Australian consumer watchdog to examine anti-competitive behaviour by Google and Facebook | Australia news – Blog – 10 minute

The competition watchdog will conduct two new inquiries into possible anti-competitive behaviour by digital platforms such as Facebook and Google, and services allowing online advertisers to target Australian internet users.
The treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, has instructed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to begin the new inquiries as part of ongoing scrutiny recommended by the digital platforms inquiry it conducted in 2019.
The original inquiry was set up to address concerns from traditional media companies that behemoths such as search engine Google and social media company Facebook were gathering an increasing share of advertising revenue, imperilling the business model of companies employing journalists and content creators.

Frydenberg suggested the two new inquiries could help “improve the sustainability of the Australian media landscape” through “the proper functioning of markets and a fair approach to regulation” and would ensure Facebook and Google are “closely monitored”.
The digital platforms inquiry will be conducted by the new dedicated unit of the ACCC, set up in December, to give effect to the recommendation for “more consistent scrutiny of potentially anti-competitive behaviour and consumer harms”.
Armed with compulsory information gathering powers to collect data from digital platforms, the inquiry could lead to ACCC enforcement action as well as inform government policy. It will report by September 2020, with reports due every six months thereafter.
The ad-tech inquiry, to run until August 2021 with an interim report due by December, will focus on technologies that gather information about consumers and use it to target them with highly personalised advertising online.
These include Google products such as Google Ad Manager and their competitors AppNexus, MediaMath, Rubicon Project and The Trade Desk, but may exclude Facebook’s advertising service, which the ACCC found is “not considered to be an ad-tech service” because it “does not interconnect with other parts of the ad-tech supply chain”.
In its final report, the ACCC complained of a “lack of transparency” around pricing in the sector, with ad purchasers unsure how much is spent on ad-tech services as opposed to purchasing the advertising inventory.
Frydenberg said digital platforms “have fundamentally changed the way that media content is produced, distributed and consumed” and regulatory frameworks need to keep pace.

“The government recognises that there is a need for reform to better protect consumers, improve transparency, address power imbalances and ensure that substantial market power is not used to lessen competition in media and advertising services markets,” he said.
“The government’s role is not to protect domestic businesses from digital competition, but rather to ensure the proper functioning of markets and a fair approach to regulation that ensures the rules of the physical world apply equally to the digital world.
“The reforms already agreed to by the government, together with these inquiries will strengthen competition and consumer protection and improve the sustainability of the Australian media landscape.
“With digital platforms collecting and using enormous volumes of personal information, consumers need to be properly informed about the data collected, how it is being used and by who.”
Frydenberg noted 98% of online searches on mobiles are with Google and Facebook has 17 million Australian users who spend on average half an hour each day on the platform.
“Given this incredible level of market concentration, it is critical that these companies continue to be closely monitored,” he said.
The ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, has said the market power enjoyed by the digital behemoths is weakening Australian media, with Google and Facebook estimated to have captured 80% of the growth in digital advertising in the past three years.
More than a quarter of traditional newspaper journalism jobs have disappeared, print advertising revenue has dried up, and for every $100 spent on online advertising, $47 goes to Google and $21 goes to Facebook.
In the digital platforms inquiry the ACCC called for new powers to compel information from Facebook and Google about how they adapt their algorithms – the machine-driven formulas that rank content and determine what users will see first – and to investigate whether they are favouring their own businesses ahead of other companies.
Media giant News Corp proposed that Google be broken up to restore a level playing field for media companies swamped by its “overwhelming” market power.

