NetPop perspectives in the news and press highlights.

Google Touts Alternative to Crumbling Third-Party Cookies

“From a marketing perspective, this is often considered ‘segmentation’ — or grouping the general population into groups of like-minded segments that are distinct yet homogeneous compared to other groups of individuals.”

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Social Media Proved Crucial For Joe Biden – It Allowed Him To Connect With Young Voters And Avoid His Infamous Gaffes

“Biden certainly has been working a ‘strong’ online social outreach campaign this election year, but what’s really captured my attention has been the power of the ‘Party,'” said technology industry analyst Josh Crandall of Netpop Research.

“I’m not sure how it happened, but my telephone number and email address seems to be known by almost every senior party official, and I’ve received texts and emails from all of them,” said Crandall. “The crossover has been extraordinary, powerful and attention grabbing. The themes they share have spread the word, reinforced their positions, and built momentum for additional fundraising.”

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Amazon Pharmacy Opens for Business

Josh Crandall, CEO and co-founder of NetPop Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm in San Francisco, explained that Amazon has invested and built an enormous fulfillment and distribution empire. Now, Amazon is scaling further by adding any new physical product categories to its systems.

“Pharmaceuticals are often monthly subscriptions or one-off purchases,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “They are small and easily mailed. It’s a perfect match for their distribution infrastructure.”

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Can We Trust Social Media Influencers?

“Word on the street with most millennials is that the whole world of influencer marketing is grayscale and there is no more trust,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research. “Situations like Khloe Kardashian’s promotion of Tummy Flat Tea have exposed the back-office relationships that celebrities and other internet stars have with the products they are pimping. When tech savvy youth are scrolling their social media feeds on a constant basis, they are quick to discern what’s fact and what’s fiction. At this point, they have seen so many YouTube videos or IG stories of people hyping a product but who are obviously uncomfortable using it that they tune out most product related posts immediately.”


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Baby Yoda Is Out-Trending Political Candidates On Social Media

“Social media salivates for memes like Baby Yoda,” explained Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“This is just the latest ‘story’ to capture the imaginations of people looking for something to momentarily occupy themselves as they procrastinate on other aspects of their lives,” Crandall added. “While Baby Yoda is a fun and entertaining social media interaction, the essence of what drives people to respond and share this bit of content is similar to that of other news or political stories. It’s a story that is ‘too good to be true.’ People react to these stories immediately – almost viscerally – retweeting them, sharing them, liking or disliking them.”

“Political stories on social media strive to create the same response from their target audience,” said Crandall. “The authors and designers of political content want their readers to react with visceral action to retweet, share and respond to the stories, often without even reading beyond the headline.”

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Social Media And The Holiday Shopping Season

“Social media and desire are the inputs that create today’s most dynamic marketing channel for brands and retailers,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“Social media sites are the modern looking glass through which people see and want to be seen,” added Crandall. “The sleek pictures that marketers post of cool kids in their latest styles compel those who scroll through their feed to stop and take note, copy and extend further.”

“The constant feedback between brands and consumers accelerates the relationship that consumers look to embody with the brands they appreciate,” noted Crandall. “When celebrities or casual consumer ‘super-fans’ add brand endorsements, the signal is only more powerful. It’s hard to imagine that brands that care about the 16 to 35 year old consumer segment can overlook the power that social media sites wield on the marketplace today.”

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The human side of data | interview with Cate Riegner

NetPop Co-Founder / VP Cate Riegner shares her perspective on the role of big data, innovative research methods, and how research can ultimately help companies speak to their audiences and foster inclusivity.

Data is very valuable, absolutely, but there are different kinds of data… What NetPop focuses on is ‘the human side of data’ … rather than what you click on, or where you go, or what you buy, it’s understanding the emotions, perceptions, and psychology behind the decisions that we make.

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Is Social Media The Best Place To Get Fitness And Health Advice?

