Facebook Plans To Monetize Messaging Apps; YouTube Ads Lacking Context

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A(OL) Rose By Any Other Name

AOL owns media properties (like HuffPo and TechCrunch), email accounts, an ad tech stack and mapping services (remember MapQuest?), but its brand is loosely understood by users who associate it with dial-up Internet and marketers who don’t know the assorted products. The answer may be to ditch the “AOL” name, company CMO Allie Kline tells Business Insider reporter Jillian D’Onfro. On the one hand, Kline says she “(feels) very strongly about the AOL brand. It has a lot of legacy and meaning." But ask Kline tomorrow and you might get a different answer. More.

Messaging Grows Up

Facebook has invested tens of billions of dollars in its mobile messaging power couple, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and monetization plans are starting to materialize. Digiday reporter Lucinda Southern digs into FB Messenger’s goal to introduce commerce (former PayPal President David Marcus is Facebook VP of messaging products) and develop “M,” its personal-assistant AI tech. Meanwhile, WhatsApp will ditch its $1 subscription fee in pursuit of new revenue models. “But this won’t include ads,” CEO Jan Koum said. What’s left? Facebook is giving no indicators there, but Koum says “you may think messaging is limited, but it’s not. People find more bandwidth to use different things that are out there.” Read on at TechCrunch.

Unsafe Harbor

Margrethe Vestager, the EU antitrust chief who’s fast becoming the bane of Silicon Valley’s existence, leveled another broadside ahead of the Jan. 31 deadline for a new US-UK data-sharing agreement, per a report from Mark Scott of The New York Times. “If a few companies control the data you need to cut costs, then you give them the power to drive others out of the market,” says Vestager, floating a line of reasoning that could potentially give users, brands, pubs and tech companies a powerful rationale against walled-garden giants. More.

The You In YouTube

“The idea that Google – a company that has made a fleet of self-driving cars, developed contact lenses that can measure your blood sugar and invented disease-detecting nanoparticles – can’t algorithmically figure out that an ad with the words Glock and Concealed Carry in the title is about handguns is laughable,” writes Dave Donohue, VP of corporate comms at the social media marketing company Unified, in a post on Medium. He asks, “Why is Google showing gun ads to toddlers?” Google – and many others who don’t bear the weight of the industry on their shoulders – need to clean up their acts, especially if they’re going to promote themselves as contextual experts.

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