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FTC Workshop Targets Native Advertising

FTC LogoIt looks like the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is taking the world of ‘native advertising’ seriously.

So seriously in fact that there will be a workshop on the subject in December. The post about the workshop says

Increasingly, advertisements that more closely resemble the content in which they are embedded are replacing banner advertisements – graphical images that typically are rectangular in shape – on publishers’ websites and mobile applications. The workshop will bring together publishing and advertising industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and government regulators to explore changes in how paid messages are presented to consumers and consumers’ recognition and understanding of these messages.

Uh oh! The FTC thinks there might be something rotten in the state of Denmark, so to speak.

Facebook Starts Global Government Requests Report

facebook-icon 1Facebook is attempting to be more transparent these days.

Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get Internet connectivity to more of the world via the Internet.org initiative.

If the new report that Facebook produced yesterday was any indication though, it appears that getting more people on Facebook might not only help Facebook and their new users but also government action as well.

The report is called the ‘Global Government Requests Report‘. Facebook is trying to put a nice face on it by saying

Transparency and trust are core values at Facebook. We strive to embody them in all aspects of our services, including our approach to responding to government data requests. We want to make sure that the people who use our service understand the nature and extent of the requests we receive and the strict policies and processes we have in place to handle them.

Pinterest Joins the “Do Not Track” Ranks

Pinterest LogoIn a move that some (especially marketers) might find as detrimental to the future financial success of Pinterest, the popular image sharing site has decided to follow Twitter’s lead and allow users to opt out of being tracked by the site.

How far Pinterest goes to promote this fact remains to be seen since it was given one sentence at the very end of a post from Friday of last week announcing other updates to the service which include a new edit button.

The New York Times reported about the do not track element telling us

In Silicon Valley there are hundreds of companies that track people’s habits with the hopes of offering more intrusive advertising. There are, in comparison, very few Valley start-ups that give people the opportunity to opt out of that tracking.

Idiot Runs Onto Field At MLB All Star Game Because He Got 1,000 Retweets

Well, this is definitely the dark side, or should I say dumb side, of the social media space for sure.

CBS New York reports about a ‘fan’ who ran onto the field during the MLB All Star Game last night.

There might not have been a ton of action on the field during Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game — the American League won a pitching duel, 3-0 — but spectators at the park were entertained when a fan sporting a Robinson Cano shirt ran onto the field and was taken down by security guards.

He’s known as @MasoneDylan on Twitter, and prior to the Midsummer Classic he tweeted that if he received 1,000 retweets he would “run across the field.”

Sure enough, he got the 1,000 retweets necessary.

You can guess what he did next. This is what he got for his efforts.

(Note: If this was in Philly they would have tasered him so this guy, unfortunately, gets off easy)

I am not playing the role of ‘stick in the mud’ here. It’s just that stunts like this in an age where people are wary of anyone doing anything that could even remotely smell of something more serious (in the wake of the Boston marathon bombings EVERYONE at events like this are on high alert) are not smart.

Google in European Privacy Watchdog’s Crosshairs Yet Again

Google LegalDespite having put forth an effort in 2012 to put European countries at ease about data collection its data collection efforts, Google finds itself back in hot water over privacy concerns.

The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has told Google of the perceived inadequacies in their current privacy policies and similar organizations from Germany, France and Spain have followed suit. Of course, with France being accused of having their own PRISM like way of gathering data on their citizens this rings a little hollow but that’s for another day.

The Guardian reports

Privacy watchdogs in the UK, Germany and Italy have told Google to rewrite its privacy policy in Europe or face legal sanctions, 15 months after the search giant unilaterally altered them to unify data collection.

If You Market To Kids Note That Stricter COPPA Rules are Now in Effect

123215_democratizing_infoIf you run a website for children or sell products aimed at kids, your job just got a whole lot tougher. This past Monday, the updated Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rules went into effect and ignoring the rules could cost you up to $16,000 per violation.

The biggest change is in what constitutes personal information. In the past, you only needed a parent’s permission to collect emails and addresses for kids under 13. Now, photos, audio and video uploads are also included in the rule as well as geo-location information.

That means if you run a website where kids upload photos or videos of themselves for fun or for a contest, you must get verifiable permission from a parent. You can do this in a number of ways:

Natural Search Return or Paid Result? FTC Says Its Too Hard To Tell the Difference

ad note on googleWhen looking at a page of search results I often feel like I’m playing a round of Where’s Waldo. But instead of the guy in the striped t-shirt, I’m looking for the place where the paid ads end and the natural search results begin.

I don’t have evidence to prove it, but I feel like that line used to be more clearly defined. There would be a couple of very obvious ads at the top of the page and rest would be sites that earned their spot the hard way. Results in the right hand column were always ads. I can’t remember at what point ads started appearing in the main results as well.