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An Obscure Infographic About London Coffee Shops

July 29, 2015

Here’s a unique pair of graphics, particularly of interest for anyone who can see themselves enjoying a cup of joe in London. Gizmodo presents “A Taxonomy of Hip Coffee Shop Names.” The infographic from Information is Beautiful lays out London’s hipster coffee shops by both naming convention and location. Both charts size their entries by popularity– the more popular a shop the bigger disk (coaster?) its name sits upon. The brief write-up sets the scene:

“As you walk down the sidewalk, you see a chalkboard in the distance. As you step a little closer, you smell the deep musk of coffee emanating from an artfully distressed front door. Out steps a man with a beard, a Mac slung under his arm, sipping from small re-useable flat white-sized cup. You’ve stumbled across another hip coffee shop. Now, what’s it called?

“Information is Beautiful … breaks the naming structure down by type: there are ones themed around drugs, chatter, beans, brewing, socialism and more. But they all share one thing in common: they sound just like they could be hand-painted above that scene you just saw.”

So, if you like coffee, London, hipsters, or taxonomy-graphics, take a gander. From Alchemy to Maison d’être to Window, a shop or two are sure to peak the curiosity.

Cynthia Murrell, July 29, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

 

Google Revenue Tweaks: Mobilegeddon the New Beginning

July 16, 2015

I read “Google’s Mobilegeddon Moves Hitting Marketers, Sites.” The write up reports an action by Google that I had not considered. The ballyhooed mobilegeddon hit my radar months ago.

Here’s the big news, according to ZDNet:

there’s a 25 percent gap between what they pay for clicks vs. what they get. “Parity or click through rates are growing faster than cost per clicks,” said Gaffney [presumably an Adobe principal wizard]. “We’re not even close right now. To see the gap widening is troubling.”

My view: Get used to it, gentle reader. The GOOG has a number of strings, but some of the chunkiest and most curvaceous in terms of revenue have been on “The Biggest Loser.”

As a result, the revenue mavens at the Google are beefing up other revenue streams.

Adobe is cheerleading for Facebook, but seems to be quite placid when the Zuck wants Flash to be disappeared.

Google, Zuck, Adobe: What’s this mean pour vous. Spend more, get less. Enjoy the excitement of the new feature “World That Click Streams Abandoned.”

Stephen E Arnold, July 16, 2015

Why Are Ads Hiding Themselves

June 25, 2015

The main point of an advertisement is to get your attention and persuade you to buy a good or service.  So why would ads be hiding themselves in a public venue?  Gizmodo reports that in Russia certain ads are hiding from law enforcement in the article: “This Ad For Banned Food In Russia Itself From The Cops.”  Russian authorities have banned imported food from the United States and European Union.   Don Giulio Salumeria is a Russian food store that makes its income by selling imported Italian food, but in light of the recent ban the store has had to come up with some creative advertising:

“Websites are already able to serve up ads customized for whoever happens to be viewing a page. Now an ad agency in Russia is taking that idea one step further with an outdoor billboard that’s able to automatically hide when it spots the police coming.”

Using a camera equipped with facial recognition software programmed to recognized symbols and logos on officers’ uniforms, the billboard switches ads from Don Giulio Salumeria to another ad advertising a doll store.  While the ad does change when it “sees “ the police coming, they still have enough time to see it.  The article argues that the billboard’s idea is more interesting than anything.  It then points out how advertising will become more personally targeted in the future, such as a billboard recognizing a sports logo and advertising an event related to your favorite team or being able to recognize your car on a weekly commute, then recommending a vacation.   While Web sites are already able to do this by tracking cookies on your browser, it is another thing to being tracked in the real world by targeted ads.

Whitney Grace, June 25, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Data From eBay Illustrates Pricing Quirk

June 8, 2015

The next time you go to sell or buy an item, pay attention to the message the price is sending. Discover reports that “The Last Two Digits of a Price Signal Your Desperation to Sell.” Researchers at UC Berkeley’s business school recently analyzed data from eBay, tracking original prices and speed of negotiations. Writer Joshua Gans shares a chart from the report, and explains:

“The chart shows that when the posted initial price is of a round number (the red dots), like $1,000, the average counteroffer is much lower than if it is a non-round number (the blue circles), like $1,079. For example, the graph suggests that you can actually end up with a higher counteroffer if you list $998 rather than $1,000. In other words, you are better off initially asking for a lower price if price was all you cared about. [Researchers] Backus et al postulate that what is going on here is ‘cheap talk’ – that is, an easy-to-make statement that may be true or untrue with no consequences for dishonesty – and not an otherwise reliable signal. There are some sellers who don’t just care about price and, absent any other way of signaling that to buyers, they set their price at a round number. Alternatively, you can think that the more patient sellers are using non-round numbers to signal their toughness. Either way, the last two digits of the price is cheap talk.”

