Should Google’s Ad Market Be Regulated Like the Stock Market?

The days of suit-clad men shouting out orders on the bustling floors of stock exchanges are mostly gone, replaced by windowless rooms full of servers, but the stock market is still a busy place. On the 13 US stock exchanges combined, around 50 million trades happen every day. And yet there’s another digital marketplace out…

The days of suit-clad men shouting out orders on the bustling floors of stock exchanges are mostly gone, replaced by windowless rooms full of servers, but the stock market is still a busy place. On the 13 US stock exchanges combined, around 50 million trades happen every day. And yet there’s another digital marketplace out there that processes tens of billions of transactions daily, one whose complexity makes the NASDAQ look like a lemonade stand: online advertising.

It may sound odd to refer to advertising as a market, but that’s what it is. The industry’s own terminology provides a hint: Publishers selling ad space, and advertisers buying it, do business on so-called “ad exchanges”; one of the biggest companies involved is called the Trade Desk. Whenever you load a web page, advertisers compete in an automated process called real-time bidding to show you their ad. Multiply that by billions of internet users around the world, loading many different pages and apps per day, and you can start to appreciate the scope. As antitrust scholar Dina Srinivasan puts it in a forthcoming paper, online advertising “is likely the most sophisticated of all electronic trading markets.” And yet, despite the market’s size and complexity—and unlike other markets—online advertising is almost completely unregulated.

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A former digital advertising executive, Srinivasan gained attention last year for her paper “The Antitrust Case Against Facebook,” which laid out a novel theory of why Facebook’s market dominance can be bad for users even as it offers a free product. Now she aims to do something similar for Google—specifically, for the sprawling advertising empire that accounts for the vast majority of the company’s revenue. In her new paper, which will be published in the Stanford Technology Law Review, Srinivasan takes a deep dive into the inner workings of the digital ad market. The details are astoundingly complex, but the broad argument is straightforward. When you see an ad online, the odds are very high that the advertiser used Google to buy it, the website used Google to put the space up for sale, and Google’s exchange matched them together. In other words, Google both runs the largest exchange and competes as the biggest buyer and seller on that exchange. On top of that, it also owns YouTube, one of the biggest suppliers of ad inventory, meaning it competes against publishers on its own platform. And yet there are no laws governing any of it.

That regulatory vacuum, Srinivasan argues, has allowed Google to dominate the industry by doing things that are prohibited in other parts of the economy. “In the market for electronically traded equities, we require exchanges to provide traders with fair access to data and speed, we identify and manage intermediary conflicts of interest, and we require trading disclosures to help police the market,” she writes. Her proposal flows naturally from that observation: Apply those regulatory principles to digital advertising.

The resemblance between securities and ad markets first occurred to Srinivasan back in 2014. That’s when Michael Lewis published Flash Boys, which documented the extensive mischief created by high-frequency trading and other modern tricks of the digital securities market—and which helped spur a wave of investigations, fines, and regulatory action. At the time, Srinivasan saw similar issues arising in her own industry.

“When Flash Boys came out, it was comical. That book was being passed from executive to executive,” she said in an interview. “People would laugh about how there were operatives who were arbitraging between ad exchanges too. People were just laughing at the parallels.”

Over the past year, as she researched the paper, Srinivasan realized that the resemblance went even further than she thought, sometimes uncannily so. Lewis describes high-frequency traders seeking an edge by placing their computers as physically close as possible to the stock exchange servers to shave microseconds off trade times. Srinivasan relays a similar anecdote from the world of ad tech: Last year, OpenX, one of the largest non-Google ad tech companies, announced a five-year, $110 million deal to move its exchange to Google Cloud. OpenX was open about the fact that being on Google’s servers would give it a speed edge. “You have to operate at speed, efficiency, closeness to the publisher and the demand side of Google,” one executive said. It’s almost an exact copy of high-speed traders’ tactics. The difference, Srinivasan notes, is that “in financial markets, co-location practices are tightly regulated” to make sure everyone has equal access to speed. In advertising, they aren’t.

Speed is crucial in online advertising because the auctions occur in milliseconds. If an ad buying platform submits its bid too slowly, the exchange might exclude it from the auction entirely. This gives a leg up to a platform that shares infrastructure with the exchange—in other words, to Google. Google advertises this fact. “Since Google Ads and Display & Video 360 run on servers in the same data centers as Ad Exchange, they can respond faster to Ad Exchange bid requests compared to other exchange requests,” says a Google help page. “There are no network latency or timeout issues between either Google Ads or Display & Video 360 and Ad Exchange.” When the buying platform isn’t the same as the exchange, on the other hand, latency issues “can prevent buyers from successfully submitting a bid on up to 25% of bid requests.”

Srinivasan also explores the way Google benefits from unequal access to information. Modern digital advertising is all about being able to target users with the most precision. When someone arrives on a website using Google’s DoubleClick ad server, Google’s exchange “hashes” the ID, passing a different one along to the ad buying platforms. Those buyers then must match their ID with the hashed one to make sure they’re targeting the right person—a process called “cookie syncing.” But cookie syncing, Srinivasan writes, “is inherently inefficient.” Some percent of the time, the platform will fail to match the user. In those situations, she writes, advertisers aren’t willing to pay as much, or anything, because they aren’t guaranteed to reach the right audience.

Google doesn’t have this problem, because it allows its own exchange, and its own ad buying platform, to see the DoubleClick ID. That means it automatically knows who the user is. Google says it shares the DoubleClick ID only with its own platforms to protect user privacy. But another result is to put a thumb on the scale of Google’s own properties: If you want to make sure you’re targeting the right user, you have an extra incentive to buy ads using Google. Google advertises this advantage as well.

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While securities law has its share of problems, it does broadly curtail the kind of flagrant information and speed imbalances that Srinivasan describes in the ad market. Indeed, the contrast between the digital advertising regulatory vacuum and the world of financial markets is striking.

“It’s a highly, highly regulated system,” said Kevin Haeberle, a professor at William & Mary Law School who specializes in securities law. Only registered brokers are allowed to execute trades, and those brokers must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “You’ve got to take tests, you’ve got to be registered, you have to be supervised in certain ways, you’ve got to pay into various insurance mechanisms to make sure the trades actually do settle.” He added, “There’s this whole regulatory regime, it’s very complex, and it applies to regulating these exchanges that run this important market for our society. In the ad market, we don’t have that.”

Why does that matter? At the broadest level, when one entity is allowed to both run a market and participate in it, and when there are no rules requiring it to let everyone else participate on equal terms, there’s nothing stopping it from enriching itself at the expense of the other buyers and sellers. In digital advertising, that means Google could be inflating prices advertisers pay, or depressing the amount of money publishers receive, or both. Google, of course, denies this characterization. It says its ad tools benefit both advertisers and publishers, no regulation necessary. To Srinivasan, believing that claim would be like trusting J.P.Morgan to run the New York Stock Exchange.

Srinivasan is particularly worried about the publishers who rely on digital advertising for revenue. “From a very big-picture perspective, we are a democracy and we want a healthy and robust economy of news,” Srinivasan said. “We want the news business as a sector in our economy, we want to make sure that it works. And so we should make sure that the market is not rigged for the middleman, so that entrepreneurs are encouraged to enter the business of news.” (In the paper, she discloses that she is “advising and consulting on antitrust matters, including for news publishers whose interests are in conflict with Google’s.”)

Her argument may be catching on. At the tech CEO hearing held by the House antitrust subcommittee in July, Pramila Jayapal, a Democratic congresswoman from Washington state, cited Srinivasan’s paper directly as part of her questioning of Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

“The problem is that Google controls all of these entities,” she said. “So it’s running the marketplace, it’s acting on the buy side, and it’s acting on the sell side at the same time, which is a major conflict of interest. It allows you to set rates very low as a buyer of ad space for newspapers, depriving them of their ad revenue, and then also to sell high to small businesses who are very dependent on advertising on your platform. It sounds a bit like the stock market. Except, unlike the stock market, there’s no regulation on your ad exchange market.”

In an interview after the hearing, Jayapal said she was looking into developing legislation that would address that regulation gap. She suggested that the underlying principles of any regulation would be straightforward. “It seems to me that the simplest thing to do is say, you can’t control the market and engage as a buyer and seller. Those two things have to be separated. And then, if you’re buying and selling, then you’re regulated by insider trading rules.” She added, “I think it’s just an unregulated marketplace that should be relatively easy to do something about.”

Updated 8-31-2020, 4:15 pm EDT: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of a digital ad company. It is the Trade Desk, not the Trading Desk.


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3 Chat Automation Tools That Accelerate Sales Growth

These AI platforms are unleashing the power of social commerce by providing around-the-clock support. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! August 30, 2020 6 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Companies in most industries are struggling. According to LinkedIn’s June 2020 U.S. Recovery…

These AI platforms are unleashing the power of social commerce by providing around-the-clock support.


