Honkin' News banner

Watson Ads for Branded Answers to the Little Questions of Life

September 6, 2016

Here is a potent new way for brands to worm their way into every aspect of consumers’ lives. “IBM Watson Is Now Offering AI-Powered Digital Ads That Answer Consumers’ Questions,” we learn from AdWeek. Watson Ads will hook users up with answers to their everyday questions—answers supplied by advertisers. Apparently, IBM’s Weather-Company acquisition supplied the tools behind this product. Writer Christopher Heine explains:

IBM’s relatively new ownership of The Weather Company’s digital properties is coming into play in a serious fashion: Watson Ads will first appear on Weather.com, the Weather mobile app and the company’s data-driven WeatherFX platform. Later, IBM plans to allow them to appear on third-party properties.

Campbell Soup Company, Unilever and GSK Consumer Healthcare are some of the brands that will run the ads in the coming days. Watson Ads’ pricing details were not disclosed.

Jeremy Steinberg, global head of sales, The Weather Company, described how they work, stating that ‘machine learning and natural-language capabilities will allow it to provide accurate responses. What we’re doing is moving away from keyword searches and towards more natural language and well-reasoned answers.

Heine outlines Campbell’s plan as an example—their Watson Ads will present “Chef Watson,” the helpful AI which suggests recipes based on criteria like available ingredients, the time of day, and what the weather is like. Those recipes will be pulled from Campbell’s existing site Campbell’s Kitchen. Not surprisingly, their ingredient lists rely heavily on Campbell’s product line (which goes well beyond soup these days).

Another Watson Ads client is GSK Consumer Healthcare, which plans to use the tech to help users make better real-time health decisions—a worthy project, I’ll admit. I am curious to see how Unilever, and other companies down the line, will leverage their digital voices of authority. See the article for more details on the project.

Cynthia Murrell, September 6, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph
There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233599645/

Alphabet Google Factoid: Media Spend Control

May 31, 2016

I noted “Google Now Controls 12 Percent of All Global Media Spend.” My immediate reaction was, “Just 12 percent.” I assumed that the Alphabet Google thing had cornered much more of the media spend. I learned:

Alphabet controls 12 percent of all global media spend, which primarily comes from Google and YouTube’s ad sales. The company collects $60 billion in U.S. ad spend—a figure 166 percent larger than No. 2 ranking The Walt Disney Company. To compare, Google’s ad revenue was 136 percent larger than Walt Disney last year. Alphabet’s overall ad revenue is up 17 percent year-over-year.

Google is not without competition. I love “competition” in the online digital world. The write up points out:

Facebook in particular continues to become an advertising juggernaut. The social network jumped from No. 10 in 2015 to No. 5 this year, making it the fastest-growing company on Zenith’s list with 65 percent year-over-year growth. Chinese Internet company Baidu is the second fastest-growing company, with ad revenues up 52 percent.

I am not an ad expert. I certainly don’t know anything about media spend. After 15 years of slogging, the 12 percent figure strikes me as interesting. It seems that in a shorter time period, Facebook has been the hot item. Search or social media? Which is the “winner”? Both? Who are the losers?

Traditional media. Another surprise?

Stephen E Arnold, May 31, 2016

CBS Jargon Meistering

May 20, 2016

I don’t pay much, if any, attention to the antics of network television giants. I noted this headline “CBS Chief Leslie Moonves Takes Aim at Competitors Dubious Ratings Claims,”  and I read the article. Perhaps the CBS top dog was referring to outfits like Yahoo?

I highlighted these words and phrases as “interesting.”

  • out-of-context data points
  • scatter market
  • out-of-the-box swing
  • stock-in-trade brand.

I am uncertain of the meaning of these phrases, but I understood this statement:

“We see money coming back to network, not that it ever left.” But when it comes to digital, he added, “The bloom is off the rose.”

Ah, a reference to Robert Burns. That I understood. I also understand bologna.

Stephen E Arnold, May 20, 2016

Forget World Population, Domain Population Is Overcrowded

April 5, 2016

Back in the 1990s, if you had a Web site without a bunch of gobbidly-gook after the .com, you were considered tech savvy and very cool.  There were plenty of domain names available in those days and as the Internet became more of a tool than a novelty, demand for names rose. It is not as easy anymore to get the desired Web address, says Phys.org in the article, “Overcrowded Internet Domain Space Is Stifling Demand, Suggesting A Future ‘Not-Com’ Boom.”

Domain names are being snapped up fast, so quickly, in fact, that Web development is being stunted.  As much as 25% of domains are being withheld, equaling 73 million as of summer 2015 with the inability to register domain names that would drive Internet traffic.

