A Cybercriminal Goes On Trial; Amazon's Pricing Model Is Scrutinized

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The Long Arm

A federal trial beginning Monday in Brooklyn will be the first case in the United States brought against an alleged click-fraud operator. Prosecutors hope to prove Fabio Gasperini, an Italian extradited from Amsterdam last year, managed a number of websites that, despite having content, actually existed to collect bot traffic from infected computers and devices. These bots gathered cookies around the web and either accumulated ad views or became sourced traffic through third-party linking services. Law-enforcement officials see the case as a way to convey their “heightening concerns that US laws lag too far behind cybercriminals,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The primary computer-hacking statute in the US, which was used to charge Mr. Gasperini, was passed in the 1980s and hasn’t been amended since 2008.” More.

A Steal At Any Price

Recent studies have Amazon in hot water – or maybe lukewarm water – over its pricing practices. An analysis from Retail Dive found Amazon back-to-school prices “changed hour-by-hour, state-by-state and shopper-by-shopper.” School supplies turned out to be an average of 15% higher on Amazon than on Walmart, Walmart-owned Jet and eBay. A report last month by the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog argues Amazon set higher price floors by showing higher list prices. An Amazon spokesperson called the report "deeply flawed, based on incomplete data and improper assumptions." Amazon operated at a loss for more than a decade as it secured market share by offering the lowest prices. Now price-matching is commonplace, and Amazon has relaxed its pricing dogma in favor of advantages in fulfillment, consumer Prime offers and stickiness to the site. More.

Clicked Off

Mobile measurement platforms (MMPs) misattribute almost half of all app downloads from App Store search campaigns. At least that’s the message from Todd Teresi, Apple’s VP of advertising platforms, speaking with Tune CEO Peter Hamilton at Tune’s Postback conference in Seattle on Friday. Over one 30-day campaign, MMPs correctly attributed 14,000 out of 25,000 downloads (per Twitter strategic partner development manager Melanie Feldman in the audience). Four and a half thousand of those downloads were obscured by ad blockers or couldn’t be tracked, while another 1,200 missed conversions were the result of ad latency, since some apps attribute a download immediately even though it takes a few seconds for Apple’s attribution API to log the click. More than 5,000 of the downloads were re-downloads, and thus registered as a returned user.

Asian Sensations

It’s Facebook vs. Google in America. But in Asia? It’s Tencent vs. Alibaba. And increasingly, that applies to Southeast Asia as much as it does to China. TechCrunch reports that Tencent and Alibaba “are the driving forces behind the importing of large sums of capital and vast business experience into Southeast Asia’s most promising startups.” The goal is to capture the region’s growing middle class. That’s 600 million consumers in some very promising markets, including Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. TechCrunch’s Jon Russell lists some of the major investments each tech giant has made in the region. Read more.

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