Google is Banning all Cryptomining Extensions from its Chrome Web Store

Like Google, AdBistro focuses on the user experience of all of our products. Due to hidden agendas from these Cryptomining Extensions, Google has banned them. Read the full story from TechCrunch below.

Google today announced that it will ban from its Chrome Web Store any and all browser extensions that mine crypto.

Mining cryptocurrencies in the browser isn’t the most efficient way for individuals to get rich, but if you are a developer and you get thousands of machines to mine for you, that equation changes in your favor. For the longest time, Google’s Chrome Web Store allowed for single-purpose mining extensions. That is, developers could publish extensions in the store that clearly stated their purpose and that had no other purpose than to mine.

As it turns out, 90 percent of extensions that mine crypto don’t comply with those rules. The lure of cheap Monero is simply too great for some developers, so they try to smuggle their mining scripts into what look like legitimate extensions. Some of those get detected and removed outright and some actually make it into the store and have to be removed. Google is obviously not happy with that, as it’s not a great user experience. Those extensions tend to use a good amount of processing power, after all.

So starting today, Google won’t allow into the Chrome Web Store any extension that mines cryptocurrencies, and starting in late June, all of the existing extensions will be removed. It’s worth noting that Google will still allow for blockchain-related extensions that don’t mine.

“The extensions platform provides powerful capabilities that have enabled our developer community to build a vibrant catalog of extensions that help users get the most out of Chrome,” writes James Wagner, Google’s product manager for its extensions platform. “Unfortunately, these same capabilities have attracted malicious software developers who attempt to abuse the platform at the expense of users. This policy is another step forward in ensuring that Chrome users can enjoy the benefits of extensions without exposing themselves to hidden risks.”

Microsoft will push users to their Edge browser when opening links within the Windows mail app, regardless of your current favorite browser settings…

In the latest Windows 10 update, AdBistro learned that Microsoft will push users to their Edge browser when opening links within the Windows mail app, regardless of your current favorite browser settings.

“Microsoft will try a new way to push Windows 10 users into running Edge, forcing links opened from the Windows Mail app and its messages to display in the browser.

Normally, links embedded in messages retrieved by the Windows Mail app open in the default browser, which may be an Edge rival if the user has set one.

In the latest preview of Windows 10’s fall feature upgrade, currently known as 1809 in Microsoft’s yymm label format, Microsoft has mandated that Edge assume responsibilities for opening links within messages.

[ Further reading: Windows 10 spring 2018 update: Key enterprise features ]

“We will begin testing a change where links clicked on within the Windows Mail app will open in Microsoft Edge, which provides the best, most secure and consistent experience on Windows 10 and across your devices,” announced Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc, the Microsoft employees who most often speak for the Insider preview team, in a post to a company blog last week.”

Read the full story from ComputerWorld.

AdBistro shares from Adweek how publishers are coping with the algorithm changes on Facebook.

AdBistro shares from Adweek how publishers are coping with the algorithm changes on Facebook.

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in January that the site’s News Feed algorithm would further emphasize posts from friends and family, publishers that hadn’t diversified across many platforms faced a reckoning.

Publishers like Little Things, despite testing its content on other platforms, found that Facebook was the best place to reach its site’s core audience of women over 30 in middle America. The site shuttered following the algorithm change because Little Things depended on its 17.2 million Facebook fans having frequent and easy access to its content on the social platform.

Publishers that continue to thrive in an era when they can’t depend on Facebook traffic have adopted common themes: Diversity of platforms is key, as is showcasing unique content on any and all platforms where people are likely to consume it.

“Rather than willingly participating in death by a thousand cuts, publishers should maintain fanatical focus on their brands and audiences.”  Josh London, CMO of IDG

BuzzFeed, which initially grew its massive audience on Facebook, doesn’t plan to abandon the platform’s 2 billion-plus person audience, but Michelle Kempner, vp of operations, pointed to how the company’s food-themed Tasty channel has expanded to YouTube (with 6.2 million subscribers), Snapchat Discover and a stand-alone application. To reach a larger audience for news coverage, BuzzFeed tackled Twitter, the social platform that’s best for tracking breaking news. It found a winning formula with its AM to DM morning news show, which launched last September and is averaging more than a million views per installment.

