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FTC Expands Kids' Online Privacy Act; No App Policing for Web Brands

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 19, 2012 05:53 PM

Two federal actions regarding online privacy for U.S. consumers shed light on the increasing complexity of digital safeguards in today’s wired world.

Flanked by bipartisan legislators and both Houses, the Federal Trade Commission unveiled proposed changes and updates to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa). The legislation was introduced in 1998, a lifetime ago in the social networking milieu of 2012.

The Washington Post calls the FTC proposal a "landmark update," while the New York Times says it "significantly expands the types of companies required to obtain parental permission before knowingly collecting personal details from children, as well as the types of information that will require parental consent to collect."

The Los Angeles Times commented that the FTC is giving "a pass" to Apple, Google and Facebook, as "Federal regulators exempted app purveyors such as Apple's App Store and Google Play from having to police apps. Providers of plug-ins such as Facebook with its 'Like' button were also exempted."

The move also comes during a week when the social web rose up against Instagram for moving to commercial users' photos — and swiftly backpedaled — in a user revolt that had repercussions for the photo-filtering and -sharing site's parent, Facebook, which was lampooned in a new video by Funny or Die today.Continue reading...

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#FreeAndOpen: Google Lobbies World Leaders on Open Internet

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 20, 2012 10:35 AM

Google wants "open" to be the word associated with its brand. The company is creating an "AirPlay-like open platform" and it's a key member of the Open Internet Coalition, a lobby group backing the FCC's net neutrality rules in the US. It's also trying to raise awareness about Open Internet issues globally, today releasing a video (below) and Twitter hashtag campaign ahead of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) global meeting in Dubai. The call to action:Continue reading...

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Groupon, Value Plunging, Looks to Diversify from Daily Deals with Holiday Push

Posted by Dale Buss on November 12, 2012 03:54 PM

The challenges facing Groupon are mounting as the daily deals pioneer struggles to create a viable business model. As Reuters notes, interest by consumers and merchants in its daily-deal local offerings continues to wane, and it is far from clear that the Chicago-based startup can offset the decline in the bulwark of its original business model with other services that will generate enough business to keep it afloat.

Accordingly, Groupon's market capitalization has dropped to just $1.8 billion, down 90% from nearly $13 billion when its stock went public at $20 a share a year ago in the second-biggest US IPO since Google. Key executives and salespeople continue to jump ship, while it's also coping with controversy over its accounting methods.

Even though Groupon had more than 4.3 million customers last month, and "an annual run rate of nearly $1.5 billion in global billings and nearly $500 million in revenues shortly after its one-year anniversary in September," according to a company spokesperson, the now-apparent weakness in its business model means that imitators, such as the Amazon-backed LivingSocial, are having unprecedented problems.Continue reading...

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Nielsen's Advertising Week Pitch: Cross-Platform Ratings R Us

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 1, 2012 11:03 AM

On the eve of Advertising Week, Nielsen announced a modest uptick of 2.4% in global ad spending in the second quarter. And now that Advertising Week is upon us, the ratings giant is out with its latest metrics on how the rise of online video and digital platforms are upending traditional ad models.

According to the new Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, “in addition to watching 34-plus hours of TV per week, the average American spends nearly five hours online on the computer. More than half of Americans now watch video online, with online viewing increasing average weekly video consumption to roughly 35 hours.”

Nielsen is pitching its clients to rethink how they view the viewer, and that an online viewer is equally valuable to the advertising ecosystem as a television viewer — a message that coincides with the kick off of Advertising Week in New York, and the launch of Nielsen Cross-Platform Ratings for multi-screen ad measurement to Madison Avenue.

After extensive trials across the advertising ecosystem with brands including ESPN, Facebook, Hulu and Unilever, the new product delivers unduplicated and incremental reach, frequency and GRP measures for TV and Internet advertising. Their new measurement includes the number of people who watched a campaign digitally, those who watched on TV, and the intersection of those two audiences.Continue reading...

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Changes "R" Us: Marissa Mayer Gets Busy at Yahoo!

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 19, 2012 02:08 PM

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer only been running the company since the middle of July but she’s got plenty of items ticked off on her to-do list: Bringing In Cash, Doling Out Phones, Changing Logo.

First off, her company just pulled in $4.3 billion after taxes from its “deal to sell part of its stake in Alibaba back to the Chinese Internet giant,” according to Wired. That’s pretty sweet, considering the company has been struggling financially for the last year. Instead of using it make acquisitions and build a big nest egg, though, Yahoo! is handing out $3.65 billion of it to its once-suffering investors, and hanging onto just $646 million. And what can you get for that?

The company will also now be saving a little bit of dough every time it prints something out on letterhead. Mayer also approved removing the registered trademark symbol from the company’s logo. Mayer posted an image of a deposed ® to her Instagram feed on Monday. It looks like it is waiting to gather with its R brethren to be put off in the backyard, like the Russians did with the fallen statues of its former heroes.Continue reading...

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Warby Parker's Long-Term Vision: From the Web to the Street, NYC to the World

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 11, 2012 10:13 AM

New York-based Warby Parker has 20/20 vision when it comes to selling their branded eyeglasses, and brand of philanthropy. Touting "eyewear with purpose" the startup disrupted business-as-usual, bringing comparatively low-priced ($95) but high-quality glasses with a 30-day "no questions asked" return policy online, and the choice of five different pairs of glasses for five days to try at home.

And now with $36.8 million of funding, led by General Catalyst Partners (and partner Joel Cutler joins Warby Parker’s board), they’re getting ready to open their first retail store, in the brand's home turf — NYC’s Soho neighborhood, where they've been testing the retail water with pop-up stores.Continue reading...

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Thomson Reuters Shores Up Against Brandjacking

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 1, 2012 09:53 AM

Thomson Reuters’ acquisition of MarkMonitor underscores the increasing threat to brands from digital piracy. With Internet commerce accounting for more than 20% of GDP growth in mature countries, piracy and counterfeiting are costing companies more than $600 billion per year.

The San Francisco-based MarkMonitor uses a SaaS delivery model, providing technology and expertise to protect revenue and reputation for more than half of Fortune 100 businesses.Continue reading...

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Groupon Brand: Growing Up, Slightly More Boring

Posted by Dale Buss on July 17, 2012 12:58 PM

Things seem to be a lot more serious at Groupon headquarters in Chicago these days. There are more accountants and lawyers, and fun-loving CEO Andrew Mason is cracking fewer jokes, according to a profile in Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

That's because at least two very serious things are going on at the originator of the online-enabled, locally based discount deal. First, Groupon is straining to cope with growth expectations now that later-coming rivals such as LivingSocial, Yelp and others have mimicked its local deals business model.

But second, Mason and company have become very deliberate about advancing his plan to elevate Groupon above its competition — and to ensure its long-term future and robust growth — by becoming a key digital partner to small businesses across the range of their application needs. That means not just helping them produce a quick glut of customers responding to a Groupon-advertised coupon but also becoming what Mason calls "the operating sytem for local commerce" with tools such as loyalty programs, scheduling software, and potentially a credit-card payment service.Continue reading...

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