Search Engine Optimisation Is Harder If Companies Change The Rules

Many marketers who do SEO think mainly of Google, and sometimes Bing. But the reality is that any platforms with search have people who try to optimise for a better result. People work hard to try to rank on search engines like YouTube, Amazon and the Apple App Store.

It’s not just optimising performance based on the algorithms. Some companies, including Apple and Amazon have changed their search algorithms to favor the companies themselves. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Amazon altered its search results in ways that boosted its own profits. This was despite a lot of internal pushback.

According to WSJ, Amazon’s retail business pushed for the product search system to take profitability into account. Programmers tasked with running the search algorithm,, reportedly opposed the idea. In part because it goes against the ethos of the company that claims to put the customer above all else.

Amazon’s legal team also raised concerns about the idea. Pointing out that the decision would likely draw scrutiny in The European Union. Google was fined $2.7 billion in 2017 for elevating its own shopping service in the organic search results.

Apple has been known for the same behavior on its owe app store search engine. According to a report from The New York Times Apple’s iOS App Store heavily favored the company’s iPhone and iPad apps, ranking them higher than more popular third-party options. This changed with a recent algorithm update.

The Times says they studied App Store search results (dating back several years) for queries like “music” and “podcasts” finding that Apple regularly favored a handful of its own apps, before getting to apps made by third-party developers.

Writing for Search Engine Land, Greg Sterling said “Visibility and position in App Store search results can be a make or break proposition for developers and startups in particular. Apple now says it has voluntarily remedied the issue in the App Store.

Despite this, the government will continue to scrutinize Apple’s behavior. And the results of any investigation into Apple’s search algorithm and its economic impact may hold implications for Google as well.”

People working in SEO, were overwhelmingly not surprised by this, but definitely find it annoying. Mason Pelt the owner of a Dallas SEO Agency said “I believe Apple, Amazon and Google, are only impartial to the point they have to be, for fear of consumer backlash or regulation. Finding out Apple, Amazon, or Google favored their own products, isn’t surprising. ” Adding in a lecture to a group of small business owners, that “Relentless.com owned by Jeff Bezos still redirects to amazon.com. Why? because they are relentless.”

When asked for tips Pelt said “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you until you have some teeth.” He explained that Spotify filed an antitrust complaint against Apple, but that the only reason he felt the complaint benefited Spotify, rather than ending the company was because Spotify already had millions of users.

Chinese Firms Selling AI Surveillance To African Nations

AI tech is rapidly taking off worldwide being implemented from voice recognition to fake videos to road traffic monitoring. It is also increasingly used to monitor and track citizens, according to a new report.

At least 75 of the 176 countries surveyed globally are now using AI for surveillance purposes. This from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The applications include facial recognition, social media and phone surveillance tools and the more. The main suppliers of these systems worldwide are Chinese companies, led by Huawei, which has supplied these technologies to at least 50 nations around the world.

Steven Feldstein, The study’s author, says that these tools were being used to “accomplish a range of policy objectives—some lawful, others that violate human rights, and many of which fall into a murky middle ground.”

African countries still struggle to adopt AI technologies, and the report notes that less than a quarter of countries invest in these systems. That is partly explained by the fact that the continent is still struggling with Internet connectivity.

However, Chinese companies are rapidly penetrating African markets, offering soft loans for governments to buy their equipment and promising to establish and manage these systems. In Kenya, for example, Huawei has helped install video systems that implemented 1,800 HD cameras and 200 HD traffic surveillance systems in Nairobi. In Zimbabwe, the Guangzhou-based CloudWalk developer announced a controversial agreement in 2018 to oversee a large-scale facial recognition program in collaboration with the authorities. With predictive policing is on the rise, but contested in the first world, early implementation of AI in law enforcement in the third world may set a status quo that people will never rebel against.

The debate on AI technologies also occurs when African nations and activists face issues that including digital privacy, information censorship, surveillance and Internet shutdown. With the lack of privacy laws in nations like Kenya, there is concern about how governments will use these data repositories, where they will be stored and who will have access to them.

Read the Full Story

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Buying Cracking Tech

According to a federal filing Immigration and Customs will pay Cellebrite between $30 and $35 million for technolagy to hack cell phones.

In 2016 Cellebrite became widely known by offering to hack the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter. The $35 million is for “universal forensic extraction devices (UFED)” and “accessories licenses, training and support services.” for 12 months, with the option for extending for up to five years.