Gans notes that prices ending in “99” are apparently so common that eBay buyers treat them the same as those  ending in round numbers. The team performed a similar analysis on real estate sales data and found the same pattern: properties priced at round numbers sell faster. According to the write-up, real estate agents are familiar with the tendency and advise clients accordingly. Now you, too, can send and receive signals through prices’ last two digits.

Cynthia Murrell, June 8, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Users Hope SharePoint 2016 Eases Integration Woes

June 4, 2015

SharePoint integration is often mentioned as one of the lowest points of user satisfaction for the whole solution. However, to be fair, SharePoint has very drastically moved away from its very simple start. Its original purpose was document sharing, and probably just Office documents at that. Now the platform is expected to handle any type of file constantly emerging in the fast-moving world of content. IT Business Edge takes a good look at the issue in its article, “Why SharePoint 2016 Needs to Address Integration Shortcomings.”

The article begins on a humorous note:

“SharePoint integration must be really hard, judging by this new infographic, “Seven Alcoholic Drinks to Imbibe as Your SharePoint Integration Project Fails.” . . . Why is SharePoint so hard to integrate? There’s the obvious reason, of course: Microsoft’s built it for Microsoft ecosystems with little concern for heterogeneous environments. Still, that’s not the only reason it’s a pain. In fact, SharePoint had integration problems even with other Microsoft solutions, as this 2012 post by an application architect shows.”

There are clearly issues with SharePoint integration, and in light of them, head SharePoint execs are discussing improvements to the 2016 platform. While it will take some time before it is known whether the changes do improve user satisfaction, keep an eye on ArnoldIT.com for the latest updates. Stephen E. Arnold is a longtime leader in search and his Web service gives a good deal of attention to SharePoint. In fact, his dedicated SharePoint feed is a good place to start for the latest need-to-know information.

Emily Rae Aldridge, June 4, 2015

Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Google Allegedly Just Gets a Good Idea: A Data Platform

April 24, 2015

Wow. I read some interesting and often crazy stuff. But this is a keeper. Navigate to “Google Builds a Data Platform That’s the Last Piece of Its Ad Empire. Connects Dots for Marketers and Challenges Facebook.” Never mind that the Google has been working on the data platform thing for advertising for what is it now, 12 or 13 years. Never mind that the guts of the ad system’s interfaces have been a project at the Google for more than a decade. Never mind that the guts of the data platform idea originated before Google hired Drs. Halevy and Guha along with hundreds of other scientists and engineers eager to knit together data from Google’s various repositories. But, hey, it is an advertising Web site, and I assume advertising experts are a heck of a lot more informed than little old me.

I read:

Of course, Google faces regulatory scrutiny for any move it makes, as well as talk of anti-competitive practices. In fact, the company was charged in Europe last week with behaving like a monopoly in search. The ad tech community has been concerned that Google is offering all the services that lock advertisers into its ecosystem and squeeze out rivals.

What the write is about is the “lead” which Facebook has over Google. The problem is not technology, in my humble opinion. The problem is that Google is focused on technology and Facebook was built to allow a person to get a date. Facebook followed its social-human thing, and the GOOG has been embracing the ever lovable zeros and ones. There are Googlers at Facebook, but Facebook will not become a Google. I would argue that Google cannot become a Facebook.

The data platform is secondary to the source of the information fueling the respective systems. Facebook users are the content sources. Google’s content comes from other places. Both companies face significant challenges and neither is likely to morph into another.

Why not merge into a Googbook or Facegle? If it works for Comcast and Time Warner, it might work for Google and Facebook. Ad buys just become easier. Ad people often prefer the easy approach.

Stephen E Arnold, April 24, 2015

A Former Googler Reflects

April 10, 2015

After a year away from Google, blogger and former Googler Tim Bray (now at Amazon) reflects on what he does and does not miss about the company in his post, “Google + 1yr.” Anyone who follows his blog, ongoing, knows Bray has been outspoken about some of his problems with his former employer: First, he really dislikes “highly-overprivileged” Silicon Valley and its surrounds, where Google is based. Secondly, he found it unsettling  to never communicate with the “actual customers paying the bills,” the advertisers.

What does Bray miss about Google? Their advanced bug tracking system tops the list, followed closely by the slick and efficient, highly collaborative internal apps deployment. He was also pretty keen on being paid partially in Google stock between 2010 and 2014. The food on campus is everything it’s cracked up to be, he admits, but as a remote worker, he rarely got to sample it.