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Companies in most industries are struggling. According to LinkedIn’s June 2020 U.S. Recovery Tracker, key factors in the labor market haven’t improved, such as hiring rate, job postings and employer confidence. It’s important for businesses to find opportunities that maintain or grow revenue, as well as operate cost-efficiently given the new normal in U.S. consumer and B2B demand.

However, there are long-term trends that are too disruptive to ignore. A seismic change in consumer behavior is the growing use of messaging apps for more than sending and receiving texts. Ecommerce and social messaging apps are enabling internet shoppers to send payments, book reservations, watch multimedia and purchase items, among many features. Chatbots are unleashing the power of social and ecommerce by providing customer support 24/7, year-round.

There are a number of artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted conversational bots that can help give your enterprise a competitive edge in acquiring sales, automating customer support and saving money. Here are three I personally recommend.

Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your Business

1. School of Bots

Founded in 2016, veteran strategists at San Diego, California-based School of Bots help marketers and companies acquire sales, automate operations and provide 24/7 customer engagement, largely through chatbots deployed on Facebook Messenger and SMS, with training available for other big messaging platforms. School of Bots’s experts teach proven strategies on platforms with whom they have close partnerships and create custom chatbot marketing systems for startups and consultants alike. An example of such a tailor-made bot might accompany a prospect down the sales funnel and nudge him or her into an eventual transaction.

“This year, more people are using messaging apps than social media platforms, according to eMarketer, and that could indicate a major shift in consumer behavior,” says Kyle Willis, CEO of School of Bots. E-HUB, the company’s chatbot training platform, gives members access to checklists, instructional videos, standard operating procedures and hands-on mentorship. After undergoing training, members are accredited to offer consulting and agency services. Moreover, the platform enables participants to earn certifications, hire qualified bot builders or get hired and connect with fellow members in a virtual coworking space.

School of Bots works with tools such as ManyChat, which provides reach through Facebook and, explains School of Bots cofounder Natasha Takahashi,  “has superior capabilities for automation and tracking that allow us to produce maximum ROI.”

2. Drift

Bots can be a partial solution for businesses that have laid off customer-support staff during the recession. Automated bots prevent consumers from visiting competing sites, and therefore help to capture sales opportunities. Moreover, they streamline operations and boost productivity. They can be programmed to answer frequently asked questions, book a meeting with a sales rep, troubleshoot problems and move online shoppers towards checkout.

Drift positions itself as a “conversational marketing platform” to emphasize the revenue-generating features of its bots. The company is a well-known solutions provider that installs chatbots that are able to qualify leads 24/7/365. Drift’s bots are used by large brands such as GrubHub, GitHub, Marketo and Ellie Mae. The tech is also geared more towards B2B sales and enterprise use cases. Drift’s conversational AI can tell when a user is making a statement (instead of asking a question) so that it can recommend certain products and display pricing. Other features include automatically booking meetings, as well as routing conversations to a sales team.

According to a Drift survey published on Salesforce.com, people use bots for these top reasons: 32 percent get an answer to a question; 29 percent get a detailed explanation; 27 percent resolve a problem; and 27 percent receive customer service. Bots give businesses a competitive advantage given today’s consumer preference for interacting with messaging apps. Moreover, a big chunk of mobile users want immediate answers to queries. This automated ability to give real-time engagement ups the ante for every B2B and B2C business.

3. Intercom

According to a 2018 Accenture survey, 56 percent of executives say conversational bots are disrupting their sector, and 57 percent say the technology can deliver large returns on investment with minimal effort. AI and machine learning are the most revolutionary innovations of our lifetime, and a bad recession won’t stop the adoption of automated conversational interfaces. These platforms are growing more sophisticated. For example, AI is becoming better at natural language processing (NLP), which enables the tech to have conversational dialogue with humans.

Intercom has been around for nearly a decade and deploys custom bots that engage prospects, route conversations and reduce the need for web forms and emails. The company offers clients a proprietary Business Messenger app that provides automated real-time answers. This messaging software enables Intercom to differentiate itself in the bot marketplace. Mostly B2B users receive data they need to make timely business decisions. That includes dashboard info such as order status, invoice data and educational articles within the messaging app. In a 2018 Bloomberg interview, CEO Eoghan McCabe noted that emails are increasingly ineffective, and that more business professionals and consumers are turning to messaging apps for real-time business communication.

Intercom builds chatbot solutions to help enterprises make purchase decisions, such as by personalizing buying experiences and giving product tours. Access to certain features depends on your monthly subscription. A basic plan includes live chat and outbound messaging while an advanced plan is geared more towards B2B lead generation, automated workflows and reporting tools.

Related: 5 Innovative Ways to Train Your Sales Team

Chatbots are great sales tools that are seeing more use in B2B and B2C, and they provide a competitive edge by enabling companies to offer 24/7 customer support. Because bots are growing in sophistication, they can be programmed to book reservations, set up meetings and other functions without human involvement. They can also be implemented cost-efficiently compared to hiring human personnel. So with all businesses tightening their wallets, now is the time to consider automating the customer experience where you can.

Want to Rank Higher on Google? Learn SEO Strategies From an Expert.

This $30 course can help you improve your rankings. Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media marketing in businesses. August 30, 2020 2 min read Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful.…

This $30 course can help you improve your rankings.

Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing

This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media marketing in businesses.


2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Getting your webpages to the top of Google search page results is absolutely crucial if you want to grow your business. More than 70 percent of organic search traffic goes to the first page, with the vast majority of that going to the first three listings. If you’re not ranking for the things your business does well, you’re very likely missing out on potential customers.

But no, you don’t have to hire an expensive SEO agency to completely overhaul your business. You can do it yourself after spending some time in this SEO Blueprint Course Bundle.

This eight-course, 21-hour bundle can teach you all you need to know to improve your page ranking. The courses are taught by John Shea, an entrepreneur, podcaster, and blogger who hosts the online marketing show Voices of Marketing. He started online marketing as a side hustle, but it’s now become his life and he loves sharing his knowledge with other aspiring marketers.

Here, you’ll learn how to identify your most promising keywords, how to make your website more technically up to date and better equipped to rank on Google, and how to improve your domain authority through backlinking. There’s even a course dedicated to YouTube SEO and SEO for small businesses with local presences.

Whether you’re a growing web-based company that markets to people across the globe or you’re a mom-and-pop shop that wants to attract more people in the neighborhood, a good SEO strategy can help. The SEO Blueprint to Rank #1 on Google Course Bundle will help your business grow and it’s on sale now for just $29.99.

Grow your audience by mastering the many facets of digital marketing

Daily DealsTop stories This massive bundle of lessons will teach you how to connect your brand or products with the widest possible audience. Photo: Cult of Mac Deals Marketing moved online long ago, and every week that goes by, it becomes more fundamental to the ways we buy and sell. Facebook, YouTube, Google and Amazon…

Marketing Lifestyle 1536x768 - Grow your audience by mastering the many facets of digital marketing
This massive bundle of lessons will teach you how to connect your brand or products with the widest possible audience.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Marketing moved online long ago, and every week that goes by, it becomes more fundamental to the ways we buy and sell. Facebook, YouTube, Google and Amazon have become the core of our modern economy. So if you’ve got a product, brand or anything else you want to connect with customers or audiences, you’ve got to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing.

The Complete Digital Marketing Growth Hacking Certification Bundle is a massive resource of information and insight into online marketing. With nine courses comprising more than 400 lessons, it’s got something for even the most online-savvy people to learn.

Get the scoop on how to  effectively use Facebook to establish your presence so people can connect with what you’re offering. Master Google Tag Manager so you can manage multiple analytics and marketing tags from a single dashboard. Get a deep understanding of growth techniques to boost your conversion rate. Learn the strategies for increasing fans, engagement, and reach on YouTube.

With these lessons, you’ll dial in your SEO, master Amazon FBA and get acquainted with plenty of other abbreviations that you might not recognize now, but you’ll be deeply familiar by the end of these courses.

Buy now: Get the Complete Digital Marketing Growth Hacking Certification Bundle for $34.99. That’s a massive 97% off the usual price.

Builders who will thrive in the new world

As the global pandemic leaves us frozen in place, it’s impossible to imagine a future that resembles the past. There will be no return to normalcy. Instead, we’ll need to create a new reality that’s resilient, anti-fragile and grounded in flexible, empathetic values as we re-enter the physical world with a new perspective. COVID-19 has underscored…

As the global pandemic leaves us frozen in place, it’s impossible to imagine a future that resembles the past. There will be no return to normalcy. Instead, we’ll need to create a new reality that’s resilient, anti-fragile and grounded in flexible, empathetic values as we re-enter the physical world with a new perspective. 

COVID-19 has underscored the importance of individual contribution — to flatten the curve, to navigate the new normal and to build the future. The need to build infrastructure, institutions, products, processes and ultimately new possibilities for both work and life.

Who are the creators, founders, and forgers who will build the new world?

