Craziness At Facebook; Momentum For eSports

Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

The Facebook News Cycle

It was another tumultuous week for Facebook. In addition to the shocking departures of head of product Chris Cox and head of WhatsApp Chris Daniels, the Federal government has opened a criminal investigation into the company’s data dealings. A Grand Jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two smartphone manufacturers, The New York Times reports. While it’s not clear exactly what alleged criminal wrongdoing is being investigated, Facebook reportedly gave some business partners, like Microsoft and Amazon, a lot of access to users’ personal info. “Privacy advocates said the partnerships seemed to violate a 2011 consent agreement between Facebook and the FTC,” the Times writes, “stemming from allegations that the company had shared data in ways that deceived consumers.” More.

Esports Game On

Guess your mom was wrong when she told you to put down the game controller and go play
outside. Professional video gaming – or esports – is maturing into a real digital advertising opportunity. The amount of digital ad revenue remains small as a portion of the overall esports industry, which surpassed $1 billion this year. The bulk of that money flows in from sponsorships, media rights, ticket sales to live events and merchandising. But by 2020, esports digital ad revenue is slated to pass $200 million in the United States, according to eMarketer’s first forecast of the market. YouTube and Twitch, which usually draw a younger crowd, are the top platforms for esports viewing. “Esports fans have unique characteristics that make them more elusive but potentially more lucrative for marketers,” notes eMarketer principal analyst Paul Verna. They’ve got higher-than-average disposable income, they’re young, they’re TV averse and they’re open to marketing messages embedded into the esports experience.” More.

Google Milestones

Despite ongoing ad industry foibles, Google wants the world to know it took significant steps in 2018 to sanitize the ecosystem. While some might call its blog post self-aggrandizing, there are some real bright spots here. In short, Google eliminated 2.3 billion ads in 2018 that violated new and existing policies, deleted 1 million bad advertiser accounts and 734,000 publishers and app developers. Google also implemented 31 new policies to deal with abuses from tech support, ticket resellers, cryptocurrency and local services providers. Read the blog post.

Sizmek Breach

It’s not been a great year for Sizmek. After a revenue shortfall, its benefactor, Vector Capital, has cooled on the asset. Compounding that problem is a data security breach, reports the blog Krebs on Security, which spotted a posting on a Russian cybercrime forum auctioning off admin access to Sizmek’s platform. According to Sizmek’s general counsel, George Pappachen, the account that’s for sale isn’t actually an admin account, but a user one – though it could still hijack ad creative, insert malicious code or siphon ad revenue. Pappachen said Sizmek has initiated a password reset for all its employees. More.

But Wait, There’s More!

You’re Hired!

 

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