“However, as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has begun to roll out the option to issue brand new top-level domains for almost any word, whether it’s dot-hotel, dot-books or dot-sex – dubbed the ‘not-coms’ – the research suggests there is substantial untapped demand that could fuel additional growth in the domain registrations.”

One of the factors that determine prime Internet real estate is a simple, catchy Web address.  With new domains opening up beyond the traditional .org, .com, .net, .gov endings, an entire new market is also open for entrepreneurs to profit from.  People are already buying not-com’s for cheap with the intention to resale them for a pretty penny.  It bears to mention, however, that once all of the hot not-com’s are gone, we will be in the same predicament as we are now.  How long will that take?

 

Whitney Grace, April 5, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Paywalls Block Pleasure Reading

April 4, 2016

Have you noticed something new in the past few months on news Web sites?  You click on an interesting article and are halfway though reading it when a pop-up banner blocks out the screen.  The only way to continue reading is to enter your email, find the elusive X icon, or purchase a subscription.  Ghacks.net tells us to expect more of these in, “Read Articles Behind Paywalls By Masquerading As Googlebot.”

Big new sites such as the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal are now experimenting with the paywall to work around users’ ad blockers.  The downside is that content will be locked up and sites might lose viewers, but that might be a risk they are willing to take to earn a bigger profit.

There used be some tricks to get around paywalls:

“It is no secret that news sites allow access to news aggregators and search engines. If you check Google News or Search for instance, you will find articles from sites with paywalls listed there.  In the past, news sites allowed access to visitors coming from major news aggregators such as Reddit, Digg or Slashdot, but that practice seems to be as good as dead nowadays.  Another trick, to paste the article title into a search engine to read the cached story on it directly, does not seem to work properly anymore as well as articles on sites with paywalls are not usually cached anymore.”

The best way, the article says, is to make the Web site think you are a Googlebot.  Web sites allow Googlebots roam freely to appear higher in search engine results.  There are a few ways to trick the Web sites into thinking you are a Googlebot based on your Internet browser, Firefox or Chrome.  Check them out, but it will not be long before those become old-fashioned too.

 

Whitney Grace, April 4, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Big Data Shows Its Return on Investment

January 13, 2016

Big data was the word that buzzed through the IT community and made companies revaluate their data analytics and consider new ways to use structured and unstructured information to their benefit.  Business2Community shares how big data has affected companies in sixteen case studies: “16 Case Studies Of Companies Proving ROI Of Big Data.” One of the problems companies faced when implementing a big data plan was whether or not they would see a return on their investment.  Some companies saw an immediate return, but others are still scratching their heads.  Enough time has passed to see how various corporations in different industries have leaned.

Companies remain committed to implementing big data plans into their frameworks, most of what they want to derive from big data is how to use it effectively:

  • “91% of marketing leaders believe successful brands use customer data to drive business decisions (source: BRITE/NYAMA)
  • 87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (BRITE/NYAMA)
  • 86% of people are willing to pay more for a great customer experience with a brand (souce: Lunch Pail)”

General Electric uses big data to test their products’ efficiently and the crunch the analytics to increase productivity.  The Weather Channel analyzes its users behavior patterns along with climate data in individual areas to become an advertising warehouse.  The big retailer Wal-Mart had added machine learning, synonym mining, and text analysis to increase search result relevancy.  Semantic search has also increased online shopping by ten percent.

The article highlights many other big brand companies and how big data has become a boon for businesses looking to increase their customer relations, increase sales, and improve their services.

 

Whitney Grace, January 13, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Scientific Research Has Turned into a Safe Space

December 31, 2015

The Internet is a cold, cruel place, especially if you hang out in the comments section on YouTube, eBay forums, social media, and 4chan.  If you practice restraint and limit your social media circles to trusted individuals, you can surf the Internet without encountering trolls and haters.  Some people do not practice common sense, so they encounter many hateful situations on the Internet and as a result they demand “safe spaces.”  Safe spaces are where people do not encounter anything negative.

Safe spaces are stupid.  Period.  What is disappointing is that the “safe space” and “only positive things” has made its way into the scientific community according to Nature in the article, “‘Novel, Amazing, Innovative’: Positive Words On The Rise In Science Papers.”

The University Medical Center in the Netherlands studied the use of positive and negative words in the titles of scientific papers and abstracts from 1974-2014 published on the medical database PubMed.  The researchers discovered that positive words in titles grew from 2% in 1974 to 17.5% in 2014.  Negative word usage increased from 1.3% to 2.4%, while neutral words did not see any change.  The trend only applies to research papers, as the same test was run using published books and it showed little change.

