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The Great Apple Watch Marketing Mystery
April 24, 2015
The day Apple initially picked to launch the Apple Watch was in some respects a dud. The device was not available for sale in Apple Stores on Friday as previously scheduled, although it was available at some high-end fashion boutiques. Confusion reigned over shipments, with Apple earlier having said deliveries would be pushed back to June, but later saying some preorders would be shipped early.
The Growing Robocall Menace
April 23, 2015
Automated telephone calls, also known as "robocalls," used to drive me crazy. Then they stopped, and life was quiet, peaceful and beautiful once again, but just for a few short years. Those disturbing calls have started once again, and now they are worse than ever. Why? And how can we stop them? Robocalls typically are for telemarketing purposes. The calls are placed by automated systems.
Google Unleashes Mobilegeddon on Unprepared Websites
April 21, 2015
Google on Tuesday initiated changes to its search algorithm to address increased use of mobile devices, and there is about a week left before the full impact of its new metric is felt in full. Due to its ability to seriously hurt the revenues of small and mid-sized sites, the change is being referred to as "Mobilegeddon." About 60 percent of all Web traffic arrives on the wheels of mobile devices.
Sleek Ad Tailoring for Online Apparel Shoppers
April 21, 2015
Consumers are on board with the concept of buying apparel online. Especially in this era of free returns and nifty sizing tools, buying clothing and shoes off the Web has become mainstream. However, some advertisers have been slow to respond. While most of us have at some point been served ads displaying items we browsed the day before, dynamic creative has the power and potential to do much more.
Big Data Drives Change if You're Ready to Be Driven
April 20, 2015
In an earlier chapter in my career, I had the seemingly lofty title of "software and intelligence editor" at a telecom trade magazine. Even back in 1996, telecom was experiencing a "big data" problem. It wasn't a problem of collection -- no, telephone companies collect more data than almost any other industry, recording call times and durations, as well as the numbers their customers dialed.
Mayer Wins Concessions in Rejiggered Microsoft-Yahoo Deal
April 17, 2015
Microsoft and Yahoo on Thursday said they were altering a search partnership that has been in place since 2009. Under the amended agreement, Yahoo no longer will exclusively serve Bing ads and search results for its desktop traffic. That means Yahoo can sell some of that desktop traffic to another party. "Yahoo has an opportunity for greater revenue from the deal," said tech analyst Jim McGregor.
EC Officially Tosses Google Into Hot Soup
April 15, 2015
The European Commission on Wednesday began official antitrust proceedings against Google, alleging abuses of its dominance in Internet search. The EC further opened a probe into Google's Android mobile operating system. In a Statement of Objections sent to Google, the EC notes that its preliminary investigation indicates the company has infringed European antitrust rules by stifling competition and harming consumers.
EFF Lambasts ESA for Hindering Video Game Preservation Efforts
April 14, 2015
The EFF last week called out the ESA for opposing its video game preservation efforts. The EFF has petitioned the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption to the DMCA's anticircumvention provisions. The point is to afford legal protection for game enthusiasts to be able to use the games they own, as well as for academics and museums to preserve them for educational or historic purposes.
Apple's Storm Clouds
April 13, 2015
An Apple shop recently dumped Apple for Dell following a surprising revelation. Over most of the last two decades, the only time I've seen a move like this was when some change in IT forced it, and a lot of staffers subsequently would quit. This move was largely user-driven. Then, last week, one of Apple's biggest fans actually panned an Apple product, effectively calling it pretty but stupid.
Shopping for Algorithms and APIs in the Cloud
April 10, 2015
Now that cloud computing has made it economically feasible to capture and collate large volumes of data, many organizations are trying to find an equally economical method to analyze and move the data across various business applications. Enter Algorithmia and Bedrock Data, two cloud-based companies offering online marketplaces to remedy these age-old issues.
Chrome Web Store Gives Bad Extensions the Boot
April 10, 2015
Google recently purged some 200 extensions from its Chrome Store inventory. Extensions and add-ons let users add functions and features to the Chrome Web browser, but bad extensions can expose users to a greater risk of spyware and malware. A major problem with many browser add-ons is ad injectors. The clean-up resulted from increasing user complaints.
Oracle Modern Customer Experience
April 8, 2015
Oracle did some smart things at last week's Oracle Modern CX Conference and user meeting in Las Vegas. The company has been making strides in organizing its messaging and products around customer experience in the wake of its RightNow Technologies acquisition a few years ago. It's been taking on the CX mantra whole hog. Today, Oracle CX is a full-featured tactic.
Gadget Ogling: Dashing Buttons, a Plug-In PC and a Smart Teakettle
April 7, 2015
Amazon Dash is a series of WiFi connected buttons you dot around your home for various products. Once you run out, hit the button, and Amazon will ship out more of what you need. Run out of things like trash bags, razors, detergent, diapers, paper towels, dog food or toilet paper, and Amazon can ship you more at the touch of a button. It's wonderfully simple.
