Jerry Daykin: Marketers – stop blocking the best parts of the internet or they won’t exist anymore- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

It’s hard to turn on the TV these days and not see something about covid-19. As a marketing man, it’s almost oddly reassuring when the break kicks in and the ads give us a reminder of the normal world we knew just a few weeks ago. I could say the same for the newspaper, heavy going as a lot of the coverage is there’s something oddly reassuring about the presence of the adverts among it.
The show must go on after all. It’s going to be a very tough time for businesses but hopefully, most of them will be able to see light on the other side, as will the newspapers and media titles helping share their messages. As an ad industry, I hope we’ll pull together to support one another and the other sectors far more badly impacted by the virus over the coming months.

Homepage of WSJ.. @doubleverify get your act together and at least run a Covid PSA until you can fix your demonetization bugs. Our industry’s response to this crisis has been embarrassing. cc @aripap@augustinefoupic.twitter.com/1nvxkwBt0K
— Marc Guldimann (@guldi) March 15, 2020

It’s no easier to avoid online of course. Twitter is brimming with live updates, Facebook is helping us stay in touch, Tik Tok keeping us entertained, and LinkedIn is full of terrible hot takes on the lessons we can all definitely not learn from it. The odd thing, however, is that in these spaces many of the ads are missing. When Marc Guldimann logged onto the Wall Street Journal he was surprised to see the prime masthead spot taken up by… some clouds?
For those who don’t know, this isn’t a promo for the Weather Channel, but the ‘filler’ image the Double Verify verification technology uses when an advert that was about to be served decides at the last minute it doesn’t want to be there (see tweet above). One of the main reasons for that is the detection of perceived brand safety violations, though it can happen for other reasons such as suspected ad fraud or where incorrect targeting has occurred. In most instances, the advertiser will be able to avoid paying for that impression and, in principle, has swerved a potentially dangerous position for themselves.
The front page of one of the most respected newspapers in the world however isn’t really the kind of environment you need to be swerving is it? Quite the opposite, it’s prime real estate we should be fighting over. And the clouds being there means the publisher most likely hasn’t been paid for Marc’s visit, eating away at their already tough business model. It’s an over-simplification of course, but the reality is we’ve ended up in a very distorted world where online properties are playing to very different rules of brand safety than traditional media is. Rules which not only potentially limit the reach and impact of our brands, but also directly threaten the economics of journalism, the production of high-quality content and the ability for diverse voices to be heard. Weirdly, given the original intention, these decisions play right into the hands of a messy and low-quality internet filled with celebrity plastic slideshows and reshaped memes – pages designed to ace viewability and brand safety tests even if the user experience is awful and the content vapid and recycled.
Brands are right of course to have brand safety settings and software in place. I’m a director of the Conscious Advertising Network and hugely passionate about us clamping down on the darkest parts of the internet and ensuring we’re not funding those. Without brand, safety approaches the absolute worst of the internet can get funded, including hate speech, terrorism and misinformation. You absolutely need settings so you don’t accidentally sponsor fake news spreading lies about the current pandemic and how to react to it. It’s fantastic that brands have woken up to this and are starting to act. We’re not here to blame the tech platforms either, though perhaps they could do more to advocate on this topic and to reshape their defaults. Ultimately, they create tools that allow advertisers to control their exposure but it’s up to the advertiser and their agency to decide how to use them and how to implement them.
Long keyword blocklists are a choice, and having a list with 1000s of words you can’t keep track of is probably a bad one. It’s arguably not the best placement for most brands to appear next to a breaking news story about a terrorist attack, but it’s infinitely better to appear there than it is to appear on content which accidentally funds and supports the terrorist’s cause itself. No one is actively funding coronavirus but by putting it on your block lists you are effectively taking funding away from almost half the Internet. To be clear I’ve totally made that stat up, but certainly, a lot of traffic at the moment is touching on the subject. As advertisers, we need to adopt a more sophisticated approach to brand safety. We need to take a step back from the cliff edge of panic that some bad cases have pushed us towards and have a clearer mindset around what represents a true brand safety issue & what represents a perfectly reasonable placement.
Consumers understand that adverts and content are separate, they have realised this for 100 years. Except in the most unfortunate misplacements (an airline advert casually alongside the story of a crash for instance), there really is very little actual brand safety issue on high-quality sites. For me that means brands need (at least) two lanes of safety settings. If you’re bidding on the vast open web then, of course, you need a long and stringent list of words and contexts you want to avoid, it’s a scary and weird place out there with all sorts of bad actors and adjacencies to avoid. Yet if you’re working with high-quality content, with reputable publishers and networks which curate proper journalism or diverse voices then different standards need to be applied. Here it’s less about writing a list of generic naughty words (sex, attack, covid-19) and more about thinking of category-specific considerations what might jar in the consumer’s mind. If you’re advertising chocolate obesity is probably one to avoid. Alcohol companies can steer clear of drink driving stories, Disney videos or pregnancy tips. On the other hand, the word ‘attack’ sounds scary but gets featured in huge amounts of sports coverage, Frozen might be a Disney kids film but it’s also relevant to a range of adult cocktails.
Within news websites the front page, with a wide variety of potentially keyword triggering articles, is about as quality as placement as you can get and, on all but the most extreme of national news days, a perfectly reasonable place to be. There is perhaps a golden circle of brand safety reserved for spots like that, and then other layers based on how much you can trust a publication, or how deep into their system you will appear. Social networks and UGC platforms like YouTube bring their own challenges and need specific solutions of their own. Look for quality networks, quality publishers, quality platforms can give you all this. In these challenging times please look for ways of scaling reach across smaller quality publications and across diverse and minority voices who won’t be there at the end of it if we abandon them. There are well-established stats showing that even on a good day as much as three-quarters of positive and safe content mentioning the LGBT community can be demonetized by some advertisers using broad block terms like ‘lesbian’. These are unlikely to be good days. Publishers, ad tech companies and agencies there are opportunities for you here too. Take a stronger stance on not running any adverts on your heaviest and most inappropriate stories so the chances of questionable adjacency are greatly diminished. Make clearer recommendations to the advertisers you work with where you see their settings being unduly limiting. Proactively find networks and partners who can better help us all navigate to content we want to be around and see continue. There are going to be budget cuts for many in the coming weeks. There are going to be continued pressures around brand safety terms. If we cut the funding from high-quality content and journalism it simply won’t exist for us to advertise against in the future.
Even forgetting the societal and cultural impacts of that, can you really build your brand alongside the content on a celebrity plastic surgery slide show? It’s time to look again at brand safety, and as with all data and targeting to make sure we are using it to be relevant to more people not visible to fewer. For help and advice on how to approach the challenges of brand safety and other issues in the digital ecosystem check out the Conscious Advertising Network. I’m also proud to be part of the WFA’s Global Alliance for Responsible Media which is working with agencies, ad tech and publishers to build out new standards, educate stakeholders and try and change the internet for the better.
Jerry Daykin is the EMEA senior director for GSK