“You can’t trust everything you see on social media,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“The before and after pictures of a ‘miracle’ workout or the ‘proven’ benefits of some newfangled athletic machine make things sound too good to be true, and they often are,” warned Crandall. “In today’s world, it’s more important to fact-check and consult with professional trainers and physicians to make sure that the information they are receiving is sound advice.”

“Social media has a huge impact on people’s perceptions,” noted Crandall.

“If ‘the tribe’ is posting about their fitness regimen, it can certainly motivate an individual to start their own,” Crandall added. “In this way, social media can have an enormous positive impact.”

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YouTube Has Become Bigger Than MTV Ever Was For Music Videos

“YouTube brings music videos, lyrics, and backstage access to music fans,” explained Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“After listening to a new hit, it’s possible to find it on YouTube and see how the artist envisions the best way to present it,” Crandall added.

“It’s just so easy to drop into the rabbit hole of music discovery today,” said Crandall. “For example, the Black Eyed Peas came out with a new song recently called ‘The New Wave.’ I enjoyed it so much that I watched the video and then spent two hours watching all of their videos. I was thrilled to see how the group matured over a couple of decades of music making.”


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In Zuck We Trust: Facebook to Launch Own Cryptocurrency

“If Facebook has this financial information about me, will they target me in different ways?” asked Josh Crandall, CEO of NetPop Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm in San Francisco.

“That’s something that consumers will have to evaluate on their own because I don’t think they can trust Facebook with the information that they give it today,” he told TechNewsWorld.

It will be a battle for Facebook to change it’s culture to operate in financial services, Crandall said.

“The world has come to understand that Facebook has not upheld our trust to manage our privacy. It’s eviscerated privacy for its own gains,” he maintained. “The question is, will Facebook’s culture change to support an infrastructure that is trustworthy of our financial information?”

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Why Productivity Tools are Making Us Less Productive

“Slack and other tools make it easy for people to send a lot of messages to one another, but does that equate to successful collaboration?” pondered Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research. “No, it does not.”

“The underlying problem with any productivity software tool is that they still require people to pay attention and care about the outcomes of their projects,” said Crandall. “Co-workers need to be conscious about whether or not they are communicating effectively no matter whether it’s via Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or good-old email.”

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Apple to Raise Barrier Against VR, AR Websites

If sensor data were being used just for delivering VR and AR in an ad, that would be fine, noted Josh Crandall, CEO of NetPop Research, a market research and strategy consulting firm in San Francisco.

“As soon as that data is being used for any other purpose, it’s unethical, and I’m glad to see that Tim Cook is making a statement about how it’s being used,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“In today’s world, where every day there’s another privacy breach and so many gaps and so many holes, it’s nice to see that somebody is trying to close some of those holes,” Crandall said. “It’s nice to see a little momentum in that direction from a major technology company.”

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Firework Offers Snack-Size Original Content

“Short-form videos are terrific ways to snack on content,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“People love to share a quick laugh or something breathtaking with friends and family,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“I’m curious to see how easy they make it to share videos across different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, texts and email,” said Crandall.

“You can’t lock people into an app download or account to access this type of content. The barriers are too high for most consumers,” he explained.

For Firework to gain traction, it may need to be as easy as pasting the videos to a clipboard and sharing on other sites and services, suggested Crandall. “Once hooked, maybe consumers will wait to watch a second episode, and ultimately sign up for future episodes.”

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End of the Line for Microsoft Edge?

Yet Microsoft was in a tough spot when it came to IE, noted Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“It’s like that first car you want to hold onto as long as possible. It’s got a lot of great memories, but it’s not as fun to drive as your new car,” he told TechNewsWorld. “So, it just sits in the driveway unless you need it as backup.”


Instead of investing in and improving its browser, Microsoft went back to the drawing board and created Edge, and then limited its availability to its Windows 10 and Xbox One devices. Fragmentation of the market wasn’t the only negative consequence. To date, the transition from IE to Edge hasn’t been simple for Microsoft because the changes haven’t materially improves on the user experience.

Simply put, two browsers aren’t better than one.

