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Finally! No ads anymore on your iPhone.

Whether you are on Facebook, playing a game or using another application, you will always get bothered by advertisements on your iPhone. However, Apple has allowed a new ad block application into the iTunes App store, known as Been Choice. This app claims to block advertisements in mobile applications, and also in native mobile apps such as Facebook.

Been Choice offers a combination of a content blocker for Safari and a VPN service. Through the content blocker users can enable ad blockers to eliminate ads from Safari during web browsing sessions if iPhone users have iOS 9. When using the VPN service for the first time, you need to install a profile on your device. When the VPN is enabled, your traffic is then routed through Been Choice’s servers where it performs deep packet inspection on the content. After this, specific content can be removed  through pattern matching. This ability enables Been Choice to block advertisements in Facebook, Pinterest, Yahoo, New York Times apps and more. Blocking ads in all these applications could be very detrimental for many mobile application developers, because the primary way of how they make money is disrupted. Apple may do a favor to consumers by supporting this ad-blocking technology in iOS 9, however, this goes against Apple own interest since advertisements will also be blocked in their own news application. (Twitter is not blocked because they use end-to-end encryption. This makes it t impossible to block ad traffic without blocking non-ad traffic.) (Perez, 2015)

It seems that Been Choice is beneficial for consumers. But of course there is a flip side. This application hides a paid surveys operation, while promoting data privacy. Yoon, the co-founder, says that Been Choice offers users a choice between ad blocking and sharing data in order to earn rewards. This way, consumers understand the value of their data rather than blindly offering it up in exchange for targeted ads. This means that users will receive a compensation, when they agree to share their behavioral data with advertisers, publishers and app developers. For each day the VPN is enabled you’ll receive 1,000 points and you need  30,000 point (a whole month) to earn $20 (Perez, 2015).  It makes me wonder what they will and can do with these data since advertisements will not be shown anymore on consumer’s most important device. According to the their Privacy Policy, they will pull device info, device ID’s, content of your communications  and transactions (excluding financial and e-commerce applications), and of course information about you, what can be everything. This means, and they admitted, that your giving up your personal data even more than with traditional ads.

Thus, this app means to cater to thiose who don’t want ads anywhere, but on the other hand, they need to reach those who are willing to sell their data.

Do you trust this application? And are you willing to sell you data in exchange for no advertisements anymore on your mobile phone?

Perez, S (2015) Apple Approves An App That Blocks Ads In Native Apps, Including Apple News, http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/06/apple-approves-an-app-that-blocks-ads-in-native-apps-including-apple-news, 7 October 2015

Virtual shopping time

Do you often shop online? Well, I don’t because I am still hesitant to buy clothes, shoes or jewelry online. I rather shop in the city where I can see, feel and try on the products. When shopping online, there is a high chance that the clothes or shoes will not fit, or even that the clothes or shoes are not that beautiful when you receive them. However, I know enough people who regularly shop online and there are millions other people who do like online shopping. Because of this,  the online shopping environment has been innovating and will continue doing this to attract even more consumers to this market.

However, there is a challenge for retailers to make online shopping a more enjoyable, effective and profitable. Like I mentioned earlier, the online shopping environment is different from traditional shopping because it is a virtual environment, where you cannot see or try on the garment in real life. Most consumers are hesitant to purchase garments online or are unsatisfied with their online shopping experience, which results into high return rates. The most important reason for this is because many online retail stores lack product information (Tokucin, 2013). Online retailers try their best and keep updating their tools to help consumers during their visit to make it more enjoyable for the consumers, and in turn profitable for the retailers. They even introduced a Virtual-Try-On. Virtual try-on applications have become popular because they allow users to watch themselves wearing different clothes. This helps users to make quick buying decisions and, thus, improves the sales efficiency of retailers (Hauswiesner et al, 2013: 1552). The purpose of a Virtual-Try-On is to serve consumers with better information that is similar to physical examination. As a result, the consumer will be more confident in their final purchasing decision and the probability of consumers returning clothing will decrease (Tokucin, 2013).  .

They are also applying this tool in other branches, such as the watch market. They even developed an application for your smartphone to try on watches. By adjusting a so called Mode in Motion bracelet to your wrist and pointing the camera to it, you can see the watch appear on your wrist as in real.

What do you think of the concept Virtual-Try-On? Does it come close enough to reality, and if you did not like online shopping, are you convinced now to buy more products online if this tool is provided?

Hauswiesner, S., Straka, M. & Reitmayr, G. (2013) ‘Virtual Try-On through Image-Based Rendering’, IEEE Transactions On Visualization And Computer Graphics, 19, 9: pp. 1552

Tokuçin, H. (2013) ‘Virtual Try-On Technology’, 16 August 2013