Twitter Looks to Make Money From Ads Aimed at Logged-Out Users

Twitter Inc said it was testing a feature to show advertisements to people who read tweets without logging in, as it tries to make good on its long-time ambition to monetize non-active users.

The company said the feature will help it cash in on an additional half a billion people each month, pushing its shares up as much as 7.8 percent to $26.21 on Thursday – their biggest percentage gain in two months.

The promoted tweets and videos will be available on Twitter’s desktop website, particularly on people’s profile pages and “tweet detail” pages that highlight specific tweets.

The move will be welcomed by advertisers who have shied away from Twitter saying it doesn’t have enough users, unlike rival Facebook Inc , which boasts more than 1.55 billion monthly active users (MAUs). Twitter has 320 million MAUs.

Facebook, which had once struggled to monetize its social networking platform, has been consistently launching tools to capture ad dollars.

Twitter had first broached this idea last year when Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto said it would be possible to monetize logged-out users once the company “nailed the consumer experience”.

The company has said that ads targeted at logged-out users – or people who view tweets without a Twitter account – would bring in $2.50 in average revenue per user (ARPU). Its logged-in user base brings in more than $4 in ARPU.

Twitter has been experimenting under Jack Dorsey – the company’s co-founder who returned as chief executive in October – to make the website more engaging.

“The best thing to happen under Jack Dorsey would be the fact that they are going to rethink all aspects of their business,” Monness, Crespi, Hardt, & Co Inc analyst James Cakmak said.

“Before it was a case of doing the same thing and hoping things change.”

In the few months under Dorsey, Twitter introduced the ‘Moments’ feature, added polls to tweets, laid off about 8 percent of its workforce and rolled out a “buy” button.

The company also said earlier this week it was testing a feature where tweets would be sorted by relevance instead of reverse chronological order.

The new ads feature was being tested with some advertisers in the United States, UK, Japan and Australia, Twitter said on Thursday. The company plans to roll it out to more markets around the world.

Facebook at Work to Launch in Coming Months, Will Include Paid Features

Facebook at Work, Facebook Inc’s professional version of its social network, is expected to launch in the coming months, after spending a year in tests, a company executive said.

The new service, geared towards workplace collaboration, is nearly identical to its ubiquitous social network, with a scrolling news “feed”, “likes” and a chat service.

“I would say 95 percent of what we developed for Facebook is also adopted for Facebook at Work,” Julien Codorniou, director of global platform partnerships at Facebook, told Reuters.

However, Facebook at Work users will maintain special profiles that are distinct from their existing Facebook profiles.

The company is also developing exclusive products for Facebook at Work, including security tools, Codorniou said.

Facebook started beta-testing the service in January and has kept it as a free, “invite-only” service for companies so far.

The service will be open to all companies once launched and Facebook plans to charge “a few dollars per month per user” for premium services such as analytics and customer support, a company spokeswoman said.

The online career market, which includes LinkedIn Corp and Monster Worldwide, is worth about $6 billion (roughly Rs. 40,083 crores) a year, market research firm IDC had said in August.

More than 300 companies, including Heineken, Royal Bank of Scotland and jewellery company Stella and Dot, are using Facebook at Work and Club Mediterranee SA is set to be the latest adopter.

The French resort company will offer the service to all its 13,000 employees through summer 2016, Anne Browaeys-Level, Club Mediterranee’s chief marketing & digital officer, told Reuters.

Facebook’s Codorniou said almost everything on Facebook at Work is the same as the regular Facebook social network, with some minor exceptions.

“You cannot play Candy Crush on Facebook at Work.”

Adobe Reports Strong Growth in Creative Cloud Subscriptions

Adobe Systems Inc reported a profit that topped market expectations for the ninth quarter in a row on strong subscriber growth for its Creative Cloud package of software tools such as Photoshop.

Adobe’s shares jumped 4.7 percent to $93.10 in extended trading on Thursday and are set to hit a record high on Friday.

