Saturday, February 21, 2015

Romancing the Developers: Yahoo Offers Analytics, Search, Ads


One of the best things about not being in the spotlight, is being able to do good work behind the scenes and then sneak up on people. While it is true we had a few hints that Yahoo was putting their focus on mobile (by way of acquisition last year, bringing Flurry Analystics under their umbrella), nobody was really talking about how lucrative that partnership could be. Yahoo Mobile Development Suite was launched at their first mobile developer conference this past week, showing some much-appreciated and needed love for the people who create the apps driving the growth of the mobile marketplace.

Apple loves telling developers how easy it is to use their new this or that, Google is all about features and functions and potential, Microsoft is desperately trying to convince developers their platform is relevant (so please don’t forget about them, please) –so Yahoo decided to bring a whole new focus to the mix by trying to help developers make MONEY!

In the words of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer:

Today is about building innovative, game-changing applications. Now, rather than just make them itself, Yahoo is providing the tools for developers to build, grow, and earn money on their own apps.

There is no question that all of the key players want to attract developers and ultimately hope they are successful, but Yahoo finally made something abundantly clear: developers want to be rewarded for their efforts and see a return on their investments (time included).

During the presentation, Flurry CEO Simon Khalaf offered his observations regarding the current mobile trends (noting three key considerations): there has been a dramatic increase in mobile shopping, users are looking for added features and functionality in their favourite apps (offering Snapchat’s addition of Snapcash as an example), and phablets (larger format smartphones) are becoming the device of choice.

Having been a software developer myself for nearly two decades, I would ask that you allow me to paraphrase Khalaf’s remarks: if you sell something using your app (be it virtual currency or physical merchandise) people will want to buy it, users are loyal but expectations are high (meaning you can create life-long customers if you support your app, and update it regularly to offer the features and functionality your users demand), and larger devices mean more screen real estate to play with (but not as much as tablets can offer, and you don’t want to alienate users still stuck in a sub-5-inch-screened world).

Okay, so what is Yahoo now offering developers that can help? Ultimately it boils down to two things (that are not mutually exclusive): information and advertising.

The Yahoo Mobile Developer Suite includes:

  • Flurry Analytics – Boasting over 200,000 app developers on their platform that are responsible for 630,000 apps being used on 1.6 billion devices, Flurry Analystics can tell you a thing or two about the state of the marketplace during any given period. How many people do you currently have at your disposal able and willing to provide you with that kind of behavioural feedback?
  • Yahoo App Publishing – Due to Yahoo’s acquisition of BrightRoll, developers can now pipe BrightRoll ads into their apps.
  • Yahoo App Marketing – Perhaps the most interesting module in the suite, Yahoo ties together their three mobile advertising options (Gemini native ads on Yahoo's properties, video ads on third parties, and Sponsored Post social ads on Tumblr), letting developers harness Yahoo’s identity data to deliver targeted ads based on what people browse.
  • Flurry Pulse – Provides an analytics tool for ad hoc query analysis that allows you to “ask complex questions of your data and get the answer in seconds.” The Flurry Pulse also lets developers share data with their partners and easily send their mobile audience data to comScore.
  • Yahoo Search in Apps – Keeping users inside your app is often key to establishing trust and loyalty, bouncing between apps is frustrating (and sometimes confusing for less experienced users). Yahoo is providing an integratable search tool for mobile apps (it doesn’t hurt that keeping a user inside your app following a search means your ads are the ones in play ready to earn actual money). If you want to see it in action, check out the Yahoo main app or Yahoo News Digest.

Don’t worry about platform either: Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and mobile web are all supported.

Did I forget to mention it’s also free at any scale? But how? But why? Basically it is a symbiotic relationship between Yahoo and developers when they use these tools: Yahoo becomes increasingly more relevant in the mobile marketplace, Yahoo makes money off ads from their network (not to mention more developers on board, means more ad displays, means it is easier to attract would-be advertisers), and ultimately Yahoo gets to do a little reputation-building (which will prove useful in their future projects).

Now be warned: Yahoo isn’t saying they can guarantee you profits and wealth. What Yahoo provides is the information developers need to make informed decisions regarding their mobile apps (current and future).

Being first to market with any app used to be enough; unfortunately this is no longer the case with app stores bursting at the seams with options. It may go without saying that the key to success is being better than your competition, but the mobile world is a different beast: everybody loves a free app but there is also this understanding (that has grown over the past several years) that you often get what you pay for. Most of us don’t hesitate to throw a dollar or two at an app that (actually) makes our lives easier; now consider there may be (tens of, hundreds of) thousands of people willing to throw you a dollar. Interested in a little recon now? Thought so.

Have I persuaded you to take a closer look? Check out the Yahoo’s Mobile Development Suite website and let me know what you think.

Romancing the Developers: Yahoo Offers Analytics, Search, Ads is a post from: Good e-Reader

Underserved Communities Turn to Digital Publishing for Local News

When experts mourn the demise of the locally-owned (often family-owned) newspapers, they don’t cite things like fast-breaking news or 24-hour headline news coverage; it’s the local news and it the hometown coverage that get lost when big name media outlets become the only surviving players in the game. And there is possibly no greater loss in news coverage than that of the local underserved populations who rely on this coverage not just to be informed, but also to make the rest of the country remember that they’re still here, still existing.

