Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.
This week’s My Five is by Joe.
1. Disgruntled plane spotters miss the Typhoon…and then the Lancaster….
The 16th May marked the 75th anniversary of the remarkable ‘Dambusters’ raid. Whatever your views on the long term efficacy of the mission, it was an amazing feat against ridiculous odds and I, being a self-confessed plane geek, was really pleased to see several events being planned to mark the occasion.
Perhaps one of the most poignant was the planned flypast of the UK’s sole airworthy Lancaster bomber down the Derwent Valley and over the Eyebrook Reservoir, which was used to practice for the raid. I say planned as, in typical British form, the weather had something to say about it and the excessive wind proved too dangerous to risk the Lancaster.
An announcement went out that the Lancaster was grounded, but there was a rumour that a Typhoon jet would fly in its place. That was also subsequently called off, according to a tweet from Sqn Ldr Andy Millikin, the Officer Commanding the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (my perfect job?):
I’ve just been informed that the Typhoon could not make it to the Derwent Dams due to poor weather at low level. Sadly there will be no flypast of the Derwent dam. Please focus on the amazing achievements and losses of the Dambusters 75 years ago tonight.
— OC BBMF (@BBMF_Spitflyer) May 16, 2018
If you read the comments on that Tweet, you will see that the Typhoon did in fact fly over the dam but after most of the crowds had left. Cue a lot of unhappy plane spotters and a good example of a social media back lash…
I am actually writing this blog post on Thursday afternoon and have just seen that the Lancaster made the flight this morning, but nobody was told about it. I can’t imagine what is coming next in terms of social media rants.
2. Is Amazon about to launch a retargeting ad product?
I am surprised not to have seen more about this, but Bloomberg suggested this week that Amazon is testing an ad product that will challenge some of Google’s $.
The ‘tool’ appears to essentially be the ability for merchants to purchase retargeting ads to try to lure them back to Amazon’s online marketplace to buy their products. Details are fairly scarce and there is no information regarding which sites (and apps?) that Amazon will serve ads to, but I think that this could potentially be big news and a real threat to Google and, especially, other retargeting platforms such as Criteo.
More importantly, this should be making Amazon’s own merchants nervous. You can already buy ad space within Amazon, but this is yet another mechanism for Amazon to charge its merchants for a service that it used to offer for free? There is no doubting Amazon’s dominance and I think we are on the brink of a massive increase in Amazon’s ad business.
3. Facebook publishes latest transparency report
Facebook has been sailing through some turbulent waters in recent months. In what feels like a never ending ‘apology tour’, it was interesting to read the latest transparency report that was issued this week.
What is very clear is the fact that Facebook is doing more to try to clean up its act. The following summary shows how many pieces of content or accounts that Facebook took action against in Q1 2018 and, interestingly, what percentage of this action was taken before any humans reported offending content:
- Graphic violence — 3.4 million (86%)
- Nudity and sexual activity — 21 million (96%)
- Terrorist propaganda from ISIS, al-Qaeda and affiliates — 1.9 million (99.5%)
- Hate speech — 2.5 million (38%)
- Spam — 837 million (100%)
- Fake accounts — 583 million (99.1%)
Other than hate speech, it would appear that Facebook is getting a lot better at stamping out offensive content and that this is being done automatically.
What is not really addressed, however, is the thorny issue of what Facebook is doing to safeguard user data. Following the Cambridge Analytica debacle, I am a bit surprised that this isn’t tacked. Equally, there isn’t much in the way of encouragement regarding what is being done to tackle misinformation (or ‘fake news’ if your first name is Donald).
We should applaud the progress though and be grateful that efforts are being made and the detail that is shared.
4. Adios Klout
Another low key piece of news this week was Klout’s announcement that it was shutting down:
To all of our fans: after careful consideration we have decided to shut down the Klout website & the Klout Score. This will happen on May 25, 2018. It has been a pleasure serving you, and thank you for your ongoing support over the years. Details here: https://t.co/xCNdYachxF
— Klout (@klout) May 10, 2018
Digital veterans (i.e. old people) such as myself will no doubt remember the odd obsession with Klout that seemed to afflict a lot of people back in the day.
I should confess that I have never been a Klout fan, but I must admit that it has been a very interesting journey. Rumour has it that it was launched primarily because Joe Fernandez (the founder and CEO) was bored as he could not speak following some jaw surgery. He grew it very quickly and attracted $40million funding before selling it to Lithium Tech for $200million.
Why am I not a fan? If I am honest, I have simply never subscribed to the pressure of proving influence. Or perhaps it just scares me?
Platforms such as Klout / Peerindex / Kred are fascinating in many ways, but I feel that they just encourage behaviour which rapidly becomes unnatural and often very tedious. If you have seen the amazing ‘Nosedive’ Black Mirror, you will understand why it scares me. People became obsessed with increasing their Klout score and forgot about the more important aspects in life.
I am a huge believer in the power of influence. I just struggle with the notion of a simple / one number metric to measure it. In my humble opinion, it is not as simple as that and I am therefore not crying into my wine after hearing that Klout will be no more.
5. And finally…
Apologies for ending on a bit of navel gazing, but this week saw the arrival of two new members of the Browser Media team.
Head on over to https://browsermedia.agency/about-us/ to be introduced to Mollie, who joins us our very own marketing manager, and Rob, who joins us as a senior account executive. I am sure you will join me in welcoming them to the Browser Media family – it is great to have them on board!
The more astute of you will also notice that Lisa is no longer on the page. Today is Lisa’s last day with Browser Media. We wish her well as she heads to pastures new.
Have a fantastic weekend folks.