Latest Posts

Latest Posts

Penguins on the snow

Official: Penguin 3.0 arrives well ahead of Santa’s sleigh

Posted on Thursday 23rd of October by sarah

It’s official. Penguin 3.0 is being rolled out over the next few weeks.

Not that you’d have known it at the time: it waddled onto the Web last Friday but Google didn’t announce it for 24 hours, and even then they were distinctly evasive about what the details were. It wasn’t until four days later on Tuesday 21st October that Google’s Pierre Far shared a few of them on Google+.

The main points are these:

Penguin 3.0 is a worldwide update affecting all versions of Google. ‘Launch’ is misleading; it’s a gradual rollout that will take place over “the next few weeks”. Less than 1 per cent of English queries will be impacted but other languages may also feel its effects. The rollout did indeed begin on Friday 17th It’s being described as a “refresh” by Google. Sites that were hit by Google 2.1 almost a year ago will benefit … Continued
Advertise Bullhorn Megaphone Words of Marketing

Ads come to Snapchat and the first one is very creepy!

Posted on Wednesday 22nd of October by sarah

It might seem difficult to believe, but despite now chalking up over 100 million users, message and video sharing platform Snapchat has never made a penny in revenue. That’s about to change though: this week, it ran its first advert, with the undisclosed fee all paid for by Universal Pictures.

Ironically, the ephemeral content social media pioneer issued a blog statement on 17th October declaring its opposition to “creepy” targeted ads. But the ad it selected – a trailer for the upcoming horror movie Ouija – is so creepy it’ll probably make you sleep with the lights on for a few weeks.

The blog post insists that Snapchat remains averse to the practise followed by some companies of collecting lots of data on social media users for ad targeting. Instead, it said: “The best advertisements tell you more about stuff that actually interests you.”

Every so often, Snapchat will … Continued

white mobile, smartphone with hand and finger

Newsly brings the Tinder finger swipe to news content

Posted on Tuesday 21st of October by sarah

The Tinder interface is catching on all over the place. That satisfying finger swipe is no longer confined to images of people you don’t want to date; it can be used for shopping and all manner of other sorting tasks, and thanks to a new app called Newsly, people can now set their swiping fingers to work on sorting their preferred news content.

The app was built overnight by three University College London students, who used machine learning APIs to build a news reader that learns how to pull up a user’s personal news preferences. A card appears on screen containing the article image, headline and sub-headline. If it’s not something you’re interested in, a quick swipe to the right will dispatch it in a blink (like Tinder).

The app learns to tailor the articles it pulls to the users’ preferences. About twenty swipes is enough to give the algorithm … Continued


Introducing Lobster, the online marketplace for user-generated digital images

Posted on Tuesday 21st of October by sarah

There’s no getting away from it: web publishers, digital agencies and even freelancing journalists wanting to add some vivid digital imagery to their article writing efforts face a stressful struggle. The content has either got to be freely available à la creative commons, or they have to sign a licence agreement with a professional digital media clearinghouse, which can take days to process. This is tough if you need the content right away because you’re covering highly topical or fast-moving events; however, a rather clever tech firm based in Finchley has come with what seems like a perfect solution: meet user content marketplace, Lobster.

This digital marketplace takes the headache and stress out of finding videos and photos with a pleasingly affordable solution. Social media users who are into a little snazzy photography or video production can sign up with Lobster to make their content available from their network of … Continued

Internet security comcept. Earth and lock.

Mass surveillance requires new privacy-protecting laws says UN barrister

Posted on Friday 17th of October by sarah

How times change… Just a year or two ago, we were being told that the fight against terrorism justified mass data surveillance.

Now, in the post-Snowden/NSA-mass-snooping era, a top barrister working for the UN General Assembly has blown this “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” argument out of the water with a critical new report: mass surveillance of the internet, Ben Emmerson QC says, is: “indiscriminately corrosive to online privacy,” and poses “a direct and ongoing challenge to an established norm of international law.”

Governments and spy agencies certainly aren’t alone in their cavalier attitude to personal privacy. Though: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the German digital media group, Alex Springer, recently revealed in a highly critical open letter to Google, that internet companies have taken a relaxed (some might say reckless) approach to their users’ private data as well.

