Marin Software Suffered A Data Breach; Epsilon Had A Disappointing Year

payrollbreachHere's today's AdExchanger.com news round-up... Want it by email? Sign-up here.

Gone Phishin’

Marin Software, an online ad management platform, suffered a data breach that may have compromised the personal information of many staffers and ex-staffers. The company alerted employees and former employees that their personal data, including W-2, Social Security number, address, email, salary and date of birth, was swiped by someone posing as a company executive. One former employee forwarded AdExchanger a copy of the notice, which was confirmed by Marin. Speaking with AdExchanger, a company rep said no customers were affected since the compromised personal info came from ADP payroll records and not from Marin’s marketing platform. The company is providing affected employees and ex-employees with a year-long subscription to LifeLock, an identity theft prevention service.

No ValueClick

It was a disappointing year for Epsilon, Alliance Data Services CFO Charles Horn said during the company’s full-year 2016 earnings call. Revenue increased just 1%, and adjusted EBITDA decreased 6%. The culprits? Besides negative growth of its tech platform, Horn said “the old ValueClick business [which became Conversant, prior to its acquisition by Alliance] was a consistent issue all year as we endeavor to pivot it toward more of a data-driven solution.” He called it a “three-point drag on Epsilon’s revenue growth.” Read the earnings release and a transcript of the call.

Go Long

Facebook made a slight but important change to how it ranks videos in the news feed. The issue is that Facebook used “percent completion” as a key part of its proxy for user engagement (a commonsensical starting point). Except that position overattributes value to short videos. Watching half of an eight-minute segment may be a stronger indicator of quality than completing an eight-second vid. “As we continue to understand how our community consumes video, we’ve realized that we should therefore weight percent completion more heavily the longer a video is, to avoid penalizing longer videos,” per a Facebook blog post.

Plugged In

The changing of the guard in Washington, DC, has flipped the levers of power from digital-native platforms (like Google, Facebook and Amazon) to cable and ISP giants (like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T). AT&T’s stock is up more than 10% since the election and now faces a sympathetic FCC chairman for its proposed $85 billion Time Warner takeover [AdExchanger coverage]. Comcast crushed its earnings report Thursday, boosting shares to 20% higher than Election Day. And Verizon is reportedly making overtures in pursuit of a tie-up with the cable firm Charter – a potential monster merger with a strong chance of passing regulatory muster.

Online Shopping

EBay has “managed to right the ship” since it spun out PayPal in 2015 as part of an effort to refocus as an internet retailer, but its growth numbers “just aren't aggressive enough to match eBay's grand ambitions to take on internet retailing behemoth Amazon.com Inc.,” writes Shelly Banjo at Bloomberg. With deep-pocketed companies like Walmart and Alibaba shelling out billions (and thus consolidating the ecommerce space), now’s the time for eBay to make its move. Banjo floats Etsy, Groupon and Wayfair ($1.5 billion, $2 billion and $3.6 billion, respectively) as natural fits.

But Wait, There’s More!

You’re Hired!

 

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