Archive for the 'Facebook' Category



Why Twitter launched Fabric, in 5 devastating charts

Thursday 23 October 2014 @ 3:45 pm
Why Twitter launched Fabric, in 5 devastating charts
Image Credit: Illustration by VentureBeat / Eric Blattberg

Yesterday Twitter unveiled Fabric, a semi-integrated suite of tools for mobile app developers. The company somewhat grandiosely refers to it as a “modular mobile platform,” but while it’s definitely modular and certainly focused on mobile, it’s not a platform in any commonly understood sense of the term.

twitter flightUnless, of course, Twitter was referring to its own platform.

Because, while Fabric offers some significant goodies to developers, the real reason Twitter is launching this suite is first of all to boost its own core platform reach, and secondly to make more money via its mobile advertising subsidiary, MoPub.

Because make no mistake, when it comes to the incredibly lucrative mobile app user acquisition market that Facebook dominates — with a few key exceptions — Twitter has almost completely failed on the promises it made when unveiling mobile app promotion capabilities in Twitter Cards. And that’s no doubt had serious implications for Twitter’s revenue which, while showing growth and pockets of strength, caused the company’s shares to dip recently.

The goodies that Twitter is offering

  • Crash analytics (available from multiple other vendors)
  • A “Twitter kit”
    1. native tweet embedding (good for Twitter)
    2. native tweet composing (also good for Twitter)
    3. Twitter sign-in (good for Twitter; social sign-in is widely available from the usual suspects)
  • MoPub mobile advertising engine (good for Twitter; there are many, many monetization options for mobile publishers)
  • Digits, an identity system based on phone numbers (good for Twitter, as it’s built on Twitter infrastructure and therefore associates potentially hundreds of millions of people with Twitter; not easily available elsewhere)

This peace offering to developers, who Twitter has alienated in the recent past, was so necessary because Twitter is failing so badly.

Here’s the situation — based on data from our VB Insight Mobile User Acquisition and Mobile Game Monetization reports:

1) Facebook kills Twitter in mobile monetization.

1-social-media

This chart show which social solutions mobile developers think are most effective at helping them monetize their apps. That big blue chunk is Facebook, and the so-much-smaller brown slice is Twitter.

Ouch.

But it gets worse …

2) Big developers avoid Twitter.

2-users-vs-source

When you look at the kinds of developers and publishers who use Facebook to help monetize their mobile apps, there’s a wide range from small to mid-range to very, very high-volume. The kinds of developers who use Twitter/MoPub, in contrast, are almost all small developers, with fewer large publishers than YouTube — at half the volume.

3) Big developers don’t acquire users via Twitter.

When you segment mobile publishers by size and then identify their preferred user acquisition companies, it not only becomes clear that Facebook, Google, AdColony, YouTube, and NativeX have more volume than Twitter, but also that the bigger and more successful a publisher you are, the less likely you are to use Twitter.

3-users-vs-preferred

4) Twitter doesn’t monetize well.

4-effective

When mobile developers force-ranked the top monetization companies for their mobile apps in our Mobile User Acquisition study, Twitter doesn’t come out well. Google is the king — although, not without warts — followed by Chartboost, AdColony, Flurry, Upsight (Playhaven/Kontagent), NativeX, Tapjoy, Vungle, Apple’s iAd, “Other,” and SponsorPay.

In other words, kind of an also-ran.

5) Four percent of mobile developers think Twitter is best.

5-most-effective

Just 4 percent of the mobile developers we surveyed said that MoPub was the best partner in monetizing their mobile apps. Many more said Google or Chartboost or AdColony, plus a litany of other mobile user acquisition and monetization companies.

The goodies, however, are very good.

While Twitter’s new offerings are certainly centered on promoting Twitter’s platform, Twitter’s reach, and Twitter’s monetization capabilities, they do include some very neat goodies for mobile developers and publishers.

Crash analytics is a good thing to have. Native Twitter functionality can be a good thing for certain kinds of apps. And another monetization possibility is not a bad thing, and could work very well for certain kinds of apps.

