exactly how you respond to them, whether by clicking, ignoring or buying something from the advertiser’s site.

Some advertisers have been doing this kind of thing on other web sites for years.

But most Facebook users don’t know it’s going on within Facebook. Instead, they believe the primary reason Facebook prompts them for a mobile phone number is to prevent account hacking, and to allow users to upload photos and make status updates from their phones.

In fact, earlier this year, Facebook began asking every user for a phone number for “security” purposes. Here’s what Facebook says about that:

facebook phone

But Facebook has since made those phone numbers available t! o advert isers as part of its new Custom Audience targeting product. “Audiences can be defined by either user email address, Facebook UIDs, or user phone numbers,” the product states.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you are a member of your local gym. You probably gave the gym your phone number. But then you let your membership lapse, and now the gym wants to persuade you to come back. The gym can cross-reference its list of members’ phone numbers with users’ phone numbers on Facebook, and serve an ad on the page of any user with a matching number. Suddenly, you’re seeing ads that say, “Get 10% off if you rejoin your local gym!”

If you click on that ad, a conversion pixel will enable a “cookie” to track what you do so that the gym can see how successful its campaign was.

There’s a level of privacy built in to the system: Although your phone number will be targeted by ads, the number will be “hashed,” meaning that the system disguises it by replacing it with random code, making you anonymous. So the gym might target 100 phone numbers, but it won’t know which of those specific people actually responded to the ad (until they pay for a membership online, of course). All the gym will know is that a certain number responded to the ad, and that those users must have been on the original phone list.

Facebook launched the system to make its ads more effective for advertisers. The company believes they lower cost-per-acquisition (of users) for advertisers by 40 percent.

Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.

Related: Here Are The Sealed Court Papers On ‘Invalid Clicks’ Facebook Doesn’t Want You To See

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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 news No Comments

Now THIS Is The ‘Right Way’ To Start A Company

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/now-this-is-the-right-way-to-start-a-company-2012-11

noah brier james gross percolate

Ok, fine.

There probably is no “right way” to start a company.

But, if there WAS a picture-perfect, fool-proof method, it might look like Percolate.

Percolate, a SaaS solution for marketing managers, was founded by James Gross and Noah Brier in early 2011. Today it raised a $9 million Series A round and it has more than 30 Fortune 500 companies as clients. They’re each paying Percolate about $10,000 per month.

There are a few things Gross and Brier did in their startup’s earliest days that set them up for success.

  • They each worked for marketing companies before founding Percolate.
  • When they had enough knowledge and industry connections, they quit.
  • They bootstrapped until they proved their model.
  • The used outside capital to step on the gas.

Gross was a former sales executive for Federated Media and Brier worked for a marketing agency, The Barbarian Group. While they were there, they created a lot of contacts in the marketing and advertising departments of major corporations. They were also able to see inefficiencies and demands in the industry. Later, while the two were bootstrapping Percolate, everything they absorbed at Federated Media and TBG became very valuable.

Being employed also enabled the pair to save up money and bootstrap. They funded their startup themselves for one year, during which Brier ! and Gros s worked out initial kinks.

When they finally had a working model and paying clients, they sought outside capital. They used a $1.5 million seed round to accelerate growth; they didn’t waste it stumbling around and pivoting.

Of course, a lot of successful companies have been founded other ways. Zuckerberg never had a job before founding Facebook. Ben Silbermann initially set out to be a doctor, but he ended up founding Pinterest

It’s too early to guarantee Percolate’s success. But whatever Gross and Brier have done up until now, it seems to be working.

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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 news No Comments

What Facebook’s Biggest Advertisers Say About ‘Invalid Clicks’ (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-facebooks-biggest-advertisers-say-about-invalid-clicks-2012-11

zuckerberg

Facebook’s larger advertisers, unsurprisingly, aren’t willing to say much — on the record, at least — about the proposed class action lawsuit which claims up to 20 percent of pay-per-click advertising on the site comes from “invalid” clicks.

Facebook says the suit is bogus, and is fighting an appeal in the case.

One key issue in the case is Facebook’s refusal to allow its clicks to be audited by a third party like the IAB, the Media Ratings Council or Ernst & Young.

Speaking privately, the company’s clients and competitors tell us they are aware that Facebook is non-transparent when it came to its advertising business.

None of them believed Facebook was acting improperly. And none sympathized with the suit. One said, “We trust Facebook and know that they are always working to refine their filters and to identify invalid clicks.”

Another added, “I don’t think they’re ripping people off.”

However, they also said that because Facebook is so big it is able to play by its own rules in a way that might not be healthy .

“They don’t let you audit,” said one client. “It’s a little bit suspect. A bit of a conflict of interest. … You have to trust Facebook’s numbers.”

Another added, “They’re not playing by the rules everyone else is playing by. It’s definitely an issue that there’s this 800 pound gorilla out there that isn’t playing by the rules.”

One major issue for advertisers is that they can only observe Facebook’s clicks independently if they send traffic off the site! to thei r own web sites. As most campaigns are designed to send traffic to the advertisers’ Facebook page, those clicks remain inside Facebook – and thus invisible to outside analytics.

“A lot of campaigns are not sending traffic off site so there’s no way to check,” one client told us.

Another said, “If we are driving users to a Facebook page — then we rely on Facebook metrics (impressions, clicks, conversions, engagement …) as the click goes directly to the Facebook page and not through a redirect AND we can’t fire pixels on Facebook pages like we can on external sites.”

Shuman Ghosemajumder, Google’s former click fraud czar who is now vp/strategy at Shape Security, told us that he knows many of the team members at Facebook who are working on click validation. “They are investing heavily in this area,” he says. A third-party audit of clicks, however is a “non-trivial” event at a company, he says. It requires time and resources, and an outside company must come in and perform experiments with the internal engineers. Nonetheless, “they need to take this very seriously,” he says.

Related:

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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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