Online tracking by news organizations is excessive, say researchers

Besides using multiple tracking servers for the same site, Pickard and Libert stumbled across something else of interest. “Our investigation has revealed that among the 2,000-plus news-related websites identified by Alexa,” explain the authors, “readers are, on average, connected to over 19 third-party servers — twice as many as the 100,000 most popular sites.”

Source: Online tracking by news organizations is excessive, say researchers – TechRepublic

How to Baffle Web Trackers by Obfuscating Your Movements Online


But today they’re all having trouble figuring me out, thanks to some sneaky browser plug-ins. One, AdNauseam, clicks every ad on every page I visit, baffling ad networks. When I do a search, TrackMeNot sends a stream of fake queries in the background—like “conan o’brien” and “watch tokyo samsung”—so Google and Bing can’t easily profile me either.

Source: How to Baffle Web Trackers by Obfuscating Your Movements Online | WIRED

Detectify Labs

The data economy powered by Chrome extensions is pretty vibrant.

Popular Google Chrome extensions are constantly tracking you per default, making it very difficult or impossible for you to opt-out. These extensions will receive your complete browsing history, all your cookies, your secret access-tokens used for authentication (i.e., Facebook Connect) and shared links from sites such as Dropbox and Google Drive. The third-party services in use are hiding their tracking by all means possible, combined with terrible privacy policies hidden inside the Chrome Web Store.The Detectify team has identified how they are doing it and what options you have to avoid being affected by it.

Source: Detectify Labs

Snapchat ads

Two interesting snapchat reads.  First is on whether Snapchat can figure out ad monetization:

For Snapchat advertisers, the question is whether prices that can reach more than $500,000 for some ads is worth it when the company lags competitors in targeting specific consumers and measuring how ads perform.”If Snapchat doesn’t get that figured out, they’re in trouble,” said Nick Godfrey, chief operating officer at RAIN, a digital strategy agency.

Source: Snapchat’s lackluster ad business threatens $16 billion valuation | Reuters

And then second on how they have to use screenshot to verify ads for their clients:

 Screenshots? Well, when a marketer pays a Snapchat creator to make a video featuring their brand, they typically have to rely on that creator to take a screenshot of their personal Snapchat page—something only they can see—with their phone. That’s essentially the only way for an advertiser to know how many people see an influencer’s Snapchat video and to feel comfortable that they got what they paid for (since most social influencers promise advertisers a certain amount of viewership for their content)

Source WSJ

The Last Days Of Marissa Mayer?

Stories of shitty management at Yahoo.  Don’t know if this is true but some of this stuff is inexcusable:

But perhaps none of these incidents damaged morale more than Mayer’s reorganization of Yahoo’s product teams. When Mayer launched the effort last fall, everyone agreed the existing structure had outlived its usefulness—for instance, mobile products was partitioned from other groups. But Mayer embarked on the process without laying out a grand vision for it. Instead, she began sketching out different scenarios in one-on-one meetings with various executives, floating one plan by one exec and a different by another. Unable to make up her mind, the process dragged on for months. “She went through 20 different permutations,” says an executive with knowledge of the process. “The product guys were twisting in the wind, not knowing what they were going to run.”Product releases slowed to a trickle, and a turf war brewed as executives became concerned with their futures.

Source: The Last Days Of Marissa Mayer? – Forbes

LTV / CPI vs. cashflow – Mobile Dev Memo

Good article on the cash flow requirements to scale paid marketing:

What this example illustrates is that, despite making roughly 50% ROI on all marketing spend (earning back $1.52 for every $1 spent on marketing), this developer is spending more money than it is making for more than a month (48 days) after launch. The total spend of $365,000 produces revenues of $553,848, for an operating profit of $188,848.

But the developer had to float a loss of $11,454 before it started generating positive cash flow (eg. was making more money than it was spending). Even at a massive profit margin, this developer needed 6% of two-year profits and 2% of two-year sales up front (that is, offset by cumulative recoup) to fund its marketing campaigns. Before launching a product, every developer needs to consider its ability to do the same.

Source: LTV / CPI vs. cashflow – Mobile Dev Memo

After a year, Google’s effort to get ad-avoidant site visitors to pay flounders  

Google’s challenge so far with attracting readers to Contributor is unsurprising, considering publishers’ ongoing challenge in getting readers to pay for content. While the declines in display advertising revenue have publishers itching for new ways of making money, getting it from readers has been a struggle. And not even Google has been able to crack it.

Source: After a year, Google’s effort to get ad-avoidant site visitors to pay flounders – Digiday