CBP needs no warrants to search at borders. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has authority to operate within 100 miles of any U.S. border so, immigration checkpoints could pop up at any place in the U.S. up to 100 miles away from a border. About 65% of the U.S. lives within that distance of an external boundary.

Last year Homeland Security spied on journalists, activists, lawyers and and put them on enhanced screenings list given to CBP, this screening included and device searches by Border Patrol.

Vice confirmed last year the company has also sold hacking tools to to Russia, the UAE, and Turkey. a press release from Cellebrite in 2016 says they have “licenses in 100 countries” this is half of the nation states earth.

Cellebrite may have been involved with the hacking of iPhone in China. The nation state was hacking iPhones of people they have been putting into concentration camps. An ICE employee hung up on me after asking about Cellebrite’s involvement in china.

Hat Tip to Internet News Flash.

Gig Workers Win In California Senate

After most of the year deliberating the California Senate is now passing AB5, a law that is expected to solve problems for contractor from companies like Uber, Lyft and Doordash. In a historic victory, workers in these companies and others like them are likely to be considered employees, who are entitled to the benefits and protections that the statute suggests.

Gig platforms like these have been the subject of increasing criticism that the businesses rely on the misclassification of their workforce as independent contractors, while depriving workers of all significant self-determination of value — a key element of a truly independent entrepreneur. The lack of minimum protections at work has allowed carpool drivers to pay out of pocket for associated costs such as gasoline and vehicle preservation, while platforms determine how and when they shuttle passengers and can fire them at any time for any reason. This unbalanced ness leads to new leadership in the global protests of this disappearing workforce, which, at least in California, finally sees some relief.

The bill, introduced at the California State Conference in January by Assembly Lorena Gonzalez, still needs another passage on the Assembly and Governor Gavin Newsom’s. However, he has recently expressed his support for the initiative, and it is expected that the House will easily adopt the Senate version.

Read More in the New York Times

YouTube Pays $170M After Breaking Children’s Privacy Law

Google the parent compay of YoUTube is paying fines totaling $170 million to the FTC and the New York Attorney General to settle a case of unlawful data collection of children under 13.

The penalty for YouTube is paid out as, $136 million to the FTC and $34 million to the New York Attorney General. The company has also agreed to implement new policies to prevent further violations of COPPA. The FTC called this the largest penalty of its kind to date. However, this fine may not be make some privacy groups happy.

YouTube also must now treat all users viewing children’s videos as if COPPA applies to them, thus limiting data collection to “only to what is needed to support the operation of the service.”

People who work Managing YouTube Channels for brands will have to be up on the new guideline.

Google’s longer-term goal is to more all youngsters to the new separate YouTube Kids sire. A platform with parental controls, more privacy and stricter content guidelines.

Full Story by DCC Mag

Memos Show the U.S. Government Has Been Lying About Backpage All Along

For almost a decade, backpacks has been booed by politicians, criticized by legislators, and dramatically misunderstood by the media, with negative stereotypes reinforced by Hollywood. In early 2010, the top prosecutors in 21 states argued that classified advertising site was “exploiting women and children.” 

The Department of Justice closed Backpage.com in 2018, but it still activates anger and score in some corners. ( “They were selling children, ” said the senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris in March.) A number of founders and former administrators arrested last year on the federal, prostitute and money-laundering awaiting trial in 2020 to prevent the prosecution from seizing the assets.

“For far too long, Backpage.com existed as…a place where sex traffickers frequently advertised children and adults alike,” said then–Attorney General Jeff Sessions upon their April 2018 arrest. U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Strange alleged that Backpage made “hundreds of millions” by “placing profits over the well-being and safety” of victims.

Full Story by Reason Magazine

Malicious sites used To Hack iPhones For Years, Says Google

Security researchers at Google say they’ve found a number of malicious websites which, when visited, could quietly hack into a victim’s iPhone by exploiting a set of previously undisclosed software flaws.

The researchers found five separate operating networks involving 12 separate security vulnerabilities, including seven mixed safari, internet browser and the built-in iPhone. The five individual attack networks allowed an attacker to access, the highest level of access and permission to the iPhone.

In this operation, an attacker could access the full range of device attributes that are usually prohibited by the user. This means that the attacker could silently install malicious applications to spy on an iPhone without their knowledge or consent.

Google said based on their analysis, vulnerabilities were used to steal the images of user and messages as well as track their location in real time.

