Google Considers Buying TikTok Rival

TikTok could be seen as a competitor for YouTube, the video platform owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. TikTok is typically seen as a greater threat to Facebook in the social category, and the social giant is testing a copycat app of its own to crush the insurgent. But more time on TikTok could also mean less time on YouTube in a tight attention economy, and TikTok’s fervent teen users apparently have Google concerned enough to spark a potential Firework deal.

How Long Will Google’s “Calculative PR” Playbook Work in Local Search?

Mihm: The engineering mindset that millions of spammy listings in a corpus of hundreds of millions of legitimate listings worldwide, or a (hundred million?) spam reviews in a corpus of billions of legitimate reviews worldwide, are simply “edge cases” that are beneath Google to prioritize reflects a profound lack of empathy for how their technology impacts fellow human beings — both consumers and especially small business owners and their employees.

Blumenthal: Absolutely agree. And a related problem is that they see customer service in the same context: as an engineering/cost-benefit problem to solve, not as a way to improve their product. As such they see the last 5, 10 or 15% errors in their big data solutions as just a cost of doing business that they have no responsibility to solve. 

Transparency and Brand Purpose Dominated Cannes

The big topic of the week was industry change, driven largely by transparency. Agencies are evaluating opportunities and challenges to their business model as buyers demand more oversight of media, fees, and attribution. Increasing interest in ad tech in-housing has also stoked soul-searching.

Every brand also talked about reflecting an authentic, real world in its marketing—from the people in front of and behind the cameras, to creative and targeting strategies. The campaigns that seemed the most likely to succeed were all “purpose-centric,” with the brand rallying around a specific and common cause.

Report: Fake Google Maps Listings Ensnare Consumers, Harm Legitimate Businesses

“Chronic” local listings fraud on Google Maps, where con artists pose as handymen and other local service providers, sometimes stealing the names of legitimate operations, is endangering consumers and sucking business away from viable local businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported.

As Google seeks to prop up its lucrative but “cresting” search business and consolidate its lead in local, the tech giant is struggling to address the fraud issue and perhaps even to care about it. 

Brand Safety is a Brand Authenticity Problem

Marketers know that in a world of globalized competition, consumers are one click away from choosing a different product or service. Taking a stand can help brands appear righteous and earn consumer loyalty, which is why brand safety scandals necessitate a massive and speedy PR response. However, responding to or apologizing for such scandals can only be perceived as authentic the first time around—not the second time, and definitely not the third. The endless cycle of brand safety scandals reveals one of two things about today’s brands—they’re either lemmings, or they don’t really care about brand values.

Tim Cook Demands New Commitment to Responsibility from Big Tech

With the moral and commercial high ground in clear sight, Tim Cook used the spotlight at Stanford University’s commencement ceremony Saturday to slam Big Tech peers Google, Facebook, and Twitter for failing to take responsibility for the hateful content and disinformation on their platforms.

Human Judgment, Automation, and the Future of Ad Tech

For now, I propose two major concerns—two challenges, even, for further thought—surrounding AI for the ad tech industry. The first is that the datafication of human experience that has allowed for precise ad targeting needs to be radically reconsidered, not just in terms of what can be done to obtain the consent of consumers for data collection, as the rising privacy movement has called tech companies to consider, but also in terms of what is lost and what is truly gained when the attributes of real people are transformed into consumer data. The second is that the human-machine hybrid decision-making model, while surely the best available in a hypothetical set that also includes human-only and machine-only models, will have to grapple with the bias and poor decisions of the humans who program the machines that will take on the task of regulating large platforms at scale. 

Alphabet Plays the Long Game, Expanding and Investing in R&D, with Focus on Video

Alphabet is investing in its future, spending record funds on R&D and pouring money into non-core businesses such as self-driving cars (Waymo) and its video platform (YouTube). While the company exceeded analyst expectations on the back of ever-strong growth from its core search business, it was actually trading down on Monday, reflecting investor anxiety over the cost and ultimately profitability of its many secondary businesses. 