But the big kahuna here is Digits, which will simultaneously allow almost frictionless accounts to users, and the ability to know formerly anonymous apps users — and then be able to engage and monetize them more effectively — for developers. Both are valuable, and both are a reason for developers to at least consider the new offerings.

Time will tell if they also improve Twitter’s standing in the mobile user acquisition and mobile monetization hierarchy.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. At the heart of Twitter ar... read more »

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

Chartboost is the largest revenue platform powering the business of mobile games. Chartboost empowers developers to find new players and monetize their games, by providing them with the tools and analytics to make smarter decisions. Th... read more »

AdColony is a mobile video advertising company whose proprietary Instant-Play™ technology serves razor sharp, full-screen video ads instantly in HD across its network of iOS and Android apps, eliminating the biggest pain points in mo... read more »











Mark Zuckerberg does a public Q&A session — in Mandarin Chinese

Wednesday 22 October 2014 @ 7:00 pm
Mark Zuckerberg does a public Q&A session — in Mandarin Chinese

Mark Zuckerberg did a public Q&A session today — in Mandarin Chinese. Yes, the Facebook CEO set out to learn the (very difficult) language in 2010, in his spare time.

“On Wednesday I did my first ever public Q&A in Chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing!” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook after the event. “We discussed connecting the world, Internet.org, innovation, and the early days of Facebook.”

Zuckerberg barely uttered a single word in English — just one quick “I’m sorry,” when he misspoke.

After the CEO gave a short answer to the first question, loud applause, laughter, and a couple of gasps could be heard from the audience.

He made convincing inflections. He made jokes. He seemed totally relaxed.

Here’s the first part of the Q&A:

You can find the full video here.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Ampush’s future of mobile ads: whopping growth of 233 percent year-over-year

Tuesday 21 October 2014 @ 3:45 pm
Ampush’s future of mobile ads: whopping growth of 233 percent year-over-year

Above: Ampush CEO Jesse Pujji

Image Credit: Ampush

To Ampush chief Jesse Pujji, the future of mobile advertising comes down to native ads running on Facebook and Twitter.

Pujji’s company runs ad campaigns for big brands like MasterCard with his two biggest ad partners, Facebook and Twitter. Ampush will release a report early tomorrow that contains eye-opening data for brands and advertisers looking to maximize mobile ad campaigns with the two giants. The report provides a partial glimpse of what mobile advertising could soon look like.

“The majority of ad inventory in a few years will come down to the big platforms like Twitter and Facebook,” Ampush told VentureBeat.

While not a shocker, at least in the subjective sense of the word, Pujji will release data accrued by Ampush during 2013 up to the third quarter of 2014 from Twitter and Facebook mobile campaigns run during that timeframe.


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This includes Ampush customers in the gaming, e-commerce, travel, and entertainment sectors. Ampush clients spent $200 million on campaigns during this timeframe, of which Ampush takes a cut.

Some of the highlights from the Ampush report, which will be released on its website tomorrow morning, include:

  • Ad spend for the 13-17 age group grew the fastest it ever has over the duration of 2014. Pujji says this kernel of data debunks analyst claims that this age demographic is not effectively being served by Facebook
  • Mobile growth spending will increase by a whopping 233 percent year-over-year.
  • Cost per thousand and cost per click in mobile pricing trends will increase 23 and 53 percent respectively year-over-year.
  • The mobile app index, or cost-per-install, will increase 20 percent year-over-year.
  • Twitter is still maturing, but is showing serious, opportunistic growth in targeting smaller audiences engaged in the travel and lifestyle verticals.
  • More advertisers allocated portions of their important user acquisition budgets outside the U.S. and into international markets for mobile campaigns.

Ampush finds itself ensconced inside a burgeoning mobile landscape that analysts expect will be worth around $35 billion by year’s end. That number is up from the $18 billion spent on mobile last year. As expected, Google occupies the No. 1 spot in terms of mobile ad revenue followed by Facebook and Twitter.

The crafty Pujji also pointed out to VentureBeat that email-based mobile marketing, like Google Partner Connect and Facebook’s Custom Audience, for example, are leading the way in targeted mobile ad campaigns and that the technology continues to evolve to allow businesses to better target specific users with ads they may want to see.

