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Advertisers are always out to glean as much data from web users as possible. Facebook is one of those advertisers that targets ads at its users using information from profiles. The social networking giant has announced that it has expanded those targeting capabilities with the roll out of Audience insights.
Audience Insights gives Facebook the ability to target users based on metrics like demographic traits, geography, and their purchase history. Facebook says that before the roll out of Audience Insights it only offered advertisers an audience estimator tool.
It looks like Snapchat and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have come to an agreement stemming from a case in which the FTC accused Snapchat consumers about collected personal information. The company promised a private and secure service, though that isn't what users were ultimately receiving. Snapchat is now no longer allowed to misrepresent its business practices related to user privacy, security or confidentiality.
"While we were focused on building, some things didn't get the attention they could have," Snapchat said in an official blog post. "One of those was being more precise with how we communicated with the Snapchat community. This morning we entered into a consent decree with the FTC that addresses concerns raised by the commission."
Meanwhile, the FTC had this to say:
"If a company markets privacy and security as key selling points in pitching its service to consumers, it is critical that it keeps those promises," said Edith Ramirez, FTC Chairwoman, in a statement. "Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action."
The Obama administration has made a change to the country's immigration laws, allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders to work legally in the United States. Before the change, only the H-1B visa holder could work, hamstringing spouses to keep them from the workplace. Republicans immediately criticized the decision, saying there are still up to fifty million working-age citizens in the United States out of work - and this only increases competition.
"Once enacted, this proposed rule would empower these spouses to put their own education and skills to work for the country that they and their families now call home," according to the Obama administration.
In just five days, all 85,000 H-1B visas for 2015 have been claimed, as critics continue to plead with the administration to stop turning away skilled labor. An immigration bill that would raise the cap to 115,000 - and up to 300,000 - was blocked by the House, and will continue to be a lively debate.
Apple re-launched the iPhone 4 in India four months ago as a way to target people in the country that have very limited budgets. The phone sold for under Rs 20,000. It would appear that the phone hasn't sold well in the country with Apple pulling it from the market after only a few months.
Apple has reported a significant decline in average selling price of its smartphones around the country. The ASP for Apple iPhones had declined by $41 and most of that was blamed on the lower price of the relaunched iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S price cuts in emerging markets.
Pinterest is a website where people can go and pin things they like to a virtual bulletin board. The site is used by both men and women, but most feel that the site is typically used by women. Some recent statistics show that women are by far the majority user of Pinterest.
Statistics show that 80% of all Pinterest users are women leaving the other 20% of users as males. That lowly 20% of males who use the site make even less of the pins that are performed on the site. Men account for only 8% of all pins by gender with women accounting for 92% of all pins.
For a long time T-Mobile languished and it seemed like its only hope for growth was to be bought out by another competitor. After it became clear that regulators didn't like the idea of the fourth of the major carriers being gobbled up by one of the other firms, T-mobile decided on another tact.
T-Mobile has now managed to grab a bigger share of the mobile market thanks to its plans to pay termination fees to get people to leave other carriers. One analyst says that T-Mobile was an also ran in the past, but in Q1 2014 it "crushed" the competition when it came to growth.
The People's Bank of China is limiting bitcoin-related business, and is urging executives from other major Chinese banks to follow suit. Towards the end of 2013, the central bank didn't shun bitcoins, but showed caution regarding the popular cryptocurrency - but that opinion has drastically changed, saying bitcoins are a "tool for speculation."
If major banks in China try to shut down bitcoin transactions, it will create a void that a bank in China should be able to step up and fill.
Since bitcoins aren't centrally regulated by banks or governments, trying to figure out how to deal with them has proven to be extremely challenging. Earlier in the year, the IRS ruled that bitcoins are considered property and not real currency, though that hasn't stopped retailers from accepting bitcoin payments. Despite hiccups along the way, bitcoins continue to gain mainstream acceptance and any type of legislation must be created carefully - yet quickly moving forward.
Things are not looking good for Japanese video game powerhouse, Nintendo. Today the company released its earnings report for the 2013 fiscal year, and things are not good to say the least. During the last year, Nintendo sold 6.17 million Wii U units, with the last quarter only accounting for about 310k units sold. The Wii U was supposed to be Nintendo's saving grace, but it appears that is not the case.
For the fiscal year of 2013, Nintendo says that it has suffered a net loss of $228 million, which makes this the third straight year of financial losses. In 2011, Nintendo lost $461.2 million, and in 2012 the company posted $366 million in losses. When you tally those up with this morning's report, the once king of gaming has lost more than $1 billion over the last three years. At this rate, Nintendo seems to be hemorrhaging money and it leaves one to wonder just how much longer the company can hold out.
Alibaba is the world's largest marketplace for wholesale goods coming out of the Asian manufacturing markets which makes its one of the largest distributors of goods in the world. Today Alibaba took the next step that will allow it to become one of the most powerful companies on earth by filing for its initial public offering with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
While no official numbers were released, it is expected that Alibaba has filed the IPO for $1 billion, a very small number when compared with that industry analyst expect the company to raise. Many are expecting Alibaba to raise more than $20 billion based on its consistent annual growth and earnings. To put things into perspective, Alibaba ships over 100 million packages every day and pushes out a gross merchandise volume of more than $80 billion. Ebay, the US' closest thing to Alibaba, only manages a GMV of $20 billion. If its any indication of how big this could be, the IPO is being underwritten by almost all of the major players on Wall Street including: Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Credit Suisse.
One of the challenges to get the next billion people online is that most of those people live in a country where incomes are significantly lower than they are in the US. The relative ease that many of us can come up with a few hundred dollars for a smartphone in the US is well out of the reach of many people in poorer developing nations.
For that reason, many smartphone makers are concentrating on very cheap devices for developing nations. ARM says that in the next few months an Android-powered smartphone running a 1x Cortex-A5 processor will sell for only $20. That sells for about $33-$28 today.