Google has acquired its first influencer network, FameBit

A screenshot from FameBit’s website.
Image: famebit

Google is helping creators earn a living from more than just video ads.

The tech giant, which owns video network YouTube, announced Tuesday that it had acquired FameBit, a self-service technology platform to connect creators and advertisers for product placements, paid promotions and sponsorships.

FameBit is Google’s first influencer network.

The acquisition provides Google with a network and technology to service brands and creators, a move the company said in a blog post would bring “even more revenue into the online video community.”

Founded in 2013, the Santa Monica-based startup has created more than 25,000 branded videos across Facebook and Tumblr which it introduced in December 2015 in addition to Instagram, Twitter, Vine and YouTube. Its brands include Adidas, Canon, L’Oreal, Sony, Marvel and Disney.

FameBit will remain as a standalone company and not undergo any restructuring, for now. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“With Googles relationship with brands large and small, and YouTubes partnership with creators around the globe, we hope to connect even more brands to creators, engage more audiences, and make brand marketing more creative and authentic than ever,” FameBit founders David Kierzkowski and Agnes Kozera wrote in their blog announcement.

Pre-roll video ads aren’t dead. Google noted that the top 100 advertisers have increased their spend on YouTube video ads by 50 percent over the last year.

Yet, the company is interested in gaining more oversight and providing more value to its service at a time when multichannel networks are getting more competitive and Facebook is luring at times with cash the top creators. Indeed, it recently updated its terms of service for creators to further disclose paid promotions.

YouTube’s partner program already allows select creators to earn revenue from ads, subscriptions and merchandise. FameBit connects YouTube creators to other revenue-making opportunities.

FameBit influencers can be paid either via gifted products or in cash. Co-founder Agnes Kozera told USA Today in December that its influencers were making from $2,000 to $30,000 per month, on average.

The deal is similar to how Twitter acquired New York-based Niche last year for connecting advertisers and creators.

It doesn’t mean YouTube creators are limited to working with FameBit.

“Creators will always have the choice in how they work with brands, and there are many great companies who provide this service today. This acquisition doesnt change that,” Google’s blog post reads. “Our hope is that FameBits democratized marketplace will allow creators of all sizes to directly connect with brands.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/

Two Google publisher metrics suspended over missed deadline

Google’s DoubleClick ad network had an issue with the Media Rating Council’s updated rules.
Image: (Associated press/David Goldman)

In the wake of revelations that Facebook overestimated a key video metric for years, Google the other half of the mobile advertising duopoly is having troubles of its own.

While Google’s issue was more of a technicality than intentionally misleading advertisers, it seems the search giant’s publisher ad network, DoubleClick, failed to update its measurement model to account for new rules from a major trade group in April. This led to the suspension of two of its mobile viewership metrics.

The Measurement Rating Council the benchmark accreditor for how online ad impressions are measured announced the decision last month, Business Insider first reported.

The group rewrote its rules in spring to mandate that ad impressions only be counted after “reasonable assurance that the ad wasrendered on the device.” The previous standard measured each time an ad was served.

Because of the scope of the project, Google wasn’t able to meet the new criteria within the allowed 30-day window, and accreditation of its mobile web impression measurement and viewability metric used to verify impressions was put on hold until the company is able to address the issue.

A Google spokesperson told Mashable the company is hoping to do so by the end of the year.

In the meantime, the Alphabet-owned site still has dozens of other metrics with the requisite papers in order.

As the industry transitions to new metrics for how they count ads, were working closely with publisher partners to make sure they continue to thrive,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Were updating the methodology for our publisher ad server [DoubleClick For Publishers] to reflect the change.”

Proper viewership gauges have become an increasingly big topic of conversation in the ad industry as ad fraud networks of bots designed to mimic human behavior and scam advertisers and technical load problems have thrown into question the true value of display advertising.

Two years ago, Google revealed that half of all digital ads served are never seen by actual people for these reasons.

The MRC an obscure, half-century-old agency with an outsized influence has been leading the charge for a new viewability standard along with other industry trade bodies like the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

A consensus was eventually reached: At least half of every ad must be seen for one second or two seconds for video in order to qualify.