It was a passage in Bray’s “neutral” section that most caught my eye, though. He writes:

“The number one popular gripe against Google is that they’re watching everything we do online and using it to monetize us. That one doesn’t bother me in the slightest. The services are free so someone’s gotta pay the rent, and that’s the advertisers.

“Are you worried about Google (or Facebook or Twitter or your telephone company or Microsoft or Amazon) misusing the data they collect? That’s perfectly reasonable. And it’s also a policy problem, nothing to do with technology; the solutions lie in the domains of politics and law.

“I’m actually pretty optimistic that existing legislation and common law might suffice to whack anyone who really went off the rails in this domain.

“Also, I have trouble getting exercised about it when we’re facing a wave of horrible, toxic, pervasive privacy attacks from abusive governments and actual criminals.”

Everything is relative, I suppose. Still, I think it understandable for non-insiders to remain a leery about these companies’ data habits. After all, the distinction between “abusive government” and businesses is not always so clear these days.

Cynthia Murrell, April 10, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

 

The Cost of a Click Through Bing Ads

April 9, 2015

Wow. As an outsider to the world of marketing, I find these figures rather astounding. MarketingProfs shares an infographic titled, “The 20 Most Expensive Bing Ads Keywords.” The data comes from a recent analysis by WordStream of 10 million English keywords, grouped into categories. Writer Vahe Habeshian tells us:

“WordStream analyzed some 10 million English keywords and grouped the them into categories to determine the most expensive types of keywords (see infographic, below).

“(Also see a similar analysis of the most expensive keywords in Google AdWords advertising from 2011.)

“The most expensive keyword on Bing Ads is ‘lawyer,’ which would cost advertisers seeking the top ad spot a whopping $109.21 per click. Not surprisingly, the top 5 keywords are related to the legal world, indicating how lucrative clients can be.”

Yes, almost $110 per click whether legitimate, a human error, or a robot script. That’s a lot of fruitless clicks. It seems irrational, but it must be working if companies keep spending the dough. Right?

The word in second place, “attorney,” comes to $101.77 per click, and “DUI” is a comparative bargain at $68.56. After the top five, law-related words, there are such valuable terms as “annuity,” “rehab,”  and “exterminator.” See the infographic for more examples.

Cynthia Murrell, April 09, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Google Altered Search Results?!  

April 8, 2015

If you know anything about search results, search engine optimization, and search algorithms, you probably wondered if Google ever changed its search results so they would be favor one search result over another.  Google already alters results with Google AdWords, the Right to Forgotten, and removing results if they break rules.

The FTC revealed via The Wall Street Journal that Google has been altering its search results for profit: “Inside The US Antitrust Probe Of Google.”  The FTC found that Google was using its monopoly on search to harm Internet users and its rivals.  FTC recommended a lawsuit be brought against Google for three of its practices.  The FTC voted to end the investigation in 2013, which is strange, but they did so because they had competing recommendations.

Google continues to stand by its own innocence, citing that the case closed two years ago and that people continue to use its services.  There is one big thing that the Wall Street Journal points out:

“On one issue—whether Google used anticompetitive tactics for its search engine—the competition staff recommended against a lawsuit, although it said Google’s actions resulted in “significant harm” to rivals. In three other areas, the report found evidence the company used its monopoly behavior to help its own business and hurt its rivals.”

Can this be considered part of their “do not evil” bylaw?

Whitney Grace, April 8, 2015

Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

Pooling the Pangaea Ad Pool

April 2, 2015

In order to capitalize more on Internet ads, some of the biggest news published have pooled their resources to form the Pangaea Alliance, says Media Post in the article, “Premium Publishers Including Guardian, Reuters, FT Launch Programmatic Alliance.”  The Pangaea Alliance includes CNN International, the Financial Times, The Guardian, Reuters, and The Economist.  Combined all these publishers have an audience over 110 million users.  The Pangaea will make ad inventory available to advertisers using programmatic buying.

All participating members will pool their audiences and share their data with each.  This is very big news, considering most companies keep their customer list a secret.

“ ‘We know that trust is the biggest driver of brand advocacy, so we have come together to scale the benefits of advertising within trusted media environments,’ stated Tim Gentry, global revenue director at Guardian News and media and Pangaea Alliance project lead.”

Rubicon Project will power the Pangaea Alliance.  The alliance feeds into the demand for premium programmatic advertising venues on a massive scale.  The biggest problem it faces will be the customers.  They might have a large combined clientele, but will they actually want to pay for these outfits’ information?

Whitney Grace, April 2, 2015
Stephen E Arnold, Publisher of CyberOSINT at www.xenky.com

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