“It’s a whole new way for advertisers to target customers,” Pujji said.

You can see an earlier interview I did with Pujji here.


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Ampush is an advertising technology company that helps brands and direct response advertisers achieve measurable business results on mobile-first native platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Our AMP 2.0 marketing software takes the c... read more »











This new social network will pay you for your party pictures and sandwich-eating updates

Tuesday 21 October 2014 @ 5:00 am
This new social network will pay you for your party pictures and sandwich-eating updates
Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-49746181/stock-photo-people-abstract-in-palm.html?src=555abedb41fecc1da6943637bc614681-3-16

Looks like 2014 is the year of Alternatives to Facebook.

After Facebook’s suffocating ads and user data sorcery caused the birth of alternative social network Ello, another alternative, Tsu, is nailing its own 95 Theses to the door, saying you should own and make money off your brunch pictures and #ThrowbackThursday statuses. And the company has $7 million in the bank to help you do that.

Tsu has two goals. One, it wants you to create your own network and control it. You invite other users to follow you, building out the social network organically. You’re responsible for getting other users onboard by using your personal shortcode to invite them onto the platform and to follow you.

Two, it wants to share revenues with its users. Tsu aggregates “advertising, sponsorship, and partnership dollars, all from third parties,” it says on its FAQ webpage, and distributes those dollars among users after taking a 10 percent cut. It also uses the “rule of infinite thirds” to spread out the revenue, meaning that if Bob earns money from a video he posted and he joined Tsu through Suzy, she earns one-third of the revenue after Tsu has taken a cut. And if Suzy joined because of John, he gets a third of a third of that revenue, and so on. It can sound pretty confusing, but you can read more here.

Interestingly, Tsu is playing nice with other content platforms like YouTube, probably because it doesn’t host video itself. For example, you can upload videos on your YouTube account, monetize through YouTube’s own means, and then monetize that same video some more by sharing it on Tsu. “[W]ith tsū you get credit for just showing your audience the preview of your video,” the FAQ page reads.

Tsu also has a melange of traditional social network features as well as payments platform features. For example, users can send private messages to other users. They can also send money to other users or merchants, although Tsu charges a 3 percent transaction fee. You can also donate money to charities, presumably through this service.

To be honest, Tsu mainly reads like a content monetization platform, not so much like a network. Since you can share your Tsu-based content on other social media accounts, or just advertise on them that you’ve added new goodies to your Tsu profile, folks will likely look for ways to leverage their existing social media presence to get viewership on Tsu. As we saw with Ello, it’s quite difficult to abandon a well-established personal network and go build one from scratch elsewhere.

The followers and friends aren’t there, the features aren’t there, there’s not much to do.

But perhaps Tsu’s greatest asset is the algorithms it uses to allocate revenue shares. That’s technology media companies would surely be interested in.

Tsu was founded in 2013 by Sebastian Sobczak, Drew Ginsburg, Thibault Boullenger, and Jonathan Lewin. The company raised its funding from Sancus Capital Privé and other unnamed investors.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »

Ello was originally built as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that we built a public version of Ello for everyone to use. Ad Free Ello doesn't sell ads. Nor doest the company sell data about it... read more »











Microsoft’s AutoTag leverages your Facebook account to automatically tag friends in all your other photos

Sunday 19 October 2014 @ 11:52 am
Microsoft’s AutoTag leverages your Facebook account to automatically tag friends in all your other photos
Image Credit: Robert Scoble

Microsoft this weekend quietly revealed AutoTag ‘n Search My Photos, a new Windows 8.1 app that leverages the photos tagged in your Facebook account to help you tag your own personal photos. The new tool learns about the face models of your friends and can then automatically tag photos stored in your Pictures Library on Windows.

Once some tags have been added, AutoTag lets you search for people across your photo collection. If you include your OneDrive photos in the Pictures library, photos taken on a Windows Phone can also be automatically tagged, and thus become searchable.

firstlaunch

Microsoft promises that tagging accuracy improves as you use the app. More specifically, when you confirm suggested tags or fix and edit improperly tagged faces, AutoTag will adapt accordingly.

