Off the Media

Facebook Is Almost a Decade Old and Still Doesn’t Get the Advertising Game

Advertising is a simple business.

A publisher creates inventory, whether it’s in a newspaper, over the airwaves, by the side of the road or online. They sell part of that inventory to companies who want to get their products and brand names in front of an audience.

Though it seems like a simple equation, there are a lot of ways it could go wrong, especially in the dizzying world of online ads.

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Booting Up: This is Not a Sponsored Post, We Promise

Allen Stern. (Photo: Facebook)

Allen Stern, one of the Web’s original bloggers and founder of CenternetWorks, has died. Mr. Stern established himself early in the New York startup scene, shining a spotlight on tech companies when few others did. His sister posted the news on Mr. Stern’s Facebook account, but didn’t indiciate the cause of his death. [CNET]

Careful, your sponsored content is leaking: “Brands are everywhere, and brands have now leaked into what has been traditionally the editorial space.” [New York Times]

Why does Google pay Neal Mohan, its VP of display of advertising products, more than Carmelo Anthony? Because the visionary “predicted how brand advertising would fund the Internet.” [Business Insider]

In the United Kingdom, some lucky Facebook users are being charged up to £10 to send private messages to celebrities as part of a trial run. The scheme had a U.S. trial run in January when it cost $100 to message Mark Zuckerberg.  [Guardian]

California already prohibits using your phone to text or call while driving. Recently, an appeals court ruled out using maps as well. Regulations against changing Spotify playlists are presumably next. [AllThingsD]

Off the Media

The Real Thing: Don’t Listen to Coke, Social Media Works . . . At Least As Well As Regular Media

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Last week, Coca-Cola put out a study declaring that online buzz has no impact on sales. And of course, that announcement drove everyone on the Internet to start buzzing about it.

AdAge, MediaBistro, Motley Fool, Business Insider and dozens of others all weighed in on Coke’s study, which “finds online buzz has no measurable impact on short-term sales”–driving thousands of tweets, likes and comments between them. (By “weighing in,” I mean they repeated the same few facts derived from the same presentation originally reported by AdAge in its “Buzzkill: Coca-Cola Finds No Sales Lift from Online Chatter” story.) Read More


CBS Rejects Pornhub’s Totally Harmless SFW Super Bowl Ad

(Photo: Pornhub)

When it comes to advertising, it’s hard out there for a porn company–not that one of the Internet’s biggest porn websites really needs to advertise itself. As all those pearl-clutchy “Vine’s Porn Problem” posts will tell you, porn is everywhere on the Internet, and most of those NSFW videos can be viewed on PornHub, a popular adult video streaming site.

Now, BuzzFeed reports that PornHub has created a totally SFW Super Bowl ad, only to have it harshly rejected by the bigwigs at CBS. (We’ve reached out to CBS in order to independently verify that it rejected the ad.) Read More


‘Dude, You’re Getting a Dell’ Guy Just Wants His Job Back. C’mon, Please?


The “Dude, you’re getting a Dell!” guy gained a modicum of fame in the early aughts for popping up in random Dell commercials and surprising enterprising college students and old people with a Dell computer. (Really? This? I asked for an Apple Powerbook…)

Now, Ben Curtis has reemerged onto the tech scene, exciting dudes everywhere with a nostalgia boner for old computers. And Mr. Curtis claims he knows exactly how to solve Dell’s recent financial woes: hire him back, obvi. Read More

It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

And Now Facebook Reportedly Wants to Put Video Ads In Your Newsfeed–With Autoplay


Gets it. (Photo: Facebook.)

Caught your breath from Instarage yet? We sure hope so, because here comes another move that’s sure to inspire another round of e-riots on Planet Zuck. Ad Age reports that Facebook is prepping to launch video ads by April of next year. They’ll appear both on the desktop and mobile versions of the site.

Worst of all, sources tell Ad Age they’ll be set to autoplay. Bold move, Mark! Facebook might even enable the audio, which would probably be the most annoying thing Mr. Zuckerberg has done since, well, ever. Read More


Will Instagram’s New Advertising Policy Yield an Exodus of Celebs?

Kim K, queen of the selfies. (Photo: Instagram)

Much ink has already been spilled over Instagram’s new updated terms of service, which specifically states that it can use your photos for “advertising and promotions.” Twitter users erupted in outrage over the news, with many techies claiming they would soon be quitting the service. Wired wrote a helpful how-to on how to download your photos and delete your account. Photographer Clayton Cubitt, who is not at all hyperbolic, called it Instagram’s suicide note. Gizmodo called everyone whiny babies and offered a counterpoint: “shut up.” Read More

Patently Absurd

Creepy New Verizon Patent Would Let Set-Top Box Serve Condom Ads When It Hears You Having Sex

Soon, he'll be able to hear YOU. (Photo: Fonesea)

When last we checked in on creepy technologies that wholly encroach on your sense of personal privacy, Microsoft had registered a patent that would allow the Kinect to detect how many people are in a room and stop playback on a movie if it sensed more people than the copyright allowed. But a new patent filed by Verizon takes that concept a step further by allowing a set-top box to observe what’s going on in your house and serve you ads based on what it hears. Read More


Tech Insurgents 2012: Ryder Ripps, Jonathan Vingiano and Jules LaPlace

(Photo: OKFocus)

The Merry Pranksters

From Old Spice’s viral “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign to the contentious Skittles spot that made One Million Moms cry bestiality, bizarre or aggressive advertising has become commonplace in our internet-addled society. To nab the attention of customers toggling between screens, advertisers frequently toe the line between inappropriate and outrageous, but few are as unabashedly controversial as the Queens-based OKFocus. Named to AdAge’s Creativity 50 in July, OKFocus is a rebel brand’s dream, equal parts design snob and attention-seeking internet troll. And as advertising moves online, OKFocus clients like Google and the Museum of Contemporary Art have taken note.

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