“The logos may be similar, but the interfaces aren’t; users comfortable with IE don’t find the switch to Edge intuitive, and change is hard,” explained NetPop’s Crandall.

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Google Assistant Gains Momentum in Smart Home Race

“This race is a sprint from the beginning,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“It looks like Google and Amazon are breaking away from Siri — HomeKit — in the first lap,” he told TechNewsWorld. “There’s no doubt that Google considers this race incredibly important and recognizes it is playing catch-up to Amazon’s Alexa product.”

“By making the announcement, Google is letting the industry know that it’s serious about unlocking the potential of Google Home,” said Crandall.

“Developers and [Internet of Things] companies will take heed that 5,000 devices are interwoven into the fabric of Google Home, and start developing for the platform if they haven’t already begun to do so,” he predicted.

“In other words, Google is saying ‘Look at all of the third-party development happening on our platform. If you don’t support Google Home, watch out, because we’re here to stay,'” Crandall said.

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Publishers Protest Google’s ‘Troubling’ GDPR Policy

Publishers should obtain consent from people whose data they’re submitting to Google, maintained Josh Crandall, CEO of NetPop Research.

“Google is simply stating that the publishers that submit works to Google, presumably for additional audience aggregation, are in compliance with the GDPR requirements,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Google is simply protecting its own business by requiring upstream publishers to comply with GDPR, where necessary.”

The new policy shows that Google is trying to be careful about adhering to the GDPR, Crandall said.

“Google and the EU already have a tense relationship around data privacy, search results, and other business practices,” he said. “Google is following the requirements of the GDPR very closely to avoid any further issues that they can.”

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With Custom Skills, Alexa Inches Closer to Being One of the Family

“Amazon’s announcement will spark the fascination of all the ‘makers’ in our midst,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“Imagine how cool somebody will look when they can show off the unique, imaginative skills that they programmed into their audio ‘friend,’ Alexa,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“It doesn’t really matter how many people actually code skills. All it will take to make this a PR win is a couple of YouTube videos of creative and funny skills that a few people add to their speakers,” Crandall added.

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Facebook Peddles Future Behavior Data to Advertisers

Facebook needs to be careful about how it handles data following the improper sharing of information on 87 million users in the Cambridge Analytica episode, said Josh Crandall, CEO of NetPop Research.

“These are delicate times for Facebook. Use of any technologies to target Facebook users should be considered very carefully, especially right now,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“Questions around where and how data are being used are front and center for influential, savvy users,” Crandall said.

“Rolling out AI at this point may be a short-term solution for quarterly earnings,” he continued, “but may be seen by some as another step towards long-term user distrust for the way Facebook respects user data and privacy.”

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Facebook Comes Up With a New Data Access Plan

“Facebook has been on the edge of this catastrophe for a long time,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“The company has leveraged data mining to encourage users to spend more time on the site and enable advertisers to target likely consumers more effectively than ever before,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“To promote the growth of a developer ecosystem, Facebook provided third-party developers access to their users’ data as well,” Crandall noted. “Access to user data enables developers to create more viral applications.”

“Facebook’s latest public statements about locking down data sharing is a first step, but it’s not enough to speak to the media about the actions they are taking,” suggested Netpop’s Crandall.

When it comes to accessing personal information, technology companies are in a more powerful position than ever, he added.

“It’s essential to talk directly to the member community and protect those who decided to share real, intimate facts about themselves with others on the Facebook platform,” Crandall said.

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Google to Weed Out Cryptocurrency Ads

Because of the complexity of cryptocurrency products, consumers may need to be protected from themselves, as Google and Facebook appear to be doing, suggested Josh Crandall, CEO of NetPop Research.

“This is a very speculative space and people are being taken advantage of,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “People are jumping into this like it’s gambling, so Google is trying to protect consumers.”

“Google is looking after and tending to the health of online ads overall,” Netpop’s Crandall said.

“While it could be making money from these speculative cryptocurrency providers, it’s more concerned about the long-term health of the online advertising ecosystem,” he noted.

