This report is of someone visiting an airport and discovering that, in addition to all the ads he saw visiting websites, he also got extra, bonus ads being overlayed on websites he visited while connected to an AT&T hotspot. At best, it’s annoying, at worst it can be a major security problem. These ads are injected into people’s browsers, and they can create a wonderful opportunity for a hacker to do some fairly bad things to someone’s computer.
It’s unclear if all of AT&T’s 30,000 plus hotspots have the bonus ad and security vulnerability combo as a standard thing, and the author had not received a reply when he reached out to AT&T to ask about the practice.
According to data from Cyphort, a digital security service, maladvertising has gone up by 325% in 2014. Hackers will initially submit ads that are clean and then revise them and add code that puts malicious software onto people’s computers. This process is much easier than attempting to find security flaws in websites, and it allows hackers to obtain personal information and set up bots on people’s computers.
It’s fairly well-known that people are increasingly spending their time on mobile devices and not computers, and this is creating a problem for a lot of advertisers. The issue is that although companies are throwing ads at mobile users, those companies feel lucky if these campaigns are even moderately successful.
A Duke Study asked marketers how effective they felt mobile campaigns were on a scale from 1 to 7, with 7 being the best, and respondents rated mobile ads at 2.74 in terms of their effectiveness in relation to sales. The best score for mobile campaigns was a mere 3.56, and it was for their usefulness in terms of customer engagement.
At the same time that Hulu is getting ready to give people the option to go ad free, they’re also moving to up their ad game by partnering with Oracle and Live-Rail, which is a video-ad platform owned by Facebook. The partnership will allow Hulu to offer advertisers better targeting options thanks to offering more first- and third-party data about viewers, and LiveRail will allow advertisers to buy ads programmatically.
TuneIn, an app that streams thousands of radio stations, is now offering a premium service for $8.99 per month. Along with offering subscribers perks, like unlimited access to a fairly substantial audio book library and additional coverage for sports, the premium service also allows people to listen to listen to 600 stations ad free.
Instead of hearing whatever ad a station is playing, people will hear music or programming based on the user’s interests. What I find fascinating is that while people are increasingly installing ad blockers and refusing to pay for subscription services for online content, paying to go ad free for radio stations is likely to be embraced without a trace of irony.
If you thought that collecting data about people’s Internet history was invasive, wait till you hear about how AdMobilize is going to collect data about outdoor advertising. The company intends to do to outdoor advertising what Google Analytics did for web advertising; which is to say collect lots and lots of data about people.
Using scanning and imaging technologies, AdMobilize says that they can collect demographic information about people who look at ads and how long they look and the ad. They also say that they can gather information about vehicles that drive by billboards, although I fail to see how the color or speed of cars will give advertisers anything to work with.