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

With the proliferation of open-source, no-code/creators tools and new professional networks, the builders who will thrive in the new world will not only ‘think different’, but look and build different.

The 6 types of builders who will thrive in the new world: 

  • The Designers who Code

  • The Career Jumpers 

  • The Ambitious Advisors 

  • The Creative Hackers 

  • The Industry Academics

  • The Community Builders

  • The Couples who join forces

When we combine technical excellence with opinionated design, we arrive at the designers who can code. Shipping an MVP and iterating based on user feedback is the default for startups; committing to a creative vision and marrying art with technical acumen and user-informed, but not dictated, features has created multiple $2B+ category leading companies: Figma, Notion to name a few. 

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

In circumventing the debate of whether design-led companies can achieve both creative and technical excellence or whether designers should code , we can observe the transformative tools that are built when they can code. 

A design-led founder to the core, Ivan Zhao is building Notion for a “post-file, post-MS Office world”. They’ve adopted a design process that’s quick and iterative by hiring designers who can code: “All designers at Notion can [code]…we love solving problems holistically.” In building tools for thought, Notion is helping people craft conceptual frameworks for life and work, solve harder problems collaboratively, and hack on ideas without writing code. 

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

Informal polling suggests that the majority of designers push or write code at least sometimes. We’ll increasingly see technical designers found companies that bring design-thinking to new products; Rahul Vohra’s experience as a game designer informed the game-like experience of Superhuman

Technical designers bring aesthetics to computing and create products that draw people in and keep them engaged in a thoughtful and inherently more intuitive way.  

The best builders rarely stay in their lane. Instead, they find new opportunities to cross-pollinate their learning across different problems, roles, and industries. I call this triple threat mentality, it’s balancing multiple careers or creative projects that reflect multi-dimensional skills, interests and values.

The career jumpers collect and synthesize the expertise and skills they’ve gained across sectors into new insights, moving from law to biometrics or publishing to technology. Or Tech Twitter’s favorite: tech journalism to venture capital. 

This week, Josh Constine announced he will be leaving TechCrunch to join SignalFire as Principal and Head of Content. He’ll be in good company as fellow journalists turned venture capitalists include: Kim-Mai Cutler, Alexia Bonatsos, Katherine Boyle

For readers outside of the Silicon Valley tech bubble, Peloton’s Robin Arzon, a head instructor who brings unapologetic swagger to her guided rides, continues to be my go-to example for the determined career jumper. She’s Peloton’s VP of Fitness Programming, an Adidas brand ambassador, and the author of Shut Up and Run.

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

She began her career as a lawyer and spent seven years as a corporate litigator. She opted out of the partner track at her law firm and went all-in on a career in fitness. Her contributions to the Peloton brand are invaluable; the company’s S-1 filing reveals how crucial instructors have been in building Peloton into a fitness juggernaut with over 1.4 million members: 

If we are unable to attract and retain high-quality fitness instructors, we may not be able to generate interesting and attractive content for our classes.

On a platform where riders get attached to their favorite instructors, Arzon’s unlikely career jump from law to fitness and her six year tenure at Peloton has no doubt had an impact on the company’s $8.1 Billion valuation.

Likewise, after finishing her Law and Business degree, Margaret Zhang saw opportunity beyond a traditional path. She dove deep into digital media in 2009 when she started her blog, now with over a million followers. Since then, she’s worked in the fashion industry as a multi-hyphenate: filmmaker, photographer, consultant, and writer.

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

She co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy with a focus on connecting Western and Chinese for luxury and lifestyle brands. She’s worked with companies like Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Cultural builders like Zhang –– crafting content, capturing snapshots, filming stories –– have the world’s ear and frequently use their platforms to creatively bring attention to issues like sustainability and environmentalism.

Another class of career jumpers includes the hourly hustlers: often gig workers who channel their tenacity and grit into quickly earning lucrative skills online and finding new ways to make money. For instance, this includes Uber drivers turned no-code website developers. These experience meaningful upward mobility that comes from being entirely self-taught. 

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

@HarryStebbings recent tweet

The career jumpers are skilled in the art of the pivot and make strong founders because they’re flexible and adapt quickly to new challenges. It’s easy to confuse their next move with starting from scratch. In reality, they’re simply plotting a continuation, treating their careers as a jungle gym rather than a ladder. They blend together the expertise and skills they garner along the way to craft innovative products and businesses.

Advisors, agencies and freelance executives have a unique upper-hand: access. 

In creating a personal service offering and working across a number of companies, they have a front-row seat to the problems faced inside companies and an iterative playbook for ways to solve them. What’s different from the ambitious advisors from career consultants at major firms is their operating experience inside tech companies and their ability to smoothly transition between full time roles + advising on evenings and weekends to full-time advising, and in some building a venture scale software company using services to bootstrap their way to product market fit. 

Before founding the Internet Archive and Alexa, Brewster Kahle worked at Thinking Machines which built and sold software. However, the company also provided consulting services that allowed them to work with publishing giants, like the Wall Street Journal and Encyclopedia Britannica. Kahle shared his experience in Founders at Work:

We started what I think became the first web studio, or web services business. We worked with big players, whether they were newspapers or magazines, that wanted to publish on the Net. This allowed us to work with big boys very early on.

We continue to see ambitious people in tech consulting and advising companies. Prior to co-founding Oxide Computer Company, Jess Frazelle consulted on technical specialties like containers and Linux architecture. A sought after designer, Pablo Stanley, has a full time role as a Design Lead at InVision, uses Superpeer to make extra money by offering 1:1 advice calls for a flat fee for his followers and designer friends, and recently started Blush to bring illustrations to everyone. 

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

In the case of emerging tech sectors like JamStack, we see a large percentage of founders come from an agency background where building web projects for clients leads to a unique insight on ways to improve the software development process for others. Stackbit and TakeShape are two recent venture-backed examples.  

The creative hackers win friends, influence people, and break the internet. They find ways to bring products and experiences to life without writing code. Instead, they dream up big projects and forge partnerships to bring them to fruition or build with flexible no-code tools. 

In the midst of the current pandemic, creative hackers are finding ways to end social isolation and bring people together online. 

it is what it is.

👁👄👁

Marco Marandiz, the co-founder and Head of Marketing at Elliot, launched Virtual Mall, a collaborative spreadsheet for people to interact with their favorite brands. 

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

Ani Acopian, Suzy Shinn, and @Scott Buscemi teamed up with an unlikely partner to create scrubhub.tv, a parody hand washing video site, to raise money for non-profit organizations helping people affected by COVID-19. Those showing resilience and creativity in tough times are the makers we’ll continue to see break new ground.

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

I recently took a shot at creative hacking by building Stay at Home Valley in Figma, an interactive space where anyone can build, celebrate good news and make new friends.

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

In less than 12 hours, 

  • 200 startup offices and points of interest: Dropbox, Instagram, Webflow, Salesforce Tower

  • The community “re-opened” their favorite local businesses: Boba Guys re-opened across the city, local climbing gyms and favorite trendy date spots 

  • Notion announced $50M round at $2B valuation from Index Ventures’ Sarah Cannon seen leaving the office, Cristina Cordova joined from Stripe as Head of Platform & Partnership. You’ll find shoes outside the office, a nod to Notion’s no shoes allowed culture. 

In the case of Stay at Home Valley, we didn’t quite break the Internet although we saw Dreamforce-level traffic for two straight weeks in a single Figma file.

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

Academia is losing its luster as a career track. Tenure is increasingly difficult to obtain, particularly for women who opt for marriage and kids. Subject matter experts passionate about their expertise are corralled into administrative duties that distract from making breakthroughs in their field. Those who stay often cite the same challenges: meagre pay, time consuming grant applications, and institutional politics.

Academics are finding new homes. Companies like DeepMind and OpenAI recruit research scientists with PhDs to solve complex challenges in artificial intelligence. We also see academics infiltrating marketing and growth teams at companies like Airbnb and Slack as data scientists or venture capital firms as research fellows or scientists-in-residence. Academics are in a unique position to merge their deep expertise with industry experience to become innovative founders. 

Others in higher learning are taking their teaching experience and leveraging it into ideas for startups. Melanie Perkins, the founder and CEO of Canva, created the design platform after combining the lessons from two phases in her career: teaching students how to use Adobe design tools and starting Fusion Books, a company that published yearbooks online. 

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

Teaching design at The University of Western Australia helped her realize that photoshop was arduous to learn and prohibitively expensive, while starting her company was an education in the power of low-code tools and how to run a business. Perkins’ following act, Canva, was most recently valued at $3.2 Billion and allows millions of people to design simply and inexpensively.

We need innovative products and services to shift the world towards progress. We also need movements. The Community Builders build platforms that help other companies start their own businesses.  