“It doesn’t want consumers to react in a negative way to all online ads because they were taken advantage of by one for cryptocurrency,” Crandall said.

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Google Launches Offensive Against Annoying Ads

By building ad blocking into Chrome, Google wants to enhance the consumer’s experience with advertising, noted Josh Crandall, CEO of NetPop Research.

“They want to support an advertising experience that’s beneficial to consumers,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “If it’s beneficial to consumers, it will ultimately be beneficial to advertisers.”

Now that Chrome, which has about 60 percent of the browser market, has built-in ad blocking, other browser makers will be taking notice, NetPop’s Crandall noted.

“Google, as the leader in the browser space, is sending a signal to other browser makers and technology providers in the market, and they will take that into consideration,” he said.

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Newspapers are Given a New Voice Through Virtual Assistants

What surprised Netpop Research principal analyst Josh Crandall are the media companies that have been the early adopters in this space.

“The BBC, Wall Street JournalHarvard Business Review and The Economist have already embraced audio distribution,” he said.

“The format is better suited for news highlights rather than in-depth reporting. Amazon has coined the phrase ‘Flash Briefing’ to capture how the news is delivered over its service,” Crandall explained. “It’s kind of ironic that the early adopters to this method of distributing content are known for thoughtful, thorough coverage versus the outlets like USA Today and CNN which are more frequently associated with ‘sound-bite’ coverage.”


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There May Be Gold in Them Thar Podcasts

“The podcast industry has been silently riding the wave of smartphone adoption over the last decade, and it’s been a good thing for the artists and businesses in the industry,” noted Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“After riding the rollercoaster of VC hype in the early 2000s, the industry settled into the long haul of building awareness, trial, and finally audiences,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

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Google’s Ad Mute Option Could Be a Valuable Messaging Tool

“Google is taking brave steps into the politics of advertising these days,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“They are releasing their Chrome based Adblock Plus and now have announced ad controls,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“On the surface these moves might be seen as contradictory with their business model, but Google is slowly changing the rules to protect the long-term strength of online advertising,” added Crandall.

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Tech to Watch in 2018: Cryptocurrency, AI, Wearables

“Humans will feed the machines,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“There’s no stopping artificial intelligence and machine learning,” he told TechNewsWorld…….

……”It will be a frustrating year as these assistive technologies, which aren’t quite helpful yet, offer suggestions and recommendations that don’t provide the solutions we are really looking for,” said Crandall, “but don’t fret — the technologies will continue to improve and become more personalized.”

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Taking Business Communication in Stride

“Atlassian’s singular focus on software developers and team collaboration over the years has carved out a successful niche for the company,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“It has focused on the agile process and has evolved hand-in-hand with how software is created for an Internet-connected world,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “Atlassian has used acquisitions — Hipchat and Trello — to advance their strategy, and now are leveraging those skills to develop new products in house.”



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At 10, the World-Changing iPhone Is Kind of the Same

Thanks to these and other features, “the iPhone changed the game entirely,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“The combination of space-aged materials — gorilla glass and flat batteries — and pocket-sized convenience brought the Internet into the palms of our hands — anytime, everywhere,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It flipped Silicon Valley’s perspective from building a faster laptop to focus on a ‘mobile-first’ world.”

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New FCC Chair Ajit Pai Vows to Kill Net Neutrality Rules

“Ajit Pai is a forward thinker who wants to simplify and speed up how the FCC operates,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“He has five years of experience within the FCC and has participated in the commission’s efforts to stay ahead of a rapidly changing telecommunications landscape,” Crandall told the E-Commerce Times.

“His statements on Net neutrality make me cautiously optimistic that he recognizes the economic, and social benefits that a level playing field have created,” he added. “He opposes heavy regulations that come with the determination that the Internet is a ‘public utility,’ and not specifically ‘Net neutrality.’