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Narcissism nightmare: how brands can reach the selfie consumer- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Narcissism appears to be on the rise in modern societies. It is present on all levels, leading some scientific researchers to refer to it as “socially toxic”. An ongoing study of narcissism by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast has found that narcissists are likely to “engage in risky behaviour, hold an unrealistic, superior view of themselves, are overconfident, show little empathy for others, and have little shame or guilt”.
Try selling something to people who think everything is all about them. Nothing in the world, not a single product, service or experience is ever totally perfect, so how can you ever hope to please them? And should you accidentally succeed in doing so, how can you ever hope to keep them happy enough to continue as loyal customers?
Brands struggle to follow them, mentally if not physically. Where traditional consumers could at least be handled as a sort of homogenous mass, today’s consumers are like strands of quicksilver, slithering this way and that. The moment you think you understand them, the moment you start a campaign that you think will hit the spot – well, the day your campaign is launched you’re likely to miss the mark because they are already obsessed with something else entirely. All it takes is a single new influencer blogger-vlogger type to swing people against a brand en masse, or convince them to go for a product that promises to make them shine more than anything on earth.
Unbelievable? Gwyneth Paltrow and her lifestyle platform Goop recently launched a candle called This Candle Smells Like My Vagina. The candle retails for $75 and sold out within an hour; there is currently a waiting list for new orders. Now there is a product that sums up what is happening inside people’s heads around the world. A candle that reflects the smell of Ms Paltrow’s vagina: how narcissistic can a product be?
Everyone’s a narcissist sometimes
What makes matters much, much worse is it’s not a “us vs them” story here. There is a narcissist in all of us. The way we have become accustomed to our current high standard of living – at least in the west – has spoiled us all to some extent. People have developed a huge sense of entitlement as a matter of course: to be treated like a royal in a shop, or to have the doctor in ER drop everything to have a look at that throbbing finger.
We have all come to think that everything is possible right now, or should be possible in the shortest possible time if not right away (“What, we’ve landed on Mars but you’re telling me you can’t deliver this washing machine tonight, mate?”). There are tens of millions of us behaving as if we were unique, and we feel the need to be treated accordingly. Yet the level of narcissism that informs so many consumer choices seems to have escaped the notice of many brands. They are still at the stage of “engaging,” trying to find a bridge between their brand and products and their target audience.
The irony here is that this form of narcissism is also known as marketing narcissism. Which is the old-fashioned kind of marketing we all know so well: “talking about yourself.” Self-centred positioning and propositions are still taking centre stage in many marketing communication endeavours, resulting in something that still radiates a “buy, buy, buy” attitude. Too many brands are still in love with themselves; not surprisingly, they run up against a wall of people who happen to love themselves even more.
Uniqueness is the word
The true narcissist is still something of a rarity. In general, typical narcissists think themselves better than others, want to impress and be the centre of attention. Using this broader definition of narcissism, around 20% of western consumers are considered narcissists, say Swiss researchers. Consumers in some Eastern cultures (eg urban China or Singapore), however, are rapidly catching up, according to Emanuel de Bellis and Andreas Herrmann from the University of St Gallen’s Institute of Consumer Insights. In particular, they have been looking at how narcissism intersects with the expanding field of mass customisation.
Mass customisation is seen as one way to comply with the heightened feeling of “wanting to be unique” that is showing up in consumer behaviour. Buying something that is (sort of) unique or seen as unique by those around the buyer makes the narcissistic consumer feel good; it offers the opportunity to show off his uniqueness on social media, keeping intact his status as an interesting person or even expanding it.
Customisation is something businesses and brands will have to focus on even more in the near future. They will have to work hard on R&D to come up with products and services that are highly individualised and customised. There is a win-win in that: businesses will satisfy people’s narcissistic urges while charging more for these products and services. In this way they will also build a reputation for being a business or brand that really and truly understands today’s consumer.
Expression of self
Going after narcissist consumers is not easy, and that’s an understatement. Supposedly, the obvious way to find them and reach out to them is through social media, or by tempting/engaging them with online content that somehow reflects their interests and lifestyle. It has led brands to spend trillions of dollars worldwide in the hunt for likes. The rationale behind online content development, online advertising and social media communication has generally been little more than that: the more likes we score, the more popular we become; the more traffic to our site, the more people visit our outlets; the more we sell, the more loyal those clients will become.
Sounds great, but as it happens, it hasn’t worked out that way. Brand likeability takes more than just a superficial click on a thumb icon. The narcissist will not be touched by flattery alone. Today’s narcissistic consumers know the difference between outright flattery and genuine interest in their precious egos and all that feeds them. Even knowing, as a brand, that the choices of your target audience are influenced by this narcissism in some way doesn’t make it easier to develop communication that gets the job done.
As a brand you have to delve deeper inside the people you want to touch, otherwise how can you convince them to like, love or buy your brand? Those with a strong narcissistic streak are extremely susceptible to validation, so chances are the moment you help them embrace your brand message as a reflection of what they believe in, you will touch a nerve. Sharing it on social media will show they are indeed the special person they are (or feel themselves to be) and there’s nothing they like better than that.
Coca-Cola created something exactly like this in China. The company offered bottles customised with the names or sentiments that customers wished to express. It worked with Sina Weibo, one of China’s social media sites, to promote the bottles. The first day they came out with the promotion, Chinese consumers ordered 300 bottles per hour. Four days later, they were ordering 300 bottles per minute. Coca-Cola had succeeded in helping them express their unique feelings and convictions, which hit the spot more than anything designed merely to accumulate likes. The campaign reflected people’s uniqueness and played to their feelings of being someone special.
Strong feelings to explore
Playing to the narcissistic traits of today’s consumers requires you to take a good, hard look at the emotional content of, well, your content. It is about finding something that shows what your brand is about instead of telling what your brand is about. Starbucks once printed a poem about loneliness and connection by Augustus Burroughs on its cups. It struck a chord with a lot of Starbucks’ customers and forged a deeper emotional connection with the brand. They could have just printed something on the order of “We are Starbucks” or some other derivative of the Starbucks mission. But that would never have had as much impact with people as “walking their talk.” This was not about promoting the brand, it was about confirming the customer’s choice to come into Starbucks and keep coming back to Starbucks.
“Right,” I hear you saying, “but if a brand isn’t allowed to talk about itself to build its name and image, how can it realise effective marketing strategies? Somehow, surely, you will have to inform people about what you have to offer, right? At some point, you will have to sell what you sell just to stay in business, won’t you? Aren’t we going overboard with all this touchy-feely stuff just because consumers are turning out to be narcissistic?”
No, you won’t be going overboard by looking for ways to touch the narcissistic nerve in consumers. It also doesn’t mean you’ll have to sit down with a small army of psychologists to develop a creative marketing communication strategy. In fact, the way to go is not that much different from the intuitive way advertising creatives have always tried to appeal to people’s egos. That our ego has started suffering from gigantism after the last decade of self-promotion is certain, but ego is still ego. It comes down to the question: How can we make people feel as special as they think they are? How can we help them, through our brand message or our products and experiences, express themselves to the outside world as the special people they want to be?
Invite them to become more influential by sharing their wisdom on a brand platform – this would play to their feeling of being smarter than others. Develop queue-jumping apps like Starbucks did, or Prime Priority Delivery like Amazon, or any other form of VIP service – this would play to their feeling of being superior to or more important than others. Or find a way to improve the pictures, videos or selfies they share on social media – this would play to their vanity and their need to stand out in a crowd.
It’s about them, not you
Perhaps we have entered the most difficult age we have ever encountered in branding and advertising. As brand marketers, business leaders and communication professionals, it is ingrained in the very fibre of our being that brand advertising is about the brand being seen and heard. It informs people about itself, presents itself, shows itself, sends out messages about itself into the wide world in the most enticing way we can devise.
That stage is not yet completely behind us, but any brand marketer with common sense will have to acknowledge that here is a ballgame that will have to be played differently. The battle for attention has shifted inward, to the interior monologue of our audiences. It is no longer about making our brands look special in the world; it is about making our customers feel special in the world.
Erik Saelens is the founder and executive strategic director of Brandhome

