Facebook has begun to charge British users up to £10-11 to message celebrities and other people outside the friends’ list. Facebook has remarked that the decision to charge British users aims to prevent the users (celebrities) from being inundated by messages from strangers. Another factor behind the Facebook decision is to prevent spam.Under the Facebook trial scheme, it costs 71p to despatch a conventional message on the site along with an automatic alert. However, the fees differ depending on the popularity of the recipient, with a present maximum charge of £10.68 to contact celebrity sportspersons like Olympic diver Tom Daley.
Oh, they’re charging the gullible to send messages to imaginary whores and they’re making out they’re fighting spam and protecting celebrities?
On a happier note, Margaret Thatcher is dead.
Experts said the “Harlem Shake” phenomenon was emergent behavior from the hive mind of the internet—accidental, ad hoc, uncoordinated: a “meme” that “went viral.” But this is untrue. The real story of the “Harlem Shake” shows how much popular culture has changed and how much it has stayed the same.
Traditional marketing is all about risk management. Say nice things about your product. Do whatever you can to prevent people from saying bad things about your product. Run down the competition, but do so without being obvious about it. Never under any circumstances admit you’re wrong. This “control the message” marketing philosophy is showing rapidly diminishing returns, especially when marketing to technologists.
To put it bluntly: young people can see right through this crap and they are functionally immune to things like product placement, jiggling imagery, spamvertising, cold calling and high-pressure sales. Not only have two whole generations been inoculated against this crap, using these techniques actively triggers enmity among today’s discerning technologists.
A new breed of advertising techniques is thus called for. Ones so at odds with the traditional approach that debates about them in marketing circles make Linux distro superiority catfights look like happy kitten fun time. The two big ones currently in use in IT are content marketing and community management.
Well, media placement doesn’t get much creepier than this.
Japanese PR company Absolute Territory has begun paying young women (18+) to wear advertising stickers on their thighs between the edge of their miniskirts and their high socks.
Ads will be creeping into Twitter clients as the social network has opened up an advertising API allowing advertisers to create more complex, targeted advertising using Promoted Tweets and Promoted Account campaigns on the social network.
According to an Amex Web page, the arrangement works like this. Amex cardholders first sync their card with Twitter. Then, when they come across products that are eligible to purchase under the plan — products that American Express will promote through a Twitter feed — they simply send out a tweet that includes a special hashtag. Amex will then send them an @-reply with a confirming hashtag. Finally, the buyer has to send out a second tweet with the special hashtag within 15 minutes.
I’m going to “synch” my credit card with my twitter account?
And I’m going to wait for them to send me tweets?
And then I’m going to tweet them back when I want to buy something?
Why would I want to do this?
“With regards to the size of the bread and calling it a footlong, “SUBWAY FOOTLONG” is a registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway® Restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length.”
One of the striking features of the drug world is how pharma companies become noticeably more inventive immediately before their patents are due to run out and their drugs are about to enter the public domain. That’s because they need to find a way to differentiate themselves from the generic manufacturers that are then able to offer the same medicines for often vastly lower prices.
Usually this takes the form of modifying the formula of a drug slightly, patenting it, and then seeking to convince the medical profession that the new formulation is better in some way. Butsometimes it involves more novel approaches, as here:
In coming months, generic drug producers are expected to introduce cheaper versions of OxyContin and Opana, two long-acting narcotic painkillers, or opioids, that are widely abused.
But in hopes of delaying the move to generics, the makers of the brand name drugs, Purdue Pharma and Endo Pharmaceuticals, have introduced versions that are more resistant to crushing or melting, techniques abusers use to release the pills’ narcotic payloads.
As the New York Times article quoted above reports, having introduced these “tamper-resistant” designs, the pharma companies are now pushing to get a ban on generic versions that lack this feature. If you think of “tamper-resistant” techniques as a kind of DRM for drugs, the pharma companies are effectively asking for their own version of the DMCA, which forbids the circumvention of DRM.
