Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.
Apple Vs. … GDPR?
Are the privacy-focused changes for the release of Apple’s iOS 14 in September compatible with the GDPR? Not according to a coalition of European advertising and publisher trade organizations, including IAB Europe and News Media Europe. In a letter to Tim Cook, the group applauds Apple’s decision to keep the IDFA rather than kill it outright but argues that the new proprietary opt-in pop-up proposed by Apple isn’t consistent with consent-gathering requirements under GDPR, since developers can’t customize the pop-up enough. The pop-up also isn’t interoperable with existing industry standards, including the Transparency and Consent Framework, because users are only given a binary choice: track or don’t track. Without the IDFA, mobile ad tech companies are up a creek sans paddle, while Apple sits pretty with App Store Search ads.
The SEO community is scrutinizing a Pinterest image search trick. It turns out that when people upload images without any metadata, Pinterest does a reverse image search on Google and repurposes language for its own “What others are saying” field. Pinterest comms tells RankScience that it never scrapes search data – a big no-no for Google (the online lyrics site Rap Genius was penalized for hacking Google’s algorithm and lost its search standing for 10 days). Pinterest is probably pulling data from its Chrome browser extension, according to RankScience CEO Ryan Bednar. But the practice is likely under review, and certainly gives Pinterest a leg up, because using Google’s own language for metadata descriptions would give Pinterest a high “Content Relevance” score, an important factor for ranking.
A Google bot named “John Smith” has been filling and abandoning online shopping carts for more than a year, to the consternation of many small business owners. Google created the bot to ensure that the price of a product listed on Google Shopping matches what’s advertised on site. But the bot messed with these companies’ analytics, skewing the data by adding and abandoning, in some cases, up to 73 items per month. The merchants had a hunch the bot might have belonged to Google – John Smith always used a Gmail address, and he can be traced back to Google’s Mountain View HQ. Google confirmed the bot belongs to the company and said it “is looking to clarify how the automated systems will work with merchant websites in the future to avoid confusion,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Big Tech Goes (Back) To Washington
The CEOs of Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon will testify before Congress this month as part of a broad government antitrust inquiry into their dominant market power. The hearing will be a high-profile opportunity for lawmakers to ask the executives about antitrust allegations made by other companies, as well as issues including Amazon’s treatment of warehouse workers and the spread of hate speech on Google and Facebook, The New York Times reports. The hearing will be Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ first time testifying before Congress, while Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai appear for a second time. It’s not clear yet when exactly the hearing will be held, or whether it will be virtual.
But Wait, There’s More!
- Facebook Shared User Data With 5,000+ Developers After Cutoff Date – TechCrunch
- Pinterest Testing Co-Sold, Rev-Share Ad Model For Publishers – Digiday
- Facebook Faces An Advertiser Boycott. Will Its Business Take A Hit? – WSJ
- US, EU Advocacy Groups Warn Against Google’s Fitbit Purchase – Reuters
- Verizon Expands DOOH Footprint With Screens In Golf Carts – release
- Antitrust Battle Focused On Ads Might Play To Google’s Advantage – The Information
- UK Competition Watchdog Ignores Calls For Online Ad Sector Probe – FT
- Facebook Accused By Black Manager Of Systemic Discrimination – Bloomberg