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Behind Bacardi’s ‘Back to the Bar’ project that helps it get closer to the consumer- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Staying relevant in a consumer world that’s boozy with choice is tough even for one of the world’s best-known alcohol brands. According to Bacardi, part of the secret lies in making sure its staff knows where the brand came from by stepping out of the office and into the bar.
Since 2018, the brand has been running ‘Back to the Bar’ a project which sees employees celebrate the brand’s founders day by ditching the keyboard and shaking up a cocktail.
In India, staff finds themselves making cocktails alongside colleagues but also the leadership team, as everyone is encouraged to ‘walk the factory floor’ and stay closer to where the product is really being consumed and bought.
Arijit Sengupta, director, human resources, India and neighbouring countries, Bacardi, says the project tries to take its employees back to when the brand first launched.
“Bacardi’s philosophy of remaining close to the consumer dates back to the initial years of when these brands came alive. Pappy Valiente, Bacardi’s first brand ambassador, waited at the Havana airport to greet tourists and whisk them away for a BACARDÍ rum cocktail, while Tommy Dewar would often ask his friends to order DEWAR’S at bars, regardless of whether it was available,” explains Sengupta.
“‘Back to the Bar’ is more than just an employee initiative, it is a celebration of one of our most cherished principles that every employee is a ‘founder’ who can impact business change. At Bacardi, our employees or primos (Spanish for cousin) are encouraged to think like salespeople irrespective of their function. We strongly believe that every one of our primos should get the chance to spend time in the market first-hand gathering insights straight from our biggest stakeholder – the consumer. Not only does it help us understand changing tastes and preferences, but it also connects with our consumers at a personal level that a research study rarely provides. We started our journey with cocktails and conversations and ‘Back to the Bar’ is a tribute to that very tradition.”
Sengupta compares this initiative with the concept of ‘walking the factory floor’ for those in leadership positions, which this year saw Bacardi India chief executive Sanjit Randhawa participate, as it “aims to bridge the gap between the boardroom and the bar”.
As for the younger and newer talent in the industry, Sengupta says this ties into the fact that people want to work for brands that stand for the right causes and offer empowerment. He believes the workforce and brand identity are inextricably linked.
“The culture of a company lends the brand a reputation of a great workplace. And nothing can bring this culture to life more than our own employees. Initiatives like ‘Back to the Bar’ connect with Bacardi’s aim to cultivate founder’s mentality and inspire a progressive, trend-focused and curious mindset within the organization, allowing each employee to always do what’s right for the business. It also bridges the gap where the employees and consumers no more work in isolation. This sense of ownership and entrepreneurial and passionate spirit goes a long way in building positive, motivated and growth-focused teams,” explains Sengupta.
He adds that this also extends to the digital world, “For us, our employees are our biggest ambassadors. Everything they represent about Bacardi, on the digital or outside world, makes us who we are; as a brand, employer of choice. While our office culture aids a positive ecosystem for growth, we’re also constantly working towards digital initiatives that bring alive our spirit.”
As for what is next, Sengupta believes Back to the Bar can be the springboard for more initiatives that bring its ‘primos’ closer to its customers.