The drug companies have dressed this up as a service to society, but some aren’t buying it:
While companies like Purdue Pharma insist the public’s health is their main concern, others note that producers introduced tamper-resistant versions of their products just as the drugs were about to lose patent protection. In court papers filed in response to Endo’s lawsuit, the F.D.A. described the company’s action as a “thinly veiled attempt to maintain its market share and block generic competition.”
There’s no doubt that the abuse of painkillers is a significant problem, but according to another recent story, in The Washington Post, alarming levels of addiction to OxyContin and similar painkillers may be partly the drug companies’ fault. For instead of warning doctors about this issue, the latter were assured that there were “minimal risks of addiction and dependence” if they prescribed these kinds of drugs for their patients:
according to a Washington Post examination of key scientific papers, a court document and FDA records, many of those claims [about minimal risks] were developed in studies supported by Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, or other drug manufacturers. In addition, the conclusions they reached were sometimes unsupported by the data, and when the FDA was struggling to come up with an opioid policy, it turned to a panel populated by doctors who had financial relationships with Purdue and other drugmakers.
So it would seem that rather than mandating the use of tamper-resistant packaging for these kinds of painkillers, a better long-term solution would be to avoid the use of these drugs altogether, where possible.
Is the McDonald’s beef washed in ammonia? (No). Do you put anti-nausea agents in the food? (Absolutely not)
Those and a multitude of other no-holds-barred questions (including the “secret” recipe to Big Mac sauce) were answered at McDonald’s Canada’s groundbreaking “Our Food. Your Questions.” social media site, a real-time twist on standard corporate frequently asked questions Web features.
The company gamely promised to answer any and all consumer questions about its food that were not profane. It was pretty much a polar opposite approach to the U.S. parent company’s mum reaction to the 2004 film Super Size Me, in which documentarian Morgan Spurlock gained weight and made himself ill on a steady 30-day diet of McDonald’s food. The critical response to the Q&A site was overwhelmingly positive and in the process McDonald’s managed to debunk a number of long-standing myths about its food.
What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.
– Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1879 – 1962)
Verizon has filed a patent for a DVR that can watch and listen to the goings-on in your living room. In the application, the company proposes to use the technology to serve targeted ads appropriate to whatever you’re doing in the, uh, privacy of your own home—fighting, cuddling, or hanging out with your cats.
Verizon is far from the first company to think of this unassailably creepy use for a set-top box. Comcast patented similar monitoring technology in 2008 for recommending content based on people it recognizes in the room; Google proposed yet another patent for Google TV that would use audio and video recorders to figure out how many people in a room are watching the current broadcast.
Verizon filed for the application in May 2011, and it was just published last week. (By law, all patent applications are published after 18 months.) In the document, which was first noticed by FierceCable, Verizon gives two examples of the context-sensitive DVR’s use in a couple’s living room: sounds of arguing prompt ads for marriage counseling, while sounds of “cuddling” prompts ads for contraceptives. Charming.
In principle, we support “Do Not Track” (DNT). Unfortunately, because discussions have not yet resulted in a final standard for how to implement DNT, the current DNT signal can easily be abused. Recently, Microsoft unilaterally decided to turn on DNT in Internet Explorer 10 by default, rather than at users’ direction. In our view, this degrades the experience for the majority of users and makes it hard to deliver on our value proposition to them.
So you only support it if it’s turned off? How about hiding the option to turn it on as well? So users have to to go down to the cellar to find them? With a flashlight? To the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard?
The race against robots is on: the Federal Trade Commission is offering $50,000 cash to anyone that can come up with a way to eliminate the insidious telemarketing robocall, it announced Thursday.
So here’s the sequence of events. Bodyform makes commercials like this one:
Well, time to tell you this old joke, I think:
Three guys in a prison cell are just starting life sentences. The first guy pulls out a deck of cards and says, “We’re going to be here a long time, so when we get bored we can play poker.”