The company said 833,000 subscribers signed up for Creative Cloud in the fourth quarter ended Nov. 27, more than the 678,200 additions analysts on average were expecting, according to research firm FactSet StreetAccount.

Creative Cloud includes graphic design tool Photoshop, web design application Dreamweaver and web video building software Flash among other software.

“We continue to migrate existing customers to Creative Cloud, and are attracting large numbers of first-time customers. Overall Creative Cloud retention remains strong,” Chief Financial Officer Mark Garrett said on a call with analysts.

Adobe has been switching to web-based subscriptions from traditional licensed software to enjoy a more predictable recurring revenue stream.

“(Adobe has) largely completed this transition to a recurrent revenue model. You are starting to see revenue stack even though your expenses aren’t rising as quickly,” said Samad Samana, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets.

Despite the 21.7 percent increase in fourth-quarter revenue only matching analysts’ estimates, a relatively lower 3.4 percent rise in total operating expenses helped Adobe’s profit beat estimates.

Revenue from its digital media business, which houses Creative Cloud, jumped 35 percent to $875.3 million (roughly Rs. 5,847 crores).

The business – also home to Acrobat, which enables the ubiquitous PDF format for ebooks – makes up the bulk of Adobe’s revenue.

Revenue from its digital marketing business, which offers tools for businesses to analyse customer interactions and manage social media content, rose 2.3 percent to $382.7 million (roughly Rs. 2,556 crores).

Total revenue rose to $1.31 billion from $1.07 billion (roughly Rs. 7,148 crores).

Adobe’s net income soared to $222.7 million (roughly Rs. 1,487 crores), or 44 cents per share, in the quarter, from $88.1 million (roughly Rs. 588 crores), or 17 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, it earned 62 cents per share.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 60 cents per share and revenue of $1.31 billion (roughly Rs. 8,751 crores), according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Adobe forecast current-quarter revenue of $1.30-$1.35 billion and adjusted profit of 56-62 cents per share.

Analyst were expecting revenue of $1.33 billion (roughly Rs. 8,885 crores) and profit of 61 cents.

Adobe’s shares had risen 22.4 pct this year, including hitting a record high of $92.88 earlier this week, through Thursday’s close.

Facebook Gives Into Publisher Demand on Instant Articles Advertising

Bending to publishers’ demand, social media giant Facebook is changing the advertising policies for its Instant Articles platform.

The company agreed to the changes after publishers complained that restrictions made it too difficult for them to generate revenue from content they posted to the social network’s new feature, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to Facebook’s Instant Articles product manager Michael Reckhow, the company was making the changes in response to feedback it got from publishers.

“We’re continuing to listen to publishers about what they want from Instant Articles, and we’re going to continue to do this. This is one step forward but we will continue to listen,” Reckhow was quoted as saying.

Facebook said on December 9 that it will allow publishers to include more advertising in each article and to sell Facebook-only ad campaigns to marketers if they wish.

Publishers also will have the option to highlight and link to specific content hosted on their own sites from the “related articles” section at the bottom of Instant Articles templates, including branded or sponsored posts.

Instant Articles, which rolled out to all iPhone users in October, allows media companies to publish content directly to Facebook instead of posting links on the social-media site to draw users back to their own websites.

Around 100 publishers are now using Instant Articles on a daily basis to distribute content.

One complaint from media companies was that they could only place one ad for every 500 words they published in an Instant Article. Now, Facebook is reducing that threshold to one ad for every 350 words.

Another challenge for publishers was that they were not permitted to sell Facebook-only campaigns.

Facebook is removing that restriction, which could allow publishers to pitch Instant Articles ads to marketers at a premium, if they wish.

Anonymous Reveals Next Phase in War Against ISIS, ‘Mass Uprising’ Planned for Friday

Hacker group Anonymous has revealed the next phase in its ongoing fight against the Islamic State. The group invites you and security services to continue to take down, and troll jihadists online. The “mass uprising”, in which it expects to see thousands of supporters, is scheduled to happen on Friday.

The hacktivists of Anonymous posted a message on Ghostbin forum, calling for everyone to stand against ISIS on Friday, December 11. The group is seeking help from everyone in its mission to troll the terrorist group. The group wants people to post “mocking photos” of ISIS on social media using the tag #Daesh and #Daeshbags, an obvious play on the alternate name of ISIS and the word douchebags.

Following Paris attacks, the hackers community declared a “war” against the Islamic State. The group claims that it has shut down more than 100 propaganda websites, and taken down more than 25,000 social media accounts belonging to jihadists.

“You may be wondering why we are “trolling” Isis and planning all these demonstrations against Isis. But to understand that you must first see how Isis works,” said Anonymous in a recent interview.

“They thrive off of fear they hope that by their actions they can silence all of us and get us to just lay low and hide in fear. But what many forget and even they do is that there are many more people in the world against them than for them,” the poster said.

The hacktivists group also showed their capabilities. It took down a targeted website offline performingDDoS (Distributed Denial of Service), an attack wherein millions of bogus requests for resources (Web pages and others) are sent to a server — often beyond its threshold capacity — leading to a crash.

“We will mock them for the idiots they are,” it added. “We will show them what they really are. They do not stand for a religion, they do not stand for a god, they are brainwashers teaching from the young to the old their propaganda against the “west” when in reality they are just increasing the distance between countries by giving many a bad name.”

Millions of Internet Explorer Users Must Update Their Browser to Remain Safe

Millions of Internet Explorer users have just five weeks to upgrade to a newer browser, Microsoft has warned. Failure to do so will expose them to security attacks.

The company recently sent out a reminder to let users know that all versions of Internet Explorer below IE 11 will stop receiving security patches and any other update after January 12.

“It means you should take action. After January 12, 2016, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for older versions of Internet Explorer,” the company said.

And that’s a bad news. According to marketing research firm Net Applications, 21.42 percent of Internet users are currently on older versions of Microsoft’s Web browser. Data from the US Digital Analytics says this translates to 124 million users.

The issue is that many of these users simply cannot upgrade to a newer Internet Explorer. Net Applications data suggests that as many as 11 percent PCs are still running Windows XP, a decade old, out-of-support operating system. Windows XP doesn’t support Internet Explorer 11 or higher versions. As many as 57 percent PCs run Windows 7, which can be upgraded to IE 11. Small and large businesses that are still on older versions need to upgrade now.

Internet Explorer 10 or below will continue to function after January 12, as is the case with Windows XP. Though its users will be exposed to the growing number of security attacks as Microsoft will no longer issue updates. Just this month, Microsoft patched 30 vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer that could have been exploited to run arbitrary codes. Without the support, the affected machines will become a playground for hackers.

Affected users don’t have many alternatives, either. Google announced last month Chrome will end support for Windows XP and Windows Vista after April 2016. Firefox already doesn’t support some versions of Windows XP.

Google’s Project Loon Will Interfere With Cellular Transmissions, Says Telecom Minister

Google’s Project Loon, through which the online search giant plans to provide Internet connectivity using balloons, will interfere with cellular transmissions of mobile operators in India, the government said on Friday.

“The proposed frequency band to be used in the Loon Project of Google is being used for cellular operations in India and it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The statement of the Minister assumes significance in the backdrop of call drop problem faced by consumers due to poor network quality.

On a query that whether there are technical glitches in according approval to Project Loon, the Minister replied in affirmative.

Google, under its Project Loon, is using big balloons floating at a height of 20 kilometres above earth surface for transmission of Internet services. It has already tested this technology in New Zealand, California (the US) and Brazil.

As per Google, each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area about 40 km in diameter using a wireless communications technology called LTE or 4G.

To use LTE or 4G, Project Loon partners with telecom companies to share cellular spectrum so that people will be able to access the Internet everywhere directly from their phones and other LTE-enabled devices.

Google uses solar panel and wind to power electronic equipment in the balloon throughout the day.