Facebook Challenges Google’s Tech Dominance by Partnering With AOL, Adobe | Adweek

Facebook and Google aren’t exactly besties, and the social giant’s latest move won’t help matters. In recent weeks Facebook has made two friends through moves that will simultaneously help its own advertising business and hurt Google’s.

Last month, Adobe and AOL joined Facebook Exchange, the social network’s display retargeting platform beloved by direct-response advertisers who are typically big-time Google buyers. Google was conspicuously not included.

via Facebook Challenges Google’s Tech Dominance by Partnering With AOL, Adobe | Adweek.

Do Not Track – Internet Privacy Bill and ‘do not track’ support

Back in February The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights was formally unveiled in the US, and it endorses the ‘Do not track’ web browser functionality that already has the support of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL.
In many respects it’s similar to the existing cookie laws being implemented across Europe. The Bill comes at the same time as the European Union is preparing similar regulations. I believe the current cookie law is flawed but has the right ideas at it’s heart. Making end users decide on a website by website basis is painful for the website owners having to implement code to ensure this happens and painful for the consumer it seeks to protect by bombarding them with information and pop-ups they will probably never read or understand.

I think making use of existing technology in the browser is by far the most sensible solution. The browser can contain a list of sites the user is happy to share data with and by default it could reject information sharing until a user has actively chosen to share data.

This would be persistent which is another concern for me when considering the cookie law. If a consumer deletes his/her cookies then their preferences are deleted.

So in the interest of seeing how website owners could honour DNT (do not track) I searched in vain for a matrix of browser support for the functionality within browsers. Information is sparse. Some sites quote browser support for DNT coming in new releases, others states that the browser already supports it (although I’ve not managed to find how to switch it on) . Add to this confusion that individual browser manufacturers are implementing DNT support in different ways and there is a headache waiting to happen.


Disclaimer: I currently work for AOL and work on privacy issues including the EU “cookie law”


So whilst Apple are launching the iPhone and having legal issues about naming. China’s largest appliance maker, Haier Group, is teaming up with a subsidiary of AOL to make a wireless media player that can stream or download content without hooking it up to a PC.

It looks like a regular iPod but does what even the new iPhone doesn’t — access online music and video stores over Wi-Fi networks to stream, download and play content without having to sync up with a computer.

More on newsvine here

Genius Advertising

As anyone who knows me knows I hate advertising. Well okay that’s not entirely true. I hate when advertising ruins the experience or when advertising becomes more imprtant than the content.
Anyway advertising rant over – more to come when I don’t work where I work now.
Anyway AOL Pictures and presumably the rest of the internet are showing the following advert for a new ITV show. It starts with Mike and inviting you to see what else he is wearing…
Then we get to see what he is wearing…
mike 2
And then the prompt for the show…
trinny and susannah
The bit thatmakes me laugh though is that when you see Mike in his pants they look very similar to the ones that American Apparel make and that most of the gay stores in London sell as fashion.

AOL Pictures

Techcrunch is bemoaning AOL Pictures relaunch. I think they are missing something though.

Flickr, photobucket, bubbleshare and others may well look slicker and have more intuitive UI but they simply do not have the userbase potential AOL has from the start.

You simply wouldn’t get the gems shown here on bubbleshare et al.
halloween dogs towel art flashing picture
Not to mention the people who simply don’t get the point of tags.
love u mum we always miss ya is not a tag!

More on AOL Search

Over at aolstalker.com they have done an interesting analysis of the clickthru from the AOL search data that was released last week to the fury of privacy rights campaigners and users.

A whopping 47% of searches failed to reult in a click thru to a result.
I have to say I’m sure this is no lower than the click thru on most internet banners which cost far more to run. Who actually clicks on those flashing banners anyway?


The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is asking the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to force AOL to help the people whose search records it recently released.

In a complaint filed Monday, the EFF requests that the FTC investigate the incident and have AOL notify, via electronic and postal mail, all affected persons that their search results were released.

AOL should also pay for at least one year of credit monitoring service for each person, because the release of the records puts these people at risk for identity theft, the EFF charges. The EFF is a nonprofit organization focused on protecting civil liberties in technology contexts, such as computing and the Internet.

More at Macworld


So want to know what people are seaching for? Well okay people using AOL are searching for.
Interestingly the outrage caused by this lapse in privacy by making this information available (and if you have no idea what I am talking about there is a link here) is nothing compared to the other information you can gleen from this data.

AOL Search is powered by google. It’s branded as such. Yet there are over 180,000 searches for … google or it’s varients.

Useful links
New York Times article
AOL Search Database
AOL Search Logs
Black Box Search – Anonymous proxy searching for Google, MSN and Yahoo!