Google temporarily bans addiction center ads globally following exposure of seedy referral deals

 Google is temporarily halting advertisements worldwide for addiction and rehabilitation centers, following a report last week showing it was acting as a platform for shady referral services earning huge undisclosed commissions. Read More

Google to vet YouTube videos that are part of its top-tier ad program

After punishing one of its fastest-growing creators this week, Google is reportedly planning on scrutinizing YouTube videos that are part of its most lucrative advertising program. According to a Bloomberg report, Google will begin vetting YouTube videos in the Google Preferred ad program, which Google uses to sell advertisements on the most popular YouTube channels at higher rates. In turn, creators with channels in Google Preferred get a better cut of the advertising revenue than those on Google’s lower-tier advertising programs.

Google’s plan isn’t much different from previous plans for policing the majority of videos on YouTube. The company will use the combined forces of its 10,000 human moderators and artificial intelligence software to identify videos posted by the biggest channels that violate YouTube’s guidelines and are not suitable for advertisements.

Videos that are part of Google Preferred have always been governed by YouTube’s general Community Guidelines and posting rules that define offensive and unacceptable content. But a number of videos posted by popular accounts have fallen through the cracks recently, including Logan Paul’s “suicide forest” video.

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Academic researchers fire latest shots in adblocking arms race

Advertising pays much of the budget for most online publishers, making the growth of adblockers an existential threat. As such, adblocking has set off a software-based arms race, with publishers finding software solutions that keep ads appearing or entreat people using adblocking software to white-list them. Adblockers readily respond with modified software that targets these specific responses, triggering the publishers to try again.

Some academics have recently stepped into the middle of this arms race, performing an analysis that allows them to identify the specific methods used by publishers to avoid having ads blocked. And the team has gone on to try a couple of different approaches, both of which modify a webpage’s contents to keep the anti-adblocking software from having an effect.

Outside of the economics of it all, there’s an interesting computer science problem here. The code on the webpage is attempting to identify software present on a user’s browser. How do you recognize when that’s happening, and how can you possibly intervene?

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Thousands of major sites are taking silent anti-ad-blocking measures

 It’s no secret that ad-blockers are putting a dent in advertising-based business models on the web. This has produced a range of reactions, from relatively polite whitelisting asks to dynamic redeployment of ads to avoid blocking. A new study finds that nearly a third of the top 10,000 sites on the web are taking ad blocking countermeasures, many silent and highly sophisticated. Read More

‘They see the potential’: why J-Lo and Gillette want a piece of the eSports action

With superstar backers and sponsorship from mainstream brands, competitive video gaming is hitting the big time

If there are any doubts that computer games can become a mainstream spectator sport, then Jennifer Lopez and Stan Kroenke are not listening.

The superstar singer and Arsenal’s majority shareholder have both put money into eSports teams, as the gaming competitions with millions of followers worldwide aim for even greater public appeal. Lopez has bought into a team franchise for the new Overwatch League, in which teams from cities such as Seoul, San Francisco and London play Overwatch, a mass-participation shooting game. The global competition for the game, which launches in January, also includes the LA Gladiators, run by Kroenke, a serial sports entrepreneur.

Related: eSports are real sports. It’s time for the Olympic video games | Tauriq Moosa

Related: The rise of eSports: are addiction and corruption the price of its success?

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Apple introduces a new pay-per-install ad product called Search Ads Basic

 Apple today is introducing a new way for app developers to acquire users for their apps: it’s launching a pay-per-install advertising product called Search Ads Basic. The “basic” branding signals that this product is being aimed at smaller developers compared with the existing Search Ads product, which is now being renamed to Search Ads Advanced. Launched last year, Search… Read More

Facebook will temporarily disable a tool that lets advertisers exclude people of color

 Facebook has been under fire for its practices and policies that enable advertisers to exclude “multicultural affinity” groups from the audiences they reach via the social network. Now, in light of a ProPublica investigation and pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus, Facebook says it’s committed to taking a closer look at its advertising policies. Read More

I watched 1,000 hours of YouTube Kids’ content and this is what happened…

 What do you get if you endlessly recombine Spiderman and the Joker with Elsa from Frozen and lashings of product placement for junk food brands like McDonalds? Read More