Technology firms 'more trusted than traditional media'

Technology giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft are now more trusted than traditional news media, a study has found.

American researchers also found that people now trusted the technology heavyweights more than social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

According to the new study, the majority of people rated online privacy as one of their major concerns when using the internet after both Google and Facebook were hit by rows over people's private details being disclosed on the web.

The study, of more than 2100 people, found nearly half they trusted the big three technology firms Apple, Google and Microsoft" completely" or "a lot”.

This was compared to eight per cent trusting Twitter and 13 per cent saying they had more faith in Facebook.

But all of the companies rated higher than traditional media, the research concluded.

One in five young adults, aged between 18 and 29, said they had higher trust levels in Facebook.

Meanwhile, 15 per cent of young people said they trusted Twitter.

The traditional media received little sympathy from the public with only eight percent of all adults and six percent of young adults saying they trusted them.

John Zogby, CEO of Zogby International, a market research company which conducted the researchsaid big companies have had the time to build brand equity, while Facebook and Twitter do not have the corporate identity.

Asked how important online privacy was to consumers, Mr Zogby said it was huge.

"I think to a great degree, its all about privacy," he said.

Coming Soon: Web Ads Tailored to Your ZIP+4

Routers from Juniper Networks such as this MX960 will soon include Feeva's zipcode tracking software, assuming ISPs want it.

Your internet service provider knows where you live, and soon, it will have a way to sell your zip code to advertisers so they can target ads by neighborhood. If your local pizza joint wants to find you, they will have a new way to do that. National advertisers will be able to market directly to neighborhoods with like characteristics across the whole country using demographic data they’ve been gathering for decades.

As websites continue to push for higher advertising rates, similar to what print publications command, this technology could allow them to boost their rates slightly. Every bit counts.

Juniper Networks, which sells routers to ISPs, plans to start selling them add-on technology from digital marketer Feeva that affixes a tag inside the HTTP header, consisting of each user’s “zip+4″ — a nine-digit zipcode that offers more accuracy than five-digit codes — delivered in coded form that is readable by participating ad network partners (updated). Juniper hopes to sell the software to ISPs starting this summer, having announced a partnership with Feeva earlier this year.

“Our technology fundamentally changes the industry,” Feeva vice president of advertising solutions Mike Blacker told “Nobody can deliver accuracy at the neighborhood level online or accurate demographics.”

Why is that so important? Advertisers have been gathering demographic information about zip codes for decades, yet lacked a reliable way to harness that data in the online world. IP-address detection is only accurate within 25 miles or so, and cookies that track users’ surfing habits don’t tell marketers about users’ location. Neither system meshes directly with all the demographic data marketers gathered about neighborhoods in the offline world.

Of course, privacy is a potential issue, but Feeva claims its software doesn’t tell marketers anything about web surfers except for their nine-digit zip codes. All their other personal information remains safe with their ISP.

“[This technology is] unleashing the underlying foundational data that [marketers] happen to have, but translating it into a language that [they] can use in such a way that the consumer is not in any way stripped of their privacy,” said Rishad Tobaccowala, advisor to Feeva and head of marketing giant Publicis’s future unit early last year, well before Feeva will begin marketing this product to ISPs.

Even federal regulators who scrutinize other ad firms over their targeting practices are apparently okay with this, in part because the zipcode is encoded and can only be ready by “trusted third parties.” That might reassure privacy advocates that personally identifying information is not at risk here (unless you’re the only person in your nine-digit zipcode, which would only happen in an incredibly remote region).

“The privacy folks in Washington love what we are doing,” claims Blacker, “because we never see any personally identifying information, we don’t track online usage like behavioral [advertising does], and we only aggregate at the neighborhood level.”

Feeva was founded in 2005 at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Incubator, and has a patent that "enables demographic information and user preferences to be distributed to any website or online advertising or media server."

The system cuts ISPs in on the advertising game in a new way, without them having to expend much effort. They can add Feeva tags to the HTTP headers that already tell online advertisers a person’s IP address, referring URL, language and browser, and they can do it using the same aggregation routers that already authenticate whether a given subscriber is paid up and should be allowed to connect.

ISPs have something not even Google has (something of a rarity these days) — the user’s zip+4 – and they can use it to take a chunk of the market currently dominated by that advertising behemoth, by charging ad networks for that valuable zipcode information.

“ISPs love Feeva, because we help them participate in the ecosystem instead of being just dumb pipes” said Blacker, “and letting Google make all the money from their expensive infrastructure.”

Of course, one big reason the internet matters at all is that it was not instantly co-opted by the same corporations in charge of other forms of media. We largely owe that to routers that are “dumb,” in the sense that they treat each bit passing through them the same regardless of where it’s coming from or where it’s going. Smart software that sits on routers threatens to undermine that system, by shooting bits through faster to certain users, or serving only specific subscribers a certain piece of content.

Assuming Juniper succeeds in selling Feeva’s software to ISPs, another potential use of its technology will be to go beyond the zip code and authenticate individual users with a higher level of certainty than a username and password could ever provide.