Animal-focused publisher The Dodo is in the same boat as BuzzFeed. The site has grown into a video behemoth that had the most global engagements of any Facebook page in December, according to CrowdTangle, and was also behind three of the top five shows on recently launched video platform Facebook Watch.

The Dodo has diversified, finding success on YouTube where it can monetize its videos (No. 1 media channel in the animal category), Instagram (more than 16 million engagements monthly) and Twitter (followers grew 10 times year over year). President YuJung Kim said, “A lot of people say cats invented the internet and invented the viral video, and there is truth to that. The challenge for us has been to find unique angles within animal content that allow us to differentiate ourselves.”

Kim added that her site’s strategy from day one was to focus on organic engagement on Facebook, and not buying or acquiring likes, as the latter would not provide the most engaged audience.


Topix is taking the opposite approach to Facebook and buying in, literally. CEO Chris Tolles said, “We’re an advertiser on Facebook, as opposed to a publisher. Many in media look at buying traffic as unethical. If you’re a pure-play digital company, how are you going to get out there?”

Tolles said its traffic and quality of audience from Facebook is “excellent,” adding that visitors to its site remain there for an average of 15 minutes, or 70 page views. But this approach might not be enough for Topix, which saw visits to the site fall from 33.9 million in December to 23.7 million in February, according to SimilarWeb, with a drop in Facebook referrals accounting for roughly half of that traffic loss.

Topix clarified that SimilarWeb’s data does not track purchased traffic, and it is desktop-only, while the majority of Topix’s traffic comes via mobile.

Bleacher Report has consistently been one of Facebook’s partner publishers when the social network introduces new products, and it found unexpected success on younger-skewing Snapchat for last year’s much-hyped boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor, with CEO Dave Finocchio telling Recode, “We ended up greenlighting a bunch of really creative projects—animated projects, Claymation projects. We did a bunch of really cool stuff for that fight, and it crushed.”

Bleacher Report’s iOS and Android apps—which include a Team Stream feature that enables users to see news about their favorite teams first—have also made their mark, surpassing 5 million installs via Google Play.

While Facebook is just one of the tools that theSkimm uses to build its membership community for female millennials, chief business officer Brandon Berger said the site has invested in its newsletter and app, as well as audio and video, as alternative points of entry. Brands like Casper, Starbucks, Buick, T-Mobile, Google, ESPN and Bud Light have advertised on those products, which reach the site’s core audience of 7 million readers.

Josh London, CMO of digital publisher IDG—parent of PCWorld, Macworld and Computerworld—said the key for publishers is developing unique content for specific channels that appeals to the 14-to-34 age group, including audio and visual effects, GIFs and other “fun” features.

“Rather than willingly participating in death by a thousand cuts, publishers should maintain fanatical focus on their brands and audiences,” said London, “and how they can uniquely offer new ways of leveraging this relationship for marketers through data and services.”

Windows 10 Updates Might Push You Over the Edge

In the latest Windows 10 update, AdBistro learned that Microsoft will push users to their Edge browser when opening links within the Windows mail app, regardless of your current favorite browser settings.

“Microsoft will try a new way to push Windows 10 users into running Edge, forcing links opened from the Windows Mail app and its messages to display in the browser.

Normally, links embedded in messages retrieved by the Windows Mail app open in the default browser, which may be an Edge rival if the user has set one.

In the latest preview of Windows 10’s fall feature upgrade, currently known as 1809 in Microsoft’s yymm label format, Microsoft has mandated that Edge assume responsibilities for opening links within messages.

[ Further reading: Windows 10 spring 2018 update: Key enterprise features ]

“We will begin testing a change where links clicked on within the Windows Mail app will open in Microsoft Edge, which provides the best, most secure and consistent experience on Windows 10 and across your devices,” announced Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc, the Microsoft employees who most often speak for the Insider preview team, in a post to a company blog last week.”

Read the full story from ComputerWorld.