While AutoTag relies heavily on Facebook, you can still tag people who are not on the social network, creating profiles for unidentified faces (an “unidentified photos” view even clusters faces with similar features for easy tagging). This isn’t a one-way street: you can also share photos on Facebook with tags included, both to a new and existing album. The idea is that tagging people in the app is less of a hassle since there are fewer people left to tag.

facebook

You can also merge a Facebook profile or a user-created profile with tags detected on photos tagged with other photo applications, such as OneDrive. While AutoTag adds new people tags to your photos, it does not overwrite any existing tags.

Here is a walkthrough demo that runs through the app’s various features:

Curiously, the video mentions that users should rate the app in the company’s app store. Microsoft rarely offers its research projects for public download, and at least at the time of publishing, AutoTag doesn’t appear to be one of the exceptions; we were unable to find the app in the Downloads sections nor in the Windows Store.

The app was developed by the Microsoft Garage team, a group responsible that runs side projects, hackathons, science fairs, and general tinkering in Redmond. It thus shouldn’t be much of a surprise the video above is hosted on a Microsoft Research website; this is very much an experiment. In fact, a post on Microsoft Answers says the app is in beta and notes some known issues, as well as potential workarounds.

homepage

At the end of the day, AutoTag shows off some very cool technology that can create a person-centric view of all your photos, including those stored on your local hard drive, OneDrive, and on Facebook. Unfortunately, as with many Microsoft Research projects, it’s not likely a tool that would catch on: this is a solution to a problem that spans more than just Windows devices, and it’s being largely solved by Facebook’s own automatic-tagging technology.

We have contacted Microsoft for more information about the app, including whether it will be made available for download as the video suggests. In the meantime, you can learn more about AutoTag by checking out the lengthy FAQ page (which by the way is also written as if anyone with a Windows 8.1 device can install the app).


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Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Facebook to federal agents: No, you don’t get to create fake profiles to ensnare suspects

Saturday 18 October 2014 @ 11:11 am
Facebook to federal agents: No, you don’t get to create fake profiles to ensnare suspects

Above: "People first," the slide behind Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg proclaims.

Image Credit: Business Insider

Updated 1:20 p.m.

Facebook is serious about real people using real names on its service.

After initially cracking down on drag queens, the social network is going after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for using fake profiles.

It wants the DEA to know that it is not okay to create fake profile pages, even as part of ongoing investigations.

Facebook’s chief security officer sent a letter to the DEA yesterday saying that the agency is required to follow the same rules of honesty on Facebook as the rest of us, according to the AP.

That’s in the wake of an operation in which the DEA apparently created a fake profile page for a suspect, Sondra Arquiett. After arresting Arquiett in 2010, an agent created the fake profile in order to communicate with other suspects, probably hoping to catch them saying something incriminating. Arquiett subsequently sued the DEA, and is seeking $250,000 in damages.

Facebook isn’t happy, either.

“Facebook has long made clear that law enforcement authorities are subject to these policies,” Facebook’s security officer, Joe Sullivan, wrote, according to the AP. “We regard DEA’s conduct to be a knowing and serious breach of Facebook’s terms and policies.”

In the case of drag queens, Facebook initially cracked down on many individuals who were using their alter egos’ names on Facebook. The company subsequently clarified its policy, stating that the intention is to get people to use whatever names they’re known by in real life.

Update: BuzzFeed News initially broke the story, on October 6, about the DEA using a fake profile. The news-and-listicles site has also published the text of Facebook’s letter to the DEA. I’m including the text of that letter below.

We recently learned through media reports that the Drug Enforcement Administration created fake Facebook accounts and impersonated a Facebook user as part of its investigation of alleged criminal conduct unrelated to Facebook. Although we understand that the U.S. Department ofJustice is currently reviewing these enforcement practices, we write to express our deep concern about the conduct and ask that the DEA cease all activities on Facebook that involve the impersonation of others.