For instance, HBO could partner with an ISP to verify, at the network level, that a certain user subscribes to HBO, and so should be allowed to watch its programming for free on Hulu. Users might be annoyed that they can’t use a username and password to watch the channel from a computer outside their homes, but content providers will appreciate the way this system can prevent users from sharing accounts.

Juniper Networks, which says its current customers include the top 100 service providers globally, plans to start offering the Feeva add-on to ISPs in July or August.

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How Does Google Adwords Really Work?

If you are using Adwords but you are not exactly sure how it works, then you need to watch this video…If you are still not using Adwords, then you really need to watch this video!

Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, explains in a simple way how Google Ad Auction really works. You’ll see- it’s really about good thinking for better results for your prospects AND for you.

You have to realize that if you have a website but no strategy in place to bring people to your site…well, you’re really wasting your time and money.

Pretty much like having a phone number but not giving your phone number to anyone…you won’t get many calls…same for your website!

From Facebook to $$$$

Equine Dentist Builds Relationships With Facebook

How do you turn a regional service business into an international destination for industry thought leadership?
At least that’s what worked for Geoff Tucker, an equine dentist based in Palm City, FL.
In a business driven by relationships, Geoff says that Facebook allows him to build new ones. “People do business with people who they’re friends with. Period,” he says. “And Facebook is a great way to get to know people. It allows people to see that I’m a person.”
As he builds these relationships using social media, Geoff is also expanding his company’s reach. He says it was his blog, his Twitter feed, and his Facebook account that helped him win appearances on Horse Talk Radio and
So what’s this done for his business? Geoff says that over the last year, Facebook alone has generated about 100 leads and 10-to-15 customers.

Researchers Create Social Engineering IRC Bot

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology developed an IRC (internet relay chat) bot that acts as a 'man in the middle' between two unsuspecting users, modifies URLs passed between them and also is capable of steering the conversation. Not only does this work surprisingly well on IRC — they found a 76.1% click rate for potentially malicious URLs — but four out of 10 people on Facebook chat also clicked on links after the bot introduced complete strangers to each other. This would have worked even better if the bot were to clone existing friends' profiles and submit friend requests from those, say researchers.

Social Media Revolution 2

Twitter Buys Analytics Company

Twitter, which recently announced its Promoted Tweets advertising program, has acquired the maker of a cloud-hosted Web analytics application, Twitter said Thursday.

In April, Twitter launched with a limited number of partners like Starbucks and Best Buy the Promoted Tweets program, which is designed to let companies market their products and services on the popular microblogging and social-networking site.The Smallthought staff has become part of Twitter's analytics team, where they will integrate Trendly features and technology into Twitter's existing systems, as well as help develop new products.

As with all advertising services, a key to the success of Promoted Tweets will be Twitter's capacity to analyze the popularity and effectiveness of these ads so that campaigns can be evaluated and optimized.

The analytics for Promoted Tweets may be more challenging than for other online advertising programs for a few reasons, including the fact that the ad format for Promoted Tweets will be the same as the format for regular "tweets" and that Twitter's usage is going through the roof, with 2 billion "tweets" posted in May, according to Web monitoring company Pingdom.

"Every day millions of people use Twitter to create, share and discover information, and as we grow, analytics becomes an increasingly crucial part of improving our service," reads Twitter's announcement of its Smallthought acquisition.

New Google Search Index 50% Fresher With Caffeine

When Google started, it would only update its index every four months, then around 2000, it started indexing every month in a process called the "google dance" that took a week to 10 days and would provide different results when searching for the same term from different Google data centers. Now PC World reports that Google has introduced a new web indexing system called Caffeine, that delivers results that are closer to "live" by analyzing the web in small portions and updating the index on a continuous basis. "Caffeine lets us index web pages on an enormous scale," writes Carrie Grimes on the official Google Blog. "Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day." Now not only does Caffeine provide results that are 50 percent fresher than Google's last index, adds Grimes, but the new search index provides a robust foundation that will make it possible for Google to build a faster and more comprehensive search engine that scales with the growth of information online.

Microsoft Office 2010 Will NOT Support Windows XP

In short, Windows XP and previous operating systems are not supported. XP Mode is also not supported.

Here's the word straight from the horse's mouth (click to enlarge):

Zetetics: Phone Call Lead Tracking

We've launched our new Zetetics Phone Tracking suite.

Have a specific advertisement (billboard, newspaper, magazine, online) that you want to track EXACT ROI for?

Go beyond traditional clicks and impressions to get a true picture of your ROI by measuring the calls delivered from your advertising campaigns.

SmartBox Zetetics tells you exactly which ads, campaigns and channels are bringing in calls, and which aren’t – so you can make changes on the fly to improve your ROI.