Tobias Lütke has built Shopify into a business that supports over 1 Million online storefronts. They’ve experienced rapid growth by empowering small and large business owners; Lütke revealed in 2019 that Shopify passed the $1 Billion dollar revenue mark with the highest growth rate of any SaaS company ever. Shopify isn’t only a platform for sellers, it’s also a platform for tech builders. Gorgias, a help desk for e-commerce stores, is the first customer service app built for Shopify and a venture-backed startup. 

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

The community builders frequently angel invest in the next generation of companies in their category and bring a high level of transparency to educate founders and support individual creators. 

Ankur Nagpal, the Founder and CEO of Teachable, is an active angel investor who shares metrics, open-sources investor updates and continues to mentor Teachable employees even after they’ve moved onto their next thing. 

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

Teachable’s entrepreneurial culture has already led to Sid Yadav and Andrew Guttormsen creating Circle, a community platform for creators. 

Matt Biilmann, the co-founder and CEO of Netlify, is another example of an active community builder who has invested in a number of developer tools including social network for software engineers Dev.to, CodeSandbox, headless CMS TakeShape

Community builders are natural company builders. They value thoughtful curation and quality; they eschew the attitude of growth at all costs. As founders, they’re natural evangelists who invest in user education and steadily increase revenue.

A less obvious benefit of the new era of flexible, work from wherever you want, culture is the fact that couples are spending a lot more time together.

With no commute and fewer after work obligations, couples are working collaboratively from home and finding new hobbies and ways to team up professionally.

Couples who join forces is not entirely new, Schmidt’s Natural founder Jaime Schmidt built a nine-figure business with her husband Chris Cantino from their kitchen in Portland and exited to Unilever in 2017.

Today, the couple invests in startups through their founder-friendly firm Color Capital while building their next act Supermaker, a modern media company to help anyone start their own business from home.

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

I recently joined James Beshara’s Below the Line podcast to discuss the limitations of pattern matching, a simple approach used by VCs, who see hundreds of companies a year and naturally evaluate startups and entrepreneurs based on what has worked before.

As an early investor in Haus, I’ve seen first hand what happens when a multi-generational wine maker and notable creative director (who happen to be married) team up.

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

A preview of what’s to come

I started a modern VC fund to reimagine work alongside thoughtful founders building new opportunities for creators, designers, developers, and individuals who use technology to launch a new business or be better at work.

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

The vision for WLV was developed alongside my early angel investments in Webflow, Dev.to, LunchClub, Girlboss and others. I’ve learned from community builders and invested in them from the very beginning.   

What I love most about WLV is our community of designers, developers and amazing authentic creators like serial creative founder Sophia Amoruso, Instagram poet Rupi Kaur, streetwear founder Bobby Hundreds, law student turned influencer and creative director Margaret Zhang, and my investors who have built the world’s greatest platforms that started as entertainment and creative outlets and scaled into platforms for new classes of work like Spotify, Twitch, Zoom.

We ‘think different’ and ‘look different’ by design.

Last week, we released our new brand and we’ll continue to share fund updates on Twitter, interview creators on Instagram and as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this post. Say 👋 on Twitter

- Builders who will thrive in the new world

@WorkLifeVC on Insta

Facebook bars pro-Trump PAC from advertising, citing repeated false posts – Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc is temporarily banning a Republican political action committee, the Committee to Defend the President, from advertising after it repeatedly shared content that was deemed false by external fact-checkers, the social media company said on Thursday. FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this…

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc is temporarily banning a Republican political action committee, the Committee to Defend the President, from advertising after it repeatedly shared content that was deemed false by external fact-checkers, the social media company said on Thursday.

?m=02&d=20200806&t=2&i=1528668318&r=LYNXNPEG751OG&w=20 - Facebook bars pro-Trump PAC from advertising, citing repeated false posts - Reuters

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen placed on a keyboard in this illustration taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

“As a result of the Committee to Defend the President’s repeated sharing of content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false, they will not be permitted to advertise for a period of time on our platform,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement.

The company declined to specify the length of the advertising ban or which posts prompted it.

Politicians’ ads and posts are not subject to Facebook fact-checking, a policy that has drawn heat from lawmakers, but content from political groups like PACs can be fact-checked.

The committee’s Facebook page, which has almost 1 million “likes,” has had four “false” or “partly false” fact-checking labels attached to content since the start of July.

Founded as the Stop Hillary PAC in 2013, the group has spent more than $15 million to advance the agenda of U.S. President Donald Trump, according to its website. It claims to reach millions of Americans via digital and telemarketing channels.

Committee chairman Ted Harvey said in a statement the group would not be “silenced by ‘woke’ Silicon Valley elites” and would reallocate its Facebook budget to other platforms.

Reuters, a Facebook fact-checking partner, determined last month that one of the group’s advertisements took a quote from Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden out of context, misleadingly claiming he made racist comments in 1985.

The Biden campaign last year wrote to Facebook asking the company to reject an ad by the PAC that it said was false, according to a CNN report.

The Trump and Biden campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Katie Paul in San Francisco and Elizabeth Culliford in Birmingham, England; Editing by Matthew Lewis and David Gregorio

The best Dutch growth hacking examples

These Dutch companies have achieved exponential growth by applying one or more of the seven pillars of growth hacking. In this article we for example discuss examples like Booking.com, BALR. and Charlie Temple. Are you interested to learn how these companies achieved their growth? Then there’s no doubt you should check out our article!

These Dutch companies have achieved exponential growth by applying one or more of the seven pillars of growth hacking.

In this article we for example discuss examples like Booking.com, BALR. and Charlie Temple.

Are you interested to learn how these companies achieved their growth? Then there’s no doubt you should check out our article!

3 Growth Hacking Examples You Can Leverage In Your Business

Let’s dive deeper and look at real businesses that have used growth hacking and launched themselves into massively successful companies. Along with these business examples, we’ll look at key strategies to help you come up with your own growth strategy.

Growth hacking is a term that’s often associated with young startups that grow explosively. It’s starkly opposite to the traditional modes through which businesses grow, taking things step by step, and minimizing risk.

Today, growth hacking or growth marketing holds a positive and meaningful connotation for digital marketers. Although the term ‘hacking’ hints at ‘grey’ marketing methods, there’s reliable data and an ethical approach behind it. Done correctly, growth hacking will help you grow your business fast and with long-term positive outcomes.

Here’s what growth hacking involves:

  • Experimentation: A growth hacker or marketer approaches marketing strategies with an experimental mindset, ready to try new and untested techniques
  • Testing: While experimenting, you make sure to test your marketing strategies on different audiences. A/B split testing and other testing methods form important aspects of your marketing
  • Analytics matter: You’re looking for data, generating reports, and identifying patterns or techniques that work
  • Leveraging what works: Once you see something that gives you good results, you immediately start scaling it up to a larger audience. It’s vital to continue using your analytics to keep track of your marketing and to fine-tune your strategies wherever necessary

Let’s dive deeper and look at real businesses that have used growth hacking and launched themselves into massively successful companies. Along with these business examples, we’ll look at key strategies to help you come up with your own growth strategy.

Growth hacking in action

Here are some growth hacking strategies together with examples of brands that experienced explosive growth using them. Use them as ideas for your own marketing efforts.

Invite-based marketing strategies

The mobile brand OnePlus is a well-known example of growth hacking. With a limited marketing budget, it had to use outrageous and interesting marketing techniques to get attention.

One of its best (and simultaneously disliked) strategies was to sell the product through an invite-only method. At one point, a person would be able to buy the phone only when an invite trickled down to them.

This created a feeling of exclusivity and gave users the feeling that they had a certain status by being in the ‘in’ group.

Another method that OnePlus used was to create a buzz on social media with a ‘Smash the Past’ campaign. People who took videos of themselves smashing their old phones stood a chance to buy the new OnePlus mobile for $1.

These methods were unusual but they certainly caught the world’s attention which led to them becoming a major brand.

Gamifying customer referrals

Gamification is applying gaming mechanisms to marketing activities. Every time your audience or lead hits a goal that you set, it creates positive feedback which makes them want to do more with your brand.

Dropbox used this technique to get users to refer it to their peers. It gamified its onboarding process by giving users free storage for doing certain things:

  • Linking their Dropbox account to Facebook and Twitter
  • Sharing Dropbox-related statuses to social media
  • Following Dropbox on Twitter
  • Referring the platform to other users

Soon enough, Dropbox grew at a rapid pace and today, it has over 14.3 million paid users and more than 500 million users overall.

dropbox 600x339 - 3 Growth Hacking Examples You Can Leverage In Your Business
Dropbox grew rapidly by gamifying various tasks

Exclusive membership sites

Membership sites offer gated content exclusively to users who have signed up with the site. Building a membership site allows you to nurture and grow an invested community that cares about what you have to offer.

There’s a brilliant example in the work of financial advisor Tiffany Aliche with her brand ‘The Budgetnista’. According to this entrepreneur, there are a few key ways to grow your business fast. Let’s look at the examples of her own work to see how a membership site can be leveraged to boost engagement and conversions on your own site.