Digiday Publishing Summit – Vail – March 2018

The time for quick fixes is over. Publishers need to move beyond complaining about the duopoly to take control of their futures by focusing on their own strategies, whether that’s subscriptions, making programmatic work, commerce models or video offerings.

Join AdBistro and hundreds of publishing executives at the Digiday Publishing Summit for three days of new connections and honest insight on the future of media.

6 Reasons to attend:

MEETINGS WITH BUY-SIDE EXECUTIVES
The 8-Minute Meetings – affectionately referred to as “speed dating” by
our regular attendees – pair buy- and sell-side attendees so that they can
meet, discuss their needs and decide if they want to do business
together. Before the summit, you will have the chance to pick which
executives you want to meet with.

SMALL-SCALE EVENTS FOR HIGH-IMPACT
NETWORKING
You will never struggle to connect with others at a Digiday summit.
Summits are always between 100 and 300 participants to ensure
communication is one-on-one, not one hundred-on-one. The
proportion of buy-side to sell-side attendees at summits is 60:40, so
the odds as a sell-side attendee are in your favor.

EXCELLENT VALUE THAT KEEPS EXPENSES LOW
How much do you spend on traveling to meet prospective clients all
over the country, or even all over the world? Now think about how
much you spend when they cancel the meeting. Fewer trips and
expenses mean you don’t risk your marketing budget.

UNPARALLELED ATTENDEE CALIBER BUYING
POWER
Digiday buy-side attendees make the purchasing decisions around
marketing tools and sofware that make their jobs easier. This
collective power is worth millions – in some cases, billions

RESPECT FOR YOUR TIME,
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL
Summits almost always begin on a Wednesday and end on a Friday,
giving you the beginning of the week to prepare and the weekend to
rest. Summits do not run on weekends, except on very rare occasions.

ADBISTRO WILL BE THERE!!
Our GM, Celine Hassan, will be attending the show and will be happy to meet you for a drink (or two!) to discuss your audience development strategy!
Contact us – contact_us@adbistro.com

SEE YOU THERE!

AdBistro Helps Advertisers & Publishers

AdBistro for Advertisers

AdBistro drives users to your desired landing pages for full page ad monetization. Our direct publishers are certified by third party security companies, including Integral Ad Science (IAS) and comScore. We focus on value exchange models to drive users to your site, which allows customized ad units served based on your needs. We have a full service account management team, as well as an extensive suite of tools to manage and optimize your campaigns for maximum effectiveness.

What we offer:

  •  Full page ad monetization for your web page. 
  •  Certified Traffic
  •  Customizable Implementations
  •  Scalability
  •  Full Service Account Management

AdBistro for Publishers

Publishers work hard to create compelling content. We want the world to see it.

AdBistro helps you to monetize your traffic by connecting your users with hundreds of campaigns across various verticals. Since every publisher is different, the AdBistro platform allows for fully customized ad placements and competitive payouts. Our advertisers want users to engage with their ads in many ways, including value exchange models, mobile, in-game, search and in-text ads.

What we offer:

  • Customizable Implementation
  • Competitive Payouts
  • Dedicated Account Management Team
  • Easy To Implement 

Quality

AdBistro strives to provide high quality traffic. Our AdVerify™ system uses more than 60 filters, but we also use third party verification companies to ensure the authenticity of your traffic. We understand quality also means that we are meeting our advertisers’ specific KPIs.

Targeted Traffic

AdBistro delivers high quality traffic through very specific and strategic targeting. We target users based on their device, geographic location, web browser and source level.

User Frequency Capping

While it’s typically good if a user is seeing your ad a lot, there is a point when it loses its effectiveness. Depending on what our client is selling, we cap the amount of times a single user will see an ad. This helps to maximize your budget’s effect.

XML Ads

Adding an XML ad feed to your website can help you monetize your traffic and improve your search results on your page. It tells big search engines, like Google and Yahoo, which information from your page is important.

Realtime Fraud Detection Engine

Many of our strategies are chosen for their fraud fighting capabilities. AdBistro is constantly working to fight ad fraud and bad traffic, both early in the ad buying process and real-time during the campaigns. Read more about AdBistro’s fraud prevention efforts here.

adbistro-certified-traffic-remove-bistroapi

AdBistro prides itself on delivering quality, performance-based products and services to some of the biggest names in the industry, and we are dedicated to continuing to help make your business successful.