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Ancestry lays off 100 employees as consumer interest in DNA testing continues to wane – Blog – 10 minute

Why it matters: Genealogy specialist Ancestry this week announced it would be laying off six percent of its workforce in order to better position itself to cope with “marketplace realities.” It’s yet another sign that the industry has indeed hit a rough patch and that consumer trust isn’t rock solid.
The cut will affect roughly 100 people according to CNBC.
Ancestry president and CEO Margo Georgiadis said in announcing the layoffs that over the last 18 months, they have seen a slowdown in consumer demand across the entire DNA space. “The DNA market is at an inflection point now that most early adopters have entered the category,” she said.
Georgiadis added that further growth will require a continued focus on building consumer trust and turning out new, innovative offerings that deliver even greater value to users.

Georgiadis’ analysis of the market is dead on. Just two weeks ago, rival DNA testing firm 23andMe also let go around 100 employees, or roughly 14 percent of its workforce. Co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki said the move was spurred by declining sales. And last summer, DNA sequencing machine maker Illumina said the industry as a whole was experiencing a downturn.
Much of the slowdown is related to consumer concern over privacy. Law enforcement has increasingly been turning to genomics sites to help catch criminals that have slipped through the cracks. Even the US government is reportedly suggesting that military members not use such services due to privacy concerns.
Looking ahead, Ancestry said it will sharpen its focus and investment in its core family history business and has committed long-term to its health arm. The company also touched on privacy, pledging to continue to build a brand that consumers can trust through transparency.
Masthead credit: Ancestry sign by Sundry Photography. Old photos by Megan Brady.

