Google’s blanket ban of cryptocurrency ads ends next month

Google is rolling back its ban on cryptocurrency advertisements – following a similar move made by Facebook earlier this summer, CNBC reports. Google in March was among the first of the major platforms to announce it would no longer run ban cryptocurrency ads, due to an abundance of caution around an industry where there’s so much potential for consumer harm.

Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat had also banned cryptocurrency ads, for similar reasons.

But Facebook moved away from its blanket ban this June, when it said it would no longer ban all cryptocurrency ads, but would rather allow those from “pre-approved advertisers” instead. It excluded ads that promoted binary options and initial coin offerings (ICOs), however.

Google is now following suit with its own policy change, it appears.

Google’s policy still bans ICOs, wallets and trading advice, CNBC reports, citing Google’s updated policy page which points to a list of banned products.

But the October 2018 policy update says that “regulated cryptocurrency exchanges” will be allowed to advertise in the U.S. and Japan.

To do so, advertisers will have to be certified with Google for the specific country where their ads will run, a process that begins in October. The policy will apply to all accounts that advertise these types of financial products, Google says.

Banning cryptocurrency ads on the part of the major platforms was a good step in terms of consumer protection, due to the amount of fraud and spam in the industry. According to the FTC, consumers lost $532 million to cryptocurrency-related scams in the first two months of 2018. An agency official also warned that consumers could lose more than $3 billion by the end of the year, because of these problems.

But for ad-dependent platforms like Facebook and Google, there’s so much money to be made here. It’s clear they wanted to find a way to let some of these advertisers back in. Google parent Alphabet makes around 86% of its total revenue from ads, CNBC noted, and booked over $54 billion in ad revenue in the first half of the year.

Google has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Watch the Colin Kaepernick Nike Ad That Will Run During the NFL Season Opener

Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick has posted the first television commercial made as part of his new deal with Nike.

“If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good,” says Kaepernick in a voiceover while footage of other Nike athletes, including Serena Williams and skateboarder Nyjah Huston, plays. “Stay that way. Because what non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy isn’t an insult. It’s a compliment.”

“So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy,” says Kaepernick at the end of the commercial – which went public Wednesday. “Ask if they’re crazy enough.”

The spot was posted just a couple days after Nike revealed that Kaepernick, who is at the center of a years-long fierce debate over free speech and athlete protests, is the face of the company’s newest ad campaign. That announcement brought cheers from some corners, while others who disagree with Kaepernick’s actions defaced their Nike gear in protest.

Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, ignited a firestorm in 2016 when he sat through the national anthem, and, in later games, knelt through it. A handful of other NFL players, many of whom are black, followed suit. The players involved have said they are protesting everything from police brutality to racial inequality more broadly.

Kaepernick, who opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2016, has not played a professional football game ever since. He now contends that NFL team owners conspired to keep him off any roster in retaliation for his actions, and has filed a grievance that is moving from arbitration to trial.

Nike’s new ad featuring Colin Kaepernick will air during the 2018-19 NFL opening game featuring the Atlanta Falcons and defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports.

‘Believe in Something.’ Colin Kaepernick Is the Face of Nike’s New ‘Just Do It’ Campaign

Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike‘s latest ad campaign, two years after kneeling during the national anthem made him the face of protest in the NFL.

Kaepernick tweeted an image from Nike’s new “Just Do It” campaign on Monday. The advertisement features a close-up shot of the quarterback’s face and reads, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 and is not currently signed by an NFL team. He has filed a grievance alleging that the league’s owners conspired to keep him off a team because of his stance on social issues.

Following Kaepernick’s actions, several NFL players, most of whom are black, have knelt during the pre-game performance of the national anthem or otherwise protested against police brutality, racism, inequality and other issues.

Kaepernick has been endorsed by Nike since 2011, though the company has, until now, stayed quiet about his history of protest. Nike did not immediately respond to TIME’s request for comment about the new campaign.

The NFL’s 2018-19 season begins Thursday, Sept. 6.

Huawei was caught using a pro camera to fake smartphone photos (again)

Huawei might make decent smartphones, but its marketing and advertising campaigns have, multiple times, been struck by controversy. That continues today, as an actor’s social media post revealed that the company faked smartphone photos with a professional DSLR camera for an advertisement in Egypt.