  • Create a rallying point: Tiffany Aliche started the Live Richer Challenge to help 10,000 women take control of their finances. In five weeks, her community paid off $400,00 in debt and collectively saved $3.5 million
  • Give away content for free: Tiffany says that she gave away at least half of her advice and content for free to grow her audience. This helps you build trust and a relationship and then your audience is more willing to buy from you
  • Engage with your audience: A huge part of The Budgetnista’s success comes from listening to the audience. Tiffany frequently holds webinars and other activities to engage with people, give advice, and listen

She also encourages businesses to build email lists to connect with people over time. You’ll remind your audience that you can help them. And of course, you need to provide valuable and helpful content that’s authentic.

Over to you

Growth hacking is another approach to marketing that helps you find ways to grow your business faster. To use this approach, you need to have an experimental mindset and the willingness to try something new.

We’ve covered three helpful strategies and examples of businesses that used them. You can also leverage FOMO (the fear of missing out) and social media to meet your goals fast. The main idea is to keep trying and testing marketing strategies. Look at what works and then apply it on a larger scale. With this mindset, you’ll leverage analytics tools and find unique ways to grow your business fast.


NVIDIA Shield update makes its 4K upscaling even better

On top of the upscaling, NVIDIA has improved the Shield TV remote for all Shield TVs and the Shield TV app, letting you set up custom actions for a double press and long press. It also added support for IR and CEC volume, so it will now work with some digital projector models. Finally, NVIDIA…

On top of the upscaling, NVIDIA has improved the Shield TV remote for all Shield TVs and the Shield TV app, letting you set up custom actions for a double press and long press. It also added support for IR and CEC volume, so it will now work with some digital projector models. Finally, NVIDIA has added native SMBv3 support so that it will work without the need for a Plex media server.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

Since Moz released the new Google Data Studio Connectors for STAT, you might be wondering how to best implement them for your reporting strategy. My colleagues at Path Interactive and I absolutely love how granular you can get with your reports in STAT, and finally having the ability to cleanly and effectively pull those reports into Data…

Since Moz released the new Google Data Studio Connectors for STAT, you might be wondering how to best implement them for your reporting strategy. My colleagues at Path Interactive and I absolutely love how granular you can get with your reports in STAT, and finally having the ability to cleanly and effectively pull those reports into Data Studio (the tool we use for our own reporting) is a godsend.

While the Historical Keyword Rankings connector reports on rank over time, it may not be as obvious how to report on rank change over time. In this post, I’ll give you step-by-step guidance on how to report on rank change — as well as a couple other filtering and reporting tips — while using the connectors within Google Data Studio.

If you aren’t a STAT user yet but you want to know how it might fit into your SEO toolkit, you can take a tour of the product. Click on the button below to set one up!

Learn More About STAT

Connecting your data source

Before you begin, you need to identify a few things to set up the connector: your STAT Keyword API Key, the Project ID, and your Site ID. If you don’t already know how to identify these via the STAT API, you can head over to STAT’s documentation here to learn more. After you’ve identified these, it’s time to connect your data source. 

We’re going to be doing something a little out of the ordinary here, but stay with me — you’ll see why in just a second!

For this step, we’ll be connecting two instances of the same source. Because our goal is to compare rank change over time, we’ll use the same source twice to identify those deltas.

When setting up your connector, be sure to name the source something that you’ll easily recognize:

5f4044143e4b52.30474344 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

In my case, I usually go with something simple such as “[client name] STAT Keyword Connector.” When this is complete, repeat the step above, but name it something different, e.g. “[client name] STAT Keyword Connector 2.”

Finally, make sure the metrics you plan on comparing have unique names for each connector. To do so, go into your data source. Click on the metric’s name so that you can rename it, and then rename it something unique. For this case we’ll be doing it for “Google Base Rank,” since we’re comparing ranks, but it can also be done for “Google Rank,” if we wanted to compare that. Again, I like to just keep it simple: for the first data source call it “Google Base Rank 1,” and then for the second data source call it “Google Base Rank 2.” When all is said and done, it should look something like this:

5f404414f13161.30373478 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

Building your table and blending data

Now we’ll start to get a bit more technical. Blending the data of the two connectors lets you compare two instances of rankings against each other. Your final result will produce a table showing the ranks of two given dates, as well as their rank change. The five-step process will look like this:

  1. Blend data of keyword connectors one and two
  2. Add in your common metrics for the two sources (keyword at the minimum, but you can also add in location, device, market, and search volume)
  3. Add in the metric you’d like reported (Google base rank and/or Google rank)
  4. Set date range
  5. Apply “No Null” filter

1. Blend data of keyword connectors one and two

    The first step here is to blend the two connectors so that you can compare two instances of ranks against each other. 

    First, you need to create a new report, or go into a report that’s already set up. Next, select your data source. Here you’ll select the first instance of the source that you set up earlier (if you’re starting on a fresh report, it’ll ask you to add a data source immediately). Once selected, click on “Blend Data” underneath the data source on the right hand side of Google Data Studio, seen here:

    5f404415a9e6e5.69683650 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

    This will bring you to the Blend Data source tool. From here you select to add another data source, being your second instance of the connector.

    2. Add in your common metrics

      Once you’ve chosen to blend both connectors, you need to set your metrics. Towards the top, you’ll see “Join keys.” This is in reference to what’s going to be the same for both instances, so here at the minimum, you want to include “keyword.” Feel free to play around here with adding different metrics.

      Note: We’ll go over this later, but if you plan on having different graphs filtered by a certain tag or location, make sure to add these in here.

      3. Add in the type of rank you want reported

        After setting your metrics under “Join keys,” now select the metrics that will be unique for each date. Depending on what you want to compare, under “Metrics” you’ll pick “Google Base Rank,” “Google Rank,” or both. You may also include “Date” here too if you’d like. Once done, click on “SUM” next to the metric name, and change this to “MIN.” You’ll see why in just a moment.

        At this point, your blended data should look something like this:

        5f40441650d448.59653653 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

        4. Set date range

          Now you need to set the two date ranges you’re comparing to each other. 

          To do this, under the first connection, set your first date: Under “Date Range,” click on “Custom,” then click on the field to select your date. Here you might see that there’s an option for two dates, but for this solution, we’re using the same date for each connector.

          In the end, it’ll be something like “Connector 1” selected for the “start date” and “end date” as the first of the month, and for “Connector 2,” the “start date” and “end date” will be the last of the month. This is essentially pulling in the rank for the first instance as well as the second instance, so you can compare the two.

          5. Set “No Null” filter

            The last step in setting up your blended data is creating a “No Null” filter. When the keyword connector reports on ranks that your site is not ranking for, it will return as “null.” To avoid flooding your data with fluff, you need to create a filter removing instances of “null.”

            First, click on “Add A Filter” below where you selected the date range. Next, towards the bottom, click on “Create A Filter.” Set the parameters of the filter as “Exclude” > “Google Base Rank 1 (2)” > “Is Null.” Be sure to name the filter something identifiable such as “No Null.” It should look like this:

            5f4044171e9797.49050791 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

            Applying rank change to your report

            Now you can create a new field that will report on the rank change by making a calculated field to find the difference of the two ranks. 

            Under dimensions, select “Add Dimension,” and click on “Create Field.” You can name it “Rank Change,” but to create the field, start typing “Google Base Rank,” and you’ll see your instances from each connector come up. To make the calculated field, select your “Google Base Rank 1” and subtract it from “Google Base Rank 2,” so it should look something like this:

            5f404417ca5573.51289791 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

            Hit apply, and now your rank change should be calculated!

            There is also an additional way to get the same result, but with a few drawbacks, such as not being able to name the header, as well as not being able to filter or sort your rank change. The benefit to this approach is that it’s easier to set up initially, as you don’t actually need to blend the data. However, not setting up the blended data will also forfeit having the initial rank visible. When in your edit view, set a custom date range that you’re reporting on under “Default date range.” Here, you can then set a comparison date: if looking back a month, you can set this to the first. If you go with this option, it should look like this:

            5f40441867f141.57604593 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

            Head into the “Style” tab, where you can change the comparison to “Show Absolute Change” under “Metrics.” You can also change the colors of your positive and negative arrows to more accurately represent the movement (you can see from above that the “negative” change is a green arrow, this defaults to red).

            Using filters

            Applying filters to your data set can be extremely beneficial to making sense of your data! Using filters with the connector can help you segment out rankings for a particular location, or create charts that show rankings for a specific keyword group that you’ve set up using keyword tags. 

            Take a look at this report I set up as an example. Within STAT, I created keyword tags to target locations determined by what zip code they were. Then, I was able to create a filter for each chart targeting that keyword tag:

            5f40441932ed06.36525371 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

            Setting filters up is extremely simple. First, go into edit mode. Next, scroll down the side until you find “Filter.” Then under Filter > Table Filter, click on “Add a Filter.” This will bring you to the filter picker. Toward the bottom, click on “Create a Filter.” Here you can set the parameters for the filter you’d like to show.