Full Story

How to Protect Against Robocalls

Every day most consumers answer a call, get a long pause, then hear a recording promising them something they don’t need or warning them about a problem they don’t have. These are robocalls and they are a nuisance to almost anyone with a phone. YouMail, a company that produces call blocking software, released a report that estimates 47.8 billion robocalls were made to Americans in 2018.

According to the FCC a robocall is a call made with an autodialer or that contains a message made with a prerecorded or artificial voice. Some of these calls are legal and some are not. Automated calls from charities or your local pharmacy telling you your prescription is ready are almost always legal. Political campaigns can contact your landline but not always your cell phone without your permission.

The FCC reports that every three minutes US consumers receive 350,000 unwanted calls, of which 47 percent are scams. These calls are an annoyance, but they also take advantage of many consumers and can be dangerous.

It is important to understand that the FCC requires that telemarketing businesses have your consent to call you. If you are on the Do Not Call Registry provided by the FTC then you are clearly not in the market for a call and would need to give consent. This of course will not stop all robocalls but it can cut them down, and it is also a help in identifying scams as they would not be hindered by the registry.

It isn’t really very hard to identify an illegal robocall. If a telemarketing company reaches out to a consumer that has not given consent to receive the call, then it is illegal. This can be across a spectrum of calls ranging from honest mistakes all the way to criminals attempting to get your social security information to steal your identity. These calls can also include caller-ID spoofing. Robocalls tend to spoof their call back numbers for many reasons, including the fact that if you wanted to call them back you couldn’t. You would actually need a different number to reach the company as their call-bots will not be answering the phones. This type of number spoofing can also be seen when a business shows a toll free call back number when they are calling from a different line.

The FCC has taken many steps to fight robocalls. To date they now allow phone companies to block robocalls by default, banned spoofed numbers from text message, banned international robocalls, and pushed for increased security and technology. This new technology includes a framework that validates calls before they are received called STIR/SHAKEN. This new security measure will help carriers comply with new government regulations requiring them to authenticate every call made on their networks.

Despite all of this US consumers are still getting robocall, so what more can be done? T-Mobile has implemented Scam ID which identifies numbers with labels such as “Scam Likely” or even “Scam Block”. This system was rolled out in 2017 but T-Mobile released that it is ready for and will be using STIR/SHAKEN as the FCC recommends as well. T-Mobile and Comcast also both launched a program called Caller Verified which applies a label recognized by both networks. According to T-Mobile AT&T will also be added to this system soon.

AT&T already has an in-network system to block robocalls, and can offer additional protection with their Call Protect app. This app will let you create and manage your own number block list to prevent repeat callers. Verizon also has an app called Call Filter that helps identify calls that are scams, allows reporting of numbers, and automatically blocks many robocalls. Sprint offers the service Premium Caller ID that helps identify spoofed numbers and robocalls. This is a service, not an app and there is a monthly fee associated with it.

One company, Robocalls.cash, offers a kit that helps consumers get paid for receiving robocalls. This process includes how to write a demand letter to get paid for the unsolicited call. This kit is proced at $47 and includes access to support and a Facebook group.

No app or service is going to keep you 100% safe. Be careful and be alert. IF you are not sure who you are talking with do not give them your personal information and do not purchase anything from them. Hang up, research the company, then make your decision.

Top 8 YouTube And Online Video Ad Agencies.

Web video has changed the online marketing game over the last few years, but under no uncertain terms, even with players like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook & Vimeo along with swarms of smaller platforms, YouTube rains King. Not all brands do well on YouTube, or even with online video. Today I’m finding the companies that help brands with web video. They are in no particular order, because the services are not always built for a head to head comparison.

Derral Eves

Derral Eves is pretty famous in the YouTube world. He runs VidSummit, a top industry conference, was one of the first people to be YouTube Certified in Audience Growth back in 2013 and has his own channel talking about YouTube news and marketing with over half a million subscribers.

Push ROI

Push ROI was hard not to find on many lists of top YouTube services. They are the number one results after the Youtube Website for the term “YouTube Channel Management” and one of the founders (Mason Pelt) was quoted in many articles as a YouTube expert, and worked with at least two other companies on our list, even being mentioned directly by an agency that I was shocked is no longer offering services. Pelt is also, YouTube Certified in Audience Growth.

Hey!

