Dying for the Shot

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by Jonathan Goodman on August 22, 2013

Hi everyone. It’s Jonathan Goodman. Welcome to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. It’s great to have you with us. Today’s episode is titled “Dying for the Shot.” The Google Algorithm forecast from MozCast.com today is a comfortable 77 degrees. The high for the week was 80 degrees on Sunday; the low for the week occurred this past Sunday at 63 degrees on Wednesday, so not much is going on with the Goggle Algorithm. And now the news….

Social Media

First, we’re going to talk about a late-breaking story. This is from Goggle Gmail. It seems that Google Gmail for the basic accounts (but not for the business accounts) has broken up into tabs. So you can get your general Gmail information and you can get your social media emails coming into a different tab. Then you have the promotions tab, which is all the advertisements coming into your Gmail account. It turns out there is a very specific reason Google did that. They’re now going to start using advertising in that space in the front two emails. When you’re looking at the tab, you’re going to see two emails coming in that look like regular emails, but are actually Goggle advertisements.

Andrea Freund says that Google shows no more than two in-box ads per user. She is quoted as saying: “Our goal was to put them some place that was more relevant, and we thought that was the promotions tab. When you’re looking at promotions, you’re looking for deals. We do try to clearly label them as ads.” Isn’t that nice of Goggle? Now we all know why those tabs exist. For June, the Goggle email unique visitor were 100 million. Now they’re third-party ads. What Google is probably going to do is push them via a Gmail or Goggle email advertising URL. I get stuff from hotels.com or from Groupon, so this will say “Goggle advertising” or something like that.

Nothing in the world is free. We’ve already discussed that, but it’s a little bit underhanded to think that Groupon and all these other companies that legitimately have the right to email you are being subjugated into the promotions tab for the reason of allowing Goggle to highlight their advertisers in the top two spots for that.

Yahoo recently announced they are releasing a new toolbar for Chrome browsers, as well as updates to its old Firefox and Internet Explorer ones. The toolbar will feature weather info, email updates, and one-click access to social media. I don’t know if anyone necessarily needs that or cares about that, but Yahoo is still around.

In an effort to challenge PayPal’s mobile payment system, Facebook is currently testing a program that would allow users to make purchases with credit card info stored on Facebook. On a third-party site, users would log in with their Facebook credentials. The site would then pull the stored credit card info to make the purchase, which is similar to Amazon’s one-click service.

Your Sematic Minute

The developer of the first speech-to-speech translator app, Mobile Technologies, has been bought by Facebook. Jibbigo can be used both online and off and is also available for iOS and Android. Users record a phrase, which is then translated in text in both languages, and spoken in the desired language. The terms of the deal were not disclosed and it’s unclear exactly how Facebook will use mobile technologies. One option is always to integrate speech recognition within its NewsFeed feature. I always think of the movie “Dune,” where they come in with that great giant beast in the water tank, they talk in front of a microphone, and their voices are translated through the microphone so everybody can understand what they’re saying. The movie “Dune” from David Lynch came up in conversation recently, so I thought of it immediately.

Hacker News

We have some more Edward Snowden fallout. Lavabit, which is the email provider Edward Snowden used, has unfortunately shut down to protect the privacy of its 400,000 users. Ladar Levinson, the owner of Lavabit, didn’t state specifically that the government has demanded Snowden’s email records, but it was heavily implied in a letter he wrote and posted on the website.

Bradley Manning, after hearing testimony from a psychiatrist and his sister about his rough upbringing and gender identity issues, took the stand to apologize for his actions. In a direct quote from Manning, he said: “I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions, I believed I was going help people, not hurt people.” It’s going to be an unfortunate end to a complicated trial.

App Highlight

AMBER Alert highway sign alerting motorists to... AMBER Alert highway sign alerting motorists to a suspected child abduction in Northern California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the events of Hannah Anderson’s abduction and the deaths of her mother and brother by a family friend are horrific, an interesting technological advancement was used in an attempt to find her. When the Amber alert first went out in the early hours of the morning, every Californian was awoken to a high-pitch screeching coming from their cellphones. It was the first time an Amber Alert was sent statewide to millions of mobile phones. While cellphones have been receiving Amber Alerts since 2005 under a partnership between the wireless industry, the U.S. Justice Department and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, people had to sign up to receive the alerts and only about 700,000 did. Then the subscriber could designate the area they wanted to get alerts, limiting the notification to only within the chosen areas.