            Some of my other favorites include filtering to only show the top few pages (filters out non-relevant and high ranks), using the keyword tag filter like I showed before, and also filtering by location. But you don’t have to stop there! Adding in the additional dimensions available to you in the connector, you can use the filter to show things such as desktop vs. mobile or how your keyword ranking performance does in different markets.

            Blending your Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and STAT data

            One of my favorite uses for the connectors is the ability to blend the data with your Google Analytics and Google Search Console data. By blending this data together, you’re able to directly tie keyword rankings with different metrics, such as clicks or goal completions.

            You’re probably a pro at blended data at this point, but just for reference, the data blended should look like this:

            5f404419db10c9.22085621 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

            A few things to note: it’s important what order you put the connectors in. I’ve found that adding the STAT connector first works best (i.e. if you put Google Analytics first, you’ll get a report with the infamous “not found” keyword). Additionally, to pull in Search Console data in order to match with your other connectors, using “Query” will have the same effect as “Keyword.”

            The result would look something like this, but feel free to edit the design how you wish!

            5f40441a7e4d44.96524905 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

            Now you can go even further with this and match up URLs, but this will require some RegEx. 

            You’ll rename the “Google URL” field in STAT and “Landing Page” field in Google Search Console in order to match the URL structure convection within Google Analytics by taking out the domain portion of the URL. To do this, go into your data source for each STAT connector and Google Search Console, and click “Add A Field” in the top right.

            5f40441b229957.20617091 - Reporting on Ranking Changes with STAT’s Google Data Studio Connectors

            Next, enter to following RegEx for the STAT connector:

            REGEXP_REPLACE(Google URL, “.*[\.]com”, “”)

            And for Google Search console:

            REGEXP_REPLACE(Landing Page, “.*[\.]com”, “”)

            Remember to name them something to differentiate from the default field. I use “Landing Page (no domain).”

            When building a report, use these new fields for consistency across the URL structure so that, when you select them when blending data, they’ll match. 

            Use this method in the same way as above to get the desired results of pulling in data from across all three connectors to match up with each other! In the end you should be able to find what keyword ranks for what URL, as well as have many sessions or clicks that are brought in as well as goal completions, or any other combination.

            Well there you have it! Hope this was helpful to you. If you have any other questions you can comment below or find me on Twitter @ianpfister. Happy reporting!


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            Georgia Senator Is Criticized for Ad Enlarging Jewish Opponent’s Nose

            Politics|Georgia Senator Is Criticized for Ad Enlarging Jewish Opponent’s NoseSenator David Perdue, a Republican, drew a quick rebuke from his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, who said the Facebook ad employed the “least original anti-Semitic trope in history.”Jon Ossoff, a Democratic candidate for Senate in Georgia, talking to journalists while waiting to vote in Atlanta last…

            Politics|Georgia Senator Is Criticized for Ad Enlarging Jewish Opponent’s Nose

            Senator David Perdue, a Republican, drew a quick rebuke from his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, who said the Facebook ad employed the “least original anti-Semitic trope in history.”

            Credit…Audra Melton for The New York Times

            ATLANTA — Senator David Perdue of Georgia’s re-election campaign was assailed on Monday for a Facebook advertisement that enlarged the nose of his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish, in a portrayal that critics immediately denounced as anti-Semitic.

            The Republican senator’s fund-raising ad, which surfaced after The Forward published an article about it on Monday, included grainy photographs of Mr. Ossoff and the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, who is also Jewish. “Democrats are trying to buy Georgia!” the ad said, adding that Mr. Schumer had poured millions of dollars into the race.

            Mr. Perdue’s campaign said on Monday that the ad had been taken down and that the alteration had been an outside vendor’s error.

            But critics said that it reflected something more insidious, arguing that the campaign had employed imagery long used to malign Jews at a time when a rising tide of anti-Semitism in the country has seeped into politics. In a post on Twitter, the political advocacy arm of Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish organization, called it blatant: “It’s not an accident.”

            Mr. Ossoff urged Mr. Perdue to apologize to the Jewish community.

            “This is the oldest, most obvious, least original anti-Semitic trope in history,” Mr. Ossoff said in a statement on Monday night. “Senator, literally no one believes your excuses.”

            In response, Mr. Perdue’s campaign contended that the senator had a demonstrated legislative history of opposing religious and racial discrimination. “Obviously, this was accidental,” the campaign said in a statement, describing it as an “unintentional error” caused by resizing and filtering the original image, a 2017 photograph from Reuters.

            “Anybody who implies that this was anything other than an inadvertent error,” the campaign said, “is intentionally misrepresenting Senator Perdue’s strong and consistent record of standing firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.”

            Image

            Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

            The Forward, in its article, cited graphic design experts who found that the size of Mr. Ossoff’s nose was exaggerated in comparison with the original image. The experts found that his nose appeared wider and longer, while no other facial features had been noticeably altered.

            The ad was posted on July 22, according to data maintained by Facebook. It registered at least 3,000 impressions, which refers to the number of times that it appeared on users’ screens.

            For centuries, depictions of Jews that embellish their noses as large and hooked have been used as a form of anti-Semitic caricature. The ad in Georgia also came as researchers have found that anti-Semitism has surged across the country in recent years, manifesting itself through violence and vandalism as well as in more subtle ways.

            The Anti-Defamation League released an annual audit in May showing that anti-Semitic incidents had climbed to record levels, with more recorded in 2019 than in any year during the four decades the organization has been tracking them.

            Mr. Perdue, Georgia’s senior senator who was elected in 2014 after working as a business executive, has found himself in an increasingly competitive re-election fight against Mr. Ossoff, with some polls showing the race as a tossup.

            Mr. Perdue has sought to highlight his ties to the Trump administration and his efforts to bolster the business climate in Georgia.

            Mr. Ossoff vaulted to political prominence in 2017 after a vigorous but unsuccessful run for a House seat in the Atlanta suburbs. The campaign, running in a special election, tapped into hostility toward President Trump, particularly among educated suburban women, and shattered fund-raising records as it drew support from beyond Georgia.

            Mr. Ossoff has relied on those same themes to gain traction in his Senate bid. He also received an endorsement heading into the primaries from Representative John Lewis, the Georgia congressman and civil rights leader, who died on July 17.

            Facebook plans to expand its news tab beyond the US

            Facebook is planning to expand its dedicated news section and says it is “considering” the UK, Germany, France, India, and Brazil as possible recipients, it announced Tuesday. The company’s timeline is vague: “within the next six months to a year,” so it’s curious why Facebook would announce something not yet imminent. But given Facebook’s volatile…

            Facebook is planning to expand its dedicated news section and says it is “considering” the UK, Germany, France, India, and Brazil as possible recipients, it announced Tuesday. The company’s timeline is vague: “within the next six months to a year,” so it’s curious why Facebook would announce something not yet imminent. But given Facebook’s volatile history with the news industry, and the trend toward requiring platforms to pay news outlets for their content, it’s possible the company is simply testing the waters for its next move.

            Facebook launched its News tab to US audiences in June, with plans to pay publishers that participated. To qualify as a partner, Facebook required publishers to pass its integrity standards and to have large enough audiences. It said it would rely on third-party fact-checkers to monitor posts for clickbait, copyright violations, and sensationalist content.

            Notably absent from the list of possible countries that would receive the News tab next is Australia, which recently unveiled plans to compel tech platforms to help pay for the free content they disseminate. France, which is on Facebook’s list of possible future News targets, ordered Google to pay for content from French publishers in April.

            In Tuesday’s announcement, company vice president of global news partnerships Campbell Brown says the News content may vary by country to keep pace with consumer habits. “We’ll work closely with news partners in each country to tailor the experience and test ways to deliver a valuable experience for people while also honoring publishers’ business models,” Brown wrote.

            There are plenty of reasons for news publishers in the US and elsewhere to be wary of Facebook’s news efforts. Its News Feed algorithm and ad business have proven devastating for the industry, particularly for local news publishers. And its track record on news is littered with failures, including the infamous “pivot to video” movement of the early and mid-2010s, with publishers pouring resources into video production seeking to benefit from Facebook’s video platform. “Pivot to video,” however, has become a catchphrase meaning “short-sighted failure,” because it turned out Facebook had juiced the metrics. And of course there’s the debacle of the 2016 election cycle, which resulted in Facebook removing its Trending Topics section amid accusations it was biased against conservative media.

            What the regulatory environment will look like for Facebook and other social media platforms six months to a year from now is anyone’s guess, and it may depend, at least in the US, on the outcome of the November presidential election. Until then, it appears Facebook is holding its cards close to the chest.

