Ad Tech Vendors Pursue Saas; Vizio Entangled In Multiple Lawsuits

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Ready, Set, SaaS

Ad tech vendors are trying hard to replace their media markups with true SaaS revenues, and Digiday’s Yuyu Chen checks in on their progress. “Since enterprise software is still relatively new for CMOs, we structure pricing in a way that is more familiar and aligned with marketing budgets,” said MediaMath’s Dan Rosenberg. “CIOs and CTOs have spent decades allocating budgets based on the SaaS pricing model, so it’s familiar to them.” More. Many major buying platforms have suffered in pursuit of SaaS [AdExchanger coverage]. But it’s a mandatory struggle.

Empty Vessel

Smart-TV manufacturer Vizio is embroiled in multiple lawsuits alleging its data brokering practices violate the federal Video Privacy Protection Act, which restricts what viewer data media companies can disclose to third parties. Vizio is making the case this doesn’t apply to “companies that merely provide the vessel through which media content travels.” MediaPost suggests Vizio hopes to close the case before being forced to divulge contract details. (WPP, Interpublic, Tapad, TubeMogul and Xaxis are among those named as buyers of Vizio data.) More.

On The Ground

Twitter will make location more prominent through a partnership with Foursquare, which in turn “gets prominent branding, links back, and the ability to improve its own database,” reports Josh Constine at TechCrunch. In countries without significant Foursquare traction Twitter is turning to Yelp. “Instead of browsing a noisy hashtag with tweets from everywhere, you can discover what people on the ground are saying.” It also generates far more lucrative advertising real estate, although the social media company apparently isn’t ready to bring that to market yet. More.

You Are What You Eat

“Predictive programs are only as good as the data they are trained on, and that data has a complex history,” writes Microsoft principal researcher Kate Crawford in a column for The New York Times. Legacies of discrimination and human influence over seemingly impartial AI live on in tech in subtle ways. Carnegie Mellon researchers recently discovered that Google search ads for higher-paying jobs tend to display to men. “The complexity of how search engines show ads to internet users makes it hard to say why this happened.” ZIP codes without Amazon same-day delivery turned out to be a dead ringer for African-American neighborhoods impacted by discriminatory 20th-century redlining policies. More.

Video Wars

Facebook is taking one from the Snapchat playbook with an augmented reality mask feature rolling out on Facebook Live. An integration with AR app MSQRD (which Facebook bought in March) will allow Live users to swap out their faces with masks and filters, according to The Verge. It’s a strategy Snapchat pioneered as a content creation tool and an early revenue stream with sponsored graphics. Facebook wants in on the crazy engagement Snapchat gets from these filters (upward of 25 seconds per user) as it battles to be the dominant video platform and fights off a slump in user posting activity. More.

But Wait, There’s More!

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