Contact us for more information about what we do, or how we can work with you or your company!

Advertisers Fight Back Against Ad Fraud

According to The Bot Baseline, economic losses due to bot fraud in 2017 will be 10% lower than they were in 2016. In 2016’s study, the ANA reported that advertisers lost an estimated $7.2 billion due to ad fraud. Ad Fraud is a much larger issue than people realize. Although the loss will be less this year, advertisers will still lose ~$6.5 billion in 2017 to ad fraud.

This decline in losses due to fraud is promising for advertisers and publishers alike, because it accompanies news that advertising spending will likely increase by 10% or more this year.

What Is Bot Laundering?

Bot laundering is when fake traffic replicates human activity. Scammers can use these bots by selling them to publishers as “real traffic” or by using them to improve the traffic numbers on their own sites to charge more for ad space.

How Does Ad Fraud Work?

AdWeek recently published this article explaining four common ways ad fraudsters make money. 

Fake Traffic Brokers

This happens which a publisher wants to increase traffic to its site. They will then go to a traffic broker, who promises to send high volumes of valuable traffic to the publisher’s site. Fraudsters will create traffic broker services that don’t deliver real traffic, but instead use bots. The publisher’s traffic will see an influx of users. The fraudulent traffic brokers are essentially protected and removed from the situation because neither the publisher nor the ad exchange will be unable to track them down. 

Publishers who have purchased traffic from fake traffic brokers will likely be unaware that they are buying fake traffic. The bots are often created on real users’ computers using malware.

Ghost Sites

This involves creating content farms which churn out tons of thin, low-value content, and then using bots to create fake “qualified audiences”. 

Ghost sites are websites which have tons of thin, low-value content published with the sole intent of ranking highly in search results. A content farm is a website that cranks out a very large number of articles a day full of low quality content written by freelancers or bots. The only intention is to rank highly on search engines. Google has cracked down on these sites, making them less prevalent, though.

URL Masking

CEO of Double Verify, Wayne Gattinella, explains that much of advertising technology’s infrastructure wasn’t designed with fraud prevention in mind. URL masking, an example of this, is when publishers sell their ad space to advertisers without disclosing where the ads will be published. The lack of transparency gives the publishers the abilities to inflate their site’s true value. They can make represent their site as more targeted, relevant and credible than it actually is, and charge advertisers more. 

This can also involve a tactic known as “impression laundering,” which is when a site that steals copyrighted content hides the true location of the ads. This leads to ads being served alongside pirated content, which advertisers otherwise would avoid.

Pixel Stuffing & Ad Stacking

Some less-reputable web publications will put ads on their sites in a way that essentially hides them from users. These sites mainly use two tactics, pixel stuffing and ad stacking. Pixel stuffing is when websites cram ads into a 1-pixel by 1-pixel unit. The site loads the ad, but the user will never see it. Ad stacking, then, is when ads are placed on top of each other so the user only sees one ad. The advertiser still pays for the ads, despite the user remaining unaware of the hidden ads. Both methods lead to advertisers losing out on real views, and paying for fake traffic.

AdBistro Takes Action Against Non-Human Traffic

Adbistro examines ad fraud

AdBistro fighting ad fraud is nothing new, as we’ve been improving our fraud protection and prevention for years. We’ve been working with DoubleVerify, an industry leader in detecting and preventing non-human traffic, since 2014. For our clients trying to get their message to potential buyers, paying for fake traffic could ruin their campaign. It is in AdBistro and our clients’ best interest to ensure the clicks or impressions are genuine people and not bots.

AdBistro’s BistroAPI is constantly evolving to make the ad buying process better for our clients, both advertisers and publishers.

Read more about how AdBistro avoids fake traffic on the AdBistro Blog

Voice Interfaces & Post-Phone Marketing

It is clear that mobile is the future of tech. What isn’t so clear, though, is what form that technology will take. Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, Inc., predicts that there will be less reliance on screens and more on speech. We recently discussed the rise of mobile messaging as a solution. Shapiro thinks digital communication is headed another direction.