            Kanye West Accused of Plundering Trade-Secret Tech To Fund His Internet Church

            Photo: Angela Weiss (Getty Images)In yet another reminder of how 2020 is a surreal, hellish fever dream that we’re doomed to be trapped inside forever, it looks like Kanye West—Grammy winner, sneaker connoisseur, and political underdog—is being sued for pulling the tried-and-true Silicon Valley tactic of allegedly stealing trade tech secrets.First spotted by TMZ, the…

            gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw== - Kanye West Accused of Plundering Trade-Secret Tech To Fund His Internet Church

            Photo: Angela Weiss (Getty Images)

            In yet another reminder of how 2020 is a surreal, hellish fever dream that we’re doomed to be trapped inside forever, it looks like Kanye West—Grammy winner, sneaker connoisseur, and political underdog—is being sued for pulling the tried-and-true Silicon Valley tactic of allegedly stealing trade tech secrets.

            First spotted by TMZ, the suit is being spearheaded by small, Pennsylvania-based ecommerce company MyChannel (MYC, for short). MYC allege that after pouring millions of dollars and half a year’s worth of work into mocking up a spiffy new site for Ye’s online clothing store, the rapper stepped out on their contract. According to the lawsuit, West then took the company’s ideas for himself, and from the sound of things, just… ghosted them—breaking multiple promises, violating NDAs, and acting like a huge tool in the process.

            But that’s not the half of it. The full 30+ pages of MYC’s complaint—which you can read at the bottom of this article—are, as the kids would say, pretty cringe. According to the docket, West initially contracted MYC back in the spring of 2018 with the promise that if the company created a juiced-up video platform for his e-commerce site, he’d not only, y’know, pay the company for its services, but would invest a hefty $10 million into the business. MYC also had West sign an NDA just to make sure that the company’s proprietary video tech wouldn’t be “ripped off” without any payment.

            Probably assuming that Kanye would keep his word, MYC says its team spent the next six months clocking 80 hour workweeks on the project, spending tens of thousands on the proposed video software in the process. Not only that, but because Kanye “demanded” that the team move its HQ from its home in Philly over to California, and later Chicago, living expenses sunk them even deeper into the hole. All told, MYC claims to have spent spent $7 million of its own funds before confronting West and telling him to make good on his end of the deal.

            This might be a good time to mention that while MYC seems to have gotten rid of its website, the company’s page on the investment hub Crunchbase notes that to date it received around $1.4 million in investments—and only lists three staffers working at the company at all.

            G/O Media may get a commission

            Instead of fulfilling his side of the bargain, the suit describes how West—who it’s worth pointing out is a literal billionaire—came up with some “untrue perceived slight,” and cut all ties with MYC’s team, leaving them stranded and in a mountain of debt. Meanwhile, West spent the months immediately afterward using what MYC describes as a near-carbon copy of their platform as part of the promotion for “Sunday Service,” West’s so-called pop-up church experience.

            A faux-gospel-themed-ecommerce-platform is a batshit idea, but it’s also one that’s been very, very profitable. Back in March, Kanye bragged on his Instagram account that the ecommerce sales off the backs of these events were netting him a good one million dollars per night—or, a good $350 million annually from the pilfered software alone.

            MYC might be smaller potatoes than the high-profile NDA-busting cases we’ve seen brought to court by the likes of say, Google, and Kanye is unlikely to face anything close to the same wrath—or prison sentence—that Anthony Levandowski was struck with when the California courts found him guilty of pawning off that company’s proprietary tech. Nor is West being accused of ripping off small-time tech firms on the scale of Amazon.

            Much of that distinction is likely owed to the fact that Kanye West, a musician by trade, isn’t a name that makes most of his living through tech products. But the case still smacks of the same business-side shenanigans that always seems to happen whenever someone with money and power

            What Makes the Sales Follow-Up Email Special?

            Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t skip out on sending follow-up emails. Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media marketing in businesses. August 25, 2020 5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. A sales follow-up email is…

            Here are six reasons why you shouldn’t skip out on sending follow-up emails.

            Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing

            This book takes readers through a 360-degree perspective of social media marketing in businesses.


            5 min read

            Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

            A sales follow-up email is for more than just confirming an order: It’s a powerful sales tool that can turn customers into lifelong supporters. After all, it’s not your product that turns customers into supporters and fans. It’s the relationship you develop with customers that does it. The follow-up email keeps the lines of communication open when you’re not busy trying to sell. 

            So, why do so few companies send out regular follow-up emails? They have the software to do it, since most email marketing tools come with email automation built-in. They just often don’t think about it because they’re too busy searching for new customers. But, according to Profitwell, the cost of acquiring new customers has increased by over 50 percent in the last five years, you have to try something new at some point.

            Why not go back to the sales follow-up email? If you use it right, you can generate new sales, improve engagement, and get meaningful customer feedback about your products. 

            Here are a few ways why the follow-up email is special and how it can help your company. 

            1. Follow-up emails create connections with customers.

            Follow-up emails strengthen the connection between you and your customers. It costs less to keep the customers you have than to find new ones, so you should do everything you can to keep them. 

            Related: The Art of the Follow-Up

            2. They build customer trust.

            Sending regular follow-up emails after a sale will make your brand credible, accountable and trustworthy in the eyes of customers. They’ll see that they didn’t throw away their money and that you’re doing what you said you’d do. 

            Bonus points if you send the follow-up from a real person at your company instead of an email alias like “info@yourcompanyname.com.” 

            3. They turn customers into loyal supporters.

            There’s more to email marketing than selling to customers. They don’t want an endless stream of sales pitches — especially if you’re in the B2B space. People want their favorite brands to engage and build relationships with them. 

            Turn these people into loyal supporters by sending educational and valuable content regularly. For instance, a link to a video for the product they just bought, demonstrating how other customers use it, or a blog post about a trending topic in the industry. They’ll see that you care about helping them be succeed and will talk about that with their network. 

            4. They continue the customer conversation.

            A follow-up email is a perfect place for customers to send you feedback, questions, reviews, and more. After responding to any questions, you can use the content to create new sales and marketing content, saving your business time and money. Plus, customer reviews and testimonials often speak a lot louder than paid advertising: According to Trustpulse, 83 percent of people trust testimonials over brand messaging. 

            Related: The Simple Email Trick That Makes Following Up Effective

            5. They help you improve.

            As you continue the customer conversation, you’re opening your brand up to feedback. After all, not all responses are going to be positive ones. When you send that follow-up email from a real address, many customers will take the opportunity to tell you exactly what they think of your product. 

            Sending the email soon after the sale is the best way to gather feedback. The experience buyers have with your sales and onboarding processes is fresh, so it’s a prime opportunity to find out what’s working for them and what isn’t. Use their comments to rejig your processes and products to make them more valuable to future customers. 

            6. They help inspire referrals.

            If it’s been a while since you’ve reached out to your customers, a follow-up email can spark action. More specifically, it can spark a referral. Give them a reason to want to refer you, such as fantastic service, efficient support or an amazing product. 

            They’ll probably need a little motivation to do it, so offer an incentive, such as a credit, physical gift or monetary reward. Referrals are another easy way to gain new customers, which can cost a lot of time and money, so be sure to provide something equally valuable as a reward.

            Most companies only send one post-sale email, right after the conclusion of the sale. But they’re missing out on a host of benefits they could provide customers (and a few things that’ll help them in the future too.) Craft a compelling after-sale follow-up strategy to improve your customers’ experience and create a loyal customer base that’ll buy more from you.

            These Online Classes Help You Master Essential Digital Marketing Skills

            Partner content by StackCommerceAccording to HubSpot, digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. In other words, it’s how companies use digital channels, such as search engines, social media, email, and websites, to connect with their current and future customers.Most businesses today use some digital marketing to get the…

            sale 32420 article image.jpg?width=640&fit=bounds&height=480&quality=20&dpr=0 - These Online Classes Help You Master Essential Digital Marketing SkillsPartner content by StackCommerceAccording to HubSpot, digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. In other words, it’s how companies use digital channels, such as search engines, social media, email, and websites, to connect with their current and future customers.

            Most businesses today use some digital marketing to get the word out about the product or service they offer customers, which has created a high demand for digital marketers. So, if you’re looking to land a new job soon or simply want to enhance the work you already do, now’s a great time to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing.

            The Complete Digital Marketing Growth Hacking Certification Bundle teaches you how to create, promote, and convert with 40+ hours of instructional marketing content on Facebook, YouTube, Google, Amazon, and more. Pick up the bundle on sale today for $34.99, which is more than 90% off its regular price tag.

            Certified Facebook Marketing 2020 (Complete Masterclass)

            Facebook marketing isn’t easy. That’s why this course gives you straightforward step-by-step strategies for successfully marketing any company on Facebook, the social media platform with over 2.6 billion monthly active users. This course starts with the very basics of creating professional Facebook profiles and then progresses to proven tips and tricks for Facebook marketing. Meaning, you’ll learn how to reach your target customers through Facebook, use paid ads effectively, create a massive community around your brand’s story, and so much more.

