Twitter app ads now support autoplay video

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App ads are about on Twitter are about to get a bit more lively; brands can now promote their products with video. Previously, companies had to use regular old promoted text or image tweets as their best bet to advertise apps to their audiences. Twitter says video leads to higher user engagement and nearly triple the app installs, given nearly 90 percent of its video views are on mobile devices. WATCH: Bring your app to life with the Video App Card — Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) September 24, 2015   Overall, 82 percent users watch video on the platform, so the ads…

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Oculus Touch will not ship alongside the Rift

Dean Takahashi demos the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch.

Oculus has an amazing virtual-reality controller solution, but it won’t ship with the consumer version.

Oculus’s Touch controllers won’t ship until the second quarter of 2016, according to the company’s presentation at Oculus Connect today. That is an entire quarter after the Rift goes on sale in Q1 2016.

The company spent a long time talking about the possibilities and importance of Touch. This enables people to bring their hands and fingers into VR, which seems like a crucial step to give people a feeling of presence. So it feels like a missed opportunity for the company not to launch the Touch at the same time as Rift.

That missed opportunity is potentially exacerbated by the fact that the SteamVR-powered HTC Vive will launch with its touch-style controllers before the end of the year.

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Peloton’s on-demand spin class app now lets you bookmark and filter search results

peloton ipad app update
Last year, when I reviewed Peloton, a new indoor cycling bike system with on-demand lessons from a live studio, I came to the conclusion that the bike itself could be too expensive for most people. Since then, the company has released an iPad app for users to ride along using their own bikes, and today an update will make it even easier to find the rides you want whenever you want it. The latest version of the Peloton app now allows users to bookmark rides they like, whether it’s one they’ve taken before that they enjoyed or from an instructor…

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North America has used up its new IPv4 addresses

North America has finally run out of new addresses based on IPv4, the numbering system that got the Internet where it is today but which is running out of space for the coming era of networking.

The American Registry for Internet Numbers, the nonprofit group that distributes Internet addresses for the region, said Thursday it has assigned the last addresses in its free pool. The announcement came after years of warnings from ARIN and others that IPv4 addresses were running out and that enterprises and carriers should adopt the next protocol, IPv6.

IPv4 dates back to 1981 and only has room for 4.3 billion unique addresses. IPv6, introduced in 1999, should have enough addresses to serve Internet users for generations, according to ARIN. 

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Bring your company’s ‘dark data’ to light with this free new tool from Tamr

All the analytics tools in the world won’t do a company much good if it doesn’t know what data it has to analyze. Tamr offers a free, downloadable tool designed to help tackle that “dark data” problem.

Dark data generally refers to all the information an organization collects, processes and stores but doesn’t use for analytics or other purposes. It’s often unstructured or qualitative data that’s harder to keep track of than numerical data is, and by research firm IDC’s reckoning, it can account for as much as 90 percent of an organization’s information assets.

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Twitter confirms it’s experimenting with native polls in tweets

Twitter typographic wallpaper

Twitter is looking at possibly letting users add quick polls to their tweets. A company spokesperson confirmed the move in a statement to VentureBeat saying, “We’re experimenting with a new way to poll users on Twitter.”

Right now, it looks like polls are only visible on Twitter’s mobile apps and website, but not on desktop applications like TweetDeck. There’s no indication of whether this capability will be rolled out to the rest of the 316 million monthly active users, as it’s an experiment that could wind up being shelved.

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This isn’t the first time that Twitter has rolled out polls on its communications service. Previously, companies were able to poll their followers through custom card polls. In 2014, Twitter revealed that it was testing out a feature that would enable native ads for publishers. Today’s sightings may hint that these could be rolled out to a wider audience.

From what we’ve seen, all polls have a 24-hour time limit on them.

While Twitter declined to provide more information, a quick query on the site showed that at least Twitter employees and also some verified profiles, including those in the media and in sports, have access to embed these polls.

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Following Google’s lead, telecoms and users can join in the fight against robocalls


For the first time, Google joined the legal fight last week against robocalls.

It filed suit against a search engine optimization firm in California for robocalls that promised better results from its search engine. It also set up a new Web page for reporting robocall scams.

But even mighty Google can only do but so much to counter the epidemic of robocalls. Carriers can and should do more to combat them, according to Jan Volzke, vp of reputation services for identity management firm Whitepages.

From VentureBeat

Location, location, location — Not using geolocation to reach your mobile customers? Your competitors are. Find out what you’re missing.

We’re at “at a point where we have no trust in a phone call,” he told me in a recent conversation.

In case you’re one of the six people in the U.S. who haven’t encountered such “extremely urgent” robocalls, here’s one Googlized version that also touts Bing and Yahoo. (Although it’s of the same ilk, it’s not clear if this robocall is from the company Google is suing.)

But things could change. In early summer, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) strengthened carriers’ hand in combatting robocalls.

In a big breakthrough this past June, the FCC gave the carriers the green light to block unwanted calls. The carriers had asked the federal agency to decide if they could legally offer call-blocking, given their common carrier status and other issues. Under common carrier, all traffic needs to be handled in the same manner.

Yes, the agency said. You, the carriers, can block calls.

The FCC also gave consumers additional latitude in how they grant consent and in their ability to block calls. They said consent could be withdrawn at any time, consent is automatically removed if a landline or cell number gets assigned to someone else, and text messages count as robocalls.

Previously, Volzke pointed out, it was difficult to undo consent once you gave it, and “now all robocallers must allow you to get out of it.”

If there is any doubt you have opted out, the FCC clarified that later in the summer — the burden is on the robocalling business to show the user has opted in or that there is an existing business relationship.

Carriers now “need to get serious” about the fight, Volzke said.

As one example of their weak response, he said that carriers offer “these services for a ridiculous $ 4.99 a month to block up to ten [robocalling phone numbers], and then you have to renew it every 30 days.”

He’s not alone in his frustration. The attorneys-general of dozens of states have written to the carriers to take care of this.

But robocalls have not been declining since the FCC’s decision in June. In fact, Volzke said, the amount of mobile spam and robocalls that Whitepages blocks monthly is up about 40 percent since then.

He pointed to several remaining structural issues, such as the fact that unwanted calls can involve multiple carriers and the solution would best be industry-wide. And right now carriers can only block calls as the result of each subscriber’s request — that is, it’s still onesies.

So robocalling — even, probably, robocalling that drops Google’s name — is not going away anytime soon.

As we await the ultimate battle, Volzke offers a few tips:

  • The number one thing that affects the robocalls you get is the amount of consent you’ve given. In most cases, your phone number is the key to granting consent. So, treat your phone number with a level of confidentiality just below that of your Social Security number. He noted with amazement that people list their primary phone number on Facebook and Craigslist, where it can be scooped by a spider.
  • “Get a second phone number” for public postings, he advised, and be careful when you give your number to people or sites you don’t know. “No one reads all the fine print,” Volzke pointed out.
  • If you’re already on robocallers’ list, he suggests getting an app to filter the calls by originating phone number — assuming we’re talking about your smartphone and not your landline. (Not coincidentally, Whitepages offers a robocall- and robotext-blocking app for Android and iOS devices.)
  • Next step up is call blocking for a specific phone number, although the bad guys may well change their number after a while.
  • If that still doesn’t help, and you’re still getting multiple robocalls, Volzke said that getting a new phone number is “sometimes the only option.” That is, until the carriers get their act in gear.

By the way, Whitepages is an identity data company, not the phone book. They are involved in robocall issues because a) phone numbers are a key identifier, and b) they recently bought robocall blocker NumberCop.

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