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Microsoft Trumpets Stellar Surface Sales

“Microsoft has invested enormously in Surface and their efforts are finally paying off,” observed Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“Surface is the kind of product line that Microsoft has had in mind through the development of Windows 10, an OS that performs the same way on every device,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Microsoft recently has begun to invest in hardware more earnestly than Apple has, and it “may not be impeded by historical silos that tend to emerge in big companies,” added Crandall.

“Surface isn’t simply a tablet product line,” he said. “It’s a touch-based computing platform that spans different screen formats and offers consumers two professional models.”

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Will Your Social Media Posts Keep You From Getting a Security Clearance?

“All of the content we contribute online is going through an Internet service provider, e.g. your cable system or telephone company,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research. “From there, it’s traveling through the Internet, traversing through routers and networks to the final destination. As we now know, governments and private industry can tap into it fairly easily to understand what sites you’re visiting as well as the content somebody contributes.”

For this reason, people need to think of online activity as public activity, added Crandall.

“Many people feel ‘safe’ when it comes to saying things on social media that they wouldn’t say directly to somebody who’s in the same room,” he added. “If you wouldn’t say something directly to somebody, it’s best not to share it online either. In fact, it’s more important to be careful online because everything that you contribute leaves its tracks.”

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Twitter to Carry Live Convention Coverage on the Web

“Live-streaming the conventions is a smart move by Twitter,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at NetPop Research. “Twitter has become part of the political dialogue, and maintaining that foothold is more important than ever for the brand now that user growth has leveled off,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“By live-streaming the conventions, Twitter combines big media video with the personal repartee that candidates and commentators are leveraging more frequently than ever during this campaign,” explained NetPop’s Crandall. “Not only will Twitter bring in a younger, more wired audience — it strengthens its position within the cognoscenti who consider Twitter a political tool,” he added.

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C-SPAN Resorts to Social Media to Cover Gun Control Sit-In

“The use of Periscope to broadcast the Democratic sit-in was a creative use of technology to circumvent a political problem,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at Netpop Research.

“Politicians will use whatever means is necessary to get their message out, whether it’s a Sunday TV news program, social media or an online broadcast,” he told the E-Commerce Times. “The lines between traditional and online media continue to blur, and the result is a fluid exchange of anytime, anywhere coverage of the world around us.”

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Execs Exit as Dorsey Works to Reshape Twitter

“Twitter’s future, if it manages to survive a transition, will be more closely aligned with B2B communications,” added NetPop Research’s Crandall. “Whether that’s a political pundit making a public statement or a corporation staking a claim to the latest product launch, Twitter is effective for reaching a targeted audience that cares about what is going on in that particular corner of the world.”

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“3D Touch is one of those exciting technologies that is easy for consumers to adopt, and it will be terrific with the pre-installed Apple apps where Apple controls a very consistent user experience,” says Josh Crandall, CEO of NetPop Research LLC, an Internet and mobile consumer research firm.

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YouTube Marks 10 Years of Nondisruptive Revolution

After 10 years, it’s clear YouTube has changed the world, but it doesn’t seem to have displaced anything else. “While YouTube has certainly diversified in terms of channels, pro/am content, and the like, user-uploaded content hasn’t undermined the value of professionally produced content in the way one might have thought during YouTube’s initial meteoric rise,” noted IDC analyst Greg Ireland.

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Oculus VR’s Story Studio to Create Cinematic Virtual Reality Experiences

Oculus VR on Monday unveiled a new project at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Oculus Story Studio will produce movies in virtual reality. It presented its first example of the genre on Monday evening — a 4-minute experience called Lost.

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What’s In A Name? Understanding Pseudonyms

At Disqus, we know that people choose to express themselves freely and openly in online communities. They can choose what they want to say, where they want to say it and how they choose to identify themselves when they do.  And many of the people who use Disqus do this under a pseudonym — a handle or nickname that isn’t the person’s actual name.

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So, commenters told a comment platform that commenters are the coolest

A new report from Disqus claims that people who comment on news sites aren’t worried about whether their fellow commenters identify themselves with their real name or a pseudonym. So arewebsites like Reuters wrong for banning comments because their pseudonymous vitriol distracts from a report’s substance, or have Disqus users’ own biases compromised the study?

