Archive | October 8, 2014

Facebook’s multibillion spam generator

Earlier today I came across an interesting article on TechCrunch concerning the event of Facebook opening its mobile add ‘audience network’ to all advertisers and apps. This means that Facebook helps connecting advertisers with the right (in terms of targeted segment by advertiser and reached segment by developer) app-developers by using data retrieved from Facebook profiles. So better targeting for the advertiser, less hustle for app-developers with advertising ‘space’ in the search for an advertiser and above all more add revenue for Facebook.

While the development of this technique and information stream behind it are described in detail in upper mentioned article I find it ironic that halfway through the blog a paragraph is dedicated on how to prevent Facebook from using your (profile) information –hence, it even tracks your activities when you are not logged into Facebook- for this new way of targeted marketing.

I find this ironic because of the discussion I had with several fellow students after the clip shown in lecture 4 (B2C E-commerce) on how Google determines which ads are recommended at a given search entry. We concluded that none of us ever used these ‘recommended ads’ and that conclusion was confirmed by the low click-rate stated in the lecture. The rationale behind this was that the recommended ads cannot be any good because they were paid adds; only there to derive money from us. The ads were perceived far from helpful and convenient, for us they fell more into the spam category. Some of us already altered their device settings in a manner that those ‘paid ads’ were not even displayed while using the Google search engine.

If we, quite rudely, generalize this view/attitude of the younger generation towards recommended ads then how can the Facebook’s, Google’s and Twitter’s in this world keep making money out of these revenue streams in the future?

What is your view on this ‘audience network’ development? How do you perceive this aggressive targeted marketing approach? Do you think this approach will last or will people become (even more) oblivious for this marketing application?


Building websites, why bother?

Building websites, why bother?

You know how to use WordPress? Or maybe Drupal or Joomla? So you know how to make websites? That’s great! But why would you put effort in making a website, when websites can make themselves? There is no need to design anything, let artificial intelligence do the work for you!

Read More…

Never being offline anymore with an iWatch

Yesterday during dinner I talked with two girls about the iWatch. They said that they would definitely like to have the new iWatch. The amount of options you have! You can do almost everything with it. Sound amazing, right?

However, the fact that you always have it around your wrist it makes that you can never take distance from it. Your social world is always around your wrist. Currently, if I am procrastinating when I need to study I deliberately hide my phone or turn it off, because it distracts me too much. I know that I’d be able to turn-off the iWatch or just simply take it off my wrist, but at the other side: why would you take off your watch? With the iWatch you would never be really “alone” anymore, and since you always have it with you, other people also expect you to reply on their messages / posts.

I think it brings a lot of social responsibilities/ expectations with wearing an iWatch, since the smartwatch literally becomes a part of your body. A smartwatch like the iWatch makes people one with technology. Saying it in an extreme way, it would be a step towards the cyborg (a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body), since it does not only control your social activity, but also your health (the iWatch has several health functions). This wearable technology gets inside of your personal bubble and it can become part of your identity. People will always be connected and it’s not possible to be offline anymore.

Would you wear an iWatch? So would all the interesting benefits outweigh those above mentioned downsides? And what would the effect be of wearing an iWatch on productivity and efficiency on work/studying?




The influence from technology on our socials skills

I read an article today about a new application from Pathé, for the Xbox One. Pathé is an international company with cinemas in France, the United States, Holland, Swiss and Italy. The new service provides the customer with on demand movies at home. Although the movies are released at least three months earlier in the cinema I do expect more people to stay at home instead of going out to the cinema to watch a movie. Besides Pathé there are many other providers for online streaming services to watch series and movies for example Netflix. Those services are available for smart tv’s, PS4’s, Xbox One etc. So many households have access to them. Not only series and movies, but many other services are available at home instead of going to a shop, cinema, bar or what so ever.