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Pentagon will “reconsider” parts of the $10 billion JEDI contract – Blog – 10 minute

Recap: Amazon has already convinced a judge to temporarily halt Microsoft’s work on the JEDI contract. Now, the Pentagon is launching a 120-day review of the contract. It’s unknown whether this will lead to another bidding war or if Microsoft will keep its $10 billion prize.
The Pentagon has filed court documents indicating that it wants to reconsider the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract as first reported by CNN Business. According to the court documents, the DoD “wishes to reconsider its award decision in response to the other technical challenges presented by AWS.”
This is obviously good news for Amazon who aggressively challenged the award in court, claiming that Microsoft won the contract because of political bias from President Trump. The company argued that the President exerted “improper pressure” due to his feud with Amazon CEO and Washington Post owner, Jeff Bezos.
Consequently, Amazon notched an initial victory last month when a judge temporarily halted Microsoft’s work on the contract due to Amazon’s complaints. The exact reasoning behind the injunction is unknown.

“We look forward to complete, fair, and effective corrective action that fully insulates the re-evaluation from political influence and corrects the many issues affecting the initial flawed award,” Amazon said in response to the Pentagon’s court filings.
Microsoft also responded saying, “We believe the Department of Defense made the correct decision when they awarded the contract. However, we support their decision to reconsider a small number of factors as it is likely the fastest way to resolve all issues and quickly provide the needed modern technology to people across our armed forces.”
Although multiple cloud vendors initially competed for the massive JEDI contract, Amazon was the prohibitive favorite. The company already scored a huge win in 2013, winning a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency and becoming the sole cloud provider for the United States Intelligence Community. However, it was Microsoft who ended up landing the JEDI contract in a large boost to their Azure portfolio.
The Pentagon requested 120 days to review the contract. Despite Amazon being the primary force behind the reassessment, the DoD doesn’t plan to discuss the decision with either Amazon or Microsoft.

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Pentagon to ‘reconsider’ parts of US$10bn JEDI cloud contract – Cloud- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The US Department of Defense (DoD) is seeking court permission to reconsider certain aspects of its decision to award a US$10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft, court filings showed on Thursday.
A US judge last month granted Amazon’s request to temporarily halt the DoD and Microsoft from moving forward with the deal, which Amazon had said reflected undue influence by President Donald Trump.
Lawyers for the US government have asked a federal judge to grant the Pentagon “120 days to reconsider certain aspects of the challenged agency decision,” the DoD said in a filing to the US Court of Federal Claims late on Thursday.
“DoD does not intend to conduct discussions with offerors or to accept proposal revisions with respect to any aspect of the solicitation other than price scenario,” according to the filing.
The Pentagon also said it wanted to re-evaluate parts of the bidders’ price proposals and online marketplaces.
“We are pleased that the DoD has acknowledged ‘substantial and legitimate’ issues that affected the JEDI award decision, and that corrective action is necessary,” a spokesman for Amazon’s cloud computing unit said in an emailed statement.
The e-commerce giant has alleged that Trump exerted “improper pressure” and bias that led the DoD to award the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud (JEDI) contract to Microsoft.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper previously denied there was bias and said the Pentagon made its choice fairly and freely without external influence.
A Microsoft spokesman said the Pentagon made the right decision when they awarded the contract.
“However, we support their decision to reconsider a small number of factors as it is likely the fastest way to resolve all issues and quickly provide the needed modern technology to people across our armed forces,” he said.

