Facebook board defends how Zuckerberg, Sandberg handled crisis

Facebook Inc.'s board defended how Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg have handled mounting problems faced by the company, in light of a critical report by the New York Times. Here's the statement from the board: "As Mark and Sheryl made clear to Congress, the company was too slow to spot Russian interference, and too slow to take action. As a board we did indeed push them to move faster. But to suggest that they knew about Russian interference and either tried to ignore it or prevent investigations into what had happened is grossly unfair. In the last eighteen months Facebook, with the full support of this board, has invested heavily in more people and better technology to prevent misuse of its services, including during elections. As the US mid-term showed they have made considerable progress and we support their continued to efforts to Continue reading "Facebook board defends how Zuckerberg, Sandberg handled crisis"

Inside Nike’s store of the future

Nike Inc. has seen the future of brick-and-mortar shopping, and it revolves around your phone. The company on Thursday opened a new flagship store in New York City, the culmination of years of internal research into personalized, experiential shopping. The six-floor building, a template for locations Nike has planned for cities around the globe, is designed to work seamlessly with the Nike app, letting shoppers check out on their phones, ask to have clothing delivered to dressing rooms and schedule appointments with an in-house stylist. Shoppers automatically become NikePlus members after downloading the Nike appmembership that bestows on them such perks as discounts, personalized recommendations and exclusive product offers. NikePlus members already spend three times more on Nike.com than guests do, and the world's biggest seller of sneakers and athletic apparel believes it can achieve that ratio in physical stores as well, with a few tweaks to the traditional Continue reading "Inside Nike’s store of the future"

Facebook shutters ad tech services as it stumbles in quest to topple TV

Facebook's plans to topple TV advertising have come to a halt as it shut down key programs that delivered commercials to TV networks and publishers online. Ads are no longer being served to connected TV devices like smart TVs, Apple TV and Roku, the company confirmed. The reason, according to some digital publishers and major TV networks that have worked closely with the social network: Facebook couldn't get the high prices it wanted from advertisers and wound up losing money. Facebook also discontinued a test among a small number of publishers that let them sell ads on their websites and apps using its targeting data. That program was called Audience Direct, and was an attempt to expand Facebook's reach into the wider world of ad serving technology online. That means two of its biggest initatives to challenge TV advertising were flops, failing to wow publishers and reel in brands in Continue reading "Facebook shutters ad tech services as it stumbles in quest to topple TV"

Shoplifting, Serena Williams and software: Alexis Ohanian at Ad Age Next

Alexis Ohanian is perhaps best known for co-founding Reddit, which is the third-most popular website in the U.S. and ranks ahead of other popular destinations such as Amazon. He's also known as the guy who married tennis superstar Serena Williams. (Reddit's other co-founder, Steve Huffman, remarks about this development: "As his college buddy who knew him when he had a literal neckbeard, I continue to be amused by the whole situation.") Fewer people know Initialized Capital, a venture capital outfit Ohanian co-founded that has investments in platforms such as Instacart, Coinbase and Cruise -- the last of which is a self-driving tech startup that was acquired by General Motors for a cool $1 billion. In his appearance at the Ad Age Next Conference, Ohanian ran the gamut across a number of subjects. Here, a few witty observations from his talk. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Uber launches a rewards program, and Lyft announces one too

Uber is rolling out a new rewards program starting Wednesday, offering its most loyal users cash back on rides, priority airport pickups and free phone support. The new program, called Uber Rewards, aims to keep passengers in Uber's ecosystem, offering perks to customers for ordering food, taking more car rides and, eventually, for riding on electric bikes. The strategy to get existing customers to use more services may help Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi achieve his vision of Uber as a multifaceted transportation provider, doing business well beyond ride-hailing. On Monday, U.S. competitor Lyft also announced a similar loyalty program, which the company said it hoped to roll out by the end of the year. Uber has already released a rewards program for drivers that it's currently piloting in eight cities. The new program for riders is launching in nine locations Wednesday: Miami and Tampa in Florida, all of New Continue reading "Uber launches a rewards program, and Lyft announces one too"

Four rules for brands to be loved on Reddit and win karma

Reddit's chief operating officer Jen Wong stopped by AdAge's Next conference on Tuesday to reveal what she tells brands about how they need to talk to users on the online discussion forum. Appearing on stage with AdAge editor Brian Braiker at the New York City event, Wong discussed the challenge of building trust with consumers at a time when integrity on the internet is in short supply. Reddit is a community made up of "subreddits" devoted to every niche imaginable, and the site is moderated by the users who create the subreddits and vote on its posts, so that the most popular submissions rise to the top. There's a passionate fanbase on the site, but it can also frighten brands, who worry about being overrun by negative comments from people not interested in hearing a message from a sponsor. For advertisers who are just starting to feel their way around Continue reading "Four rules for brands to be loved on Reddit and win karma"