Facebook is a community where people come to share and interact using their authentic identities. As our Chief Product Officer recently explained, this core principle is what differentiates Facebook from other services on the Internet. And requiring people to use their real identities on Facebook is “the primary mechanism we have to protect millions of people every day, all around the world, from real harm. The deceptive actions violate the terms and policies that govern the use of the Facebook service and undermine trust in the Facebook community.

As you know, Sondra Arquiett has sued the DEA and a DEA agent in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. Ms. Arquiett claims that she was arrested on drug charges in 2010, at which time her mobile telephone was seized. Soon thereafter, a DEA agent seized digital images stored on Ms. Arquiett’s telephone, including “revealing and/or suggestive photographs” of Ms. Arquiett in her bra and panties.

The agent then created a fake Facebook profile in Ms. Arquiett’s name; posted “revealing and/or suggestive photographs” of her; and sent friend requests and communicated with other individuals pretending to be Ms. Arquiett through the fake account.

The DEA does not dispute Ms. Arquiett?s essential allegations. But the DEA claims that Ms. Arquiett “implicitly consented” to the agency?s conduct “by granting access to the information stored in her cell phone and by consenting to the use ofthat information to aid in an ongoing criminal investigations Facebook is deeply troubled by the claims and
legal position.

Most fundamentally, the actions threaten the integrity of our community. Facebook strives to maintain a safe, trusted environment where people can engage in authentic interactions with the people they know and meet in real life. Using Facebook to impersonate others abuses that trust and makes people feel less safe and secure when using our service.

Indeed, as we have observed at Facebook, such deceptive actions are often used to further harmful conduct, such as trolling, hate speech, scams, bullying, and even domestic violence. This impact is markedly different from undercover investigations conducted in the “real” world.

Moreover, our terms and Community Standards which the DEA agent had to acknowledge and agree to when registering for a Facebook account expressly prohibit the creation and use of fake accounts:

  • Claiming to be another person, creating a false presence for an organization, or
    creating multiple accounts undermines community and violates Facebook’s terms.
  • You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
  • You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates
    someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.
  • You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or
    discriminatory.

Facebook has long made clear that law enforcement authorities are subject to these policies. We regard the conduct to be a knowing and serious breach of Facebook?s terms and policies, and the account created by the agent in the Arquiett matter has been disabled.

Accordingly, Facebook asks that the DEA immediately confirm that it has ceased all activities on Facebook that involve the impersonation of others or that otherwise violate our terms and policies.

Via Circa


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Despite bumps, Facebook still working to accomodate drag queens on ‘real name’ policies

Friday 17 October 2014 @ 12:45 pm
Despite bumps, Facebook still working to accomodate drag queens on ‘real name’ policies

Above: "People first," the slide behind Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg proclaims.

Image Credit: Business Insider

Facebook is still working to resolve the issue of deactivating or suspending accounts where users deploy aliases to protect their identities against the backdrop of the company’s “real-name” policy.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company was responding to a news report in The Guardian today that the social media kingpins had continued to deactivate the accounts of drag queens who used aliases on the site to protect their real identities weeks after the issue surfaced. Some victims of domestic violence also use aliases on their accounts for protection.

San Francisco-based drag queen Sister Roma told The Guardian Friday that she challenged Facebook back in September to stop deactivating or suspending accounts where members of the drag community used aliases. Sister Roma is leading the charge to get Facebook to alter their policies to protect drag queens and transgender users who use stage names, for example, on their user accounts.

On Friday, Facebook reached out to VentureBeat in reaction to Sister Roma’s new accusations.

“We are committed to ensuring that all members of the Facebook community can use the authentic names they use in real life. Having people use their authentic names makes them more accountable, and also helps us root out accounts created for malicious purposes, like harassment, fraud, impersonation and hate speech,” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat Friday in an email.

To be sure, Facebook are old friends and supporters of the gay and transgender communities. The real-name policy was implemented to protect the integrity of the site against fraudsters and criminals using Facebook accounts for nefarious purposes. My story on that here.

Sister Roma told The Guardian today: “Every time one or two [accounts] get fixed, a handful get suspended. We really feel like we’re swimming upstream, and while I’m hopeful that Facebook is doing the right thing, it’s discouraging.”

Facebook said it understood the issue and was working with sectors of the drag community to resolve it.

