(By Spike Santee) More bad news for small businesses trying to advertise on the Internet. News is out that Google has been hacked, sending unsuspecting users to fake websites intent on infecting their computers with malware. Over at Facebook, a staff psychologist harvested the personal data of over 50 million Americans and shared the information with Cambridge Analytica, which illegally used the information to target users for political reasons.
Google search results for “Amazon” pointed to a scam site for hours on Thursday (3/13/18), according to one report. Since then, another series of ads took its place in some parts of the U.S. One of the new ads suggests consumers find the best Easter deal with two-day free shipping.
The malicious ads appeared at the very top of the search results. Rather than sending the person clicking on the ad to Amazon, they were sent to a page telling the user to call a number for fear their computer was infected with malware.
Depending on the type of computer the person used, the page that linked to the ad looked like an “official” Apple or Windows support page. An analysis of the Web page’s code showed that those who attempted to dismiss the popup box on the page would trigger the browser to expand to full-screen, giving the appearance of ransomware. This is at least the second time in two years that Google has served up a malicious ad under Amazon’s name, according to the report.
Over at Facebook, Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan and co-founder of Global Science Research, the company that harvested Facebook data using a personality-testing app “thisisyourdigitallife” (which touted itself as a personality test used by psychologists), under the guise of academic research. GSR later shared the data with the political firm Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – which used the data to build sophisticated psychological profiles of U.S. voters.
Facebook’s deputy general counsel has described the data harvesting scheme as “a scam” and “a fraud.” He singled out Kogan, an assistant professor at Cambridge University, as having “lied to us and violated our platform policies” by passing the data on to Cambridge Analytica. Kogan’s co-founder at GSR, Joseph Chancellor, is still employed as a staff psychologist at Facebook. It has taken Facebook three years to finally do the right thing and suspend Cambridge Analytica after illegally using the data of 50 million users.
Help your local advertisers find the safe haven they are looking for on radio. There is no malicious malware or click fraud. There is no hidden agenda. On radio, your local advertiser will find an advertiser safe, family-friendly environment based on an emotional connection that builds trust.
Radio listening is a one-on-one and emotions-driven experience, and listeners believe that both the medium and its advertising are more relevant to them (compared to television and newspapers). Consumers see television and newspapers as being designed to satisfy the masses, but radio is where they turn to get gratification of their personal wants and needs. Consumers believe that their radio programs carry ads which are appropriate for them as individuals, and listeners are therefore more ready to react at an emotional level. The ability of radio advertising to make personal, emotions-driven connections with listeners helps explain why radio can be so effective.
Radio now has the best documented ROI of any medium, especially social media.
That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.
Spike Santee is the author of “The Four Keys to Advertising Success” and the president of SpikeSantee.com. Contact Spike at (785) 230-5350.