FryUp: Last of the Amigos

The last amigo goes, TelstraClear says no, Microsoft magic and a spam alert

Last of the Amigos

News are in from Telstra in Australia that the last of the Three Amigos will depart too, following Sol Trujillo’s decision to say adios. Bill Stewart, the group managing director of strategic market is riding off into the sunset, with Kate McKenzie hopping into his Telstra saddle. McKenzie ran Telstra Wholesale, but we don’t know who will replace her. That’s the Trujillo Era closed then, at Telstra. It will be interesting to see what, if any, effect this has on the New Zealand operations at TelstraClear. Speaking of Sol and Co, I’m a big fan of Telstra’s corporate blog, and feisty Rod Bruem who doesn’t hold back much at all when posting there. Sol copped a lot of flak for what he did at Telstra and sadly, some of the ribbing for being Mexican really crossed the line into racism. Now We Are Talking: Bill Stewart resigns to return to the United States Now We Are Talking: Will the real Sol please stand up?

They just said "no”

Meanwhile, down at Smales Farm, TelstraClear is displaying a shiny pair of cojones, saying it doesn’t want anything to do with implementing a code of practice to paper over a horrendously flawed new copyright law. And good on TelstraClear for doing that. In fact, why don’t the rest of the industry follow TelstraClear’s example? Surely they can’t relish the notion of being burdened with massive overheads due to compliance costs, policing their customers and risking being sued for breach of contract? TelstraClear bails from copyright code talks

More Microsoft Music

What a lot of people don’t get is that Microsoft makes accidentally cool stuff. They probably don’t mean to, but it does happen. Check out for instance Johannes Kreidler in Germany who has combined charts of popular shares with the Awesome Power of Microsoft Songsmith: YouTube You don’t need Songsmith to be audibly creative with Microsoft products though. The siren song of Microsoft Anna bears testimony to that. YouTube Anna’s dulcet tones are for Vista users only. Losers still running XP have to make do with Microsoft Sam. Here he is, with some Pi-poetry: YouTube

Doing Battles with spam

This week, a certain US spammer, now resident in New Zealand, made the news again. You can probably guess how. It’s probably fair to say that the spammers have won the war. Spam volumes show no sign of dropping, as obviously, there are enough stupid people in the world buying off the crooks to make it worthwhile. Still, though, I’d say it’s worth pursuing spammers. First, they do get caught, like Lance Atkinson, brother of Shane, the infamous Christchurch Penis Pill Pusher. Last December, Lance admitted to his part in an international spam ring and copped a penalty of $100,000. Second, spamming is a real cost for anyone on the internet. ISPs have to expend huge amount of time, money and resources to keep email working, thanks to being bombarded by spam. You, the user, get spammed daily with rubbish and fraudulent offers, and sometimes offensive solicitations as well as downright illegal ones like money laundering and pump'n'dump and 419 scams. Third, it’s not just the spamming. Spammers have long been working with virus and Trojan Horse writers, to compromise computers and to take control of them. Without spammers, the internet would in all likelihood be that much less insecure and awful. Internationally, spammers are also involved in other criminal activities, like drugs and human trafficking, from what I hear. Look at the above and then tell me you don’t want to Just Hit Delete when it comes to spammers. 'Spam King' resurfaces, linked with SMS campaign $100k penalty for Kiwi spammer

XKCD

Simple

Cartoon: www.xkcd.com

Google knows where you surfed last summer

Are those search ads starting to look a little too personal? Welcome to Google's new behavioural ad strategy. Better keep your nose clean. Google knows who you are. It knows what you search for. It knows what you had for dinner last night and exactly where you like your back to be scratched (there, just between the shoulder blades, up and to the left -- ahhhhhhhhhhh). And, starting today, it will deliver ads tailored directly to you (yes, you in the Herman Miller chair — stop slouching and pay attention). In a blog post titled "Making ads more interesting," VP of product management Susan Wojcicki (aka, sister-in-law to Sergey Brin) describes Google's decision to move into behavioural advertising. To wit: "We think we can make online advertising even more relevant and useful by using additional information about the websites people visit. Today we are launching 'interest-based' advertising as a beta test on our partner sites and on YouTube. These ads will associate categories of interest — say sports, gardening, cars, pets — with your browser, based on the types of sites you visit and the pages you view. We may then use those interest categories to show you more relevant text and display ads." In other words, the ads Google displays won't just pull from the search terms you're using. Google will also look at all the sites you've visited lately. So if you're searching for, say, "baby wipes" and all you see are ads for porn, Google knows you've been a naughty little monkey. [Note: Porn is not one of Google's officially sanctioned "categories of interest," but you get the idea.] The concept isn't new; behavioural ad companies were all the rage a few years ago, which is why AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo all bought one of their very own. But Google is the proverbial 8,000-pound gorilla — when it does something, there's usually a boatload of banana peels to slip on. There are limits, of course. Google associates the ads to a cookie in your browser, not your identity; so it will know about the naughtiness, but won't know which monkey is responsible. If you don't like the idea of Google delivering ads based on your surfing habits — or you want it to know some of your interests, but not all of them — you can change the settings in Google's Ads Preferences Manager. You can also opt out entirely, and install a plug-in for IE or Firefox that maintains your opt-out choice even when you nuke all your other cookies. What gets me is the notion that ads based on my surfing habits are inherently more interesting. They're still ads. Even when I'm shopping for something, the ads are the last place I look (and more often, not at all). I'm not alone here. Nielsen Online just published a report stating, among other things, that Netizens do not trust advertising. According to Nielsen's BuzzMetrics, the word web surfers most closely associate with advertising is "false." Or to quote one of my favorite blogs, Tynan on Tech: "People don’t trust ads. They don’t like ads. They don’t really want to see ads, but they’ll put up with them if they have to. (Which is one of my big objections to ZillionTV; giving you a choice of what ads you’d like to see is like giving you the choice of what dog**** you’d like to eat. Would you prefer the chocolate cinnamon dog**** or the raspberry swirl? In the end, it’s still dog****.)" This bowl of you-know-what has been brought to you by Google. Enjoy!

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