Döpfner mentions hearing Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt declare at a … Continued

male hands holding iPad with app Netflix on the screen in the of

Netflix sees shares nosedive as higher prices squeeze subscribers

Posted on Thursday 16th of October by sarah

The steady consumer march toward internet TV seems to have faltered this week, with shares in video streaming service Netflix plunging by a quarter during after-hours US trading following a warning from the company that its subscriber numbers had grown less vigorously than expected.

Subscribers were projected to grow by 3.7 million in the three months to September this year, but they actually grew by 3 million, a shortfall the company attributed to the $1-per-month subscription rise introduced in May (in the US, that bumped the subscription up to $9).

But Netflix investors were already in twitchy a mood. Time Warner’s successful TV channel, HBO, is on course to launch its own internet streaming service in 2015: this has set nerves on edge over in the Netflix investment camp. Streaming content from HBO will represent a pretty major source of competition, and the subscriber shortfall did nothing to ease shareholders’ … Continued

Move over Big Data: Knowledge Vault brings big knowledge

Posted on Tuesday 14th of October by sarah

Google’s new “Knowledge Vault” might have begun as a whimper (a quiet announcement in a talk by Google’s Kevin Murphy at the CIKM Conference last October), but it might be about to make a large bang.

Interest in the development picked up in August this year, with a number of articles appearing in sources as diverse as New Scientist, SearchEngineLand and Go Fish Digital.

Is Google’s Knowledge Graph history? Is a mighty new monarch about to accede to the search throne?

Google, the New Scientist reported, was building a “vast knowledge bank” which, according to SearchEngineLand, would power the future of search. Meanwhile Go Fish Digital pronounced Knowledge Graph passé if not yet quite dead. For its part, Google moved swiftly to clarify that Knowledge Vault was still at the research paper stage and was not an active product. In fact, the company was experimenting with a number of models … Continued

Telegraph Logo

Why the Telegraph is joining the stampede to digital

Posted on Tuesday 14th of October by sarah

With news last week that the bastion of conservative tradition, the Telegraph Media Group (TMG), was accelerating its transition from a print-focussed to a digitally led approach, there can be few doubts in even the most sceptical of minds that the digital revolution isn’t just a prospect; it’s already happened.

The Guardian carried out a report this week revealing that the Telegraph Group’s executives had “cherry picked” ideas from newspapers in Europe and North America and were now upping the pace for a radical restructuring of the TMG’s editorial operation – a transformation that will make digital content the backbone of every printed edition of The Daily Telegraph.

A number of sources have been muttering darkly about the TMG’s new “templatised” production system, which will allow a much, much smaller team to produce the paper. How? Simple as falling off a log: just drop digital content from the web into … Continued


Why brand-to-people social media marketing gets it all wrong

Posted on Monday 13th of October by sarah

There’s a big secret about social media marketing: a lot of big brands are getting it wrong. They’re spending a fortune on paid likes and followers but it’s not turning into measurable ROI. Social media is a people-to-people medium. Brand-to-people doesn’t work.

So say two social media marketing thought leaders: Piers Cooper, who heads Addvocate, a company that helps brands harness the trust of their own employees to act as brand advocates, and web copywriting aficionado and marketing strategist, Ryan Johnson. Writing in The Next Web, Cooper puts his argument in a nutshell:

“They jumped into the deep end of the social pool as brands, not as the people behind the brands. They poured huge sums of marketing budgets down the drain into a tumbleweed zone of branded social channels.”

The irony that both Cooper and Johnson point to is that the solution was standing right next to them all … Continued


Meet Frankly, the cross-communicating ephemeral messaging app

Posted on Wednesday 8th of October by sarah

There’s no doubting it; mobile messaging apps are proliferating; however, because they’re all different and not everyone uses the same one, cross-communication is a big problem. Until Frankly 3.0, that is, which is the latest version of an app that conveys ephemeral text messages AND sends them to non-Frankly users.

OK, so Snapchat has got the photo-centric corner of the ephemeral messaging market tabbed. Frankly’s text-based messages that self-destruct Mission: Impossible-style after 10 seconds, are gaining traction though. Since it was founded in February last year, its user base has been steadily growing and now stands at 1.7 million. According to app ranking specialists App Annie, it now ranks at number 256 in the US iTunes Social Networking category. That places it well behind some if its competitors in the ephemeral world (Wickr for example, ranks at 178) but substantially ahead of others like Confide, which ranks at 773.

It … Continued