May 9, 2019

GOOGLE

Series of fails on Google Search

Google had a great I/O conference, announcing several game-changing products and feature updates that we talked about yesterday.

However, it looks like the focus on new products is drawing resources away from their vintage product line; the cash cow of the company: Google Search and Search Ads.

Let’s have a look at the Search part first.

Search suggestions crawling off the page

Apparently, there is an ugly bug affecting Google’s search suggestions and auto-complete function.

This bug occurs when you go to the Search page and begin typing. Instead of popping up below the search box, Google’s search suggestions are appearing somewhere on the right side of the search bar. A small bug, but one that millions will have noticed.

When there are over 65k searches made every second, it’s something that has drawn attention from the community quickly.

Many users complained of seeing stuff they didn’t like and posted screenshots and videos of the bug in action.

A few hours ago, Google acknowledged this, confirming that it was a bug which has now been resolved.

Google Ad exploit on the loose

Moving on from organic Search to Search Ads. This time it’s not a bug, it’s an exploit!

It’s been quite a while since we have seen anything like this slip through the net with Google Ads due to their strict policy and review team. Google is well known for its ever-increasing stringency around policy and compliance issues.

However, it seems that even they make mistakes sometimes.

A blogger named Josh wrote about an interesting Google Ads exploit that he and his aunt Sue discovered recently.

His aunt performed a search on Google for the term eBay. As expected, the first result she saw was an ad about eBay.

So far, so good, right? Except that it wasn’t really an eBay ad. It was only the display URL that had the words ‘eBay.com’ in it, with the actual URL sending users to a junky page full of pop ups telling users that their computer had a virus.

What’s even more disturbing is that the advertiser only targeted older people, like Josh’s poor aunt Sue.

For some strange reason, eBay seems not to be bidding for its brand terms, making it even easier for the ill-intentioned advertiser to show up at the number 1 spot for such a widely used term.

We all know that Google has several checks in place to try and prevent things like this, but apparently, the scammers found a gap in their defences in this case.

Well, now that the I/O conference is over and everybody is back to work, it’s time for Google to pay close attention to the core of its business; a core that feeds every one of its countless other products and business units.


FACEBOOK

Targeting and Policy updates

Why do you read this marketing magazine? Probably because you know that in this crazy industry, something new happens every single day. New tools, new rules, new features.

Quite often, Facebook is at the center of this rapidly changing ecosystem. Today, we dive into some targeting and policy updates released in the blue domain where Mark Zuckerberg reigns supreme.

New Custom Audiences?

We haven’t found any official announcement regarding this, but it looks like Facebook has introduced a new Custom Audience: Household Audience.

What is it about? You can create an audience based on people who share a household with your customers.

In other words, you can target your customers’ relatives. So, if your product or service is something that could appeal to the whole family, it’s easier for you to target those people.

David Schloss shared the news in his group, and someone naively asked: “How in the world does Facebook know who lives with me?”

Well, Facebook knows everything. We should all know that by now.

That being said, it’s pretty straightforward. You share the same IP address with the people of your household. Plus you’re likely to interact with them in a different way compared to your other FB friends. And the algo tracks it. And you probably have some family pictures shared on the social network.

You see, one way or another, Facebook will discover everything about you.

Policy updates for financial products ads

Last June, FB updated its policies to require prior approval to run cryptocurrency related ads.

That new regulation resulted in much confusion. In fact, most of the time, ads not even related to blockchain products and services got disapproved. For example, a lot of ads that were only sharing crypto related news and events got axed.

Fortunately, Facebook listened to advertisers’ feedback, and from today ads related to blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency will NOT need a pre-approval to run.

This update will undoubtedly open up the possibility of some workarounds that allow advertisers to promote cryptocurrency products, or at least to generate leads for them. You probably already came up with some ideas while reading this.

Hold your horses though! While FB may have opened the door a crack, we expect them to be watching closely for any underhand tactics. Try it at your own peril…

Moving on, from 5th June, another update related to Prohibited Financial Products and Services Policy will take effect.

What else will change?

Facebook will no longer allow promoting contracts for difference (CFDs):

“These products, due to their complexity, often mislead people.”

Although, you still have one month to squeeze the last bucks from these products, start to adapt and look for new traffic sources. Because from June 5, the party is over.

Ad Library down

It seems that yesterday, the Ad Library went down for many people. It also happened with the Info and Ads section of Pages. Totally unavailable.

So, if you experienced this malfunction, don’t worry. It’s just another bug spreading around.


SECURITY

100+ e-commerce websites under hacker attack

Qihoo 360’s NetLab, a Chinese cybersecurity firm, spent months researching to reveal an ongoing hacker attack that involves more than 100 e-commerce websites.

The hackers are currently stealing payment card information from customers visiting the hacked websites.

Researchers found that hackers have been injecting malicious JavaScript scripts into hundreds of online shopping websites. This all comes through the malicious domain www.magento-analytics[.]com.

The JS scripts include a CC info skimming code that, when executed, automatically steals payment information.

The researchers said that all these affected websites are running over Magento CMS software.

It gets worse though. Apparently, this attack has been ongoing for at least 5 months now!

The Hackers News suggests that websites administrators follow best security practices, such as applying the latest updates and patches, limiting privileges for critical systems and hardening web servers.

Whereas online shoppers are advised to regularly review their CC and report even small unauthorized transactions.


SEO

Google adds support for FAQs and How-to structured data

Google has announced support for new structured data for FAQs and How-to markups, bringing these rich search results to life.

How-to results. Search results for How-to queries will now show users step-by-step information about the process within the search results.

Here’s the documentation it released about adding this markup to your website and to Google Assistant.

How-to report in Search Console. A new How-to enhancement report has been added to the Search Console which will show you any errors, warnings and valid items for pages with How-To structured data.

FAQ results. New ways of showing search results of FAQ pages in Search and Google Assistant. If you have any such content pages, add this structured markup to them as soon as possible. It will help Google show questions and answers directly within Search and on the Assistant.

Here’s the documentation on adding this markup to your website and to Assistant.

FAQ reports in Search Console: An enhancement report for FAQ structured data has also been added to your Search Console.

The Crew’s Take

Be careful while adding these markups to your website. They can make your search results more prominent, and it could drive more clicks to your website. But… If the users are getting their queries answered directly on Google properties, they might never end up on your website at all.


POOLSIDE CHAT

Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

Remember the name: Jedy Vales!

We assume you have no idea who that is yet, but you will probably remember her for a long time.

Some context before we reveal who Jedy is…

It’s pretty well known in the affiliate marketing scene that the adult entertainment industry tends to lead the charge on some tech innovation. Virtual reality is probably the latest trend where this is happening, but it’s certainly not the only one.

A few months ago we featured the first pair of digital news anchors.

OK, today we can tell you that the adult industry took it one step further. That’s where Jedy comes in. Jedy is YouPorn’s virtual human brand ambassador.

Here’s what Jedy (pictured above) had to say about her new job.

“I know that many of YouPorn’s users are also huge fans and users of social media. Well, me too! That’s why I’m so excited to join the team and share my digital experience with the community.

It’s fun to share information about my favorite porn site and little peeks into my life with the YouPorn community. I am looking forward to becoming their go-to source for providing fun and entertaining updates while being an active part of the future of porn.”

Of course, nobody on the internet would ever visit such a website, so we’re sure you’ll never get the chance to see Jedy…

Nice try though, right?

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