Oracle Aims to Wring More Sales From Marketing Cloud
April 6, 2015
Oracle last week trumpeted a set of new Marketing Cloud features designed to improve the customer experience. Oracle ID Graph, Rapid Retargeter and AppCloud Connect aim to boost sales by aggregating data from multiple sources and reacting to it in near-realtime. However, they fall short of the cutting edge in CRM -- predictive analysis.
Fiorina's and Clinton's Presidential Runs: The Irony Is in the Analytics
April 6, 2015
There will be a lot of irony in the U.S. presidential primaries and general election as campaigns ramp up later this year. Last time, with Mitt Romney, we saw a business multimillionaire and ex-governor get schooled in how to use analytics by a guy who wasn't even that experienced in politics. It was kind of like watching Jon Stewart beat Tiger Woods at golf.
Commerce Department Embarks on Data Revolution
April 3, 2015
All major U.S. government agencies employ a chief technology officer who generally deals with the management of IT resources including hardware, software, cybersecurity and the mechanics of the digital world. The U.S. Commerce Department has now gone a step further in addressing the challenges presented by an ever-evolving world of e-commerce with the appointment of a chief data officer.
WiFi Pays Retailers in Spades
April 1, 2015
EarthLink and IHL on Tuesday released a joint study that shines a light on the specific ways different types of localized WiFi networks are helping businesses, and how enterprises are adapting to the realities of a more mobile and data-centric world. Companies are changing their point-of-sale systems to try to stay competitive, the study indicates.
IBM Aims to Harness Internet of Things
March 31, 2015
IBM on Tuesday announced it will spend $3 billion over a four-year period on a new Internet of Things unit involving thousands of consultants, developers and research staff. The company intends to establish an IoT Cloud Open Platform for Industries, which will extract data for business intelligence, and set up a Bluemix IoT Zone, which will help leverage that data for app design.
Amazon Wants to Help Clean Your House
March 31, 2015
Amazon on Monday launched a new marketplace for professionals who can help with everything from basic home cleaning to skilled labor, including electric, plumbing and appliance installation. Amazon Home Services enlists professionals who have been prescreened through background checks and are officially licensed and insured, and it guarantees service satisfaction.
Optimizing the Brick-and-Mortar Customer Experience
March 27, 2015
The retail industry has finally awakened to what customers always have known -- they don't distinguish too much between channels. Modern shoppers are happy to embrace the immediacy and experience of the physical store while also benefiting from the informed and personalized ease of shopping online. Retailers should translate the smartest online strategies into their in-store experience.
Amazon Fires 1st Shot in Storage Price War
March 27, 2015
Amazon on Thursday announced two new plans for unlimited storage in its Cloud Drive service. The Unlimited Photos plan includes 5 GB of additional storage for videos or other documents and files. It costs $11.99 per year. The Unlimited Everything option provides limitless cloud storage of photos, videos, movies, music and files for $59.99 per year. Both plans come with a free three-month trial.
FTC Blasts WSJ's 'Misleading Narrative' on Google
March 26, 2015
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, along with Commissioners Julie Brill and Maureen Ohlausen, on Wednesday released a statement reaffirming the agency's decision not to prosecute Google over its search practices, and insisting it was in line with the recommendations of the FTC's staff. The statement refutes "recent press reports" suggesting Google got special treatment due to its political influence.
FAA's Sluggish Pace Frustrates Amazon's Drone Ambitions
March 25, 2015
For one brief shining moment, it appeared that Amazon and the FAA were in concert on outdoor drone testing in the U.S., but in testimony before a Senate subcommittee hearing held Tuesday, Amazon put paid to that notion. Although the FAA last week granted Amazon permission to conduct outdoor tests, the unmanned aircraft system covered by the authorization is no longer in use.
Facebook Aims to Turn Social Media Into 'the' Media
March 24, 2015
Facebook reportedly has been talking with multiple news organizations about hosting their content on its network, rather than linking to their websites. No deal has been finalized, but The New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic are among its first likely partners. They may be interested in negotiating with Facebook now because they understand change is inevitable.

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Is native advertising good for journalism?
Yes -- It's a reasonable source of additional revenue for media outlets to support their traditional editorial efforts.
Yes -- Paid-for articles can contain useful information, but readers might bypass them if they look too much like ads.
Maybe -- But only if it's clearly labeled as paid-for content.
No -- I don't trust any information from media outlets that cloak paid-for content as objective journalism.
No -- Native advertising is confusing and devious, and it threatens the fabric of traditional journalism.
I Don't Know -- I don't understand what native advertising is.