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CBA’s Comyn wants screen scrapers scrubbed from Consumer Data Right – Finance – Cloud – Security – Software- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Matt Comyn, has publicly hit back against calls by sections of the fintech sector to legitimise the controversial practice of screen scraping, saying the activation of open banking should make it redundant.
The head of Australia’s largest bank on Monday stoked the unsightly industry bin fire, telling iTnews that while CBA was “we’re very supportive of consumer data right [CDR] and open banking” the safety of customers came first.
Comyn said that after the CDR goes live mid this year “we’d like to think that after that point in time, screen scraping technologies would no longer be necessary.”
“It seems important to us to not try and go against decades and advice to customers to not share their security credentials with a third party,” Comyn said.
Comyn’s statements indicate there is essentially no chance of the CBA walking back from its position of alerting customers who provide their account and security credentials to third parties to warn them that such disclosures are against the banks security rules and make customers liable for fraud.
The comments echo those of Australia’s former cyber tsar, Alastair MacGibbon, who said legitimisation would send “precisely the wrong message”.
The CBA’s use of the warnings to customers, which are triggered when the bank detects account access that is not by the account holder, has incensed some payments technology firms who claim the CBA is trying to frighten customers into not using competitors.
Some of the accusations, most of them contained in submissions to the government’s Fintech and Regtech Inquiry, go as far as to accuse the bank of seeking to hobble competition in the sector to protect its own market share.
Complicating matters, none of the Big Four banks’ submissions to the Fintech and Regtech Inquiry set out an explicit position on the use of screen scrapers or sharing of credentials with third parties, making Mr Comyn’s comments the first publicly clear line in the sand.
Some of CBA’s big bank rivals also have to contend with their various venture funds using screen scrapers as a fudge to onboard customers before Open Banking goes live.
At a basic level, screen scrapers work by getting account holders to hand over their details to another service that then accesses their customer information at a bank or service to allow porting or another service to use their customer data.
The solution is essentially a quick workaround to avoid creating more complex APIs with security overheads to extract the same data, with some fintechs arguing banning screen scrapers would make their businesses unviable.
But there are prominent calls to have them banned, not least from consumer and financial law advocates who cite a litany of abuses and predatory behaviour from the underbelly of the unsecured lending market (payday and other high interest loan providers).
Consumer advocates say predatory lenders are attempting to recast themselves as fintechs and create a ‘halo’ of innovation to hide under.
The CBA has good cause to be concerned over the potential proliferation of screen scraping spivs given its size ropes in more customers from a lower income demographic where high interest lenders ply their trade.
Like other banks, CBA is also wary of the so-called buy-now, pay later sector as unsecured consumer credit migrates away from credit cards that have revolving balance limits to running a credit book to more structured repayment instalments  that are approved per purchase.
CBA last week tripled its investment in Swedish online shopping and consumer credit darling Klarna to US$300 million for a stake of 5.5 percent, a move aimed at capturing a slice of credit card averse (or ineligible) young shoppers.

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Facebook India sparks consumer marketing drive via new marketing director role- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Facebook has appointed Avinash Pant to lead its marketing activities in India in the newly created role of marketing director.
Pant has been tasked to drive the social media giant’s consumer marketing efforts across the Facebook family of apps like Instagram and WhatsApp.
According to Statista, in 2023, it is expected that 31% of the population in India will access Facebook, up from 21% in 2018.
He joins Facebook from Red Bull, where he was the brand’s India marketing director and responsible for building the brand in India through partnerships and content related to sports, music, and dance.
Overall, Pant has twenty-two years of experience working with brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, The Walt Disney Company. He will report to Ajit Mohan, vice president and managing director for Facebook in India.
“We’ve been working towards deepening our mission to build empowered communities, form stronger local partnerships, create economic opportunities for SMBs and entrepreneurs to grow in India, and, to do our part to break the gender imbalance on the Internet,” said Mohan.
“Consumer marketing is a new strategic area of focus for Facebook and one where we will dramatically increase our investment in communicating directly to consumers. Avinash is one of the best marketers in the country, and I am delighted that he is joining us on this exciting charter to shape the voice of Facebook’s family of apps in India.”
India has become Facebook’s largest market in Asia Pacific by share (32.6%) of users, according to an eMarketer report.
Around 182.9 million people in India log on to Facebook regularly in 2017, equating to 69.9% of social network users and 42.6% of internet users in India,

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A day in the life for the future consumer- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