My concern about this development is the influence on our social skills. A night out to the movies also requires personal contact, some real human interaction. A small talk with the cashier, a ‘good night’ from the security guard and a little chat with your neighbor in the cinema. Watching a movie at home limits this social interaction to the people you are with. An other example is dating. Dating in the old fashioned way included going out to a bar with all its thrills and excitement. Nowadays it is so easy to first write, phone or videochat with someone it takes away a lot of experiences. Especially younger children worry me, who grow up with all those new technologies in a phase they should learn and develop their social skills. I realize there are many other opportunities to go out, but where does technology takes us? Without a doubt more and more services will be delivered at home instead of somewhere else.

I am curious about your opinion on this topic? Do services which replace a ‘out of home’ experience harm our social skills? What role does corporate responsibility play here?


Becoming Facebook’s Guinea Pig

A global test group of 1.3 billion people, ready to unconsciously take part in your next big field experiment. Now this does sound like every social scientists dream, doesn’t it? Unsurprisingly, Facebook has figured just that.

It was not more than a couple of months ago that Facebook published its, by now, infamous “emotional contagion” study. In short the study consisted of Facebook manipulating the news feeds of nearly 700.000 users in order to manipulate these users’ emotions. Facebook was able to do this, simply by tweaking which of the news feed messages (positive or negative) were shown to the user. The study concluded that “emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks”.

Besides the ethical ambiguity of conducting research on an unwilling test group, what else should we worry about regarding Facebook’s new timeline-manipulating pastime?  Well according to PHD Media research conducted last year, beauty product companies should tailor their marketing campaigns based on how women feel about their appearance. The study then elaborated on the moments of the week women felt the worst about themselves, peaking on Mondays. Facebook’s “emotional contagion” study shows that marketers no longer have to wait for Mondays to deploy their emotionally fueled campaigns, instead social media companies are able to create these marketing opportunities themselves.

Imaginably, Facebook was broadly criticized when these research practices were released. If Facebook truly values their users as much as they say they do, surely they should bring a stop to this. Right?

Naturally there is no sign of Facebook stopping any form of research; on the contrary, Facebook’s CTO has recently declared that the social network will be ‘more careful in how it conducts research in the future’. This is exactly the kind of statement you would expect from a company planning to conduct much more similar research in the coming years. I’m sceptical whether we, as consumers, have the power to avoid becoming Facebook’s ‘guinea pig’. What are your thoughts?

Is google just as bad as microsoft?

Google, one of the first firms that pops into your mind when think of innovation, improvement and new technologies in general. Even their most precious operating system android (OS) is a piece of open source software that anyone can alter and use!

This is however not entirely true, because if android device makers like Samsung want to get to the good stuff. Like the play store they must sign the “Mobile Application Distribution Agreement”. This agreement compels device makers to pre install a dozen google applications on the device (on predetermined spot in the interface), make google search the default search engine and chrome the default browser. This agreement raises a lot of questions “Why don’t device makers use another OS?” and “What are the downside for us, the users?” for instance.

The first question is rather easy to answer, there aren’t a whole lot of options out there! Android holds close to a 100% of the market share for this third party device makers market. So the only real solution to make sure they don’t have to rely on any of the application that are bundled by google is to design their own app store. However even giant software mogul Microsoft can’t offer an app store as complete as google. So this is no real option either. One of the few device makers that tried this beside Microsoft is amazon with its Kindle fire. But this app store holds only 147.000 applications so you can hardly call this an alternative.

A far more interesting question is the second question, “What are the downsides for the users?” One of the major downsides is that the device maker is not free to choose the applications that best fit the needs of their customer group because if they decide one non google application might fit their customers need better they are not allowed to switch out the google variant. This means the so called “best of breed” approach, where you matchup the very best for every aspect is impossible to maintain. And this only the immediate short term effect, in the long run this bundling will also lead to a reduced effort of google to innovate their applications because there is not competition they have to out preform.

Google has already been in some legal disputes about this fact but these disputes where between google and some smaller device developing companies which evidently could not put up a fight against google and its infinitely deep pockets.

