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Funding piracy by mistake and killing Netbooks: top stories you should read

Yep, pirates and assassins. And tech. But our latest round-up of top tech stories also outlines the problem with seeing online advertising as a numbers game, the man behind one of tech’s biggest companies and the plan behind Google+.

Can social media sell soap?

This opinion piece uses the analogy that traditional advertisers were like Mad Men‘s Don Draper: they thought about what people would respond to, and were successful, because there were no metrics to prove otherwise. But online, most things could be tracked and neatly quantified — until social media arrived. You may not get a direct click on your ad, but perhaps a customer bought your product after they arrived at the store and remembered your tweet while they were browsing. Even with all the analytics data in the world, it’s not easy to quantify hazy ideas like ‘influence’.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos: the ultimate disrupter

This profile of Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, delves into everything from Bezos’ customer-focused mindset and love of innovation to his long-term business strategy. And yes, the boss of one of the world’s biggest bookstores likes to read.

How big brands – with help from Google & Yahoo – finance online piracy

Ever wondered where your ads end up online? Well, if you’re using one of the top ad networks, there is an 86% chance your ad is sitting on a pirate site somewhere, making it some cash. According to a recent study, a number of big brands aren’t even aware that their ads are showing up on sites with illegal content — although they may still be reaching their target audience after all.

Apple killed the netbook

An interesting argument — although if you’re not an iFan, you’re probably going to have to restrain yourself from trolling the comments before you’ve reached the conclusion. Slate’s Farhad Manjoo argues that the recent demise of the once-lauded little netbook is due to two products: the iPad and the MacBook Air (and, subsequently, their countless clones and similar gadgets produced by competitors). While it’s more likely other factors played as important a roll (the slim profit margins on the devices and condensed user experience, for example) it’s still interesting to look back and see how short a product’s life-span can be.

Why the Google+ long game is brilliant

It’s quite difficult to categorise Google+. Yes, it’s often called a Facebook competitor, but Google views it as more of an over-arching system: they say that Google+ is Google. And while the social network portion saw massive sign up rates but lower current active user numbers, the fact is that its features are being integrated into all other Gproducts — and how many people go through a day without using search, Gmail or YouTube?

Some say Google+ is a deadzone, but others can’t live without it — and as everything Google becomes more cohesive, it’s likely that, in the long-term, you’ll find yourself using Google+ features more and more.

Author | Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More

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