“We did a lot of research around this focused on where you had evidence that ads were in view and had been recognized by a user,” David Gunzerath, senior VP and associate director at the MRC, said in an interview at the time of the update. “With all our measurement standards, we’re always sort of revisiting them and re-challenging them over time.”

The MRC has accredited a total of 18 different companies for ad measurement, including giants like Nielsen and Rentrak, but not all of them have been vetted since the change due to the intervals of the group’s audits.

The suspension is expected to have little impact on Google’s day-to-day business.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

After being rejected by Google, this engineer posted the interview questions he was asked

Google company headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/ap photo

Working for Google may sound fun, but the interview process sure doesn’t.

After applying for a director of engineering role at the company, Pierre Gauthier a computer engineer who started his own tech company 18 years ago was asked some pretty intimidating questions in a phone interview.

After failing to give the Google recruiter the “right answers,” he decided to create a Gwan.com blog post to share the challenging questions, his responses and candid thoughts with the public.

Though Gauthier managed to answer the first four questions correctly, it was all downhill from there. Gauthier soon found himself arguing his answers with the recruiter, and by the ninth question, he frustratedly asked, “What’s the point of this test?”

Basically, if Google ever calls you for an interview, here are ten questions you’ll want to know the answers to:

1. What is the opposite function of malloc() in C?

2. What Unix function lets a socket receive connections?

3. How many bytes are necessary to store a MAC address?

4. Sort the time taken by: CPU register read, disk seek, context switch, system memory read.

5. What is a Linux inode?

6. What Linux function takes a path and returns an inode?

7. What is the name of the KILL signal?

8. Why Quicksort is the best sorting method?

9. There’s an array of 10,000 16-bit values, how do you count the bits most efficiently?

10. What is the type of the packets exchanged to establish a TCP connection?

Those sound like a joy, right?

And just in case you didn’t think Gauthier was properly qualified for the position, he began his blog post by summarizing his many years of experience:

For the sake of the discussion, I started coding 37 years ago (I was 11 years old) and never stopped since then. Beyond having been appointed as R&D Director 24 years ago (I was 24 years old), among (many) other works, I have since then designed and implemented the most demanding parts of TWD’s R&D projects…

Following his less-than-satisfying interview experience Gauthier posed the question, “Is Google raising the bar too high or is their recruiting staff seriously lacking the skills they are supposed to rate?”

Read more: http://mashable.com/

Google issues ‘digital death penalty’ for Pixel buyers who used tax loophole

Rick Osterloh, Google senior vice president of hardware, introduces the new Google Pixel phone during a product event in San Francisco.
Image: Associated press/Eric Risberg

Google has suspended hundreds of accounts owned by people who took part in a smartphone resale scheme designed to exploit a loophole in sales tax law.

The banned accounts had apparently all ordered Google Pixel phones to be shipped to a single address in New Hampshire, a state with no sales tax. From there, a vendor resold the phones and then split the tax-free profits with participating users.

Google said the coordinated operation was a violation of its purchase terms, which ban any commercial resale of its hardware.

The company’s crackdown was first reported by the cost-cutting tips blog Dan’s Deals, after site owner Daniel Eleff heard from many of the users affected.

More than 200 people were reportedly locked out of their accounts when his initial article was published.

Instead of just banning the users from Google’s online store, the company shut them out of all of the services under the search engine’s umbrella, including saved photos, documents and email.

“Im not defending those who violated the terms of the sale,” Eleff wrote, “but I do think it is heavy-handed for Google to block access to all of their services for doing so.”

“Was violating Googles phone resale policy really worthy of an effective digital death penalty?”

A Google spokesperson said in a statement Thursday afternoon that the company took action after it noticed an unusual number of phones being directed to a single address.

The company claims that many people seemed to be creating fake shell accounts for the sole purpose of the scheme, and it is now in the process of unlocking those that it deems to be legitimate.

“We prohibit the commercial resale of devices purchased through Project Fi or the Google Store so everyone has an equal opportunity to purchase devices at a fair price,” the company said in a statement. ” After investigating the situation, we are restoring access to genuine accounts for customers who are locked out of many Google services they rely on.”

The New Hampshire reseller responsible for setting up the deal has organized similar arrangements involving Google products in the past without any penalty, Eleff said.

Eleff told Mashable in an email that he has yet to hear from any users who’ve had their account restored.