So in sum is what google is doing here no different or maybe even worse then what Microsoft used to do with internet explorer? Are all big international companies then really all the same?


“Coffice” and how Cisco Systems saved $277 million in 1 year

Yes, you read that right – $277 million saved in 1 year. How? Bear with me! 🙂 Read More…

Scent Marketing Japanese style

Baking bread when you are selling a home, or apple pie (yumm), has been shown to have a positive effect on the way people perceive the house and actually increases the probability they will place an offer. When you walk into a bakery and it smells oh so delicious everything taste better. Have you not noticed the smell is always exactly the same regardless the time you step in? How can this be when the baker sells all these different kind of products? He is definitely not constantly baking the same… that’s right, it is fake. Just like the smell in ZARA, the Aston Martin showroom and many other stores, companies do this to generate a positive association in our brain and create a sense of recognition. Smell is more sophisticated than any other sense as scent receptors in the nose connect directly to the section of the brain responsible for memory and emotion. How could this be used in today’s digital world?

The answer comes from Japan. A team from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology have invented a ‘smelling screen’ that creates smells from certain spots. This would enable marketers to make adverts more appealing and moviemakers can engage their audiences even more. The invention is ‘a new olfactory display that can generate a localised odour distribution on a two-dimensional display screen,’ according to the researchers. It works by providing odours from gel pellets into four air streams, located in each corner of the screen, which are blown across the displays surface. Using fans the scent can be moved to any particular spot on the screen, giving the impression that it is arising from the digital object displayed. Now the system can only produce one smell at a time, but the researchers say the next phase is to include a cartridge that allows the screen to change the smells more easily.

This technology was recently demonstrated in Florida and the prospects are promising. For now however this still remains a bit Sci-Fi. This being said, next time you step into a bakery and it smells good remember… it’s not the bread.

Gayle, D (2013) ‘’Real smell-o-vision TV unveiled by Japanese team (and it’s NOT an April Fool)’’, 1 April 2013 Available at: [accessed 8 october 2014]

The influence of Internet on Future Jobs

These days, the boarders between online and offline are disappearing. Our communication goes trough applications as Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and Viber. Our personal information is stored on social media and visible for the entire world. Even our personal property is stored in online clouds. For some generations, only a fraction of this information can be recovered, our generation has been creating an online crumb trail for years, and upcoming generations will have their whole life in an online drawer.

Keeping in mind our personal information drawers, the risk of the wrong people accessing this information increases over time. A recent example is the iCloud hack, where intimate pictures of celebrities got stolen and leaked trough the Internet. For these celebrities it is of course an unpleasant happening, but their careers eventually will not suffer from it. But how will this work for people with important and responsible functions?

The effects of negative publicity on the stability of the positions of politicians and bankers have always been severe. If negative information about, let’s say Obama would reach the press, the story will be blown up instantly causing the president dealing with some serious reputation damage. If we accumulate multiple equivalent situations, this could cost Obama his presidency.

Besides the fact that this is an exaggeration, the president is protected very well from this kind of treats. However, how will this be for Obama the fourth? All his information will be accessible before his first dream of the white house. His trail of crumbs will be visualized before even he takes the oath and this way, ‘so help me god ‘ will get a new dimension.

Where I’m going with this metaphor is the following question: What should and can we do about this? Do we have to account for any future leaks of damaging information? Should we already start protecting ourselves?

This subject popped up in my mind this afternoon and I would love to hear how you think about it, and moreover, what the possible solutions would be?

Social Advertising on HootSuite

What is HootSuite? HootSuite is a Vancouver-based company founded in 2008 by Ryan Holmes. It is a social media management tool that enables businesses to track and analyse what is being said about them and their brands on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. and enabling them to reply accordingly. With so many different social networks nowadays, HootSuite has become a popular social media management tool for businesses to manage their social network channels.

