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Industry News

  • The Bookmarks 2017: here are the winners

    In case you weren't anywhere near Twitter or Sandton last night, the 2017 and ninth edition of The Bookmarks took place last night. The IAB Bookmark Awards (as it is more formally known) is known in the digital industry for "rewarding excellence in digital and recognising the powerful impact interactive has on the overall marketing mix". You could call it the SAMAs of the digital industry. "South Africa’s top talent and most memorable campaigns were recognised, illustrating how far the digital industry has come and laying the path for future innovation," IAB writes in a press release. So, who won? Memeburn and Creative Spark...

  • Google moves to demote offensive search results

    Google has launched an effort to flag and demote "upsetting-offensive" results on its search engine. According to Search Engine Land, the company employs 10 000 human quality raters to help rank its results -- and a new guideline has been added that allows for the flagging of content that is blatantly untrue. Senior engineer Paul Haahr told the publication that Google was avoiding the vague term "fake news," and was instead looking for results that featured "demonstrably inaccurate information". Quality raters' jobs entail searching real queries Google has seen and ranking the results based on a 200-page set of guidelines. The "upsetting-offensive" section has recently been added to...

  • Google Family Link lets you monitor kids’ mobile usage

    Apple's Family Sharing functionality has been one of the better features for parents, allowing them to approve family members' purchases and more. Now, Google has stepped things up in a big way thanks to the Family Link app. The app, targeted at children under the age of 13, allows you to monitor their app usage (which apps they're using most and for how long), create an app whitelist and lock the phone at specific times (e.g. sleep or study time). Google does note however that certain background apps, such as music and messaging apps, won't be fully tracked. The Family Link app...

  • Verified Twitter accounts post swastikas in Turkish hack

    Last week, the Netherlands barred two Turkish ministers from speaking to expatriates ahead of a national memorandum. On 16 April, Turkey will be voting whether or not to allow Turkish President Erdogan to stay in power until 2029. And the president did not take the slight well: according to Fortune.com, Turkey warned that it would retaliate in the "harshest ways." Apparently these ways include Twitter hacks. Last night, Turkish hackers targeted verified accounts to spew Erdogan propaganda across the platform. Rough translation: “#NaziGermany👌#NaziNetherlands, a little👋#OTTOMAN SLAP for you, see you on #April16th. Can’t read it🇹🇷LEARN Turkish #RT” — Alex Hern (@alexhern) March 15, 2017 Hundreds of accounts were...

  • Q&A: Google’s Bunmi Banjo chats Africa’s digital skills growth

    Google's African operations have had a week to celebrate, following the news that they've hit their goal of training one million Africans. The training sees citizens using Google's Digital Skills Programme, covering everything from social media marketing/strategy to analytics, advertising and online video. Bunmi Banjo has been at the forefront of the initiative, being Google's Growth Engine and Brand Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted a Q&A with Banjo, focusing on the programme, entrepreneurship in general and more. Memeburn: You recently held an AfricaCom talk titled, 'Why technology providers and OEMs should be the strongest contributors to initiating new start-up businesses in tech and...

  • Google hits one million mark in training Africans

    Google has announced that it has reached its goal of training one million Africans as part of its Digital Skills programme. The Mountain View company said it reached its goal a month early, having committed to training one million Africans within a year on 16 April 2016. The company has added that it's set a new target. The tech company also revealed that it will provide offline versions of its training materials to people and businesses in areas of low access where it's not possible to hold physical training sessions. "Additionally, Google will provide offline versions of the content in languages like Swahili,...

  • Lancewood cheeses Facebook Messenger bots to bring you novel recipes

    Humans have been sending other humans emoji for thousands of years now, so it's only right that the system should be used by brands. Speaking of which, South African cheese brand Lancewood has announced a nifty little marketing campaign relating to its Ultimate Braai Master partnership. Dubbed Lancewood Emoji Meals, the company's using a Facebook Messenger bot and your choice of emoji to receive related recipes featuring one of the company's products. "By sending a food Emoji to LANCEWOOD®’s Facebook page via private message, the Bot instantly responds with a recipe or tip related to the Emoji. As an example, Clarissa...

  • Ster-Kinekor website leaked millions of users’ private data

    Ster-Kinekor's old website allowed anyone with know-how to retrieve the profile details of every user on the site. This information included phone numbers, addresses and plaintext passwords. Software developer Matt Cavanagh revealed the bug in a blog post on Thursday, after disclosing it to Ster Kinekor last year. "They took the high-road of admitting they were at fault, and didn't try pass the blame off. I appreciate that," Cavanagh told Memeburn of their response to his report. According to the developer, the bug in the backend API was found via the website's Flash bits. He admits he didn't have substantial knowledge of Flash, but...