“Our team is busy working to improve the implementation of this standard so that some of the issues people recently encountered can be prevented in the future,” the Facebook spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the real-name policy is still firmly in place.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Facebook launches “Safety Check” to let people know your status during natural disasters

Wednesday 15 October 2014 @ 10:52 pm
Facebook launches “Safety Check” to let people know your status during natural disasters

Facebook’s latest feature is one people will hope they never have to use.

Today, the social network launched “Safety Check.” The tool is activated after a natural disaster, using either the city you say you lived in or you location settings if you use the “Nearby Friends” feature, and let’s you alert friends and family that you’re okay, while also tracking the status of others.

“In times of disaster or crisis, people turn to Facebook to check on loved ones and get updates,” wrote the company in a blog post about the feature. “It is in these moments that communication is most critical both for people in the affected areas and for their friends and families anxious for news.”

Facebook said the feature grew out of lessons it learned and work it began to do following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

“Our engineers in Japan took the first step toward creating a product to improve the experience of reconnecting after a disaster,” the company wrote. “They built the Disaster Message Board to make it easier to communicate with others. They launched a test of the tool a year later and the response was overwhelming.”

Once the feature appears during a natural disaster, the user clicks a button that says, “I’m safe.” Likewise, users receive notifications about friends in disaster areas when they check in.

The feature should now be lieve for all Facebook users.


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Why you can’t ignore the Open Compute Project any longer

Tuesday 14 October 2014 @ 10:05 pm

GUEST POST


If you’re in the data-center business, you’ve probably been following the Open Compute Project (OCP). And if you haven’t, you should. OCP is Facebook’s response to dealing with a server count that likely exceeds a million. Their innovations around scale and serviceability are simply too compelling to ignore.

The industry can’t ignore the designs rising out of OCP. It’s a very disruptive approach. I’ve been working in data centers since a 300 MB disk was the size of a washing machine, and I’ve watched what happens when companies are stubborn to adapt. You’ve got two choices when disruption comes to the marketplace: embrace it or die a slow, agonizing death.

The OCP naysayers want to dismiss these new designs. I hear people say that you have to be the size of Facebook for it to make a difference, or that most companies can’t afford to adopt OCP. I don’t believe that’s true. Companies do not have to be at Facebook scale to see the benefits of Open Compute designs. It’s not just about rack costs, it’s also about manageability and total cost of ownership.

Cost vs. power savings

OCP racks might appear to cost more. But when you factor in the savings in power along with reduced server spend on power supplies (which are external to the servers in a shared configuration per rack), along with the opportunity to move the UPS to the rack (lower blast radius for failures and opportunity to virtualize power), the true cost of ownership for OCP is less than that of traditional server configurations.

What does OCP mean for data centers? It’s disruptive. That’s why people are a little afraid of it. If you’ve bought your servers from traditional legacy vendors, you get stuck in a walled garden. You are directed to purchase hardware with features you don’t likely need and expensive service plans. Along comes OCP, giving you more self-service options, denser configurations, and stripped-down motherboards. Your IT loads are still critical. But smarter software is what will drive your resiliency — not two power supplies per server, an over-cooled data center, or pricey support from an original-equipment manufacturer’s field-service team.

Enterprise IT departments and other providers need to start treating the hardware like the commodity it’s become. You no longer need to baby the machines and pay for extensive field service plans. Disks, dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs), power supplies and even motherboards are all replaceable by your own staff on most systems. OCP makes that even easier by designing all field replaceable units to be snapped in and out with just your hands. Focus your energy on service that offers parts only, at market rates.

Rethinking server designs: ugly is the new pretty

Traditional server designs are these monolithic machines, emblazoned with big logos, fancy facades — they’re pretty as hell. OCP design takes away the bezels, takes away those fancy facades. Why? They block airflow. The minimalist design keeps everything cooler, using less energy per work unit, pushing toward ultra-low power usage effectiveness (PUE). Stripping out the excess skinnies down the server size. Normally, today you would have a rack full of servers, up to 40 one-rack-unit pizza-box-style servers right on top of each other. OCP racks can fit three servers side by side in a two-rack-unit height, so you can fit 60 in the same height. That’s incredibly dense, and for a nerd, it’s sexy as hell — bare bones, running hot and noisy. At a glance, you might think, “Man, those servers are scary ugly!” But when you think about it, they’re beautiful. If efficiency was the bass, they’re all about the bass and no treble. While I know it’s more than OCP that drives Facebook’s low PUE, when I hear about PUE under 1.1, I’m just jealous. I know OCP designs are a big piece of that savings.

