AT&T Ad Injection Uncovered; Facebook’s New Messaging Product

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Tepid Spots

Jonathan Mayer, a computer scientist at Stanford and occasional privacy advocate, uncovered an ad abnormality running through AT&T hotspots at Dulles International Airport. While browsing the Internet through an AT&T portal, Mayer noticed ad-supported websites like The Wall Street Journal displaying additional pop-up ads. The ads were facilitated through an ad injection platform called RaGaPa, a startup that pitches network monetization. “The legality of hotspot advertising injection is a messy subject,” Mayer wrote via Web Policy. “It certainly doesn’t help AT&T and RaGaPa that the ads aren’t labeled as associated with the hotspot, and that AT&T’s wifi terms of service are silent about advertising injection.” Re/code follows up with AT&T, who says the ads were part of an experiment that is now over.


Facebook introduced a service called “M” in a blog post on Wednesday by David Marcus, the former PayPal president and current Facebook VP of messaging products. Marcus says “M” is “powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people.” It’s clear that the product is in a testing phase, but the stated goal is to use AI to enable purchases, book restaurants, order deliveries, set calendar notices and more. Check out the full post. How long until paid media scales up within messaging apps?

Caught In A Web

Venrock partner and prominent VC investor David Pakman (Klout, Nest, Singly, Dstillery) wrote a Medium post about how “The currency of the media business is attention.” Pakman says brands and marketers should be hyperfocused on apps (which absorb 86% of all user attention on mobile, with browsers picking up 14%). Bolstered by recent research data, Pakman ventures, “The idea that the mobile web is a credible channel through which to reach consumers is largely disproven at this point.” Read it.

Ranting On Ratings

On a call Wednesday with US investors, WPP CEO Martin Sorrell said he’d like to see more “cooperation” between Rentrak and comScore, and later that he’d “welcome them coming together.” There are concerns across the industry – from the marketer side in particular – about the Tower of Babel proliferation of metrics. Measurement is difficult when services miss or overlap in global regions or across marketing channels (TV, mobile, online), or if multiple services have strongly diverging results. The Wall Street Journal’s Nathalie Tadena and Sarah Rabil posit that a Rentrak/comScore team-up could contend better with Nielsen. Read on.

High Five

Forbes published a list calling out five ad tech firms to know, and AdRoll, Tapad, MediaMath and StartApp all made the cut. The fifth firm, Oomph, is a lesser-known startup that helps traditional print publishers transition to digital by transforming print ads to digital formats. “The service is valuable because it slashes cost and time of print-to-digital translation and allows publishers to sell ads across both print and mobile platforms in a single transaction, instead of through separate deals for each media,” writes Forbes contributor Ilya Pozin. Read it.

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