Following the $60 million investment two weeks ago, HootSuite is now planning on introducing additional features to its platform. In the next year the company aims to introduce social advertising, which helps users to buy social advertising across all of their social networks, directly from their dashboard, and informed by HootSuite´s analytics. HootSuite´s analytics tells people which messages at which time of the day are most successful for them, how viral these messages are, and how they can help in the future (Lawlor, 2014).

Ryan Holmes argued this is a major development for social media and compared it to the ¨freemium¨ model applied by Google to paid search marketing (PPC) (Egede, 2014).

¨Where initially there was organic search, content was put on Google and ultimately free, and then there became a market for paid search, all thinking about how you get your content to the top of the stack. I think we´re going to be able to really successfully help our customers amplify the message they need through social advertising¨ (Holmes, 2014).

Incentives for introducing this new social advertising package were the opportunities of HootSuite to help users manage their products that are for sale in the same way Hootsuite helps to manage content in social channels.

What do you think of this new move of HootSuite? Will it be as successful as Google´s paid search marketing (PPC) ¨freemium¨ model?


-Egede, I. (2014) ¨Hootsuite soon to allow users manage and schedule paid social media marketing across channels.¨, 8 October 2014

– Lawlor, A. (2014), HootSuite reveals paid social media marketing and e-commerce plans¨,, 8 October 2014

Technology – How it affects your sleeping behavior

I think we can all relate to watching a movie in bed just before you go to sleep, checking facebook, or whatsapping your girl/boyfriend just as you were about to close your eyes. Playing FIFA 15 until 2 in the morning and then having problems to sleep. Technology is embedded in our last moments before we go to bed. However we never thought about any kind of consequences this could have to our sleep. But if you knew the impact of this, would you still do it?

Scientist’s research of American institutions of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that using technology just before bedtime significantly alters our body clock. It can affect sleep deprivation and lack of sleep as well as job performance, mood and even your sex life!

Charles Czeisler, which is a scientist at the Harvard Medical School, claims that artificial light just before bedtime increases our metabolism and decreases the making the hormone which is responsible for sleep: melatonin. By watching your ipad for 2 hours, you reduce your melatonin production by 22%.

Other serious sleep-detractors are videogames and television. Not only because of the artificial light (see previous section) but also because it can increase your heart rate. Videogames in it’s turn, lowers both the quantity of sleep (see previours reasons) and the quality of sleep. Sleep can be divided into two categories: REM sleep and non-REM sleep. Videogames negatively affect the REM sleep, which is responsible for dreaming. So the more you game, the less you dream. Easy choice isn’t it?

Personally, I always check my Whatsapp and Facebook before I go to bed. However, I have never thought about any consequences. Do you guys have rituals which involves technology just before you go to bed? And having read this blog, are you still planning on doing so?


Yo – A Simple App that raised $1.5M in funding !

Yo is simply an application that sends a “Yo” back and forth. The user is notified of the Yo which comes up in the notifications tray where usually other apps like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger etc show messages from your friends network or other notifications. The notification that “Yo” sends is a Yo with the name of the person it has been sent by, the timing which is accompanied by the yo sound.

The application was created by Or Arbel, a developer, who was asked by an Israeli investor that he would like to summon his secretary without calling out to her directly. Yo has surpassed 1 million downloads to become the 5th most popular application in the 3rd week of June.

Initially, the application was rejected by Apple as it did not have enough substance. However, the app’s simplicity has made it receive $1.5 Million funding and is now valued at $10M !

The use cases for Yo are manifold – it could be anything from sending a friend a “yo” everytime a wicket falls in a cricket match to sitting in Starbucks and being pinged “yo” when your warm hot chocolate is ready.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 11.35.52 pm

However, the question to ask is – there are so many applications that are complex and if we look at Apple’s criteria- have substance ! So what makes Yo so special that it reached such a large amount of funding? Is it the simplicity that attracts such a large consumer base? Is it the fact that there is no constant flow of conversation between individuals? Is it mimicking Facebook’s long-removed “Poke”? Does this application signal the fact that our world is moving towards writing fewer and fewer words-(in this case- characters!) to each other?