“The most obvious interpretation of the results is that they reflect an increase in hype and exaggeration, rather than a real improvement in the incidence or quality of discoveries… The findings “fit our own observations that in order to get published, you need to emphasize what is special and unique about your study,” he says. Researchers may be tempted to make their findings stand out from thousands of others — a tendency that might also explain the more modest rise in usage of negative words.”

While there is some doubt associated with the findings, because it was only applied to PubMed.  The original research team thinks that it points to much larger problem, because not all research can be “innovative” or “novel.”  The positive word over usage is polluting the social, psychological, and biomedical sciences.

Under the table, this really points to how scientists and researchers are fighting for tenure.  What would this mean for search engine optimization if all searches and descriptions had to have a smile?  Will they even invent a safe space filter?

Whitney Grace, December 31, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

 

 

Search Provenance: Is That in France?

November 22, 2015

I find the excitement surrounding streaming apps interesting. I am not into apps for a mobile device. I use a mobile device to make phone calls and check email. I am hopelessly out of date, behind the times, old fashioned, and unhip.

That is fine with me.

Knowing what an app is doing seems prudent. I am not overly confident that 20 somethings will follow the straight and narrow. In fact, I am not sure those older stay within the rule of the road. The information highway? Dude, get out of my way.

The big point is that the write up “Teens Have Trouble Telling between Google Ads and Search Links” makes vivid the risk inherent in losing checkpoints, informational signals, and white lines in the datasphere.

The write up states:

UK watchdog Ofcom has posted a study showing that just 31 percent of kids aged 12 to 15 can tell the difference between a Google search ad and the real results just below them. They also tend to be overly trusting, as 19 percent of those young teens believe that all online results must be true. Not surprisingly, the figures get worse with younger children — just 16 percent of those aged 8 to 11 know whether they’re seeing an ad or a result.

Nothing like the ability to think and determine if information is valid. Do you want a ticket to provenance? I hear the food is wonderful.

Stephen E Arnold, November 22, 2015

The Alphabet Google Thing with Yahoo

October 26, 2015

The Xoogler, Marissa Mayer, has embraced the Alphabet Google thing.

Bittersweet?

Nah, a need to generate some real revenue. The Alphabet Google thing has Yahooligans in its thrall. Microsoft? Well, who knows? An outsider to the Googlers again it appears.

I read “Yahoo Signs Ad Pact with Google; Earnings and Revenue Miss.” The Yahoo financial picture is no longer fuzzy. I see the crisp, clear lines of the sharp revenue downturn. According to the write up:

Mayer, in her fourth year as chief executive, said the forecast was “not indicative of the performance we want.” “We are also experiencing continued revenue headwinds in our core (advertising) business, especially in the legacy portions,” Mayer said on a call with analysts.

I like the “we” and the “headwinds.”

With AOL in the pride of the Verizon lion king, Yahoo may need more than a deal with the Alphabet Google thing to deal with the financial storm. The questions I have include:

  • When will an acceptable purchaser of Yahoo surface?
  • What line of business at Yahoo will the leader of the pack identify as the growth engine?
  • What steps can be taken to produce organic revenue from the most promising Yahoo businesses?

The answers to these questions may be spelled out in the months ahead.

Stephen E Arnold, October 26, 2015

 

Beyond LinkedIn

October 26, 2015

Though LinkedIn remains the largest professional networking site, it may be time to augment its hobnobbing potential with one or more others. Search Engine Journal gives us many to choose from in “12 Professional Networking Alternatives to LinkedIn.” Like LinkedIn, some are free, but others offer special features for a fee. Some even focus on local connections. Reporter Albert Costill writes:

“While LinkedIn has proven to be an incredible assist for anyone looking to make professional connections or find employment, there have been some concerns. For starters, the company has been forced to reduce the number of emails it sends out because of complaints. There have also been allegations of the company hacking into member’s emails and a concern that activity on LinkedIn groups are declining.

“That doesn’t mean that you should give up on LinkedIn. Despite any concerns with the network, it still remains one of the best locations to network professionally. It just means that in addition to LinkedIn you should also start networking on other professional sites to cast that wide net that was previously mentioned. I previously shared eight alternatives to LinkedIn like Twylah, Opprtunity, PartnerUp, VisualCV, Meetup, Zerply, AngelList, and BranchOut, but here are twelve more networking sites that you should also consider using in no particular order.”

So between Costill’s lists, there are 20 sites to check out. A few notable entries from this second list: Makerbase is specifically for software creators, and is free to any Twitter users; LunchMeet connects LinkedIn users who would like to network over lunch; Plaxo automatically keeps your cloud-based contact list up-to-date; and the European Xing is the place to go for a job overseas. See the article for many more network-boosting options.

 

Cynthia Murrell, October 26,  2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Next Page »