In the ad (embedded below), a couple takes selfies at a party and at home with the Huawei Nova 3. The Huawei video shows a rapid succession of moments in which the couple prepares to take the selfie, then shows the final photos as snapshots between moments. As it turns out, though, the photos were taken on a DSLR camera—the type of dedicated (and not-at-all-tied-to-a-smartphone) camera used by professional photographers.

Huawei Mobile Egypt’s ad for the Huawei Nova 3.

Reddit user AbdullahSab3 discovered that Sarah Elshamy, one of the actors in the video, posted some behind-the-scenes photos to her Instagram page. One image revealed a photographer shooting the at-home selfie with a DSLR.

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Apple’s Search Ads expand to six more markets in Europe and Asia

In December, Apple introduced a new pay-per-install ad product called Search Ads Basic aimed at smaller developers, to complement the existing Search Ads product, which then became known as Search Ads Advanced. Today, the company is expanding Search Ads to more countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Spain, bringing the total number of countries where Search Ads is available to thirteen.

In addition to the U.S., Search Ads Advanced had already expanded to Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the U.K.

Developers in the newly supported countries will be able to create campaigns using Search Ads Advanced starting on July 25, 2018 at 4 PM PDT, with those campaigns appearing on the App Store starting August 1, 2018 at 4 PM PDT.

Meanwhile, Search Ads Basic will be available across all thirteen supported countries starting on August 22, 2018 at 10 AM PDT.

To encourage sign-ups, Apple is offering first-time advertisers a $100 USD credit to try out the product.

While the first version of Search Ads launched back in October 2016 in the U.S., the idea behind the newer “Basic” product was to offer developers a different – and simpler – means of reaching potential customers.

Search Ads was originally designed to allow developers to target users’ keyword searches, combined with other factors like location, gender or whether or not they had installed the app in the past. Developers would pay when users tapped on those targeted ads.

With the launch of Search Ads Basic, it’s easier to set up campaigns.

Developers only have to enter the app to be advertised, the campaign’s budget, and how much they want to pay per install. Apple helps by suggesting the max developers should pay using historical data. Then, developers only pay for actual installs, not taps.

Although the App Store was redesigned with the launch of iOS 11 to offer improved discoverability, search is still a key way people find out about apps.

Apple says that over 70 percent of App Store visitors use search to discover apps, in fact, and 65 percent of all downloads come directly from an App Store search.

The ads work well, too, as they have an over 50 percent conversion rate, on average, says Apple.

Apple’s advantage over the pay-per-install ads found elsewhere on the web isn’t only the ads’ placement – at the top of App Store searches, where they’re identified with a blue background and “Ad” icon – it also manages this without violating user privacy. That is, it doesn’t build specific profiles on individuals for ad targeting purposes, and it doesn’t share user data with developers. By its nature, this makes the system GDPR compliant.

In addition, Apple only places an ad when it’s relevant to a user’s search – developers can’t pay more to have their ad shown more often across less relevant searches, which offers a more level playing field.

Apple didn’t say when Search Ads would reach other countries, but with the new expansions it has some of the top markets now covered.

 

Facebook bows to WA State pressure to remove “discriminatory” ad filters

Though Facebook announced a voluntary plan to update its controversial advertising-filter system earlier this year, Washington State announced a firmer plan for the social media company on Tuesday.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a legally binding plan that will force Facebook to “make significant changes to its advertising platform by removing the ability of third-party advertisers to exclude ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, and other protected groups from seeing their ads.”

Ferguson also declared the end of his office’s 20-month investigation into Facebook’s advertising practices on Tuesday, which coincided with an Assurance of Discontinuance (PDF) filed in King County Superior Court.

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Netflix experiments with promoting its shows on the login screen

Netflix is testing a new way to promote its original shows – right on the login screen. A company spokesperson confirmed the streaming service is currently experimenting with a different login screen experience which replaces the black background behind users’ names and profile thumbnails with full-screen photos promoting a Netflix Original series or special, like “BoJack Horseman,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Dark,” “My Next Guest…”, “13 Reasons Why,” and several others.

We first noticed the change on a TV connected to a Roku media player and on a Fire TV, but Netflix says the test is running “for TV,” which means those on other TV platforms may see the promoted shows as well. (Our Roku TV, however, had the same black background on the login screen, we should note.)