A new initiative, pioneered in conjunction with the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships from Stanford University, is bringing back local news coverage thanks to the tools made possible by digital media. In an article for JSK by Jeremy Hay, the author describes the process he’s undergone with the East Palo Alto (California) community, a neighborhood of primarily Latino and African-American families that has been described as the “last 2.5-mile stretch of affordable housing in the heart of Silicon Valley” in a profile of the area by TechCrunch. For the residents of this area, however, the outlook for news coverage has been grim, quite possibly due to their highly newsworthy neighbors in the Valley.

At a community organizers meeting, Hays was asked to help form a news outlet that specifically catered to and addressed life in East Palo Alto, and the EPANow project got underway. But money or a desire to bring attention weren’t the only obstacles that Hays and the project faced:

“Communities that have struggled to protect themselves and preserve their vitality against blight, poverty, neglect both benign and active, and, in not a few cases, active disenfranchisement or political, social or corporate aggression, have earned their reserve the hard way. Well-meaning outsiders have a habit of dropping in for a few years and, with little or no perspective, applying their own logic, beliefs and priorities to problems they independently identify, and then withdrawing with little of value left behind.”

With local support and a workforce of far more youth than the author originally envisioned, the EPA’s own digital news service was formed. There have been challenges to the actual implementation of the process, such as far more video-based content than was originally planned, but the leap to digital has enabled a creation that print or live news coverage could never have attempted.

“It's imperative that the community take the reins of a local news enterprise from the start — and why I'm so grateful that in EPA it has. I don't think there's a chance in hell it would succeed otherwise.”

News publishing through digital avenues and apps has allowed industries and communities alike to be a part of the broader picture of news coverage in ways that they never could have otherwise. Digital magazines, newspapers, video channels, even dissemination of digital content through social media have given a voice to everyone from neighborhood residents to small businesses and startups, all for a far more cost effective and reach potential than any previous format.

Underserved Communities Turn to Digital Publishing for Local News is a post from: Good e-Reader

Google Updates Mobile Search to Display Recent Content


There are reasons that Google remains the (nearly) undisputed king of Internet searching –they are always adding features, making changes for the better, and evolving the way their software functions. To this end, one the of the latest updates to Google’s mobile search takes your search terms and displays other related article and videos for that specific topic (all in a clean, easy to navigate carousel).

Google describes their new feature in more detail:

When you search for a topic, just scroll down to see a “carousel” of recent articles, videos or more on that subject. Tap any link to read or watch exactly what you’re interested in. For example, if you search for NPR, you’ll see links to all their latest articles and videos. Search for the Knicks to browse content from their site as well as videos and news from ESPN or Bleacher Report.

Truth be told, anything that delivers me more content in less time is a clear win in my books. While the carousel may be limited to articles and videos right now, you have to know that this is just the beginning. In time, you can expect other relevant content to be displayed –including social media links and tweets.

Most users are reporting that this feature is already live, though Google warns it may take time for all sites to be covered.

Google Updates Mobile Search to Display Recent Content is a post from: Good e-Reader

Google Play Developers Receive Fake Terms Violation Email


The actual content of the email varies somewhat, but a large number of Google Play Android developers have received phony notifications that their apps are violating Google terms of service. Not only that, the email informs developers that their app will be removed from the Play Store and their account likely terminated. How can you prevent this from happening? Just click the link inside of the email, enter your username and password into the bogus Developer Console and wham, bam, you are safe and sound… oh, except the whole thing is fraudulent and now you’ve delivered your username and password to a bunch of deviants.

Google has been quick to respond to this crisis with an official email to their developers.

We are aware that some Google Play developers have received policy warnings from a fake Google account. The subject lines of the fraudulent emails include variations of "3-Day Notification of Google Play Developer Term Violation." If you received an email with this subject line, please mark it as phishing and proceed to delete it without clicking on any links contained within it. Find out more about recognizing phishing emails here:

If you use Gmail, please report all phishing attempts by following these instructions:

As a general reminder, you should only enter your Google account password on the official Google sign-in page: Also note that the official URL for the Google Play Developer Console is

If you believe your account has been compromised, please follow these instructions:

The Google Play Support Team

(c)2015 Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important information relating to your Google Play account.

Usually these fake email scams are easier to spot, with the authors making large numbers of silly grammatical errors or giving a strong sense of urgency that you respond; this one is surprisingly better composed.

Google’s advice on this is wise… when in doubt, don’t click through mindlessly –open a web browser, go directly to the site in question using your own bookmarks, and do a little research before doing anything else.

Google Play Developers Receive Fake Terms Violation Email is a post from: Good e-Reader

The Independent Steps up Coverage of US News


The Independent is one of the leading newspapers in the United Kingdom and they are stepping up their coverage of US based news.

The newspaper company is basically setting up a virtual office to add more coverage to news coming out of Washington and major stories occurring all over the United States. The stories will chiefly be available on the web, but the odd news item will make the physical edition all over the UK.

The Independent is experiencing record levels of internet traffic. In January they reported an increase of 53% year on year to 52.5 million online visitors. Meanwhile, UK monthly unique browsers have risen 47% since January 2014, to 20.2 million.

Christian Broughton, digital editor of The Independent said: “These new record figures are testament to the excellent teams we now have in place on and It’s an exciting time for us. We have a big combined platform now, and big ambitions. We’re expanding the editorial staff again over the year ahead, adding new specialisms and building on existing strengths. The US office has two key targets: to extend our US news coverage for our global audience, and to serve our US audience, which accounts for a third of the total, better than ever before.”

The Independent is available to read online, by subscription in the UK and internationally via Pressreader.

The Independent Steps up Coverage of US News is a post from: Good e-Reader