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Instagram Finally Lets Links In Bios; If You Reddit, You Buy It

Comic: Surveillance Advertising

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The Missing Link

Instagram now lets users link to multiple external sites from their bio page. 

Sounds minor, but it’s a concession creators have begged for from virtually every social platform for years.

In fact, TechCrunch reports, Instagram is only loosening the policy because an open approach is a potent differentiator from TikTok, which strictly prohibits external account links. If Instagram is the only network that links out, perhaps influencers will treat Instagram bio pages as a traffic hub.

This is a side scuffle between Instagram and TikTok in a larger battle royale among platforms. But it could lay waste to the cottage industry of link-in-bio startups, like a town being casually crushed during a Godzilla vs. Mothra fight.

Linktree, Beacons and other linking startups were built as influencer account hubs on the assumption that social networks would never allow external links. 

Linktree, which reached unicorn status one year ago, and other link-in-bio players may be behind startups built on assumptions about the “pivot to video” or live shopping on Facebook and Instagram. 

Pay To Scrape

Google, Microsoft and other chatbot makers benefit from free and open access to user-generated content to train their language-processing algorithms. Now the users who generated that content want compensation.

Publishers have begun exploring ways to compel Big Tech companies to pay for access to the content used to train their software. The latest major name to join the fray is Reddit, The New York Times reports.


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Google Bard, Microsoft Bing chatbot Sydney and OpenAI’s ChatGPT rely on huge depositories of real online conversations and articles to train their language models, which auto-generate the text people see when they give a prompt.

As early as next week, Reddit will charge companies that operate AI chatbots for access to its API, which is the interface used to crawl conversations of Reddit’s 57 million daily users. 

Reddit co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman declined to clarify any prices. He did, however, specify that entities that access Reddit’s API for research and academic purposes will continue to be able to do so free of charge.

On Your Guard

The Georgia National Guard has an unsettling plan to geofence high schools for recruiting purposes to target students at school, then retarget them at home. 

TikTok is out of the question, per Department of Defense policy, but otherwise campaigns will reach students on their phones or computers at school. Later, presumably at home, the campaigns will retarget those devices and their home IP addresses with social media, CTV and streaming music ads, The Intercept reports, according to an RFP to ad vendors. 

The Georgia National Guard ostensibly targets 17-year-olds and older, but that stipulation is impossible to maintain, says cybersecurity researcher Zach Edwards. Some kids have phones under a parent’s account, geofencing is inexact (to be delicate) and a targeted device could be inviting the Georgia National Guard into their home IP address to target (younger) family members. 

The Georgia National Guard is also trying to reach adults who are influential with students, like coaches and counselors. 

Parents and administrators worry that direct targeting kids allows the National Guard to recruit without the intercedence of an adult. Recruiters previously had to call or send a home brochure.

But Wait, There’s More!

The Trade Desk and other DSPs are factoring into how brands negotiate TV ad upfront deals this year. [Ad Age]

Meta VP of global business marketing Michelle Klein and VP of global channels Patrick Harris join an exodus of ad execs. [Insider] In separate-but-related news, Meta stopped pitching advertisers on the metaverse, leading instead with Reels and Advantage+. [Insider]

California and Europe created “first drafts” of privacy legislation, report says. [Marketing Brew]

Lululemon is considering a sale of Mirror, the data-driven fitness-equipment maker it acquired in 2020. [Bloomberg]

Motion raises $6 million to help creative teams quantify their impact. [release]

You’re Hired!

Wavemaker, part of WPP’s GroupM, names Jon Gittings to the role of international head of strategy. [MediaPost]

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