LBMA Podcast: Alexa’s Location Alerts, Starbucks and Uber

On this week’s edition of the Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: CS Hudson, Baidu Maps, XYO Protocol’s blockchain lab, Ariana Grande + YouTube, Alexa’s location alerts, Starbucks + Uber.

Street Fight Daily: GMB Insights Adds Branded Search Reporting; 2/3 Big Businesses Invest in Local Media

TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING AND MEDIA… Google My Business Insights Adds Branded Search Reporting… New Hires at S4M, Uberall, Tremor Video… BIA: Two-Thirds of Businesses with 500+ Employees Invest in Local Media Ad Platforms….

Street Fight Daily: Facebook May Have Knowingly Inflated Video Metrics, Programmatic Prices Rise

TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING AND MEDIA… Facebook May Have Knowingly Inflated Its Video Metrics for Over a Year… No Wallet, No Problem. Yombu Scans Your Fingerprint for Payments, Loyalty Rewards… First-Price Auctions Are Driving Up Ad Prices…

Street Fight Daily: What Ad Tech Consolidation May Look Like, GetFiveStars Rebrands as GatherUp

TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING AND MEDIA… What Ad Tech Consolidation Will Look Like… GetFiveStars Expands Its Capabilities, Rebrands as GatherUp… Mary Meeker Is Leaving Kleiner Perkins…

SendtoNews Aims to Guarantee Brand Safety for Advertisers

Publishers like Facebook and YouTube often cause consternation for advertisers over brand safety. Content delivery and advertising company SendtoNews promises to change that state of affairs with its service. “We’re completely brand safe,” said CEO Matthew Watson.

Street Fight Daily: Prime Day, Amazon’s Power, and Local; Google’s Mobile Speed Update and SMBs

BIG MOVES AND TOP TAKES IN LOCAL… Prime Day Showcases the Power of an E-Commerce Empire—And What It Means for Local… Why Google’s Mobile Speed Update Smells Like Trouble for Small Businesses… Simpli.fi Reaches Next Level in Precise Location Targeting…

Street Fight Daily: Local Merchants Unfazed by Facebook Controversy, Consumers Apprehensive on Voice

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Most Local Merchants Unfazed by Facebook Controversies, Though Some Signs of Trouble… Report: Brands Abandoning Social Media Measurement… Microsoft’s GitHub Deal Marks Latest Shift from Windows…

Street Fight Daily: GDPR Is Here and Complaints Are Being Filed, How Not to Handle Reviews

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Tech Giants Face First GDPR Complaints Over ‘Forced Consent’… Google Confirms Feed Ads Are a Test… Namogoo Releases 2018 Online Consumer Behavior Study…

Street Fight Daily: Google Positions Itself to Challenge Amazon on Voice, New Directions in Loyalty

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Ad Buyers Say Google’s YouTube and YouTube TV Integration Will Help It Rival Amazon on Voice… Waze Ads Head Suzie Reider Sets Her Sights on QSR, Retail, and Fuel… You Don’t Need a Paywall If You Have Cool Ads, Outline CEO Josh Topolsky Says..

Street Fight Daily: Instagram Creeps Into Payments, Reviews Shape Local Offline Purchases

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Instagram Quietly Launches Payments for Commerce… Augmented Reality Heading to 3 Billion Devices, $85 Billion in Revenue… Yelp’s Chad Richard on the ‘Decentralization’ of Reservations…

Street Fight Daily: YouTube’s Brand Safety Woes Continue, Amazon’s Biggest Challenge

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Exclusive: YouTube Ran Ads from Hundreds of Brands on Extremist Channels… What Amazon’s Prime Numbers Don’t Show: The Battle to Grow in the U.S… ANA Urges Lawmakers to Hold Off on New Privacy Laws….

Street Fight Daily: Facebook Launches Local Hotspots, Media Companies Shift to YouTube

A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Facebook Launches Express WiFi App for Its Local Business-Operated Hotspots… Why Media Companies Are Shifting Their Attention to YouTube… Why Publishers Are Eliminating Programmatic Silos…