Aaron Shapiro’s hypothesis is this:

“Once everyone gets their hands on an iPhone X, it won’t just mark the device’s 10th year of incremental evolution; it will also represent “peak iPhone”—the point at which it will never be more influential, ubiquitous, or dominant. Not long after the X makes its way onto the mass market, the iPhone will begin to make way for its little sister: the Apple Watch, a product that has been much maligned but little understood.”

Shapiro says the change will fundamentally rewire the way we think about marketing, experience design and the world around us over the next several years. He says the new Apple Watch’s LTE cellular connectivity make it the first truly credible post-phone internet device. We rely on our phones for playing music, texting, making phone calls, getting directions, or checking a fact on Wikipedia. The Apple Watch does it all, and without a phone screen.

Voice Interfaces Have Improved Drastically

Earlier this year, Google announced that its word error rate had fallen by more than 30 percent since 2012. IBM, a leader in AI & voice-recognition, said its word error rate recently dropped to 5.5 percent from 6.9 percent. This improvement will likely improve voice assistants, like Siri and Alexa, across the board.

For humans, the word error rate is about 5.1%. The tech companies, like Microsoft, IBM and Google are inching closer to that figure, but are still a ways off. The progress they are making though has ramped up of late.

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Technology Associate, said, “We’ve seen more progress in this technology in the last 30 months than we saw in the last 30 years.”

Smart Home Devices’ Full-Capabilities Yet To Be Seen

Huge Inc. polled users of Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot, and Google Home. The three most common uses of the devices were playing music, checking the weather and finding out the news.

A key difference between voice controlled devices and devices with screens is the “presence” of options. On a screen, GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) present users with their options and the users picks based on their needs. Companies using voice, like Amazon and Google, have yet to effectively show, or tell, users their options. This is a limiting factor for widespread adoption of the devices and the technology contained in them. 

Voice Won’t Replace GUIs Anytime Soon

Des Traynor, Chief Strategy Officer at Intercom, weighed in on the issue on the Intercom Blog. He notes that it is rare that a technology will simply replace its predecessors. 

“Voice won’t kill touchscreens. Touchscreens didn’t kill the mouse. The mouse didn’t kill the command line. Analysts yearn for a simple narrative where the birth of every new technology instantly heralds the death of the previous one, but interfaces are inherently multimodal. The more the merrier.

Every new technology starts in a new, under-served niche and slowly expands until it finds all the areas it’s best suited for. And voice has a great niche to start in…”

As Is True For Most Things: Context Is Key

Another valuable thought that Traynor explains, is the idea of “place-onas“. Canadian computer scientist, Bill Buxton explains that your location determines which technology you should use. Traynor provides these scenarios:

  • In a library, wearing headphones: Hands free, eyes free, voice restricted, ears free
  • Cooking: Hands dirty, eyes free, ears free, voice free
  • Nightclub: Hands free, eyes free, ears busy (loud environment), voice busy (can’t be heard)
  • Driving: Hands busy, eyes busy, ears free, voice free

These placeonas account for how users can realistically input and receive information. If users are going to do more than check the weather using voice interfaces, the devices must account for context. A key entry-point into users’ habits is the moment when other interfaces aren’t an option. 

Limiters of Voice as User-Interface

Right now, most messaging solutions make users receive messages in the form they were sent. One user may be driving, while the other may be at a noisy restaurant, but they must agree on a single mode of conversation. In most cases, users must receive voice messages as voice messages and text messages as text messages. Communication must be translatable to and from voice to encourage more common use. 

Advertisers Consider How To Use Voice

Voice isn’t the only platform advertisers should consider, but it’s something for brands to think about. More people using voice interfaces will completely change how content is used. As websites begin to see traffic from voice users, they will have to shift away from traditional practices. Companies that recently transformed their content strategy for mobile, may be well served by repeating the process for voice interfaces.

People often address new technology with skepticism, though later use the technology anyway. Advertisers are working to reach mobile users more effectively, but this may be a short-lived trend. Those who don’t make some effort to reach customers using voice interfaces risk being left behind.

