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TrendKite expands its PR analytics platform by acquiring Insightpool and Union Metrics

TrendKite is making its first two acquisitions — according to CEO Erik Huddleston, they give the company “the last two components” needed for a complete PR analytics platform. Until now, TrendKite’s main selling point was the ability to look at the articles written about a company and measure things like the audience reached and the impact on brand awareness. But while that kind of journalistic coverage remains important, Huddleston said, “The world now is more complicated in terms of who has influence on the public.” That’s where Insightpool and its database of social media influencers comes in, allowing PR teams to find and pitch influencers who can help spread the company’s story. Union Metrics , meanwhile, provides social media analytics . As Huddleston put it, “they do the same analytics about the conversation around the story as we do around the media coverage.” With these acquisitions, he said TrendKite can build deeper integrations with products that were already being used together. In fact, he noted that the company had an existing partnership with Union Metrics, and he started thinking about Insightpool in the same context when a customer showed him how they were using TrendKite and Insightpool side-by-side, literally open in adjacent tabs. The details of how Insightpool and Union Metrics will be packaged and priced as part of the TrendKite platform have yet to been determined. In the meantime, Huddleston said TrendKite will continue to support them as standalone products. In addition, he said the entire teams of both companies (including Insightpool CEO Devon Wijesinghe and Union Metrics CEO Hayes Davis) will be joining TrendKite, with Insightpool giving Austin-based TrendKite a footprint in Atlanta. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to Crunchbase, Insightpool had raised $7.5 million from investors including TDF Ventures and Silicon Valley bank.

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Facebook privacy goof makes posts by 14 million users readable to anyone

Facebook disclosed a new privacy blunder on Thursday in a statement that said the site accidentally made the posts of 14 million users public even when they designated the posts to be shared with only a limited number of contacts. The mixup was the result of a bug that automatically suggested posts be set to public, meaning the posts could be viewed by anyone, including people not logged on to Facebook. As a result, from May 18 to May 27, as many as 14 million users who intended posts to be available only to select individuals were, in fact, accessible to anyone on the Internet. “We have fixed this issue, and, starting today, we are letting everyone affected know and asking them to review any posts they made during that time,” Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan said in the statement. “To be clear, this bug did not impact anything people had posted before–and they could still choose their audience just as they always have. We’d like to apologize for this mistake.” Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Ars Asks: Are your company’s IT policies flexible, or nonsensical?

Enlarge / Artist's rendition of a mobile device exceeding expectations. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty / NASA) From time to time, Ars performs surveys to help us better understand our audience's attitudes and preferences about various things—and this is one of those times. If you're an IT decision-maker at your company, we would be grateful if you'd take a few minutes and let us know your thoughts . Here at Ars, we're lucky to have one of the most skilled and technically adept audiences of just about any tech news publication in existence: that's you fine folks! A huge number of you are what the industry calls "ITDMs," or "IT decision-makers"—that most sought-after demographic that decides (or helps decide) whose applications and hardware your employers will end up buying. In fact, no small number of the Ars staff (me included) were ITDMs themselves in a past life, and it's a role we well understand. ITDMs represent a huge cross-section of employees stretching from system administrators to "C-suite" company officers—it's a role that is often stressful and typically thankless, and it more often than not requires dealing with designed-by-committee requirements that can seem contradictory or insane. Nonetheless, the ITDM role is one around which a whole company can pivot, as the choices ITDMs make directly affect the tools and processes a company uses to generate its revenue. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Ars Asks: Are your company’s IT policies flexible, or nonsensical?

Enlarge / Artist's rendition of a mobile device exceeding expectations. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty / NASA) From time to time, Ars performs surveys to help us better understand our audience's attitudes and preferences about various things—and this is one of those times. If you're an IT decision-maker at your company, we would be grateful if you'd take a few minutes and let us know your thoughts . Here at Ars, we're lucky to have one of the most skilled and technically adept audiences of just about any tech news publication in existence: that's you fine folks! A huge number of you are what the industry calls "ITDMs," or "IT decision-makers"—that most sought-after demographic that decides (or helps decide) whose applications and hardware your employers will end up buying. In fact, no small number of the Ars staff (me included) were ITDMs themselves in a past life, and it's a role we well understand. ITDMs represent a huge cross-section of employees stretching from system administrators to "C-suite" company officers—it's a role that is often stressful and typically thankless, and it more often than not requires dealing with designed-by-committee requirements that can seem contradictory or insane. Nonetheless, the ITDM role is one around which a whole company can pivot, as the choices ITDMs make directly affect the tools and processes a company uses to generate its revenue. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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‘The Expanse’ finds a new home on Amazon Prime