He still thinks the punishment was unnecessarily harsh.

“Shutting off all Google Services seems draconian to me and blocking access to past data, which is supposed to be owned by the user, is just beyond the pale,” Eleff said. “The punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime.”

As a growing portion of people’s online lives are consolidated onto a handful of platforms owned by major corporations, wielding this kind of power over users can have far-reaching implications. Oftentimes, users entrust Google with storing priceless family photos, valuable documents and critical emails.

Amazon customers who’ve run afoul of the e-commerce giant have faced similarly devastating consequences losing out on pre-paid memberships and media they supposedly owned.

“Its the 21st century version of losing priceless mementos in a house fire,” Eleff said.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/11/17/google-ban-users-pixel-resale/

Google to shut out sites that peddle fake news from ad network

Google is cutting fake news sites out of its ads service.
Image: Associated press/David Goldman

Amid growing criticism over the role of online platforms in spreading fake news, Google has announced plans to shut out websites that traffic in misinformation from its third-party ad service.

The search giant said Monday night that it would ban all publishers with articles intended to mislead or deceive readers from its AdSense network, the exchange through which Google sells display ads to independent sites across the web.

“Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

The company said the update was intended to match similar policies it already has in place to block deceitful ads such as weight-loss scams or false drug promises.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the policy change earlier on Monday.

The move comes as last week’s election results bring online platforms under increased scrutiny over how much responsibility they have to ensure the veracity of the news they help circulate.

Facebook, which has born the brunt of this backlash, repeatedly surfaced demonstrably false news stories in its trending topics section in the months leading up to the election a disproportionate number from right-wing conspiracy sites.

Critics say the social network should do a better job of vetting these kinds of hoaxes.

But even Google News, which supposedly tightly regulates the accuracy of stories that appear in its results, is not immune, it seems. Hours before Google made the change, the top news item when users searched for “election results” was an erroneous post claiming Donald Trump had won the popular vote.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly denied that hoaxes have any effect on public opinion among users, but it seems not everybody at the company agrees. BuzzFeed reports that a group of “renegade employees” have formed a task force to take on the scourge of fake news on the platform.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

Google News points users to hoax article on election results

Google News was pointing web surfers looking for election results to false numbers as of Monday.
Image: Associated press / David Goldman, File

As the media autopsies the various forces at play in last week’s election results, online social platforms particularly Facebook are coming under increased scrutiny for their role in spreading blatantly false news stories.

But it seems even Google’s news search isn’t infallible when it comes to filtering out false information.

For the past several hours, Google’s top news item on a search for “final election results” has directed users to a post from a rudimentary WordPress blog falsely claiming that Donald Trump won the popular vote.

Image: google, screenshot

The error was first reported by Mediaite Sunday evening, and it appeared to have been fixed by the following afternoon.

A Google spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment.

The same evening it was reported, The Daily Show‘s Dan Amira noticed a surge in Twitter users citing the blog to insist that Trump had more total votes than Hillary Clinton.

The author of the news site in question called “70news” claims the erroneous numbers came from “twitter posts [sic]” and that results from “Wikipedia or [Mainstream media]” don’t match the site’s own because “liberals are still reeling and recovering from Trump-shock victory.”

A sidebar on the site points readers to other false stories involving a conspiracy theory that billionaire Democratic donor George Soros is funding Anti-Trump protests. An entire section of the site is dedicated to “Hillary’s Health.”

For the record, the Associated Press‘ latest election tally shows Clinton leading Trump overall by around 670,000 votes.

Google’s mistake comes as Facebook contends with its role in spreading misinformation a disproportionate amount from right-wing conspiracy sites in the months leading up to the election. The social network’s critics argue that it should do more to vet articles shared on its site for accuracy.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly insisted that these types of hoaxes do not affect user opinions.

“Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other,” Zuckerberg said in a post on Saturday.

Read more: http://mashable.com/

Google’s mobile ad push is paying off

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a ceremony announcing a $300 million expansion of Google’s data center operations in Lithia Springs, Ga.
Image: Associated press/David Goldman, File

Google and Facebook currently have a near-duopoly stranglehold on the mobile ads market.

But the trajectory of each company’s growth in the sector has worried some of the search giant’s investors, who see the social network eating into Google’s share of the business.