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Readers say comments posted by pseudonyms are just as trustworthy

The value of having reader comments on news stories has taken a bit of a beating, with sites like Re/code and Reuters being the latest to do away with them because they are seen as a troll-filled wasteland. Many blame this lack of civility on the fact that commenters often use pseudonyms, but a recent study by Disqus — which makes a commenting platform used by a number of blogs and news sites — indicates that for most readers, a comment is not seen as any less trustworthy just because the poster uses a pseudonym.

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This is when online commenters are most likely to use a fake name

A new study released by online commenting platform Disqus has found that people make a conscious decision to use pseudonyms depending on the topic.

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Microsoft Earns Forgiveness With Windows 10

“Offering multiple desktops to separate personal and professional uses is smart, as is the additional focus on snapping different applications to the screen at once.”

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VigLink and NetPop Launch Publisher Roundtable to Give Online Publishers Free, Powerful Collective Intelligence and Analytics Tools

Publisher Roundtable, a new collective intelligence platform for online content publishers, launched today. A collaboration between market research company NetPop and content monetization company VigLink, Publisher Roundtable is designed to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among publishers. The platform is free to online publishers of all sizes.

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Snapchat Manages to Cough Up Brief Apology

Snapchat appears to be getting serious about rectifying its privacy and security problems. The company issued a better-late-than-never apology to its users for having let their personal data be compromised. That may be an indication that Snapchat’s youthful leadership is beginning to get a grip on the complexities of running a business that could be worth a few billion dollars.

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Smash IPO May Be a Hard Act for Twitter to Follow

“There’s an abundance of enthusiasm for Twitter, the Street’s new tech darling, and Twitter deserves its time in the sun,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at NetPop Research. “It’s thwarted competitive threats from Facebook, held onto a loyal following and connected with media in ways no other social platform has been able to achieve.”

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Flipboard Tests the Web Waters in Read-Only Form

Desktop users may not yet be able to create Flipboard magazines on that platform, but they can browse the many digital magazines out there. That, in turn, gives magazine creators a way to expand their audiences — and, possibly, to create better content. “More screen real estate enables magazine creators to provide more immersive experiences,” explained Netpop analyst Josh Crandall.

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Amazon’s 3D Phone Could Simply Be a Wonder to Behold

Amazon’s rumored 3D smartphone could be amazing — or it could just be a wacky idea that never comes to fruition. No one seems able to see an obvious business model. Could Amazon be innovating for innovation’s sake? “All of the leaders are looking for the next miracle technology,” said analyst Josh Crandall. “Apple has its watch, Google has its Glass, and now Amazon has its 3D phone.

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Samsung to Hang Its Shingle Inside Best Buys

Samsung is expanding its footprint in the mobile market by taking up square footage in Best Buy stores. The Samsung Experience Shops will push Galaxy S4s and other mobile products, and company-trained customer service attendants will help demo the devices. All of this will be going on under the same roof as Apple’s section in Best Buy, while the electronics retailer gains a partner who could help boost foot traffic in its struggling stores.

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Yahoo Could Take Zynga Under Its Wing

As CEO Marissa Mayer whips Yahoo into shape, an acquisition or two may be in order to beef up the company’s content offerings. One of the companies rumored to be under consideration is Zynga, which has fallen upon hard times. A deal could turn lemons into lemonade for both companies, giving Zynga a much-needed platform to play on and boosting Yahoo’s mobile presence.

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Dell Hightails It Into Private Territory

After years of persisting as a reliable but unexciting PC maker, Dell is finally recognizing the need to switch things up. It has succeeded in putting together a deal that will allow it to flee the unforgiving Wall Street atmosphere and regroup as a private company. Microsoft is a big player in the gambit, having agreed to plunk down $2 billion.