Hey! is a Video Strategy company with a huge amount of content on the site. The founder Dane Golden has been a known industry badass for a long time. Golden was at one time the president of Twit.tv the major tech podcast network and has also worked for New York Times. It’s not just YouTube Hey! are Instagram and Facebook experts as well.

Video Creators

Video Creators offers YouTube training and consulting. The founder Tim Schmoyer has been in the game since ’06. As is par for the course on this list he is YouTube Certified in Audience Growth and is widely held up as an expert. While not an agency for many Video Creators may be the place to get the advice to start in online video marketing.

Honorable Mention: VidPow

Meet VidPow an honorable mention, that is now out of the service business. At one time VidPow was well known as a YouTube service agency, but they are now building out one of the top marketing conferences for video creators, channel managers and advertisers. They even list some of the top agencies in the game today on their crunchbase.

Touchstorm

Touchstorm has worked with some impressive brands largely due to technolagy. In 2012 they made a name for themselves building their own property Howdini. The technolagy backed media company with agency war paint hasn’t uploaded to the Howdini YouTube channel in over 3 years, but they still have over 600k subscribers and, the founders of both Push ROI and VidPow once worked for the agency

Little Monster Media

Little Monster Media Co. is an agency helping build YouTube audiences. They are well known with a founder who is YouTube Certified. Matt Gielen the founder was previously the guy who built up Frederator Networks to pulling in 6 billion annual video views.

Harmon Brother

Harmon Brothers are the creators of the Viral Squatty Potty Ad. Their 2015 ad for Squatty Potty was called “the greatest viral ad in Internet history” by Boing Boing. Celebrated for their viral video campaigns, the Harmon Brothers know how to get eyeballs on ads.

Unisonsocial

Unisonsocial has clients who rave about them. They are on the list because of testimonials, but they lack a the things that make the other agencies standout. They don’t have big brand case studies, and you won’t find many quotes from employees in major media outlets. They also lack the YouTube Certification that solidified many of these agencies on the list.

Internet Service Security: The Internet May Be Too Dangerous

Maybe the most aggravating thing in connection to IoT security is not the dangers and hacks themselves – albeit some of them are really frightening – yet the “head in the sand” approach that such a large number of customers and even IT experts appear to take with regards to their Internet-associated “things.” People who might never put their portable PCs or desktop workstations online without the certification that they had appropriate security assurances set up consider nothing attaching another keen TV or reconnaissance camera to their systems without a particle of data about the product it’s running and what vulnerabilities that product may contain.

I think there are numerous explanations behind this security mindset hole encompassing IoT. The normal customer may not by any means get a handle on the way that these gadgets that are fit for associating with the Internet are really extraordinary reason PCs. They kind of sort of comprehend that their autos have PCs inside, yet they don’t believe that through to the point of understanding that those PCs have firmware and run working frameworks and application programming, all of which is helpless against assault pretty much as those same parts in their PCs may be.

We’ve as of now been through this and seen this distinction to some degree with PDAs. In spite of the numerous security vulnerabilities that are found in these gadgets – including Android and iOS and in addition Windows Phones – numerous individuals use, regularly, more established telephones that are running unpatched working frameworks, and numerous individuals escape their telephones and/or introduce outsider applications that haven’t been confirmed for security.

At last, individuals are starting to come around to the truth that the modest PCs in their pockets are pretty much as needing security as the ones that sit on their work areas or laps, particularly since large portions of them utilize their telephones to do internet saving money, make Mastercard buys, and associate with both their home and their corporate system’s assets. No such arousing, notwithstanding, has up ’til now happen with respect to the “things” that don’t look and act like PCs however are.

Another reason that the IoT gadgets are less secure is that even those individuals who do remember them as PCs may not see exactly how the product in these gadgets is created and incorporated. The thing is, the organizations that are delivering and offering “shrewd” TVs, iceboxes, lighting frameworks, indoor regulators thus on are not, more often than not, tech organizations. They’re TV/diversion organizations, apparatus producers, lighting masters and HVAC organizations. IT isn’t their center competency and security isn’t their business.

That implies the merchant a) contracts developers who may or won’t not be security-cognizant to compose the product or b) utilizes programming composed by outsiders to control the “shrewd” components in their gadgets. In any case, we wind up with a genuine security hole.

At long last, the clients of IoT gadgets believe that in light of the fact that these “things” are externally much less difficult (from the client point of view) than “genuine” PCs, that implies they should be a considerable measure simpler to secure. It makes sense; a basic framework is less demanding to ensure than a perplexing one. The issue is that numerous IoT gadgets require multifaceted nature “in the engine” keeping in mind the end goal to convey that streamlined client experience. Also, in the engine is the place the programmers and assailants skip.