  • The world’s most-wanted cyber criminal is Gru from Despicable Me

    Mr Bogachev, tear down that firewall! The New York Times reported Sunday that the world's most wanted cyber criminal -- worth a US$3-million bounty -- not only has ties to Russian spies, but also bears a stark resemblance to Despicable Me supervillian Gru. Well, they may not have reported that exactly but it's hard not to make the correlation. Evgeniy M. Bogachev, like Gru, is a bald white man who in all likelihood has a Russian accent. The FBI has offered a $3 million bounty for Evgeniy M. Bogachev's capture, the most ever for a cybercriminal https://t.co/xuWvrtVNFf pic.twitter.com/XDgyo0oNrr — The New York Times (@nytimes) March 13, 2017 According to...

  • Kaspersky launches perfume to, uh, combat cyber attacks

    We're just as confused as you are. Kaspersky Labs -- best known to the average human as the virus protection you have to pay for -- has launched a perfume line to raise awareness for cyber security. The scent has been dubbed Threat de Toilette and somehow has nothing to do with eating too much Indian food. Can you smell fear? We’re talking #cybersecurity at our perfume launch event today at @BobBobRicard#ThreatdeToilettepic.twitter.com/hHuUkNdAOF — KasperskyUK (@kasperskyuk) March 9, 2017 "Fear awakens our senses," Kaspersky Lab's principal security researcher tells The Inquirer. "The men and women who wear Threat de Toilette understand today's online threats...

  • Game of Thrones season 7 release date and teaser is here

    Game of Thrones fans rejoice: the great war is here. Yesterday, the Game of Thrones Twitter announced the much-awaited release date on a live stream with Jaime Lannister actor Nikolai Coster-Waldau. The date -- 16 July 2017 -- was hidden behind ice that was melted as watchers commented "fire" or "dracarys". After the date was revealed, a teaser was posted to Twitter. The great war is here. #GoTS7 premieres 7.16. pic.twitter.com/1Jna10kNuQ — Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) March 9, 2017 The teaser features sound bites from previous seasons over a menacing statue of the House animals, which eventually crumbles to the ground. "Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell, they're all just spokes...

  • 13% of South Africans use ad-blocking – study

    A new report by Effective Measure has found that 13% of South Africans use ad-blocking software. The study saw 2987 respondents being surveyed from December 2016 to January 2017, Effective Measure wrote in an emailed release to Memeburn. As for the reasons why people use ad-blockers? Well, there aren't any surprises here... "The report reveals that the top reasons why ad blockers are used by consumers are because of the disruptive, annoying and overwhelming number of advertisements. Security and speed were also common concerns." How does South Africa's figure compare to ad-blocker usage in the USA and Australia? Well, 26% of people...

  • Google honours women in heartwarming International Women’s Day doodle

    It's easy to list off men who have made history: Nelson Mandela, Neil Armstrong, Mozart. These names are drilled into us from day one. But to list women requires effort. The knowledge is rarely a given, and if you want to know, you have to go looking. But today Google wants to change that. On International Women's Day, Google sported a beautiful new doodle featuring a young girl learning of women around the world who have done remarkable things. It's #IWD2017 around the 🌍! Celebrate women pioneers who have shaped history in today's #GoogleDoodle → https://t.co/fWWhkbKLY3pic.twitter.com/PeCRDGprWc — Google Doodles (@GoogleDoodles) March 8, 2017 The...

  • How to increase your advertising ROI with Programmatic buying

    Programmatic buying is a relatively new concept in South Africa and it uses highly advanced technology -- both of which can make it seem intimidating. If you are a marketer who has mainly operated outside of digital -- planning a programmatic ad buying budget probably feels very overwhelming. The reality is, programmatic buying allows more control over your advertising campaign than most traditional platforms. Media buying and selling is fast-paced and being able to make decisions in real-time can give your brand a competitive edge. Simply put, programmatic buying enables brands to utilise audience insights and technology to tailor messages to...

  • Cisco Connect South Africa: company affirms pledge to Africa’s growth

    Cisco's SVP Hilton Romanski and country manager Cathy Smith today opened Cisco Connect South Africa with a joint keynote, expressing the company's acute focus on African technology growth and digitisation. Romanski, who is also the country sponsor for South Africa and China, pledged to focus on accelerating the continent's digital adoption rates, both at the consumer and business level. "Technology presents many opportunities and challenges for Africa as the fastest urbanising region in the world," Romanski explains. "Cisco recognises the pipeline of African talent and we are deeply involved in enabling the widespread emergence of tech ecosystems across the continent." Cisco Connect South...