Ditch the downtime

But you have to think about power supply. Downtime is the fear of the data center. Traditionally, you run two power supplies per server. If one fails, the backup is always there. It’s extremely wasteful, though. Imagine driving around with two engines in your car on the off-chance one choked up. You’re just burning fuel. OCP designs share power supply for the entire rack. Instead of 80 supplies for 40 servers, you have six or so larger supplies. They run more efficiently, and maybe you need a seventh or eighth for an N+1 or N+2 configuration. OCP design puts batteries right in the rack, eliminating the need for data center sized uninterruptible power supplies. This also means you can control the power supplies with software and turn off those supplies that aren’t in use. If a supply fails, the local batteries cover the power, while a new supply comes online in your N+1 configuration and a call goes out to your techs, telling them which power supply to replace. Less components (power supplies) and lower power consumption with the same availability allows you to run more servers for the same watts and not sacrifice availability. What’s not to like?

Acknowledge tradition, but embrace the future

To run a modern data center, understanding and embracing OCP is a must. Does that mean we’re telling our customers to clear out their traditional racks? No, we still have an investment in traditional technologies. It’s really about flexibility. It means we have an expanded space for OCP designs. That’s both literal and a mindset. We’re not interested in saying, “My daddy built his data center this way, and his daddy’s daddy before him.” If customers come to us and say, “I’d like to go OCP,” we’re excited to make that happen.

All disruption comes with obligatory fear: What’s this going to do? What’s the impact? Eventually, the cost difference will be so attractive that people will get over the fear and adopt. OCP will continue to gain legs. Even if it seems like a slow start, it’s not that slow. We can’t ignore it. I’ll definitely be paying attention.

Chris Yetman is senior vice president of operations at Vantage Data Centers, where he is responsible for leading operations, security, network and IT. He has more than 25 years of operations, engineering and IT experience in the Internet infrastructure industry. He previously served as vice president of infrastructure operations at Amazon Web Services, where he had worldwide responsibility for operations and network for Amazon’s data centers.


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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »











Facebook will beat Google in a year in mobile ads, says Opera Mediaworks chief

Tuesday 14 October 2014 @ 9:00 am
Facebook will beat Google in a year in mobile ads, says Opera Mediaworks chief

Above: Opera Mediaworks chief executive Mahi de Silva.

Image Credit: Opera Mediaworks

Opera Mediaworks chief executive Mahi de Silva is on a roll.

Silva heads up one of the biggest mobile ad platforms in the country. Opera Mediaworks bought AdColony in June for a sum that hasn’t been publicly disclosed. Owned by a Norwegian firm called Opera Software ASA, Opera Mediaworks did $120 million in revenue last year, a number expected to nearly double by the end of 2014.

De Silva is a mobile advertising veteran who keeps a close eye on the rapidly changing and expanding mobile ad space. Mobile was a nearly $18 billion industry last year, a number expected to crest $35 billion by the end of 2014, according to analysts. De Silva wants a bigger piece of it and hasn’t ruled out more acquisitions this year.

In fact, Opera Mediaworks owns 17 percent of the global market in mobile display advertising, serving more than 65 million ads per month in markets around the world that matter. Opera Mediaworks works with almost 95 percent of the world’s top 100 global advertisers.

The ambitious De Silva took time from his hectic schedule to speak about why Facebook will eclipse Google for the number one spot in mobile advertising revenue by 2016, why Google has dropped the ball in display advertising, and how consolidation in the mobile space is already well underway.

VentureBeat: Your biggest competitor is Google?