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Online Warm-ups: Super Bowl Advertisers’ New Game Plan

There are two audiences for the Super Bowl: one to watch the game, the other to check out the commercials. While those interested in on-the-field action have to wait until Sunday, more Super Bowl ads are getting pre-game reveals online via websites and social networks. The Internet has become an All-Pro player in marketing campaigns, letting brands squeeze more value from their ad spend.

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Google Play Takes Away Reviewers’ Mask of Anonymity

Google has begun to require that reviewers on Google Play be signed in through Google+. “Signing in to a service enables providers to offer a more feature-rich experience that is tailored to each user,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst at NetPop. “Users who wish to remain anonymous can either sign out of their accounts and not receive the enhancements, or they can devise ways to juke the system.”

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Netflix Meets Icahn Incursion With Poison Pill Defense

Carl Icahn won’t decide Netflix’s fate if the company’s board has its way, but that still leaves wide open the question of what lies ahead. Whether it’s a hostile takeover or a negotiated deal, it’s likely some unpleasant change is in store. It all goes back to Netflix’s effort more than a year ago to veer toward video streaming, a move that made perfect sense but was badly botched in the execution.

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Google’s Nexus 10 Hits Apple Where It Lives

Though there was no Google show on Monday, its Nexus 10 tablet would have been the star — and it may even outshine the iPad. It has higher resolution than the iPad with Retina display, and unlike the iPad, it has a 16:10 aspect ratio that nicely accommodates the wide-screen format. It will offer movie buffs a superior viewing experience. Plus, it sells for a full $100 less than a comparable iPad.

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Mayer Sketches Out Her Vision of a New Yahoo

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer appears to be on track to implement a makeover for the company and has begun assembling a team to advance her plans with the appointment of Ken Goldman as CFO. Mayer plans to improve the talent pool of the once-hot Internet darling, and to refocus on its culture, company goals, compensation and calibrations.

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Google+ Goes to Work

“Google+ offers enhanced privacy controls and productivity tools via Hangouts and screen-sharing capabilities that all businesses can benefit from,” Josh Crandall, principal analyst at NetPop, told the E-Commerce Times. “The service should be considered a social network for increased productivity rather than simply a social network.”

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Groupon Investors Head for the Hills

“Groupon’s difficulty in the market is in part due to the aggressive sales tactics the company used to grow so quickly,” said Josh Crandall, principal analyst for NetPop. “Small businesses that have tried Groupon are now evaluating the ROI of their offers to understand the long-term impacts on their businesses.”

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Will Social Media Spoil the Olympics?

“Will people be able to restrain themselves from using [social media] so that the Olympic moments are not spoiled? The traffic metrics for Facebook, Twitter and the like will reveal who really wins in the face-off between our addiction to social media and the desire to experience those special Olympic moments on TV,” said Josh Crandall of Netpop.

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Big Guns Dueling for Domain Rights in Internet’s New Wild West

ICANN’s new gTLD system may open new branding opportunities, but it might also exacerbate Internet security concerns. “There are so many company names out there that it could be difficult even for the naming entities to determine what is real and what is fraud,” said tech analyst Rob Enderle. “I do think fraud is a legitimate concern.”

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Comscore: Facebook Ads Working

On Tuesday Facebook rebuffed claims that its advertisements are ineffective. The social network giant, which has seen its stock price fall since its May 18 IPO, responded to the latest criticism with its own research data, showing that most ad campaigns actually earn $3 for every $1 spent.

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New Google Feature Points Out Holes in China’s Firewall

When people in China use Google, they sometimes find certain words or phrases have been blocked by government censors. A new feature Google is offering users in China will point out which search words may be problematic and suggest alternatives. The move could ratchet up Google’s market share in China, but it could also draw the wrath of government officials.

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Pinterest: $1.5B Worth of Virtual Push Pins

Overnight sensation Pinterest — the photo-sharing site that has caught on particularly well with women — is now often mentioned in the same breath with Facebook, Twitter and Google+. However, it isn’t so much a competitor in the social networking realm as a companion, maintained Billy Pidgeon, principal analyst for M2 Research.

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