The promoted shows aren’t necessarily those Netflix thinks you’d like – it’s just a rotating selection of popular originals.

Every time you return to the Netflix login screen, it will have refreshed the photo that’s displayed. After cycling in and out of the Netflix app several times on our TV, we found the image selection to be fairly random – sometimes the promoted show would repeat a couple of times before a new show hopped in to take its place.

Netflix will likely decide whether or not to move forward with the change to the login screen based on how well this new promotional effort works to actually increases viewership of its originals.

While it makes sense to better utilize this space, I’m not sold on having ads for adult-oriented shows appearing on the same login screen that’s used by a child. The ads themselves (so far) have not been inappropriate, but it doesn’t seem like a good fit for multi-person households and families. For example, I now have to explain to a school-ager why they can’t watch that funny-looking cartoon, “BoJack Horseman.” Meanwhile, when I was logging in to watch more grown-up fare, I saw an ad for the new “Trolls” kids’ show. Uh, okay. 

That said, this is still a much less intrusive way to advertise Netflix shows, compared with putting promos at the beginning of a show, like HBO does.

Netflix continually experiments with different ways to showcase its original programming, some of which eventually roll out to the wider user base – like the screensavers that launched last year, or the newer Stories-inspired mobile previews which arrived this spring.

The company is expected to spend up to $13 billion on original programing this year, so it makes sense that it wants to highlight top shows to users in the hopes of getting them hooked on content that they can’t get elsewhere. Retaining users is especially important given all the changes to the increasingly competitive streaming media space as of late, including the rise of live TV services, the AT&T-Time Warner merger, and Disney’s forthcoming Netflix competitor. Netflix is smart to double-down on its best asset: Originals.

The new test of promos on the login screen is only showing to a small percentage of users, Netflix says. That means you may not see them yourself, even if logging in to Netflix on a TV.

Image credits: Me. Photos are from my own Netflix account. My daughter likes to rename her account silly things, in case you’re wondering. Side note: I miss having real profile images instead of these stupid drawings. Why can’t we pick from characters on Netflix shows? That would be a fun way to promote the original series. After all, BuzzFeed has long since proven that people do like relating themselves to fictional characters, thanks to those “which character are you?” quizzes.

Reddit brings autoplay native video ads to desktop and mobile

The advertising-lite days of Reddit are now firmly in the rear-view as the rapidly maturing company begins to seriously chase advertising revenues in users’ feeds. Today, the Reddit has announced that it is rolling out autoplaying video ads across the site on mobile and desktop.

Reddit is looking to tread as carefully as they can as the company begins to quickly scale its ad products; its vocal user base has often proven resistant to sweeping changes. Users will be able to turn off autoplay on video ads in their main feed. Additionally, for the time being, video ads will only be served to users that are utilizing the expanded card display type which is the default of three new modes in Reddit’s latest mobile and desktop redesign.

These are also just for standalone ad campaigns at the moment, this rollout will not add pre-roll ads to videos that users click on. Additionally, video ads will be available to managed advertising partners first with all partners gaining access in the next month or so.

The popular site, which currently reports 330 million monthly active users, has remained relatively unchanged for much of the first half of this decade, but over the past couple years has accelerated its product growth with a redesign of its mobile apps and desktop site, a move to host images on video natively and, more recently, a major push to integrate native advertising.

“We have an opportunity to business-build,” Reddit VP of Brand Partnerships Zubair Jandali told TechCrunch. “Reddit has remarkable product-market fit on the consumer side and we’ve not layered a business on top of it. There aren’t a lot of opportunities that tend to come around like that.”

The video ads business will be built onto the company’s native video product, which only recently came to exist. The company’s history with external sites like Imgur and YouTube hosting its linked content has been long, but this past August the company launched its own native video platform which the company says has continued to excel, with native video views growing 23 percent month-over-month.

Autoplaying video ads are a major progression for a site that only rolled out native ads to its mobile apps a couple months ago. Reddit has been making some big sweeping changes to its site, but by delivering a lot of new utility to users alongside new changes to its advertising platform, things seem to be progressing more smoothly that many would’ve expected, we’ll see if that continues.