Off the Media
The best kind of marketing messages are the ones that don’t seem like marketing messages. Because it means that the viewers’ defenses are down.
That may be why the front page of Reddit has become an irresistible target for feel-good messages about brands and businesses. Despite the community’s penchant for skepticism, Costco, Taco Bell (in fact, most of the Yum! Brands) and a handful of startups have all made very conspicuous appearances on Reddit in the last year–not via paid ads, but through what at first glance appear to be organic and genuine discussions by Reddit users.
But are they? Could they really be? As someone responsible for my own fair share of marketing stunts, I am suspicious and cynical—I’ll disclose that right up front. I very well may be seeing signs of undue influence where there is only rule-bending behavior, but then again, I’ve also begun getting requests from clients about the possibility of orchestrating Reddit machinations. So because of this, and because of what I’ve observed behind the scenes, I’ll come out and say it: what’s going on Reddit these days has media manipulation written all over it.
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
For the love of Christ, will you social media gurus please learn to change your passwords once in a while? A scant 24 hours after someone hijacked Burger King’s Twitter account and began pumping out pro-McDonald’s sentiment, it appears Jeep’s verified account has now been compromised.
Hack Hack Hack Hack It Apart
The official Burger King Twitter account has been hacked, and when it comes to terrible fast food, the hacker appears to have an allegiance to McDonald’s.
“We just got sold to McDonalds! Look for McDonalds in a hood near you,” tweeted the account about 20 minutes ago. The Burger King avatar has been changed to the McDonald’s logo.
Zynga has lost another exec. The struggling company’s chief game designer Brian Reynolds has resigned. [VentureBeat]
Sorry, Facebook: Twitter is now the fastest-growing social platform in the world. No data yet on who owns the universe, though. [GlobalWebIndex]
Netflix wants to become the next HBO. So, lots of shows with gratuitous nudity and cursing just ‘cuz, “It’s premium cable, man.” [The Verge]
McDonald’s is the new study hall. Hey, it’s not like the library has french fries. [Wall Street Journal]
Startup visas may soon become a thing after the President endorsed them in a recent speech. But what about all those lawless seafaring incubators? [Huffington Post]
After the Storm
We’re stretching into yet another day of no power downtown. If you’re seeking Wifi, you could simply head north until you find somewhere, but it’s probably best to proceed with a plan. Hence, we’ve rounded up a list of places you might want to try:
Privacy is Dead
The Federal Trade Commission is looking to change regulatory lawsthat that protect children’s privacy on the Internet. Although it’s legal right now, a slew of apps and popular websites collect data and pictures from young users. In the most cringe-worthy example, pictures of children that were uploaded to a “get in the picture with Ronald McDonald” game in were kept by McDonald’s in directories that were publicly available to anyone who wanted access to them. McDonald’s tells the Times that they’ve now “blocked public access to several directories on the site.”
The new laws say children’s websites would be required to obtain parents’ permission before tracking kids around the Web for advertising purposes.
But while government restrictions may help protect innocent children, it’s hard not to feel that the responsibility (and the biggest hope for keeping kids safe) lies with their parents. After all, children don’t only stick to apps directed to their demographic.
Think of the Children
Ronald McDonald probably isn’t the first person who comes to mind when parents think “internet dangers,” but you probably don’t want your kids getting unsolicited emails about the glories of french fries, either.
Well, bad news: The New York Times reports that several advocacy organizations have filed a complaint with the FTC, alleging that Micky D’s and four other companies–Viacom, General Mills, Subway and Turner–are exploiting a legal loophole in their online marketing to kids.
In true corporate fashion, however, these companies aren’t doing anything so straightforward as simply asking for 9-year-olds’ email addresses. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in fact requires sites to get parents’ “verifiable consent” before they can collect the personal info of kids younger than 13.
Resistance is Futile
On Monday, a post by University of Toronto professor Steve Mann about an attack he experienced at a Parisian McDonald’s made it to the front page of Hacker News. In an emotional retelling, Mr. Mann recounted how, while on a family vacation in Paris, a trio of McDonald’s employees physically harassed and abused him for wearing a pair of computer glasses called “EyeTap Digital Glass,” a version of which he’s donned since the 1980s.
Apparently accustomed to shifty stares and inappropriately-timed questions, Mr. Mann carries around paperwork from his doctor that outlines the device’s functionality, in order to quell any nervousness or dark fascination that might arise while traveling. Of course, stuffing your face with french fries at a fast food doesn’t usually require furnishing medical paperwork.
The eyeglass system Mr. Mann was wearing is permanently attached and can’t be removed without special tools. It includes a literal retina display that turns your eye into a camera. As such, the eye that uses the display has the appearance of a digital glass eye, and also has the added benefit of making Mr. Mann look like a badass member of the Borg.