Weekly Digital News Roundup: April 19-23
Hackers Attack 90,000 WordPress Blogs
- According to Mashable, a number of WordPress bloggers discovered that their “admin” accounts became part of a hostile, exploitative botnet. The attacks began last week, and have affected more than 90,000 blogs so far. The hackers behind the attacks have combed through WordPress accounts and attempted to guess passwords via brute force. Their program cycles WordPress accounts through 1,000 common passwords. While this tactic is useless against savvy users, enough people utilize easy-to-guess passwords to make it worthwhile for the hackers.
- After the hack compromises a user’s system, it drafts the blog into a botnet, a collection of compromised systems that communicate with one another and often come in handy for online attacks. Private blogs aren’t too useful in this system, but blogs that are housed on web servers are. Servers recruited into the botnet can attack a multitude of machines at once, and grow the system exponentially.
- By using a strong password, turning on two-step authentication and updating to the latest version of WordPress software, users will “be ahead of 99 percent of sites out there and probably never have a problem,” Matt Mullenweg, a WordPress founder said. WordPress.com users would be wise to heed Mullenweg’s words, especially when it comes to two-step authentication. This won’t benefit the myriad bloggers who use WordPress software and host their work elsewhere, but Mullenweg’s other tips will still help.
Twitter Lets Advertisers Target Keywords In Tweets – But It’s Still No Google
- According to Forbes, Twitter’s announcement on Wednesday that it will let advertisers target pitches based on words people type in tweets has marketing types in a tizzy over the potential for another ad venue as effective as Google search ads.
- This so-called keyword targeting does recall Google’s search ads, which let advertisers bid to run their ads next to query words that related to what they’re selling. But words in a tweet and words in a search query are two very different things. Searches are much more likely to be purposeful, to contain an indication of intent to purchase–often enough right away.
- As Sarah Hite, VP and group media director at the search-oriented digital agency 360i points out, consumer behavior on Twitter could change, especially as Twitter itself evolves, to make it more useful for direct marketing. But for now, Twitter will be battling the likes of television and Facebook for brand-oriented ad dollars.
Facebook Seeks 7-Figure Price Tag for Summer Debut of Video Ads
- According to AdAge, Facebook is hoping that its hotly anticipated video-ad units can be a more-than-$4-million daily business out of the gate — if its asking price is met. The social network still hasn’t finalized the format of the video ads, but it’s been shopping the product around to agencies, looking to lock down commitments for the first available slots in June or July, according to three executives briefed on the product. While the format of the units isn’t totally nailed down, it’s widely assumed that they’ll be autoplay and presented in a video player that expands beyond the main news-feed real estate to cover the right- and left-hand rails of users’ screens on the desktop version of Facebook.
- In its own version of an upfront marketplace, Facebook is currently selling four daily summer “slots,” each targeting a relatively large demographic: women over 30; women under 30; men over 30; and men under 30. The ads will be capped at 15 seconds and frequency capped to ensure that no user sees more than three per day, with an asking price of upwards of $1 million, according to one executive.
- Assuming four daily advertisers will meet Facebook’s asking price — a big, and unlikely, if — it would be earning more than $4 million per day from the ads. It’s Facebook’s version of a takeover, but with TV-like scale and measurement. And it could be eagerly sought after by agencies that have plenty of TV ad creative on their hands and not enough TV-like web inventory to place it in.