It’s midnight…
And I’m the idiot who told my V mimicry wake lamp to coax my suprachiasmatic nucleus into submission with the same hues I’ll be witnessing in just a week when I get to Vietnam. Right now I’m just cursing the idea of prophylactic jet lag minimisation.
“Alexa, make my coffee.” I speak it into the silence and my own voice startles me, not dissimilarly to the jolt I get when Siri misunderstands my sarcastic “Are you serious?!” At least the coffee tastes good, and it’s grown right down the road in the community lab house. I still can’t believe we used to ship goods all over the world in those filthy planes, how self-centered can you get?
I’ve made it to 4 am…
So much for tracking my every move and sending updates to Mum while she hikes Tanzania. The high band 5G cells there are supposed to be great, so she’d have no problem tuning in, but the robot’s still asleep. The question now is a binary one: breakfast or workout?
After falling down the Twitter rabbit hole for a half-hour, my trusty wellness ecosystem tells me exercise would be the better way to go, and funnily enough, it also says I should be sleeping right now to optimise my cognitive performance. My sleep tracker and smartwatch are in cahoots, and it has been easier to keep my diet on track since I’ve been seeing the direct relationship between what goes in my gob and how my heart and brain are functioning. The electrocardiogram top I got for my birthday is still a bit uncomfortable, but they say the sensors mold to your body the more you wear it. OK subscription service fitness machinery, let’s do this!
Swish, swish! Whooo, feeling like a million dollars and ready to nail this lunch meeting. I couldn’t find out much as she seems to be a pretty fervent user of one of those personal data ownership platforms and has revoked everything. She chose the spot: they only use Samsung robot chef-arms, and the menu changes hourly to optimise what’s in the fridge and reduce waste to near-zero. Sounds amazing, I just hope the cricket burger is still on by the time we get past the small talk. Who doesn’t love that crunch though?
How is it already past 3 pm?
We hit it off, to say the least, which is great news because if she’s willing to subsidise my volumetric capture and avatar creation, that’s one less cost for me to get signed off.
Next task: make-up needs to happen for tonight. As my face slides into view on the 8K screen, my tiredness becomes painfully apparent. Thankfully once facial authentication syncs with everything I have back in my bathroom cabinet, I get topped up on under-eye concealer in the mirror and give myself less of a fright. It turns out I only need to buy three products to complement my already bulging make-up bag, so I authorise the payment with a retinal scan and thank the heavens for 20-minute delivery.
I love riding Uber-Copter home. Always so smooth. Eyes slipping, a micro nap may or may not have occurred.
Deirdre activated!
Well, that’s not a notification I love to see in my sunglasses, but at least I’m almost home. The drone comes shooting down the stairs, swooping between rooms to man the fort whilst I’m gone. It’s been great having Deidre around to keep an eye on things. The only real issue we’ve had is the odd clash with the vacuum when it knocks into furniture causing vibrations that wake Deidre. Yikes! I’m late. It’s time to don my white dress and heels; I can activate my accessories en route.
When I touchdown outside the theatre, the GPS-activated jewels grow on the augmented experience platform all guests were mandated to use tonight. Every hour that passes turns my face-jewels and hair crystals a new shimmering shade, reflecting the mood, music, and average heart rate of the crowd. Elaborate scales of gold and silver occlude my face, a digital mask in plain sight, and we’re swooning, swaying from left to right and back again. A simple fingerprint scan and my jewels melt away, indulging me in a rare organics-vs-digitals moment as I slip through the champagne crowd and out into the night.
It’s 23:52…
I’m under my goat-silk ‘down’. They laughed when I bought it, but the synthetic biology was sound, and expressing spider silk proteins in an animal hundreds-of-times bigger just makes good manufacturing sense. And I’ve unplugged the jet lag lamp. Because as useful as all the tech is, it’s only as good as its value to me. And right now, I value sleep.
Gracie Paige is director of emerging technologies VMLY&R.