Learn more about how it works at:

Military Taps Social Networking To Hunt Insurgents

The New York Times has an interesting article about the thousands of analysts based in the United States for the Central Intelligence Agency and the US military who are showing how the Facebook generation's skills are being exploited — and paying dividends — in America's wars. Analysts monitor enemy communications and scan still images from drones in Afghanistan, then log the information into chatrooms, carrying on a running dialogue with drone crews and commanders and intelligence specialists in the field, who receive the information on computers and then radio the most urgent bits to troops on patrol. Marine intelligence officers say that during an offensive in February, the analysts managed to stay a step ahead of the advance, sending alerts about 300 or so possible roadside bombs, paving the way for soldiers to roll into Marja in southern Afghanistan with minimal casualties. 'To be that tapped into the tactical fight from 7,000 to 8,000 miles away was pretty much unheard of before,' said Gunnery Sgt. Sean N. Smothers, a Marine who stationed as a liaison to the analysts. New analysts, who were practically weaned on computers and interactive video games, have been crucial to hunting insurgents and saving American lives in Afghanistan. The Air Force, which has 4,000 analysts, is hiring 2,100 more. For the most part, the networking has been so productive that senior commanders are sidestepping some of the traditional military hierarchy and giving the analysts leeway in deciding how to use some spy planes.

Facebook Growth By Age Group: Share of College-Age Users is Declining

With the U.S. now accounting for only about a third of all Facebook users, we are starting to see a gradual shift away from its original demographic of college-age users (18-25): 46% of all users are 18-25 years old, down from 51% in late May. The number of users in the 18-25 segment is growing, but at a slower pace than the other age groups. Among the major Facebook age segments, the fastest growing are teens (13-17) and young (26-34) to middle-age (35-44) professionals, with the growth in teens driven by non-U.S. markets. Also note the strong growth in the much smaller 45-54 and 55-59 age groups:

In the U.S., 51% of Facebook users are 18-25 years old, down from 59% in late May. But when one looks at other large and/or fast-growing Facebook markets, the share of the 18-25 age group is less than 50% in most of them:

And a breakdown of where all these new users are based out of..

AT&T Set to Cancel Unlimited Data Plans

Several readers have sent in followups to Wednesday's news that AT&T was eliminating its unlimited data plan. Glenn Derene at Popular Mechanics defends the new plan, writing, "Imagine, for a moment, if we bought electricity the way we buy data in this country. Every month, you would pay a fixed amount of money (say, $120), and then you would use as much electricity as you wanted, with an incentive to use as much as you could. That brings price stability to the end user, but it's a horrible way to manage electricity load." Others point out that this will likely engender more scrutiny from regulatory agencies and watchdog groups. A Computerworld article says that one way or the other, AT&T's decision is a huge deal for the mobile computing industry, influencing not only how other carriers look at data rates, but how content providers and advertisers will need to start thinking about a data budget if they want consumers to keep visiting their sites. AT&T, responding to criticism, has decided to allow iPad buyers to use the old, unlimited plan as long as they order before June 7, and Gizmodo has raised the question of "rollover bytes.

Amazon Seeks 1-Nod Ordering Patent is famous for its patented 1-Click ordering system. But what about 1-Nod ordering? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is seeking a patent on a system that would let people make purchases with a nod, a smile or even a raise of the eyebrow. Bezos' invention — 'Movement Recognition as Input Mechanism' — envisions a computing device that could interpret certain facial expressions and enhance or potentially replace conventional input devices such as keypads and touch screens.

Does the Internet Make Humanity Smarter Or Dumber?

The Wall Street Journal is running a pair of articles asking whether the Internet is making humanity smarter or dumber. The argument for smarter is that the Internet is simply a change in the rules of publishing, and that the bad material is thrown away; the second story critiques the 'information overload' aspect of the Internet, claiming that we have traded depth of knowledge for velocity and span. What do you think? Does the Internet make you stupid?

Microsoft Cancels Bing Cashback Program

Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Online Audience Business Group, recently announced, 'One of the principles we have here at Bing is to constantly experiment and learn. We do this to ensure we are keeping pace with new social and technology trends, and can continue to deliver great value for our customers and advertisers. As part of this "test-and-learn" mentality, we will be retiring the Bing cashback feature, which means that the last day you can earn cashback will be July 30, 2010.' From the look of the comments, Microsoft has at least 35 saddened users. eWeek does a follow-up attempting to explain the situation in more detail.

The Apple Broadcast Network

In 1959 5,749,000 television sets were sold in the US, bringing the cumulative total of sets sold since 1950 to 63,542,128 units. This number supported, through advertising, three national television networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS (a fourth, Dumont, folded in 1956) and numerous local independent stations. Now here are another set of numbers. As of April this year Apple sold 75 million iPhone and iPod touch units, devices capable of delivering video via Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. Add to that figure 2 million iPads and counting. By the end of the year Apple should have about 90 million smart mobile devices in the wild. That makes a proprietary amalgam greater than what the TV networks had in 1959 and one that easily serves as a foundation for a pending broadcast network that will be delivered not through tall radio towers, but through small wireless hubs and the Internet. Call it the Apple Broadcast Network. iAd is how Apple plans to pay for it.

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