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New Media News Break: SpAmazon, Google’s Brand Activate, CISPA, and More


It’s Wednesday, so it’s time for a little New Media News Break to help get you through the work week. Here are the interesting stories you may have missed since last Wednesday’s break!

Fortune Highlights “Spamazon” Problem

This issue has been going on for longer than a week, but on Monday, Fortune’s Stephen Gandel called attention to this problem, causing outcry among self-publishers and consumers who had no idea that so many authors were spamming Amazon with self-published titles meant to lure in and trick people who mean to buy big-name bestsellers. For example, if you’re looking for the steamy best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey, you might mistakenly purchase Thirty-Five Shades of Grey, by an author with a similar name. Or if you’re hoping to pick up the popular Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, you might mistakenly buy Isaac Worthington’s self-published Steve Jobs book. There are various other examples, and although Amazon has said it will crack down on the problem, there isn’t a simple solution, as it requires a reworking of the company’s self-publishing system, as well as brings about debates on what is and is not legally allowed (remember, one can’t copyright an idea).

The White House Criticizes CISPA

A recent bill introduced called Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act has gotten the thumbs down from the White House, at least according to National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. On Tuesday, she was quoted as saying that any cyber security bill that passes should also protect users’ privacy, a sentiment that has many people on the Internet breathing a sigh of release. While CISPA does allow businesses and the government to more easily share information about cyber security threats, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Technology and Progress argue that it also justifies spying on individuals’ emails and social media accounts. So, understandably, many people (myself included) are happy that the White House is criticizing this bill!

Listen Button Now Available for Facebook Pages

Artists with Facebook fan pages now have a new way to share their musical content – a listen button. Located on an artist’s page next to “message” button, when fans click this button, it will take them directly to Spotify, MOG, or other connected services to hear music from the artist without ever leaving Facebook.When a user does this, his or her listening activity will also appear in their own timeline. It’s a very interesting concept, and one that I think could (and should) expand to podcasters who have fan pages in the future. Love it or hate it, Facebook is a powerful way to connect with fans.

instagram facebook Facebook Board Kept in the Dark about Instagram Purchase

Speaking of Facebook, we’re still hearing a lot of news about the recent Instragram purchase. And Facebook’s board might be feeling a little upset right now with the acquisition – not because they necessarily think it was a bad decision, but because they weren’t consulted about it at all. According to reports, Mark Zuckerberg made the deal alone, only telling the board of his plans hours before the deal was finalized. The deal was made rather quickly, over the course of just a few days, which is unusual for such a large purchase in the business board, but that doesn’t really excuse the fact that the board wasn’t part of the proceedings. They did have to eventually vote on it (and obviously, they voted yes), but sources told the Wall Street Journal that the vote was “largely symbolic.” Given his track record, is anyone really surprised that Zuckerberg would make the choice to plow ahead with what he wanted to do rather than talk to his board about the option? It will be interesting to see if there is any fallout over this decision.

Twitter Announces New Patent Pledge

Patents allow companies to protect their innovations and designs, but some feel that it’s being taken too far, with companies constantly suing one another over ideas that haven’t even been implemented or making other ridiculous claims. This week, Twitter announced a new pledge where patent control is places back into the hands of the employee who invented it. While some say that this new “Innovator’s Patent Agreement” might be more about good PR than about actually reforming the world of patent-related lawsuits, it is an interesting concept, especially for creators working under employers. Will other web companies follow suit? That’s yet to be seen.

Google Plans New Online Advertising Metrics

In a new proposal, which has been submitted for review by the Media Rating Council, Google is introducing new ideas about online advertising metrics that they hope will become industry standards. Meant to put companies at ease when purchasing advertising online, these new standards are dubbed Brand Activate and will start with two components: Active View and Active GRP. Active View changes how online ad impressions are counted while Active GRP will calculate the reach and frequency of an ad campaign in real time. If you’re a content creator who makes money through advertising (especially using Google Ads), this is a story you want to watch.

In Case You Missed It

Here’s what you might have missed on the BlogWorld blog in the past week:

Awesome from the Archives

There are some golden posts in the post hidden in the BlogWorld archives. Here are three of my favorites that I think you should check out:

Check back every Wednesday for a New Media News Break just when you need it!

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