Thursday’s earnings release from Google parent Alphabet, however, suggests the company’s efforts to turn this situation around have been at least partly successful.

The Mountain View company reported earnings and revenue on Thursday that surpassed Wall Street’s already-rosy estimates.

Google pulled in revenues of $22.5 billion and earnings per share of $9.06, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus predictions of $22.1 billion and $8.64 respectively.

Executives credited the boost to its mobile ads business particularly strong forward momentum in mobile search and YouTube ad sales.

Research firm eMarketer estimates that 60 percent of Google’s ad revenues will come from mobile this year, up from 46 percent last year. Meanwhile, Facebook derives a whopping 82 percent of sales from ad on smartphones.

As of last fall, the firm’s analysts say Google still owns a larger chunk of the mobile market 32 percent versus 19 percent but Facebook’s slice is expected to continue to rapidly grow, while Google’s is projected to stagnate.

Google is still primarily an advertising business, the largest on the internet, but it also has its fingers in several other pies, including subsidiaries, hardware sales and pet ventures.

The company launched a new line of devices earlier this month including its first-ever smartphone, the Pixel leading some to even speculate whether Google was turning into a hardware company (It’s not, according to these numbers).

Google didn’t break out specific numbers on pre-order sales for these products, and in many respects it’s still too early to gauge their success.

The company has also been trimming down some of its more ambitious bets in a bid to tighten focus on its core business.

Google announced Wednesday that it would lay off members of its Fiber division a massive undertaking to lay optics cables that would bring internet access to households as it switched to more efficient wireless methods.

It also recently spun off its driverless car business into a separate entity within the Alphabet umbrella.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/10/27/alphabet-google-earnings-third-quarter/

Google’s Alphabet defies expectations with 20% revenue rise

Alphabet, alongside Facebook, is dominating the fast-growing mobile ad market and has benefited from robust sales on mobile devices and YouTube

Googles parent Alphabet defied expectations to report a 20.2% rise in quarterly revenue on Thursday, while retail giant Amazon slightly missed predicted predicted forecasts due to spending on preparations for the holiday season.

Indicating an end to its record-breaking profits streak, Amazon reported profit of $252m or 52 cents per share, though analysts had predicted 85 cents per share. Revenues reached $32.71bn but are predicted to reach between $42bn and $45.5bn for the busy fourth quarter.

Alphabet meanwhile continues to dominate the fast-growing mobile advertising market, along with Facebook. The company has benefited from robust sales of advertising on mobile devices and on YouTube, and also said it would repurchase about $7bn of its Class C stock.

Shares of Alphabet, which is the worlds second largest company by market value, were up 1.6% in after-hours trading.

Googles ad revenue rose 18.1% to $19.82bn in the third quarter, accounting for 89.1% of Googles total revenue, compared with 89.8% of revenue in the second quarter.

Paid clicks rose 33%, compared with a rise of 29% in the second quarter. Paid clicks are those ads on which an advertiser pays only if a user clicks on them.

Cost-per-click, or the average amount advertisers pay Google, fell 11% in the latest period after dropping 7% in the second quarter.

Analysts on average had expected a decline of 7.9%, according to FactSet StreetAccount.

Per-click costs have been falling as people shift to mobile devices from desktops. Because of the limited space, advertising on mobile devices is generally cheaper.

Research firm eMarketer has estimated that Google will capture $52.88bn in search ad revenue in 2016, or 56.9% of the global market.

Googles Other Revenue, which includes the companys increasingly important cloud business, jumped 38.8% after rising 33% in the second quarter.

The cloud business competes with services offered by market-leader Amazon, Microsoft and IBM.

Alphabets Other Bets generated revenue of $197m, but reported an operating loss of $865m. In the year earlier period, revenue was $141m and the loss was $980m.

Other Bets includes broadband business Google Fiber, home automation products Nest, self-driving cars as well as X, the companys research facility that works on moon shot ventures.

The companys consolidated revenue rose to $22.45bn in the three months to 30 September from $18.68bn a year earlier. Net income rose to $5.06bn. Alphabets shares have risen 5.1% since the start of the year.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/27/google-alphabet-amazon-quarterly-earnings-mobile-ads