After an outcry among fans following Syfy’s discontinuation of the series on its network, The Expanse will be getting a fourth season on Amazon Prime after an announcement from Jeff Bezos. Bezos revealed the news at the International Space Development Conference where members of the show’s cast were amongst those in the audience. I'll just let him say it… #TheExpanse #RocinanteIsSafe #BreakingNews Thank you @JeffBezos pic.twitter.com/wxHN31zgJs — Cas Anvar (@Casanvar) May 26, 2018 The show based on the book series by James S.A. Corey is currently in its third season on the Syfy network. The critically-acclaimed political conspiracy series set in a colonized solar system of the future has been heralded as one of the network’s best but it couldn’t find high ratings on Syfy, leaving Alcon Entertainment to begin shopping the show around to different networks earlier this month to find a home for the fourth season. Amazon will certainly bring a wider audience to the show, and with Amazon still trailing Netflix in terms of original content, bringing over a big fanbase is beneficial to the company’s video streaming platform as well. And, most importantly to the fans of #TheExpanse who just couldn't stand to see it die… pic.twitter.com/QUZOXBMZAG — James S.A. Corey (@JamesSACorey) May 26, 2018

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Spotify launches ‘The Game Plan,’ a 10-part educational video series for artists

On the same day that Spotify’s class-action settlement with musicians  gets final approval , the company is making a big push to encourage artists to participate on its streaming service – in this case, by offering them a host of educational material to help them get started. The streaming service today is launching its own video series dubbed The Game Plan , which instructs artists on how to get started using “ Spotify for Artists ,” and the other steps they have to take to make their music available for streaming. The series includes short videos like: Getting Your Music Up; What Is Spotify for Artists?; Releasing Music; Building Your Artist Profile; Understanding Your Audience; How to Read Your Data; Engaging Your Audience; The Follow Button, Promoting Your Work, and Building Your Team. In the videos, Spotify attempts to demystify the world of streaming with tips about things like when is the best time to release music, how and why to use listening data, how to upload your music, when to hire a lawyer (irony alert), and more. The series will also feature interviews with experts, including Spotify staff, industry vets, and artists themselves, including Rick Ross, Little Dragon, Mike Posner, and Vérité. The idea is that, by sharing this knowledge with the wider community, Spotify will be able to help artists build their careers, the company explains. Naturally, it wants them to build those careers and invest in learning Spotify’s tools – not those from its rivals. “From successful musicians, to employees who are industry experts, the Spotify community has a wealth of music industry knowledge,” said Charlie Hellman, Head of Creator Marketplace, Spotify, in a statement about the launch. “We want to equip artists at all stages of their career with that powerful knowledge, and make it as accessible as possible.” The video series’ debut comes at a time when there’s increased competition for Spotify, including from the just now launched YouTube Music streaming service,  which takes direct aim at Spotify with a similar price point and the addition of music videos, including harder-to-find performances that are often just on YouTube. Plus, Apple’s new Netflix-like streaming service is rumored to be launching next year as a bundle with Apple Music . The Game Plan begins as a 10-part video series, but Spotify says there’s more to come in the future.

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Princeton study finds very few affiliate marketers make required disclosures on YouTube and Pinterest

Convincing humans to buy products is a massive business called marketing, and few areas of marketing are growing as fast as influencer marketing . Influencers on platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube can command prodigious fees based on their audience size and engagement: some data suggests that a single video on YouTube by a top influencer can command as much as $300,000. While top influencers often have direct partnerships with product companies, others with smaller audiences often take advantage of affiliate networks to build their revenues. These networks allow an influencer to take a small cut of any sales that are generated through their unique affiliate link, and their flexibility means that influencers can prioritize products that they believe best match their audience. This industry is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, which has set out a series of rules requiring paid affiliate links to be disclosed to users. There’s just one problem according to a new analysis by Princeton researchers : very little content on sites like YouTube and Pinterest with affiliate links actually disclose their monetization. Computer scientists Arunesh Mathur, Arvind Narayanan, and Marshini Chetty compiled a random sample of hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube and millions of pins on Pinterest . They then used text extraction and frequency analysis to investigate URLs located in the descriptions of these items to determine whether the URL or any redirects behind it connected to an affiliate network. For all the growth in affiliate marketing, the researchers found that less than 1% of videos and pins in their random sample had affiliate links attached to them. Some categories had a significantly higher percentage of affiliate links though, such as science and technology videos on YouTube which averaged 3.61% and women’s fashion on Pinterest, which had a rate of 4.62%. What’s more interesting is that content with affiliate links was statistically more engaging than videos without affiliate links. The researchers found that affiliated videos had longer run times as well as more likes and view counts, and a similar pattern was seen on Pinterest. The incentives around affiliate marketing then are clearly working.

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