So you could be from Nebraska but vacationing in Florida, for example, and the Amber Alert you’d set up wouldn’t alert you about an abduction a dozen miles from your Tampa hotel. That system was replaced on December 31, 2012 by the Wireless Emergency Alert program, run by FEMA, which sends free, automatic notifications to almost every phone in the surrounding area or even the state. Cellphone owners now receive Amber Alerts, as well as emergency weather alerts, based on their proximity to the emergency, not the location of their phone number. People must opt out if they prefer not to get the alerts. California decided to send it out statewide because they couldn’t exactly track where this guy was.

The Main Event

Today’s Main Event is called “Dying for the Shot,” and we’re going to talk about the loss of photojournalists in recent years, but specifically yesterday when dozens of journalists were killed – possibly even targeted – by the Egyptian army. It’s a horrific story, but I’m going to talk about the technology side of the story. First, I want to give you some facts. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) recently launched a campaign called Speak Justice in an effort to get more governments to investigate the deaths of journalists, especially ones that go unsolved. Since CPJ began keeping records in 1992, there have been 1000 journalists killed. The most recent ones have occurred during the violent protests by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. (The article with this information was written prior to yesterday’s massacre of journalists in Egypt.)

CPJ hopes to bring awareness to the many local journalists who often get overlooked by national media. Eighty percent of the total deaths have been local journalists. Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, a journalist covering the violent protests by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, texted her mother just minutes before her death. She was a reporter for the United Arab Emirates paper Xpress, describing the harrowing conditions of the large crowds and military equipment that surrounded her. The last message sent by mother reads: “I’m worried sick. Tell me how you are.” Unfortunately, she had already been murdered. YouTube has a channel named the Journalists Memorial Channel in honor of the many reporters who have lost their lives while covering a story. The channel will have video clips featuring the reporters and also specific dedication pieces. You can see the videos on http://www.youtube.com/user/journalistsmemorial. I’ve watched some of the videos and it’s very, very sad.

There are a lot of incredible journalists who have been killed in what could be considered the line of duty or line of their job. I want to now take a technological viewpoint on all of this. When we talk about Tim Hetherington, Chris Hondros and all of the other journalists and photojournalists who have been killed in the line of work, these are exceptionally bright individuals. These are people who have graduated from top-notch universities. Their writing skills are beyond compare. Their willingness to put themselves in the line of fire is fantastic, but at what cost? There is so much heartache for not only the individual, but how it impacts the family and the news media that individual was tied to. We’ve come to a point in our technology where we don’t need to put individual journalists at risk. I’m sure I’m going to get a lot of flack from photojournalists for saying this, but the technology of individualized, personalize drones – little helicopters that are able to carry cameras with guidance from a distance – and the individuals themselves who are in the wars with cellphones, could minimize the dangers to journalists.

I realize this is a terribly selfish idea of not putting photojournalists in harm’s way. The argument is that this is what these people want to do, and they know they’re risking their lives. Yes, but there might be a better to get the story out. We lost such an incredible individual in Tim Hetherington, who was involved with the fantastic movie “Restrepo.” He won’t be able to make comments anymore about war, about how people are living in worlds that are very hard for the average American to understand. He was doing an incredible job, but lost his live at a very young age because of it. Rather than laying down your life, is there a better way to get the shot and get the message out so people can wake up to the stories being told? These photojournalists do not carry guns most of the time. They are wearing basic equipment to protect themselves. They are going out on vehicles that are being shot at and blown up.

It’s a harrowing experience for them. It’s an emotional message that comes back through these cameras, but to risk somebody’s life in this day and age of social media. The people in these wars with guns shooting at people and killing people all have cellphones and are able to send some of the best video footage. I’m doing this piece because of what I said last week, which was that some of the best footage, some of the most emotional moments, coming out of the Syrian war came out of the cellphones and mobile devices of individuals caught in the crossfire. We see that even today. The individual who was trying to rescue somebody from sniper fire and then was murdered by the sniper. The young boy in Syria who was videotaping a sniper shooting at people on the street and then they turned the gun and killed him.

These are all incredible impactful and incredibly emotional. War is a terrible thing anyway, but for CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal to put individuals who are not immediately affected by the war into harm’s way like this is a little irresponsible in today’s day and age. I just think there is a better way to get the message across. They become paparazzi of death and they then die themselves. I think that the technology has caught up to these jobs. Yes, during the Vietnam War, there was no other way to get the message out than for an unarmed individual to have a camera and take some of the most graphic photos that we’d ever see from war. Those images resonate with us even today, but with modern technology, we have the ability to keep these individuals out of harm’s way by using guided drones carrying cameras. They would capture some incredible footage with no risk to individual journalists.