            Google Tag Manager: Crash Course

            Google Tag Manager is a free tool that allows you to manage all your website tags without editing code. Throughout this course, you’ll learn more about Google Tag Manager and how to use its features, from a novice level to that of an expert. Even better, you’ll have the opportunity to test your newfound knowledge and skills by completing a set of included challenges.

            The 2020 Complete Growth Hacking & Conversion Course

            One area of digital marketing that is all the rage these days is growth hacking. This course teaches you plenty of different growth hacking strategies that are proven to work, from writing compelling copy that grabs users’ attention to how to create high-converting landing pages with irresistible CTA buttons. By the time you finish this course, you’ll know how to increase the conversion rate of your online presence by up to five times.

            Go Viral on YouTube

            YouTube is the second most popular social media platform behind Facebook, with over 1.9 billion monthly active users. So, it’s safe to say that if you go viral on YouTube, you’ll attract plenty of customers to a business. Throughout this course, you’ll learn over 100 unique methods for increasing fan engagement, brand awareness, and profits on YouTube. Meaning, you’ll learn how to improve your SEO and search results ranking on the platform, discover how to turn YouTube videos into profitable leads, and optimize your posts for maximum engagement.

            30 Actionable Branding Strategies That Will Triple Your Profit

            Knowing how to brand correctly and effectively is a must for any business. As such, you’ll learn 30 unique tactics on advertising, promotions, building credibility with your target audience, and more as part of your branding training. This course even lands you access to an exclusive interview with billionaire Lynda Resnick, founder of POM and Fiji Water, who provides you with marketing insights from decades of business experience.

            The 2020 SEO Link Building Course

            Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process by which companies and individuals optimize their websites so that search engines like Google will rank them higher in searches conducted by customers online. Unlike paid advertisements, SEO offers companies a free outlet for getting their information in front of the right people at the right time. As such, it’s become an increasingly important component of any company’s digital marketing efforts. This course teaches you everything you need to know about SEO and is updated regularly, which means you’ll always have the latest information about SEO best practices.

            Complete Guide to YouTube Channel & YouTube Masterclass 2020

            This course expands upon what you learn in the other YouTube course included in this bundle. It focuses on helping you build a YouTube channel with time-tested strategies that will make it easier to get more subscribers and scale your channel. On top of all that, it has incredible user reviews a 4.8/5 star rating from 48,243 students enrolled in the course speaks to the quality of the instruction contained within it.

            Complete Guide to Pinterest & Pinterest Growth 2020

            Pinterest is another popular social media platform, and this course guides you from creating an account to growing your profile views with four hours of instructional content. Throughout this course, you’ll learn how to drive more traffic to your Pinterest account and drastically increase your Pinterest monthly views with a weekly routine that’s proven to help individuals and companies achieve incredible growth.

            Amazon FBA Course 2020

            Last but not least, this bundle guides you through how to work with Amazon Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Amazon FBA is a service provided by Amazon that provides storage, packaging, and shipping assistance to sellers around the world. In other words, if you or the company you work for sells a physical product online, Amazon FBA may enter the picture. This course covers both marketing and promoting with Amazon FBA, as well as other essential Amazon FBA skills, including how best to list products online to get them to sell in the first place.

            Overall, The Complete Digital Marketing Growth Hacking Certification Bundle teaches you essential digital marketing and growth hacking skills for leading tech and business platforms. Grab the bundle on sale today for only $34.99.

            This giant glowing orb is the world’s first floating Apple Store

            Apple’s worldwide retail network may be struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the company from indulging in its penchant for pricey-looking, unique, and outlandish exterior design. The iPhone maker’s newest retail location, located in Singapore on the city-state’s waterfront and known officially as Apple Marina Bay Sands, can claim a world’s first…

            Apple’s worldwide retail network may be struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the company from indulging in its penchant for pricey-looking, unique, and outlandish exterior design. The iPhone maker’s newest retail location, located in Singapore on the city-state’s waterfront and known officially as Apple Marina Bay Sands, can claim a world’s first title: it’s the only Apple retail shop on the planet that floats on water.

            The location, part of the luxury hotel and resort of the same name, is Singapore’s third Apple Store following Orchard Road, which opened as Singapore’s first in 2017, and Apple Jewel Changi Airport, located in the world-famous retail sector of Singapore’s transportation hub that also features the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. (Singapore seems cool, huh?)

            During the daytime, the new Marina Bay Sands store appears to look like an odd spacecraft of some sort or perhaps some form of futuristic theater.

            1228178939.jpg - This giant glowing orb is the world’s first floating Apple Store

            Photo by Roslan Ragman / AFP via Getty Images

            1197218548.jpg - This giant glowing orb is the world’s first floating Apple Store

            Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah / Getty Images

            But at nighttime, when Singapore’s iconic skyline is lit in all its glory in the background, the store really comes alive and you can tell the company clearly designed it as an evening fixture best viewed in the dark. (Although, I get real Rehoboam vibes, that sinister-seeming artificial intelligence from Westworld’s third season.)

            We don’t have a lot of details on the location, like how exactly the interior is structured. We do know that the store is Apple’s 512th retail shop globally, and that it’s opening sometime soon. MacRumors got its hands on a neat little teaser video Apple made to promote the store’s opening, showing a custom graphic meant to emulate the look of the thin light lines that spread across the orb at night.

            9to5Mac has published what appear to be marketing images and blurbs promoting the new store, in which the store is referred to as “the lantern on the bay.”

            “During the day, the store’s glass panels reflect the towering skyline of the Downtown Core and motion of the rippling water. At night, the sphere glows with a gentle warmth, evoking the design of traditional lanterns carried during Singapore’s Mid-Autumn Festival,” one of the slides reads. “The pavilion dome narrows to an oculus, allowing unobstructed light to flood in. A birds-eye view of the store resembles a glass iris peering into the sky.”

            According to the marketing material, the store will “include the same measures found at Singapore’s other Apple Stores” regarding ongoing COVID-19 health and safety efforts, which include limited occupancy, mask wearing, and other sanitization requirements.

            The 10 industries with the most efficient Instagram influencer-marketing campaigns during the pandemic, from healthcare to gambling

            New data from Socialbakers, a social-media marketing company, breaks down which industries have had the most efficient influencer-marketing campaigns during the pandemic.Healthcare came out on top, followed by packaged foods and household goods. Airlines had the lowest efficiency.Socialbakers defined “efficiency” as the engagements from an influencer’s sponsored Instagram post compared to the average engagements a…

            • New data from Socialbakers, a social-media marketing company, breaks down which industries have had the most efficient influencer-marketing campaigns during the pandemic.
            • Healthcare came out on top, followed by packaged foods and household goods. Airlines had the lowest efficiency.
            • Socialbakers defined “efficiency” as the engagements from an influencer’s sponsored Instagram post compared to the average engagements a brand receives on its own accounts.
            • Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter: Influencer Dashboard.

            In March and April, many brands slashed their influencer-marketing budgets in the face of the unknown effects of a slew of shelter-in-place orders and a global pandemic.

            But in the last few months, some brands have begun to hire influencers for sponsored posts and campaigns, even in the travel and tourism industries. That doesn’t, however, mean all these partnerships have been successful or efficient.

            New data from Socialbakers, a social-media marketing company, looked at data from over 8,000 brands to track the efficiency of partnerships on Instagram between April and July of 2020. Socialbakers defined “efficiency” as the difference between the engagement on an influencer’s branded post and the average engagement of that brand’s Instagram content. In other words: Did the influencer’s posts work to drive eyeballs to the brand?

            Socialbakers found that healthcare, as a category, had the highest efficiency, with an efficiency index of 4.99. Airlines had the lowest efficiency during this time period, with an index of 0.08. Socialbakers said it considers any efficiency index of 1.00 or greater as the sign of a successful brand partnership.

            In April, Socialbakers’ data showed a decline in influencer marketing efficiency across all industries. But by July, the overall influencer marketing efficiency rate had started rebounding.

            Here are the industries with the highest influencer-marketing efficiency between April and July 2020: 

            1. Healthcare: 4.99 efficiency index
            2. FMCG (fast-moving consumers goods) food: 2.55
            3. Household goods: 2.46
            4. Gambling: 2.30
            5. Finance: 2.29
            6. Telecom: 2.28
            7. Home and living: 1.67
            8. Retail: 1.63
            9. Beauty: 1.62
            10. FMCG corporate: 1.60

            Here are the industries with the lowest influencer-marketing efficiency between April and July 2020:

            1. Airlines (lowest): 0.08 efficiency index
            2. Auto: 0.35
            3. Sporting goods: 0.43
            4. Retail food: 0.59
            5. Travel: 0.73 
            6. Software: 0.76
            7. Industrial: 0.78 
            8. Fashion: 0.80
            9. Services: 0.89
            10. Accommodation: 0.97

            For more stories on the influencer industry, check out these Business Insider articles: