TUNE, Google Team Up To Help Stop App Install Fraud

TUNE, a global powerhouse in mobile marketing measurement, has just unveiled the results of a joint effort with Google that will “fundamentally address a growing type of mobile app ad fraud known as click injection on Android.”

According to the official word, click injection fraud is the process by which a non-human actor, such as a bot or malware installed on a mobile device, attempts to steal attribution credit and advertising dollars for a genuine app install. This happens when scripts or bots inject fake ad clicks between the time a person downloads and first opens an app.

It’s estimated that in 2017 $ 139B of all paid media advertising worldwide will go toward mobile with an estimated $ 7.5B spent by marketers in the United States on mobile app install advertising. TUNE estimates that click injection accounts for 30-40 percent of all mobile app install fraud and costs marketers $ 500-$ 700M.

To counter this growing issue, Google has recently launched the new Play Install Referrer API that enables measurement providers like TUNE to significantly reduce click injection fraud in the app ecosystem. TUNE is one of the mobile measurement solutions providers to integrate new Google Play referral data that provides the exact time an app download began, directly into the TUNE Marketing Console.

This newly released anonymous data detailing app install start time, coupled with TUNE’s leading app attribution analytics, captures initial app open time and all clicks or events that take place between app download and the initial open, enabling marketers to precisely measure and remove fraudulent app installs driven by click injection. Marketers who use TUNE to measure app downloads on Google Play have a new tool capable of identifying and ultimately ending fraudulent click injection without impacting real customer downloads.

“Over the last two years, we built new tools for fighting mobile ad fraud by enabling marketers and ad partners to work together, and we now lead the industry with the most granular approach,” said Peter Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer at TUNE. “What was still missing in this fight was the direct cooperation with the platforms themselves, which is why this step with Google is such a powerful one. This data connection with Google is exactly what the industry needs to completely stamp out the practice of fraudulent click injection which will immediately eradicate nearly a third of mobile ad fraud. We look forward to continued collaboration with the brilliant teams at Google to making marketing more accountable.”

The post TUNE, Google Team Up To Help Stop App Install Fraud appeared first on Mobile Marketing Watch.


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The Trump administration is suing AT&T to stop its purchase of Time Warner

The Justice Department said the deal as proposed would spell “higher prices for consumers and less innovation for millions of Americans.”

The U.S. government announced on Monday that it plans to sue AT&T in a bid to stop the wireless giant from proceeding with its proposed $ 85 billion purchase of content powerhouse Time Warner.

In response, AT&T redoubled its commitment to the deal, pledging to fight the Justice Department in a court case that could span months or more — and hinge at least in part on President Donald Trump’s public opposition to the two companies’ plans.

In the eyes of the DOJ, the merger — one of the largest “in American history,” an agency official told reporters — would result in “higher prices for consumers and less innovation for millions of Americans.”

Specifically, DOJ said it had no choice but to sue because it believes AT&T would “use its control over Time Warner’s popular and valuable networks to hinder its rivals by forcing them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars more per year for the right to distribute those networks,” the official explained. That includes Time Warner-owned properties like HBO, TBS, TNT and CNN, the latter of which Trump has criticized.

For its part, AT&T sharply rejected the U.S. government’s claims.

“Fortunately, the Department of Justice doesn’t have the final say in this matter,” said David R. McAtee II, the company’s general counsel, in a statement. “Rather, it bears the burden of proving to the U.S. District Court that the transaction violates the law. We are confident that the Court will reject the Government’s claims and permit this merger under longstanding legal precedent.”

AT&T initially envisioned the Time Warner merger, announced in October 2016, as a critical way to expand its reach into consumers’ lives at a time when wireless revenues are declining.

As proposed, the deal would have married AT&T’s 100 million cable and wireless subscribers and Time Warner’s valuable content brands, like HBO and CNN, hoping to further solidify its place in consumers’ living rooms and smartphones.

Quickly, though, anti-consolidation consumer groups, including Free Press, sided with some of AT&T’s soon-to-be content competitors, like Starz, to rail against the deal. They feared the combined company would have too great a reach — and too much market power. Some specifically expressed fears AT&T would withhold popular HBO programming or charge high, arguably unfair prices for others to carry it.

Nevertheless, AT&T and Time Warner initially told investors they expected the deal to close quickly — particularly because it was in the hands of what they believed to be a merger-friendly, Republican-dominated Washington, D.C.

Even the U.S. government’s leading antitrust enforcer — Makan Delrahim, a competition lawyer who arrived at the DOJ this summer — at first expressed an openness to the merger. Months before he was nominated to his post, he said he didn’t believe AT&T’s plans for Time Warner posed any major antitrust concerns.

After arriving at the Justice Department, however, Delrahim began to scrutinize the $ 85 billion deal more aggressively. And many sources described a tense meeting between DOJ officials and AT&T executives in early November. There, DOJ aides appeared to issue the companies an ultimatum: That they would challenge the merger in court unless AT&T sold Time Warner’s Turner unit, which owns CNN, or divest from its current ownership of DirecTV.

Yet looming large over the merger — and now, the court battle — is Trump.

Dating back to the 2016 campaign, he publicly blasted the companies’ merger plans in no small part because he is a vocal critic of CNN, which is part of Time Warner’s Turner TV unit. At one point, sources suggested that Trump could use AT&T’s merger with Time Warner as leverage in pursuit of better coverage by CNN.

The Justice Department, however, has stressed in recent weeks that it has proceeded with its investigation independent of White House interference. The DOJ repeated that again Monday. And Trump, for his part, said the same earlier in November, at one point contending he “didn’t make that decision” to challenge the deal — or seek the sale of CNN.

Meanwhile, the DOJ declined Monday to specify the nature of its conversations with AT&T — and what, exactly, it wanted the combining companies to do in order to win its approval.

“Suffice it to say, we gave it a very good faith effort to try to resolve the harm the government was able to find and still allow for portions, significant portions I will add, of this vertical merger to go forward,” a DOJ official said.

Still, the aide said that he was “really glad that Randall Stephenson” — the CEO of AT&T — “publicly stated, and explicitly said, nobody at the division has ever demanded the sale of CNN.” (Of course, Stephenson’s comments, from a conference in New York City earlier this month, did not address a demand that AT&T sell CNN’s parent, Turner.)

In many ways, the DOJ lawsuit is a rarity: Typically, the U.S. government looks more favorably when companies in different industries seek to combine. Deals like AT&T’s proposed purchase of Time Warner are called vertical mergers because they don’t wipe an existing competitor out of the marketplace.

Instead, the U.S. government’s opposition appears to center on a belief that legal settlements that pave the way for a merger — yet include lengthy rules policing the behavior of two companies — tend not to work. At one point, the DOJ stressed on its call Monday these so-called behavioral remedies had failed to address the feds’ concerns following Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal in 2011.

“That approach is fundamentally regulatory, imposing ongoing government oversight on what should preferably be a free market,” Delrahim said during a speech earlier this month.


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The Department of Justice is using AT&T’s own argument for buying Time Warner to try to stop the deal

Turnaround!

The Comcast-NBCUniversal deal was bad. So the AT&T-Time Warner deal is worse — because it’s even bigger.

That’s the gist of the argument the Department of Justice made today, in a background briefing with reporters and in its press release announcing its lawsuit aimed at stopping the deal.

AT&T says that’s a bogus argument.

But here’s the thing: AT&T and Time Warner officials have given the DOJ rhetorical ammunition here, by arguing that merging a content company with a distributor made sense — because the distribution company’s reach was so vast.

I know, because every time I’ve asked a Time Warner or an AT&T exec to explain the rationale for the deal, they point out that AT&T’s wireless service reaches the whole country (and so does AT&T’s DirecTV service, even though that service is steadily losing subscribers).

This usually comes up after I point out that Time Warner used to own a distribution company — what used to be called Time Warner Cable — but got rid of it because it didn’t see the benefit of owning both kinds of companies.

“Time Warner Cable was regional” — limited to territories where it had a license to operate — “and AT&T is national,” they would explain.

And now the DOJ is making the same argument itself — pointing out that Comcast is also a regional pay TV distributor, and federal regulators were worried enough about its acquisition of NBCUniversal* to create a long document full of restraints regulating Comcast’s behavior. (Those constraints expire next year, by the way …)

So if it’s worrisome for a regional distributor to buy a big content company, it’s an even worse one for a distributor with a national footprint. That’s the DOJ argument, in a nutshell.

We’ll see. I find the arguments that, say, AT&T would charge other distributors more to carry networks like HBO and CNN unconvincing — since the whole point of those businesses is to be distributed as widely as possible.

But that’s a different argument, and it’s not one the DOJ is making today.

* NBCUniversal is an investor in Vox Media, which owns this site.


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Will we ever stop using passwords?

1Password’s Jeffrey Goldberg answers your questions about security and password management on Too Embarrassed to Ask.

On the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, Kara Swisher and Lauren Goode spoke to Jeffrey Goldberg, 1Password’s Defender Against the Dark Arts — and yes, that is his real title. Password managers like 1Password create hard-to-guess passwords for you to use all around the web, remembering them so you don’t have to.

Goldberg answered your questions about the future of passwords and password management, including the big one: Are passwords here to stay? Or are we going to come up with something better?

“When I first started worrying about the password problem, I and some other people came up with various schemes and we thought we were going to more or less eliminate passwords, for the most part, within the next five years,” Goldberg said. “That was in the mid-90s. Since then, I’ve seen proposals to eliminate passwords come and go.”

You can listen to the new podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Of course, a lot of people might expect fingerprint sensors like those found on many smartphones, and face scanners like the one on the new iPhone X, could do away with secret strings of numbers and letters. But Goldberg isn’t so sure that those are a good idea for protecting online accounts like your email and bank records.

“Consider what happens when a server is breached and you’re told you have to change your password,” he said. “You’ve got to change your password for that service, and every other service where you’ve re-used that same password. Changing your fingerprint is a little bit harder.”

“I’m not saying there isn’t a place for biometrics,” he added. “Used for local authentication, they’re actually really good. But a fingerprint or your face are not secret. They’re really just another form of your mother’s maiden name. They’re things that maybe not everybody has access to, but they’re not designed to be secret, like a password.”

Goldberg stressed that 1Password does not know or track what sites its users visit, or how often they visit them. That’s a big difference from those “Sign in with Facebook” buttons you see peppered across the web, commonly referred to as “single sign-ons,” he said.

“One of the difficulties with those is you are letting Facebook or Google or whatever service you’re using know exactly when you’re signing into what,” Goldberg said. “That might be fine for some people. But generally, the security technology community cares deeply about privacy, and so we tend not to push for systems that would be inherently non-private.”

Have questions about passwords that we didn’t get to in this episode? Tweet them to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed, or email them to TooEmbarrassed@recode.net.

Be sure to follow @LaurenGoode, @KaraSwisher and @Recode to be alerted when we’re looking for questions about a specific topic.

If you like this show, you should also check out our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
  • And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on Apple Podcasts — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara and Lauren. Tune in next Friday for another episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask!


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7 iPhone Apps Killing Your Battery (and How to Stop Them)

While a low battery may be a fact of life for heavy smartphone users, in many cases, a lot of the blame can actually be placed on the apps that are frequently used. Press the right arrow to learn about 7 of the worst iOS battery hogs — and several ways you can minimize their impact.

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