I love our work voicemail system

Well actually I love Microsoft Speech Technology. It doesn’t bode well for Cortana. This voicemail preview message bears no relation to the actual voicemail. None. Not even the phone number is correct.

From: 1555481000
Subject: Voice Mail from 1555481000 (25 seconds)
Date: 20 October 2014 20:38:31 BST
To: “Croll, Iain” <—-.——@—–.—>

Voice Mail Preview:

Lillian this is chase payment services Thomas calling reference to case number 830-3008.

Staying at your time I’m trying to that meeting again care if you could just call my phone number (555) 265-8888 — should be able to help you out with that you know fix for you.

Thanks have a great day.
Created by Microsoft Speech Technology. Learn More…
You received a voice mail from 15554811000

Caller-Id: 15554811000

Who is Grabbing Your Data from Websites?

So this post is entitled “Who’s Grabbing Consumer Data from Publishers?” by AdAge but let’s be clear here what they mean is your data from most websites.

Consumers may not know how the world of web advertising works but pretty soon thanks to concerted efforts by the IAB in the UK and advertising campaigns by EDAA due in the summer they should be a bit better informed. In the meantime information is out there but it is on trade and industry blogs and news sites like AdAge.

For most consumers it’s a confusing world that’s hard to understand with company names they have never heard of and know little about. It’s always been one of the challenges of the AdChoices initiative, consumer education is key but enabling opt-out of tracking only works when you know who is tracking you. As can be seen below many of the trackers drop additional trackers so there is a daisy chain of third parties involved and likely only one initial relationship with the website you are actually visiting.

I should disclose here that I work for AOL Advertising so many of the companies we own drop cookies for this kind of tracking, it’s nothing sinister and we don’t want to know you as an individual, we simply want to group people together to package up as an audience.

So as they say in the TV adverts here’s the science bit;

Tracking tags are bits of code that enable ad serving, site analytics, audience-segmentation, and social sharing tools on websites. In other words, tags are what make the web tick. By the end of last year there were nearly 1,000 different tracking tags floating around the top 500 websites. That was over 50% more than the 645 unique trackers found in the first quarter of 2012, according to Evidon.

Evidon’s analysis of tracking tags for FoxNews.com. See links below to launch an interactive version of this chart for one dozen popular websites.

Those tags are pretty active, too. In many cases, one tracking tag installed directly by a site publisher might spawn others, and those still additional tags, and so on. Publishers and other data providers don’t always know whether tag spawning leads to the dissemination of actual consumer data gathered on their sites, or if it is merely part of the cookie-syncing process performed to match a cookie ID in one system to an ID in another for ad targeting purposes.

via Who’s Grabbing Consumer Data from Publishers? | DataWorks – Advertising Age.

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.

Sandy Boosts Local Online News Brands | Digital – Advertising Age

AOL-owned Patch, which operates roughly 860 sites across the country but has high penetrations in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, reported its highest-ever traffic day Monday — page views were up 88% from the previous highest day. The Daily Voice, a competing network with 53 sites in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, said traffic Monday was two times higher than normal.

via Sandy Boosts Local Online News Brands | Digital – Advertising Age.

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