Tim Armstrong Comments On The Verizon/Yahoo Deal; The DOJ Is Investigating Agencies

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Verizon Hangs On

At a Business Insider conference on Monday, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said he is “cautiously optimistic” that Verizon’s Yahoo acquisition will go through (although at a discount of up to $1 billion off the deal’s $4.8 billion price tag, per earlier reports). And he implied Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will stick around. Armstrong also spoke to the AOL side of the business, noting it has streamlined its product portfolio and staff (AOL cut 500 employees last month) to compete with Facebook and Google. More at BI.  

Oops, We Did It Again

The Department of Justice is investigating nontransparent practices at creative agencies. Agencies have reportedly been steering clients to their in-house production units by “rigging the bidding process for these contracts,” The Wall Street Journal reports. The $5 billion commercial production industry is served by a large number of independent firms, but holding companies consider it a needed revenue stream while margins are tight. WPP, Omnicom, Publicis and IPG have in-house video production units, but declined to comment. The ANA and K2 explored the issue in a draft of their initial transparency report, when six independent producers and editors said they were asked to submit “check bids” on projects already owned by big agencies to “create a paper trail that justified to the advertiser its decision to award the project to an in-house facility.” More.

Not A Snap

Snapchat's rise may seem inevitable, but it ain’t necessarily so, Alex Kantrowitz writes for BuzzFeed. "Snap is bringing a largely unproven set of ad products to an online advertising game dominated by Google and Facebook; platforms that are so effective, advertisers told BuzzFeed News there’s a fat chance they’ll move large portions of their budgets anywhere else." Brands gripe about ad avoidance on the platform, as well as its limited performance-based ad options. But give the company some credit, hey? 360i CEO Sarah Hofstetter lauds the “ridiculously short time" in which Snap has been able to build an ad platform and measurement system. Read it.

Clean Up Act

The narrative around fake news has gotten the attention of brands, according to eMarketer. Its post on the topic quotes DataXu CEO Mike Baker: “The concern that we’ve seen is around what’s perceived as hate speech,” he says. More. The Guardian reports that Facebook hears those complaints loud and clear and is testing a tool that asks readers to rank articles on “misleading language.” But misleading content is only the tip of the iceberg. In an attempt to keep users inside its walls, Facebook emphasizes content that’s been liked and shared. But more than half of those actions are from users who never clicked the link to read the article, effectively making the headline the story. More.

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