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What does the birth of the ‘Conscious Consumer’ mean for your brand?- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Remember when we went mad for organic? In 2002 the UK industry was estimated to be worth £1bn. Galvanised by a pesticide-free product that promised better taste and nutritional value, champions of organic produce threw serious shade on the intensive agricultural practices used by ‘conventional’ farming.
Then there was the fair trade initiative. An honest price for a product, better working conditions and the promotion of upward mobility. Brands like Cadbury Dairy Milk embraced it wholeheartedly and some supermarkets only stocked fair trade bananas. But it never really got past third gear.
Sure, you can still buy organic or fair trade products now, if you want to. But in their headline-making heyday, were they just an environmentalist’s fantasy? Were they just too niche (and too expensive) to enter the mainstream and stay there?
Fast forward to 2020 and consumers now actively pursue multiple ways to positively impact Mother Earth and the people on it when they buy something. And so the ‘Conscious Consumer’ is born. As a collective, we are applying pressure on brands to step up and do more than the basics, because the alternative is to risk looking deeply out of touch with the current mood of thoughtful consideration for the world we live in.
The new agenda
David Attenborough’s Blue Planet kicked environmental issues to the top of the agenda. We have witnessed a spate of brands and retailers going to market with eco-friendly initiatives in response to consumers demanding change or threatening to withdraw their support (and wallets). Glastonbury Festival banned all single use plastics this year and McDonald’s have switched to paper straws.
But conscious consumerism embraces social justice, too – something that The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick knew all about. Roddick – the original pioneering brand campaigner – took on human and civil rights (as well as animal cruelty and environment protection).
In recent years, Smirnoff Vodka have championed the voices of those who feel ‘othered’ and marginalised, with the long-running ‘We’re Open’ campaign, in support of the LGBTQ community. Its aim is real societal change by championing diversity in Britain’s nightlife. An educational co-branded Smirnoff x LGBT Foundation website has been complemented by various iterations of the campaign through the line, including some TV advertising with attitude.
And now to the present (and possibly a glimpse of the future) we have Sea Chips. This is a snack that turns something wasted into something wanted. Billed as, “…the UK’s first handcrafted salmon skin crisps, using the often wasted nutrient packed skin”, they are the creation of Dan and Dom, best buds and foodies. The duo passionately believe that snacks can be good for you and good for the planet. And trust us, they are less weird to eat than you’d think.
Conscientious futurism
So if we’re eating crispy flavoured salmon skin now, imagine what we’ll be eating/doing/buying a decade from now. Brands are being forced to readdress every part of their supply chain and production process, not just tweak a small element to ‘green wash’ and promote to the public.
In the second part of this exploration we pitch ourselves into 2030 and ask, “How will brands stand out with an eco-agenda when everyone’s doing it and what impact might that have on our buying behaviour?”
The ‘Conscious Consumer’ is a two-part piece, if you want to look at our predictions for 2030, check it out here! https://southpawagency.com/newsfeed/the-conscious-consumer-part-ii-what-will-we-buy-into-in-2030/

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Consumer trust and online business powered by SSL- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