At the same time, there are repercussions for the developer world also, this app was coded in around 8 hours. Will developers be motivated to explore new technologies and break new boundaries if such simple apps are gaining so much traction and popularity? What is the psyche behind investors when they put such a large amount of money behind such simplistic ventures?

Post your comments below!


Advertisers pay per time instead of clicks

The London Financial Times allows advertisers from next month no longer to pay per clicks, but to pay per number of hours that an advertisement is viewed by readers. The London Financial Times thus introduces as first website the cost per hour (CPH) model.

The commercial director of the Financial Times, Jon Slate, said to AdAge that “we just launched a new currency for digital advertising“.

Read More…

Albert Heijn personalized promotions with bonus card. Too much information?


Albert Heijn personalized promotions with bonus card. Too much information?

In the Netherlands there are a lot of Albert Heijn supermarkets, throughout the whole country. Since many years customers could receive a free card, named a BonusCard, to have access to promotions. There was no information of the customer needed to get one, everyone could just go and pick up a card and receive a discount on selected items.

Since this year Albert Heijn introduced a personalized BonusCard. Customers can receive the card for free and can get emails with personalized promotions, based on your shopping behavior. So for instance, if you have small children and you buy a lot of diapers, you will receive a promotion for diapers. But a student, who never buys diapers does not want this promotion. Based on the shopping behavior of the student, he or she is most likely to receive a personalized promotion on a item he or she shops a lot, for instance beer.
Bút, customers who want to receive this personalized promotion need to provide Albert Heijn with some personal information, like your address, age and email address. Albert Heijn can analyze your shopping behavior and has your personal information, which gives Albert Heijn access to a lot of information. With this information they can predict or analyze what kind of a shopper you are. In addition, the customer will receive offers on other products that Albert Heijn thinks will fit well within their existing shopping habits


Do people use it?


Since the beginning of the rollout of these new BonusCards 10 million cards are distributed, where only 2,5 million are actually activated. So only 25% of the bonuscard owners is willing to receive personalized promotions by giving away some private information.


What did you do? Did you personalize your BonusCard or do you just use it as a regular BonusCard. What do you think about all the (personal) information Albert Heijn collects from it’s customers?


Google Drive vs Dropbox vs Onedrive


Consumer cloud storage services


Storing your files in a cloud, to be accessed anywhere at any time. No USB-sticks or portable hard-disk are needed, as long as you have access to the internet. But what are the differences and risks of these consumer cloud storage services?


Dropbox makes it easy to share, with a free space of at least 2 GB, it is useful for example when you can not email a file that is too big. Other than just a great and easy way to store all your files, it is free to use.

Onedrive, with a free space of 7 GB, is what was formerly known as Skydrive and belong to Microsoft.

But lets talk about Google Drive, with free space of 15 GB. Next to the advantages that Dropbox has as well, Google drive has a lot of innovative advantages. Such as their own type of files.

Personally I am a big fan of Google Docs, which can be described as the ‘Word’-version of Google. It is a typewriting document which allows you to collaborate with for instance your colleagues or fellow students on the same document on the same time. A Google mail account is needed. Google Drive has no native app for Windows Phone or Windows RT, but does for Windows PC, Mac, iOS and Android.

Dropbox also has native support for iOS, Mac, Windows and Android, but not Windows Phone or Windows RT. However, it’s the only service here that has a native app for Amazon Kindle Fire and BlackBerry. Of course, you can also access all three services online through your browser, and there are third-party Windows Phone apps for Dropbox and Google Drive.

There is automatic upload for Dropbox and Onedrive which is great for smartphones with limited space, to upload your photos automatically to the storage cloud in order to clean up space on your smartphone.

What do you think of these cloud storage systems and what is your favorite?