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In its early days as a streaming service, Netflix wasn’t just the biggest and best company on the block – it was the only one. In those heady days, Netflix was able to charge low subscription rates and still provide a catalog that included just about everything. As we’ve seen, that’s been changing. With new competition from companies like Hulu and Amazon, Netflix has seen streaming deals get pricier and customers get antsier. For a few years now, Netflix’s catalog has been shrinking while its prices have been rising. So where’s a streaming company to find new profits in a tight market? According to some people, the answer is for Netflix to start showing ads, like competitor Hulu does. That would give the company new revenue streams without forcing them to raise prices. Of course, there’s a group of stakeholders that’s still left unaccounted for here: Netflix’s customers. We decided to ask them about the issue. And, in a survey of more than 1,200 people on Reddit, we got some pretty clear answers. View the full article
Blocking adverts, both on the web and on smartphones, is becoming increasingly popular. Just today, Opera announced it would be introducing a native ad-blocker in its desktop browser. Tomorrow, March 11, Samsung will start shipping its new Galaxy S7 and S7 edge smartphones to pre-orderers and they’ll be able to block ads while browsing the web immediately, thanks to Adblock Plus. The new Adblock Plus for Samsung Browser only works on Android Marshmallow, which is the OS found on the S7 and S7 edge. View the full article
Good news for advertisers, but maybe not-so-great news for users concerned about their personal data: Starting Monday, Facebook will use data it gleans from users for its new ad network, Atlas, which it will serve up ads on non-Facebook sites based on what Facebook knows about you. Atlas is a former Microsoft property that Facebook bought last year for around $100 million that Facebook has now rebuilt from the ground up. Atlas is distinct from Audience Network, a mobile ad network Facebook introduced in April that was aimed at app developers. In contrast, Atlas is a sort of alternative to Google's AdWords, which will let advertisers follow users across the web and mobile devices. For instance, Atlas advertiser Pepsi could use Atlas to advertise one of its products on a sports site or a game app that is unaffiliated with Facebook. View the full article
Researchers at Malwarebytes noticed strange behavior on sites like Last.fm, The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post. Ads on the sites were being unusually aggressive, setting off anti-virus warnings and raising flags in a number of Malwarebytes systems. After some digging, researcher Jerome Segura realized the problem was coming from Google's DoubleClick ad servers and the popular Zedo ad agency. Together, they were serving up malicious ads designed to spread the recently identified Zemot malware. A Google representative has confirmed the breach, saying "our team is aware of this and has taken steps to shut this down." Malware served through ad units (or "malvertising") is nothing new, but this incident is notable because of the unusually broad reach of the attack. "It was active but not too visible for a number of weeks until we started seeing popular sites getting flagged in our honeypots," Segura says. "That's when we thought, something is going on." The first impressions came in late August, and by now millions of computers have likely been exposed to Zemot, although only those with outdated antivirus protection were actually infected. View the full article