FTC On Mobile Privacy; Twitter Hack Attack

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FTC Privacy: There’s An App For That

As Jon Leibowitz prepares to step down as the Federal Trade Commission Chairman at the end of the month, he’s leaving a parting shot directed toward the companies who run smartphones’ operating systems and mobile app developers: insert a “Do Not Track” function and other consumer privacy safeguards into your products. Read the release. According to the FTC staff report on mobile app privacy issues, 57 percent of all app users have either uninstalled an app over concerns about having to share their personal information, or declined to install an app in the first place for similar reasons. “These best practices will help to safeguard consumer privacy and build trust in the mobile marketplace, ensuring that the market can continue to thrive,” Leibowitz says.

Twitter Hack Attack

Just as Twitter continues to try to find solid footing for building its ad business, the microblog became the latest high-profile media hacking victim last week. According to a Twitter blog post late on Friday, attackers may have had access to limited user information – usernames, email addresses, session tokens and encrypted/salted versions of passwords – for approximately 250,000 users. Read it. “This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident,” the NYT’s Nicole Perlroth quotes Bob Lord, Twitter’s director of information security, as saying. Read more.

Audi’s Choice

When it comes to online media, you can do a lot with $4 million, notes Mashable’s Lauren Indvik. For example, a big time auto maker like Audi “could have used to take over the front page of Yahoo for a week, to generate 100 million impressions on Hulu or to purchase any number of other high-profile digital ad placements.” But instead, it went with a Super Bowl ad and Indvik wanted to know why. Loren Angelo, GM of Marketing for Audi, tells her, "We've achieved record levels of awareness and showroom traffic with national consideration numbers showing significant spikes post game.” Besides, its "Prom" spot racked up more than 4.2 million views since its Jan. 24 debut on YouTube -- for free. Read more.

More Agency Streamlining

Interpublic Group has merged the media operations at Draftfcb into Mediabrands, which is increasingly the center of gravity for IPG’s media activities. The move follows a decision by rival holding company Havas to consolidate its Media Contacts and MPG agency brands into a new media unit called Havas Media. IPG CEO Michael Roth said in a memo the move “will allow the insights and expertise that IPG Mediabrands and Draftfcb bring to clients to be combined into an even more integrated set of offerings and capabilities.” Are big ad buyers laying the groundwork for automation? AdAge, Mediapost.

Digesting Facebook

The filing of Facebook's year-end, 10K financial filing late last week has yielded new findings according to analysts. Pivotal's Brian Wieser notes: "Facebook has been successfully diversifying the company's base of developers away from Zynga, improving the value of the Platform to all of its constituents. For example, we estimate that non-Zynga payments remitted to developers tripled year-over-year in 2012, from around $300mm to $1bn. As well, the number of users who purchased virtual goods nearly doubled year-over-year." Read the 10K on the SEC's site. Another part of the 10K is Facebook's focus on the importance of "last click". From the filing: "We use an advanced click prediction system that weighs many real-time updated features using automated learning techniques. Our technology incorporates the estimated click-through rate with both the marketer's bid and a user relevancy signal to select the optimal ads to show." Do views matter on Facebook? Or is the upper-funnel and building brand awareness about clicks on Facebook? More 10k highlights from Inside Facebook.

A Flurry Of “Crashlytics”

As mobile app makers juggle 30 to 40 ad networks and marketing channels, the likelihood of users experience “crashing” of their apps is also growing. In a bid to help app developers better understand which ones perform the best, mobile analytics provider Flurry is rolling out a tool designed to address that problem. “The company’s crash analytics lets developers get automatic alerts on new errors and common crashes," writes Techcrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler. "They can then diagnose where these errors are originating from with full stack traces including symbolication." Read the rest.

Google’s French Newspaper Detente

Google will pay $82 million to settle a dispute with French newspaper and magazine publishers over whether the search giant should pay them to link to their stories, the WSJ's Sam Schechner and Inti Landauro reported. The settlement money will be deposited into a dedicated fund aimed at helping French news media navigate the transition to the internet, as print ad budgets dry up. In return, Google gets the links. "We made history in a very good way for the citizens of France," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said. Read more.

Ad Safety Swirl

On AdMonsters, Shawna Stine from the ad operations group at “premium” publisher ESPN provides an anecdote that seems to show the client side is concerned about the brand safety of her site’s inventory by requiring an ad blocking tag. Ad ops guru Ben Kneen chimes in, “Ad blocking tags are really a silly proposition for a direct-to-publisher buy on a branded publisher in my opinion. What is the buyer really worried about? It's not as though ESPN is going to start dropping racial epithets, write diatribes against a specific brand, or host pornographic images.” Read more.

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