While voice may seem like a long-shot for becoming a staple, just read these early reactions to the computer mouse. They may seem ridiculous now, but likely seemed rational at the time. What the mouse did to completely overhaul user interfaces was huge and its possible voice could provide the next big change.

Voice Is An Alternative To Visual Noise, Ironically

Advertisers that have difficulty reaching their customers via display ads could see benefit in voice advertising. Voice as an interface, by nature, maintains focus. Websites are cluttered with ads, multiple headlines, and tons of content. Voice, on the other hand, can really only address one topic at a time.

People already use it for quick searches of the web, and simple questions. As of mid-2016, 20% of Android searches were voice-based, and Apple’s Siri received 2 billion requests per week. Those numbers will continue to rise as voice assistants become more user-friendly. More use will improve confidence in the platform, however users are still unfamiliar with many of the technology’s capabilities.

Ad-Blocking Costs Publishers Big Time

The media landscape, which is driven mostly by ad revenue, is being shaken up by the expanding presence of ad-blockers. Websites which rely on ad visibility for their income see little to no value in users that can’t see the ads. Many websites are blocking content unless users disable their ad-blocker. 

Websites Still Testing The Ad-Blocking Waters

Nick Flood, product and commercial operations director at Dennis Publishing said, “people need to take this more seriously.” The impact publishers see by banning ad-blocker users is still unclear. Early next year, Dennis along with other big names, including Auto Trader, will test hard bans on users with ad-blockers for one day. This will provide some insight into how many users immediate leave the site versus how many are willing to view the content with ads.

General news sites will typically suffer from hard bans. This is because users can find the information other places. It is niche sites that will benefit from banning users, because their content is unique. Flood explains that people are willing to view ads on your site, if they see its content as valuable.

Some Sites Successful With Only Monetized Users

While many large websites, reporting on general news and trends, may be suffering due to hard bans, some small websites are seeing improvements. The Windows Club, a website devoted to Microsoft and Windows operating system users, explains that as its users whitelist the site, their ad impressions and revenue actually increased steadily. 

Industry Leaders Chime In on Ad-Blockers

Johnny Ryan, PageFair’s head of ecosystem said in a report:

“There are not all that many publishers who have such exclusive content that they feel confident in establishing a paywall. By the same rationale, there cannot be that many publishers who have the confidence in establishing an ad block wall either. There are some publishers who claim, maybe rightly, 40% to 50% conversion … [but there are] publishers who are turning away 50%, 60%, 70% of their traffic when they ask people to switch off their ad blocker.”

According to this article in The Stack, while sites aren’t all seeing drops in traffic, other key statistics are seeing negative changes:

“All this is relatively circumstantial fare by way of arguing that deterring adblocking users deters traffic in general, but there are some unusual coincidences in the graphs.

If one was willing to read the trends with a more paranoid eye, it might seem that instituting these deterrents is financially suicidal, since the remnant audience, though fully monetised and ad-enabled, is so much smaller than the one prior to it.”

Many of the websites that implemented bans saw spikes in their bounce rate, declines in their average time on site, and dwindling traffic numbers.

Should Your Website Ban Ad-Blocker Users?

It is important to do some testing and research before adopting a hard ban on ad-blocker users. Losing half of your traffic could result in more harm than good, even if you are only seeing monetized users. 

Jo Holdaway, chief data officer at ESI Media, said adoption of ad-blockers may have stabilized, but don’t be complacent. Ignore it at your peril.

AdBistro Celebrates Halloween!

AdBistro decided to have a little extra fun today for Halloween! We had a costume contest and pumpkin carving in the office. 

The costume contest was highlighted by Batman, Gamora, a Squirrel, Les Grossman from Tropic Thunder, a Bee, and Wednesday Addams. 

At AdBistro, we think its a good idea to have a little fun around the office, and Halloween provided the perfect occasion.

When we’re not having a Halloween party or having a party in the office, we’re working on improving our digital advertising solutions for our clients. We’d love to help you get your content seen by more people or monetize your web traffic. Now don’t eat too much candy, and have a Happy Halloween!