My Five #321

Google being naughty, Martin Lewis forcing Facebook’s hand, an inventive eBay listing and Mother Nature at its best. It must be My Five time.

You are reading: My Five #321

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. Naughty Google

Interesting news this week that Google has been hit with a £44m fine for breaching GDPR rules.

Google is not the only large company to be the subject of GDPR complaints, with Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Spotify all being under scrutiny, but I think it is interesting to see that the regulators appear to mean business and that no institution is immune from investigation and possible fine.

No official response / defence as yet from Google, which claims to be “studying the decision” but I wonder if this is the first in a series of moves where the big names are targeted in order to set an example for everyone to follow?

I had thought that the whole GDPR thing may be a bit of a storm in a teacup (EU Cookie Law spring to mind?), but maybe I am entirely wrong.

2. More Naughty Google

I was interested to read this article, which suggests that Google is moving up the gears in terms of trying to control advertiser accounts more closely.

To be honest, this is not entirely new as we are constantly seeing Google approach our clients directly but the big change here is that you have to opt out of the ‘support’ – the emails state very clearly that the support will start in 7 days time unless the advertiser chooses not to accept the service.

There is also some very odd wording in the email. The one that really jumps out at me is, “Expert knowledge from our experience optimizing over 800,000 Google Ad Accounts”. Where on earth does the 800,000 come from? There are certainly a lot more advertisers on Google Ads. Perhaps that is just an admission of how many accounts are managed by Google already?

As far as I am aware, these emails have not been seen on this side of the pond, but only time will tell if this is a global initiative or a limited pilot being trialled in the US.

I will naturally sound defensive, but I cannot deny that I find this a little troubling. My experience of Google ‘experts’ is mixed. They have some excellent people, but they also have a lot of very junior / inexperienced people and the level of churn is staggering.

Does it make sense to trust Google bods to optimise your spend when they are all motivated to increase your spend?

There is no coincidence that all recommendations I have ever seen from Google are focused on growth / additional advertising opportunities rather than an honest appraisal of whether you should cut back on underperforming campaigns. My bet is therefore on seeing a lot of advertisers who do not opt out of this new ‘support’ moaning about increased spend in the coming months…

3. Fake News / Ads

Martin Lewis, of MoneySavingExpert, has always been very clear about his ties with other sites and robustly denies being the face of ad campaigns that use his name / brand:

Beware LIAR Facebook & other ads implying Martin or MSE recommend em.

He has been pursuing Facebook for repeatedly failing to prevent scam adverts using his name and image, but this week saw the news that he is dropping the lawsuit after Facebook agreed to donate £3m to a new anti-scam project with Citizens Advice as well as launching a one-click spam reporting tool.

I think that Martin should be admired for his efforts. It has never been about the money and the lawsuit was always intended to stop scam ads rather than line his pockets.

Whilst the war on scam is not won, it is excellent that he has won a battle and successfully drawn attention to the dangers of believing everything that you see in adverts and forced Facebook to take action.

4. Crash Debris

Last week saw a bit of an automotive prang involving Prince Philip.

To be honest, I was bored sick of the news within minutes and the endless coverage drove me mad. I was, however, amused by the story that someone was selling crash debris on eBay. Apparently, the debris was still on the road several days after the incident so the seller was keen to point out that it was not stolen. The description boasted that the debris “may even have Phil’s DNA on it, if you wanted to clone him”.

eBay promptly removed the listing as it broke their policy relating to the sale of items that profit from human suffering, so I am afraid you are out of luck if you wanted to create a royal Dolly. It would have been expensive anyway – after 139 bids, the price had reached £65,900.

Digging deeper into the story reveals that the individual selling the debris had promised all proceeds of the sale to Cancer Research UK.

I think eBay should let the auction run?

5. Mother Nature

It has been a cold week in many places across the globe. You may have seen the beautiful footage of Niagara Falls as a winter wonderland or maybe the close call for a police officer in Wisconsin, but my personal favourite was this footage of a massive avalanche in the Alps (technically not within the past 7 days, but I only saw it for the first time this week!):

Une impressionnante avalanche déferle sur Vinadi en Suisse

A powerful, but beautiful, reminder of how powerful Mother Nature can be.

Have a fantastic weekend folks :-)

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