One major issue with IoT gadgets is that we know so minimal about them. You may be talented at decoding Windows yield, perusing log documents, checking setups and pinpointing issues, yet what do you think about the code that keeps running on your shrewd washer and dryer?

Do you know anything about the rendition of the product that it’s running and regardless of whether it’s a la mode? Do you know what vulnerabilities that item delivered with and regardless of whether they’ve been altered? It’s presumably a sure thing that the organization that makes your associated smoke alert doesn’t have a month to month Patch Tuesday when it lets you know what number of and what sorts of vulnerabilities it’s altering.

Actually, do you even know who is obligation regarding redesigning your IoT “thing?” Is it the machine maker who made the equipment or the developer who composed the product? We keep running into that point-the-finger carousel with PC sellers, working framework creators and application engineers now, yet it’s much more terrible in the IoT world where such a large number of various programming parts are pulled together for some gadgets.

In selecting one brand of IoT gadget over another, do you have enough data to settle on a choice as to which is more secure? Is that data even accessible, anyplace? Most shopper purchase apparatuses, amusement hardware, family frameworks, and so on in light of cost and components, with little thought to the security of the product. Do you stress over your auto being hacked? Possibly you ought to, now that engine vehicles’ PC frameworks are interfacing with the Internet too. Andy Greenberg stood out as truly newsworthy the previous summer with an article on how programmers remotely “executed” his jeep on the thruway while he was driving it.

Despite the fact that there has been some debate over the jeep-hacking post and the achievability of it happening in the wild without physical access to the vehicle, there’s doubtlessly as autos turn out to be more PC controlled and associated, they will definitely turn into the objectives of a few aggressors. The greater the “remote assault surface” – the vicinity of innovations, for example, Bluetooth, wi-if and 4-G, alongside remote frameworks observing and keyless section, all of which work over radio flags (some of which require close physical nearness and some of which don’t) – the more hackable a vehicle will be.

Whether we’re discussing autos or TV sets or the frameworks that control our home solace and usefulness, however, the issue is the same: We simply don’t know whether the sellers of these items are guaranteeing that the product (which, by and large, was composed by another person) is secure and whether they are keeping it upgraded. Most IoT gadgets redesign naturally, and may not leave you a log record demonstrating that the upgrade was finished. In the event that you do get a message letting you know that the product was overhauled, it’s exceedingly impossible that it will give points of interest on what that upgrade included or what vulnerabilities it altered.

In case you’re a sufficient geek – and sufficiently neurotic about security – to need to take it upon yourself to check that your IoT gadgets are running the most recent and most secure renditions of their product, even that may not be simple. Some item sellers are unwilling (or maybe unable, at their customer technical support levels) to let you know even what programming is running on their gadgets. Their logic is by all accounts “simply believe us” however how would you know you can?

Notwithstanding the lack of definition that encompasses the basic programming on so a considerable lot of our IoT gadgets, another issue that makes IoT security such a test is the sturdiness of the equipment parts. In spite of the fact that we all know individuals who are as yet utilizing their antiquated desktop PCs from the mid 2000s with XP (discuss a security bad dream), individuals have a tendency to supplant their frameworks more frequently than that, since cutting edge applications require more up to date equipment to run legitimately and new peripherals may not interface with old machines, at any rate not without a heap of connectors (and afterward there’s the driver issue).

Then again, numerous, numerous individuals keep TVs and coolers for a long time. Prior to these machines “got keen,” that didn’t represent an issue. As they get associated with our systems, that life span implies that the equipment far outlives the product, or if nothing else the sellers’ capacity to keep the product secure. Sooner or later, IoT makers will quit giving programming support, including security upgrades, for more seasoned models of their items. Customary PC programming merchants do this, as well, obviously – however when that happens, the features blast with the news: “Microsoft closes support for XP” lets clients know (regardless of whether they follow up on it) that their OS has quite recently turned into a security hazard.

Do you think TV and indoor regulator sellers are going to make enormous declarations when they drop support for a specific adaptation of their gadgets? I don’t see that incident. Furthermore, it’s likewise likely that a large number of the creators of lower end IoT items will basically leave business, auto overhauls of the product on their gadgets will quit incident, and a large portion of their clients will never at any point know.