Weekly Digital News Roundup: Dec 4 – Dec 8
Study Puts a Price Tag on Fake Ad Clicks
- According to the Washington Post, fraudulent operators using robots to impersonate people clicking on digital ads will rob the advertising industry of $6.3 billion in 2015, according to a report published on Tuesday. The automated clicks, from entities known as bots, account for nearly one-quarter of the views on video ads and more than one in 10 on display ads across the Internet, according to the study, which was conducted by the Association of National Advertisers and White Ops, an online security company.
- The legitimacy of clicks is crucial to publishers and the brands that advertise with them, because rates are set by the number of people who view ads. The total spending for the digital ad industry in 2014 was roughly $40 billion for display ads and $8.3 billion for video, according to the advertising association.
- The bots closely mimicked human activity, clicking only a little more frequently than an actual person would and often dragging a mouse over an image or placing an item in a shopping basket without purchasing it. In this way the bots could imitate the kind of purchases an advertiser most desired.
Instagram says it has 300 million users, will begin verifying accounts
- According to LA Times, Instagram now has more than 300 million users worldwide, making it bigger than Twitter. The popular photo-sharing app announced its latest user figures in ablog post from Chief Executive Kevin Systrom on Wednesday, saying users share more than 70 million photos and videos every day.
- Instagram also announced the addition of verified badges for celebrities, athletes and brands, making it easier for users to identify and connect with authentic accounts; verified badges, such as those used by Twitter, are typically little icons that appear next to a person’s user name, denoting that his or her identity has been verified by the company.
- As part of its efforts to improve authenticity, Instagram has been deactivating spammy accounts. That means those accounts will no longer be included in follower counts, so some users will see a change in how many people follow them on Instagram.
Iowa may be first state to put driver’s licenses on smartphones
- According to Mashable, Iowa residents may become the first in the U.S. to use a smartphone mobile app as their driver’s license. The Iowa Department of Transportation wants to let drivers keep an electronic version of a license on an app, in addition (or in lieu of) the traditional plastic one you’d keep in a wallet.
- The digital license, which would be free, would be acceptable to use at traffic stops, airport screeners, bars and so on. It would be housed in what Iowa DOT is calling “an identity vault app” and could become a reality by as early as 2015.
- The driver’s license would populate within an app, similar to an e-boarding pass for a flight and include hard-to-replicate features that could cut down on fake IDs.