For several years now, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates have been protecting websites and other online assets of companies. So to say, the internet usage started with the ‘www’ era and has now moved to an https era, where users prefer to use a website secured by SSL certificate indicated through https prefix to the domain name rather than www.
If you notice, browsers nowadays have started showing a padlock, instead of an https prefix. This lock symbolizes that the website carries an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate, a standard security protocol, which will make sure that the data you share to this website will not be accessible / intercepted by a third party. SSL protocol is now deprecated due to security concerns making way for a new protocol called Transport Layer Security (TLS). Today the active TLS protocol is TLS 1.2 and newer versions are being developed.
SSL/TLS certificates can be procured online from several online providers. There are various types of SSL certificates available in the market based on the levels of security that the site owner wants to benchmark. But here is the truth – only 0.1 % of the entire Internet world uses SSL. This brings us to the fact that security aspects are often neglected in the real world. Many end-users and organizations have found themselves to have delayed the adoption of SSL due to complexity or price issues which may explain why only a small set of websites on the internet to-date have adopted SSL.
If the e-commerce website or websites you are visiting has no padlock or the URL says “Not Secure”- you may need to read this article to know the real reasons.Why SSL matters today?SSL/TLS is a secure protocol that works on the top of HTTP to provide security. This means that all the data shared on the network will be encrypted and routed using an HTTP connection using SSL/ TLS combination called HTTPS (which you would see when entering a website that has adopted an SSL). Customers have a tradition of trusting businesses only if they find visible security parameters in the real world. Similar tradition and trust factors apply to websites and online e-commerce platforms as well.Today, companies and individuals running their online businesses realize the importance of the extra layer of protection that can make customers and visitors feel secure. People share banking information and card details for making online product purchases, transferring money online or submitting their personal information for availing various benefits and offers. To protect such users and business interests, the General Data Protection Regulations insists to safeguard the contact & identity details of individuals. According to this regulation, even a simple website capturing a visitor’s contact details in the ‘contact us’ page can be vulnerable to data theft. All this shared information could contain personal data along with banking data, which is otherwise not supposed to be leaked out to any third person. The third person here could be a hacker or malicious program that can interject online transactions (without the user or site admin knowing) and steal bits of information.
Before panicking you may take a moment to thank cyber security experts who study these threats and update security features to withstand such attacks by creating SSL/ TLS certificates. Today, there are several SSL certificates available in the market and all you need to do is keep the below mentioned features (which are quite important) in mind before availing them:
– Symmetric 256-bit Encryption– New Powerful 256-bit ECC Keys or Conventional 2048-bit RSA keys– Compatibility with popular web browsers– Compatibility with mobile devices across all popular platforms
Role of Certifying Authority (CA) in securing data transmissionEvery SSL certificate is digitally signed by trusted CA’s. Known as Trusted Root CA store, the SSL certificate issued to any website identifies and authenticates the organization when a customer approaches the website using his browser. Customers can visibly experience trust as their browser identifies this website as compliant, authentic and verified to share information. SSL encrypts all the data shared during transmission over an SSL forged website. This means customer data “in transit” is not accessible to any third party or hackers. Hackers will not be able to access this data or the session as it would appear gibberish even if they tried to.
SSL/ TLS have specific validity term once bought. SSL/TLS certificates are valid for a maximum of 2 years and have to be renewed after that. hey also come with 3 different variants called domain-validated  (DV), organization-validated (OV) and extended-validation (EV) certificates.
– Domain Validated certificate (DV): DV certificates guarantee that the domain name is validated and you are browsing the actual website displayed in the browser’s address bar, thus mitigating man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack.– Organization validated certificate (OV): OV certificate also guarantees the name of the organization which owns the domain name similar to offerings given by a DV certificate.– Extended validation certificate (EV): An EV certificate also guarantees the legal existence of the organization owning the domain name, where the CA will check the legal registries and authorization for such certificates.
Thus, these different types of certificates can promise different levels of security assurances based on business requirement.Role of popular search enginesNow, adding an SSL certificate and switching on HTTPS delivery not only boosts security but helps in getting higher search rankings too. Here is the smart move- search engines encourage websites to be secured and protect their users thereby rewarding them by ranking them. The rankings are done by search engine algorithms using a web crawler or Spider as they are popularly called. The crawlers consider SSL certificate installed on the website as an important component to increase page ranking. SSL, on the other hand, adds mandatory security compliance which is preferred by search engine crawlers helping a website rank better. Better ranking websites attract loyal customers, which is essential for a business to grow.
This way, popular search engine companies are trying their best to enforce algorithm updates and new security norms for fortifying security at the website level. Without any question, we can see that they are trying to bring the real world trust factors by helping online businesses and ecommerce platforms become compliant with security norms. Businesses too are reacting positively to it as they understand its importance to grow and remain competitive.
Show your customers’ that you care about their security To sum up, the competitive advantages of adopting SSL are immense. Fortifying business websites with SSL can help boost traffic and trust levels of the customers. The encryption provided by SSL Certificates can help avert data theft and breach of confidential information. All this simply implies that your business website really needs an SSL Certificate!

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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California’s Consumer Privacy Act has taken effect, bringing GDPR-like data protections to the US – Blog – 10 minute

Data privacy: Ever since the EU passed its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), privacy advocates in the US have asked their own politicians to pass similarly-comprehensive legislation. Though federal laws of that nature are still a ways off (if they come about at all), California has heard the call and acted upon it.
In 2018, the state passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which lays out many GDPR-like data rights for consumers. For example, users can request a copy of all the personal information a big tech company has collected about, order the deletion of said data, or demand that the data not be sold.
Compared to the data privacy protections US consumers have enjoyed up to this point (which are scant), the CCPA represents a significant step forward. However, it should be noted that it still isn’t quite as strict as the GDPR.
For example, CCPA fines cap out at $7,500 per intentional infraction ($2,500 for accidents). In contrast, GDPR fines can go up to 20 million pounds or four percent of a firm’s annual revenue (whichever is higher). Further, the CCPA will only be enforced against businesses that meet certain criteria. For a company to be affected, they must collect data on more than 50,000 consumers, earn gross annual revenue of more than $25 million, or earn 50 percent (or more) of their revenue from the sale of consumer data.

A few limitations aside, the CCPA officially took effect yesterday, which was January 1, 2020. Though the regulations technically only protect California residents, at least a few prominent tech companies will likely apply the rules to their entire userbases (as many did with the GDPR). Indeed, Microsoft and Mozilla have already pledged to do so.
There are a few possible reasons for that decision, but generally speaking, it’s easier for giant corporations to apply these sorts of rules universally instead of selectively enforcing them. As an added bonus, a company that does decide to go that route will probably earn itself some positive PR.
If you have any thoughts on the CCPA or data privacy in general, feel free to sound off in the comments.
Masthead credit: Shutterstock

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