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Apple confirms it fixed bug that stored parts of encrypted emails as readable text – Blog – 10 minute

In a nutshell: Apple rolled out macOS version 10.15.3 last week, which reportedly included a patch for a bug that it has known about since at least last summer. Before being fixed, it was possible to view encrypted email snippets as if they were not encrypted in Catalina.
Mac enthusiast and IT specialist Bob Gendler stumbled upon the bug in July 2019 and immediately reported it to Apple. When developers failed to issue a fix, Gendler publicly disclosed it in November.
Shortly after it was made known, Apple told The Verge they would push out a fix in “a future software update.” Cupertino’s slow reaction to the bug was likely due to all the conditions that had to be met before the emails could be read.
The bug is only present for those sending encrypted emails using Apple Mail on macOS. Furthermore, if FileVault is being used to encrypt the entire system, the snippets cannot be read. Lastly, someone would have to know where to look to find the files.

The partial emails were stored in a system database used for Siri suggestions, which is not easy to find. Not only that, an attacker would have to have root access to retrieve them.
Apple making the patch as a low priority is understandable given the circumstances, but what is puzzling is that the fix is not mentioned in the macOS release notes at all. Gendler points out that patch notes for betas of Catalina 10.15.3 indicate that encrypted emails will no longer appear in Spotlight searches. It might be that to fix the bug, Apple completely changed the way encrypted emails are indexed.
Gendler tested the update and discovered that encrypted emails are no longer handled by the database. Apple confirmed Wednesday that macOS 10.15.3 did indeed address the problem.

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Apple to Allow Indie iPhone Repair Shops to Buy Tools and Parts


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Apple has announced that it will sell more repair tools and supplies to independent third-party repair shops, allowing them to make a wider variety of repairs. According to the company:

Apple will provide more independent repair businesses — large or small — with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs). The program is launching in the US with plans to expand to other countries.

The program is free to join and only requires that a repair-person complete an Apple course for certification. This would be a significant change to Apple’s existing repair programs. In the past, as Motherboard has detailed, Apple’s “authorized” repair program was barely a repair program at all. Back in 2017, Apple only allowed authorized shops to complete a few simple fixes. Everything else had to be shipped to Apple for repair, which is part of what drove people away from using these services in the first place.

And, as Kyle Wiens of iFixit points out, there are still some hurdles in place that Apple can use to lock companies out of the program. Apple’s own documentation states that “Meeting program requirements does not guarantee acceptance,” and “Apple reserves the right to reject any application without comment.”

iFixit’s Kevin Purdy points out another concern about Apple’s program — its pricing. When pricing data leaked for a Genius Parts Repair program that Apple was supposedly considering last March, some of the repair costs were significantly higher than Apple charges. iFixit writes:

In those documents, batteries ranged from $16-$33 for the iPhone 6s through the XS Max, which is modest and normal. Screens, however, cost up to $350 for an XS Max, which is $20 more than Apple’s own out-of-warranty repair cost, before the independent shop even factors in their own labor costs and margins.

It’s unclear from today’s release whether offering genuine parts for sale to this larger network will increase the range of repairs that shops can provide. In those leaked documents, we saw parts for screens, batteries, cameras, speakers, receivers, and vibration (aka the Taptic Engine). Some of those related repairs would typically require a phone to be sent into Apple, rather than repaired on-premises in a store or Authorized Service Provider.

There’s also the question of whether Apple is taking these steps in an attempt to decrease user interest in robust Right to Repair legislation programs. Many companies have strenuously lobbied against allowing customers to repair their own hardware, claiming variously that disallowing customers from fixing their own equipment is either a security issue or a product quality problem. Manufacturers have always made such claims to lock up valuable after-market repair services, and Apple is no different. Even as the company has supposedly been working on expanding its authorized repair program, it’s also been working to make it more difficult for people to fix iPhones by locking out third-party batteries so they refuse to report their own health.

We’ll wait and see what actual prices and services look like before drawing a conclusion, but Apple hasn’t exactly earned a reputation for looking out for the best interests of its customers as far as repairs are concerned. Issues like ‘Error 53‘ and the iPhone 6 Plus’ bending problem — which Apple knew about in advance and simply lied about — have harmed the company’s reputation.

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