Meet America's Phone Farmers That Commit Ad Fraud

· · Link

People are setting up multiple phones to create a “phone farm” to fake engagement with ads to earn money from certain apps. Vice spoke to several farmers and built their own setup.

With a marketing strategy called “incentivized traffic,” app developers take advertisements or other content that companies want to get in front of an attentive audience, and pay that audience to watch or interact with them.

Rather than actually watch ads, these phone farmers use as many as a hundred phones and sometimes automate the process to make it seem like someone is watching the ads in order to generate income.

AdGuard 3 Brings DNS Privacy, 250,000 Filter Rules, Premium Features

· · Cool Stuff Found

AdGuard is a content blocker for iOS that lets people block trackers and ads in Safari. Its AdGuard Pro app eventually got pulled from the App Store because of new VPN rules. AdGuard 3 brings some of those Pro features to the regular app, and some of them are locked behind a premium subscription. But Pro users can get a free 6-month license key. AdGuard 3 fixes a key issue with Safari. Safari’s maximum limit for content blockers is 50,000 rules. AdGuard now works around this by combining five blocks into one, each separately enabled in Settings and each with 50,000 rules. It also supports DNS-over-TLS and DNS-over-HTTPS. You can read more in the blog post. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)

AdGuard 3 Brings DNS Privacy, 250,000 Filter Rules, Premium Features

News+: The App Store Enables Spying, Tracking, and Analytics

· · Link

In the latest issue of Fast Company magazine, Mark Wilson writes about the business of spying, advertising, and analytics that the App Store enables.

[Apple] designed a dead-simple interface that, to this day, allows users to sign away contacts, location data, and camera and microphone access with a single tap as they install an app. Apple also created efficient APIs—the software connecting its hardware to outside apps—to provide third-party developers access to sensitive user information. Meanwhile, iPhone apps are not required to encrypt their transmissions. “Apple was well known for usability before it was known for privacy,” says Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.

This is part of Andrew’s News+ series, where he shares a magazine every Friday to help people discover good content in Apple News+.

Eye Tracking is the Holy Grail of Advertising

· · Link

Avi Bar-Zeev, who works on AR/VR/MR, says that eye tracking is the holy grail of advertising (And he’s all for it). While I don’t disagree with that point, I do wonder how prevalent it will become. For example, when Face ID first came out, there was a fear that it could be exploited for eye tracking ads. But that isn’t possible because Apple locks down its technology. I expect the same for Apple Glasses.

Bundled into VR headsets or AR glasses, eye-tracking will, in the near-future, enable companies to collect your intimate and unconscious responses to real-world cues and those they design. Those insights can be used entirely for your benefit. But they will also be seen as priceless inputs for ad-driven businesses, which will learn, model, predict and manipulate your behavior far beyond anything we’ve seen to date.

North Face is Really Sorry for Spamming Wikipedia

· · Link

North Face as issued an apology over its manipulating campaign to spam Wikipedia pages and game Google search results.

We believe deeply in @Wikipedia’s mission and apologize for engaging in activity inconsistent with those principles. Effective immediately, we have ended the campaign and moving forward, we’ll commit to ensuring that our teams and vendors are better trained on the site policies.

If the idiots didn’t openly brag about it, they probably could’ve gotten away with it, at least for a while longer.

Advertisers Hate This Texas Privacy Proposal

· · Link

The Texas Privacy Protection Act (HB 4390) was introduced last month, and it would require opt-in consent from consumers before companies could use their data for targeted ads. Advertisers aren’t happy.

Without the ability to effectively advertise online due to opt-in consent barriers, revenues will be impacted and companies that rely on such revenue may no longer be able to support free and low cost content and services that Texans desire, such as online newspapers, social networking sites, mobile applications, email, and phone services,” the ad industry writes in a letter sent last week.

The groups add that the constant requests for consent will frustrate consumers and also “desensitize” them, which will reduce “their sense of control over their privacy.”