The second guy says, “Great idea. I brought a harmonica, so when we get sad I can play a song to cheer us up.”
The third guy pulls out a box of tampons. “What the hell are they for?” ask the first two guys.
“Well, it says on the back that I can ride, swim, ski, and play tennis with these.”
Anyway, a guy writes a rant on facebook, and that gets viral – getting WAY more likes than the official Bodyform facebook page:
And Bodyform responds with this video:
So, the big question is: was the original facebook post just part of the campaign? Because if it wasn’t, this is a great example on how to do social media advertising.
And if it was? Well, that makes all of this a great example on how to do social media advertising, I guess.
Previously, Apple had all but disabled tracking of iPhone users by advertisers when it stopped app developers from utilizing Apple mobile device data via UDID, the unique, permanent, non-deletable serial number that previously identified every Apple device.For the last few months, iPhone users have enjoyed an unusual environment in which advertisers have been largely unable to track and target them in any meaningful way.In iOS 6, however, tracking is most definitely back on, and it’s more effective than ever, multiple mobile advertising executives familiar with IFA tell us. Note that Apple doesn’t mention IFA in its iOS 6 launch page.
In a sane world, telling a website “do not track me” would result in behavior that assumed the person making the request did not want to have unnecessary data collected about them.
But to the online advertising industry, that DNT:1 signal means, “Right, you’re one of those idiots who thinks this is about privacy. Now give me all your data. You’re welcome.”
I cannot make this stuff up. The representative to the W3C working group from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) proposed this change the other day to the Tracking Definitions and Compliance section of the DNT standard:
Marketing should be added to the list of “Permitted Uses for Third Parties and Service Providers” in Section 6.1 of the Tracking Definitions and Compliance Document.
Via email, two other members of the working group expressed confusion. One asked, “What do you mean by marketing? What would be permitted?” Another said, “I don’t follow.”
(This is how polite people in standards groups say “WTF?”)
That set off this astonishing outburst from the representative of the DMA, which boasts that it “represents thousands of companies and nonprofit organizations that use and support data-driven marketing practices and techniques“:
Marketing fuels the world. It is as American as apple pie and delivers relevant advertising to consumers about products they will be interested at a time they are interested. DNT should permit it as one of the most important values of civil society. Its byproduct also furthers democracy, free speech, and – most importantly in these times – JOBS. It is as critical to society – and the economy – as fraud prevention and IP protection and should be treated the same way.
Marketing as a permitted use would allow the use of the data to send relevant offers to consumers through specific devices they have used. The data could not be used for other purposes, such as eligibility for employment, insurance, etc. Thus, we move to a harm consideration. Ads and offers are just offers – users/consumers can simply not respond to those offers – there is no associated harm.
Further, DNT can stop all unnecessary uses of data using choice and for those consumers who do not want relevant marketing the can use the persistent Digital Advertising Alliance choice mechanism. This mechanism has been in place for 2 years.
So there you have it. If you oppose online tracking, you’re un-American and you hate democracy. Also, the fact that big corporations can collect and collate personal data about you without your permission is a cornerstone of civil society, you communist.
Whenever a TV product commercial plays I bust a gut during the parts where they show us what we’re doing wrong and why we need the product.
This is my tribute to the hilarious work the actors in these infomercials do.
We all know adverts are a necessary evil, which is why different companies are trying to make them more personalized, more engaging or just plain get rid of them. In a recently granted patent, Sony outlines its ideas for next-gen advertising on network-connected devices — essentially to make it more interactive. Many of the instructional diagrams involve PS3 accessories in the home setting, but the focus isn’t just on adverts as mini-games, which itself is nothing new. Other suggestions for keeping your interest include in-ad purchasing, casting votes or selecting the genre of commercials. To speed up, or get ads off your screen, Sony would have you performing small tasks or — more sinisterly — shouting brand names when prompted.