Rant of the Week

I wanted to save plenty of time for my Rant of the Week. The company I’m going to talk about knows this is coming. I said to them that there was no way I could let this go. I feel bad that I have to call them out for this type of service and this type of behavior, but what was done is so egregious that I have to talk about it. I was using AdRoll, which is retargeting software. Let me explain retargeting. When you come to a website that is doing a retargeting campaign, there is a little cookie that is placed on your computer. Now don’t get all freaked out about cookies. Everybody has cookies on their computers from going to different websites. That’s not the problem.

Retargeting allows you to serve ads back to the individual when it is noticed that there is a cookie indicating that they went to the original website. For instance, if you come to HalyardConsulting.com, which is the company I own, you might then go to CNN.com or the HuffingtonPost.com or Spreaker.com. Well, you’re going to see an ad for Halyard Consulting. It is just a way of reminding you that you were at one point interested in the information on Halyardconsulting.com, so we’re showing you an ad in hopes of bringing you back.

Well, I was running a very small retargeting campaign with AdRoll. It was $25 a week, and they overcharged me. Let me read you the correspondence. I won’t bore you with the details of how the conversation started. I do feel I need to comment that their phone service is horrendous. Most of the time, they don’t even pick up and when they do, it’s a salesperson who can’t or won’t take technical or billing questions. Once they saw the problem on their side, here was their response.

It appears that it was an error with our dashboard information reflected into your billing statements. The information of hundreds of thousands of thousands of impressions is inaccurate. Your campaign has been serving to fulfill your $25/week budget. Our system did try to charge you $1673.67 today to reflect the inaccurate dashboard information. I have voided this transaction, so it should not fully go through on your end. Please keep an eye on this and absolutely let me know if this occurs. I had admin pause the campaign for now so that I can work with our engineers to clear up the dashboard bug. I am going to follow up with them tomorrow and keep you in the loop as I learn more information.

That was on August 5th. Thankfully, prior to August 5th I went into AdRoll and I saw that they were eventually going to attempt to charge me this exorbitant amount. So I called my bank and said something is up with this company. I’ve emailed them and they haven’t responded. I told my bank to make a note in my account that this company is going to try to charge me over $1,600 for the month instead of $100 for the month. On August 13th, I got a call from my bank saying they were concerned again with the size of the transaction AdRoll was trying to put through. Of course, I wasn’t checking the account since I was told it was paused. I wrote them another email:

If you paused my campaign, why is it showing a spend of $406.73 over the past 10 days? I just looked at the dashboard, and from August 4th to August 13th, that was the spend. If I go out 30 days, it’s $2,178.43. Do I need to block your company from by bank completely?

Here was the response from AdRoll:

The problem that I found in your account is that I had admin pause your campaign within one profile, yet had failed to have admin pause two campaigns within your other profile. This is 100% my bad. Because there was still a bug in your account, it overcharged. It was our system error, then my human error for not pausing all profiles for you. AdRoll prides itself on being very transparent with our clients and I apologize. In this situation, it seems we were being anything but genuine in the charges made to your account. Unfortunately, being in the technology space, there are bugs that can occur in our system, but it is our job to make sure we do right by our customers and protect them to the best of our ability.

It’s a shame because AdRoll is a great tool for small business owners. Other companies in the retargeting field don’t even want to talk to you unless your campaign is thousands of dollars each month. But still this whole event has left such a bad taste in my mouth that I’ll look into alternatives including Goggle’s new retargeting tools. My advice for anyone out there who is running AdRoll is to really sit on top of that account. Make sure that you know exactly what is going on.

Speaking Gigs

Let’s talk about some of my speaking gigs. I’m speaking at Affiliate Summit East this weekend – August 18th, 19th and 20th – at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. I’ll also be speaking at PubCon Las Vegas on October 21-25 at the Las Vegas Convention Center South Halls.

You can follow me @HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of the World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. You can access the archives of my previous shows on Spreaker.com – user name Jonathan Goodman. The podcast is also available with transcription at halyardconsulting.com and geekcast.fm one week after the episode airs.

Again, this is Jonathan Goodman. Thank you all for listening to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Don’t forget to pick up my book The World of Internet Marketing on Amazon, and if you like this podcast please share it with your network of friends and family. Have a great week.

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