Mahi de Silva: On a more holistic basis, our biggest competitor is Google, in the broad spectrum of services they do. Where we overlap is the mobile display space. In terms of public companies, Millennial Media have been somebody we compete with. We are significantly larger than Millennial in terms of revenue, footprint, and volume and every other business metric that is out there.

VentureBeat: You hear that Facebook will overtake Google as the number one player in mobile in terms of ad revenue within a year. What’s your take?

De Silva: If you look at the display market, they are already number one. Facebook could be number one on a combined basis. If it’s not next year, it might be in 2016. They are the most interesting company to watch right now.

What’s really interesting, if you think about the ascendancy of companies like Facebook in the space, is a lot of people think of them as the number two behind Google. But in fact, in the display space, they’re number one. They are number one by a significant margin over Google. This is something that the market really doesn’t understand. Just because you are the hundred million pound gorilla in search does not translate into being a really big significant player in display. This has always been a weakness for Google, somewhat muted by the fact that desktop browser advertising, you know, every interaction out there, basically starts with search.

With mobile and the preponderance of in-app interaction versus browser interaction, Google isn’t getting the same traffic, the same amount of traction. A few years ago they bought AdMob, and they haven’t done a good job preserving that value proposition as a publisher. So they are less and less relevant in the display space, while companies like Facebook are becoming more relevant.

VentureBeat: The mobile ecosystem is massive, with over 500 players in the space. Some analysts and executives say a shakeout is long overdue. Are they right?

De Silva: The mobile ad space continues to grow faster than any other ad space when you compare it to desktop interstitial or compare it to any other medium. The eyeballs are there. The users are there. The devices are there. I think people have predicted the 2017 time frame where mobile will actually eclipse desktop. When you look at 2015, I think you’ll start to see certain brands around the world make that shift (to mobile) in the next 12 to 18 months because the yield they’re getting on engagement and metrics really matters. What mobile is able to do for some of these sectors is superior to what desktop can deliver to them.

I think you’ve already started to see it [shake out], right? If you look back to just a few years ago, like 2012, there was a lot more ad networks, more exchange wannabes, so the market has pretty rapidly consolidated.

VentureBeat: What’s your biggest challenge in mobile heading into 2015?

De Silva: Our value proposition is trying to be horizontally focused on brands and premium publishers. Whether they are the CPG guys, the automotive guys, or even the gaming guys. We help deliver engagement and commerce for these guys. So the friction in the market is that you still have a web of old-world technologies like Dart that’s deployed across the publisher infrastructure and the advertising infrastructure, which has not kept in step with where the market is heading, and that’s eroding their relevance in these markets. Companies look to us to solve those problems, specifically for mobile. The way we overcome that is to continue to deliver great technology and great monetization power for these brands.

VentureBeat: How many clients do you have across the mobile spectrum?

De Silva: On the publisher side we count 18 of the top 25 media companies. We power north of 18,000 sites and applications. The focus is brands. On the advertiser side we have on our platforms, we run campaigns for 89 of the top 100 global advertisers. We focus on the cream of the crop. Unlike desktop, in mobile so much of the monetization power is concentrated at the upper end of the market.

VentureBeat: Mobile video ads is a space that is projected to be worth $40 billion in five years. Are you guys paying attention?

De Silva: We’re huge fans of mobile video. We bought AdColony. These guys have the best technology in mobile video. We’ve been able to bring that technology to many of our publisher customers. And we’ll continue to do that for the full spectrum of ad sales. If you are a publisher that has a direct sales force, you get the benefit of our technology platform. If you need a third-party demand, we’re bringing you scale. We feel like we have the best mobile video technology and the broadest spectrum of solutions, and today our business is trending towards almost half our revenues coming from video ads.

VentureBeat: Will Opera Mediaworks start the new year by buying more companies? 

De Silva: In a consolidating market, we are a consolidator. I think we are pretty patient. We just don’t go out there and buy revenue or fill holes like some of our competitors do. M&A will be an important part of our strategy.


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Mahi is responsible for commercial activities for Opera’s consumer mobile products and services. Before joining Opera, Mahi was co-founder and CEO of AdMarvel, Inc., the global leader in mobile advertising platforms, acquired by Oper... read more »











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