The Filter: Facebook’s Move to LBS

In this week’s Filter, Facebook plans on developing a location-based mobile ad product, Tumblr introduces an updated iOS app, Facebook tries to practice what it preaches, Yahoo makes moves to become a media company again, and YouTube mulls a subscription model for some channels.

Facebook Working On Location-Based Mobile-Ad Product
The social networking giant squid, with its tentacles reaching across our online lives, says it’s developing a location-based mobile ad product. This makes sense, coming off last year’s acquisition of Gowalla’s team. Gowalla, if you’ll recall, was the Beta Max to Foursquare’s VHS in the location-based wars. With 900 million users using their mobile phones more and more to play on Facebook, this could be a huge revenue stream for Facebook — and ultimately advertisers.

There’s been “really significant interest” in the mobile- only news-feed ads Facebook started selling earlier this month, Everson said. While Facebook hasn’t said when it may roll out a location- based ad product, such ads could take advantage of information shared by almost 1 billion people that use the site. Facebook, which already allows companies to serve ads based on ZIP code, has come under scrutiny from regulators in the past about how it uses data in advertising. A mobile product could use more specific, real-time data. The company also allows users to share a physical location when posting an update.

Read the rest of the article at Bloomberg.

Tumblr revamps its iOS app with new layout, offline mode, support for high-res images, Spotify and more
Tumblr introduced a revamped iOS app. According to the Next Web, the company says the new app “runs faster, and the new UI is made all the slicker by the move to simplify notifications by putting them all in one place on the dashboard.” But it’s also not hard to imagine that such an update, that allows for a better user experience, is also a tip of the hat to brands. Tumblr recently rolled out a new ad platform, and Tumblr has to be keeping an eye on the mobile market.

Speaking last week, CEO David Karp said it would launch the new app, and the company describes the new release as a “completely rebuilt app that’s better in every possible way.” A significant number of changes have been made as it aims at making blogging from an iPhone easier — and more appealing — than ever before. Version 3.0.0 has increased the tap-based functionality within the app and, for example, swiping up on the ‘compose’ button brings up the camera while swiping left brings up the text post shortcut. Significant changes have been made to images within the app. In addition to support for high-resolution photos — which will make the most of the updated camera on the new iPad and iPhone 4S — the app has enhanced the way photosets are managed and introduced a new, crisper system for viewing images.

Read the rest of the article at The Next Web.

Facebook provides rare peek at how site is policed
In trying to back up its words of transparency with deeds, Facebook offered a glimpse into how it monitors the site — and its 900 million citizens — looking for illegal or offensive content. The company posted a chart that resembles an engineering blueprint to show what happens after a user clicks on the “report” button.

Specialized technology and teams of Facebook staffers actively monitor the website to detect and remove content that violates its policies, such as hate speech, bullying and harassment and pornography. Facebook’s “core value proposition is that the Web is kind of a messy and dangerous place, unlike Facebook which is a safer place for you and your friends,” said Ray Valdes, an analyst with research firm Gartner. In a posting accompanying the chart on Tuesday, Facebook explained that its User Operations group comprises four teams to handle the different types of incident reports: a safety team, a hate and harassment team, an access team and an abusive content team. A user report about a threat of vandalism for instance would be handled by Facebook’s safety team, which would have the option of referring the matter to law enforcement, warning the user, or disabling the user’s account.

Read the rest of the article at Reuters.

Yahoo Hires Google Exec Barrett as Chief Of Revenue, as Big Ad Changes Loom
All Things D’s Kara Swisher reports Michael Barrett, who was CEO of AdMeld and sold it to Google for $400 million, will be joining Yahoo as its chief revenue officer. As Swisher points out, this is a “clear signal” that Yahoo is about to dramatically tinker with its ad business and move back towards being a media company.

According to numerous sources, Yahoo is again mulling a plan to abandon or sell its large parts of its ad tech business and rely on third-party vendors. In fact, it has been in talks with Google about taking over its automated ad sales and ad network operations, while focusing instead on premium ad sales and sponsorships. Yahoo is also considering turning its entire search business over to Microsoft, with which it already has an ad partnership. “Yahoo is going to be a media company again — in the digital ad sales business and not in the ad tech business,” said one person.

Read the rest of the article at All Things D.

YouTube chief mulls paid subscription
YouTube streams more than 4 billion videos per day, serving up 1.4 billion ads in May. But according to Reuters, YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar is looking into a subscription model for some of its video offerings, “potentially providing a way for certain cable channels to be available outside the traditional ‘bundles’ offered by cable network providers.” This could provide a boon for the online video world, especially since the Department of Justice recently launched an inquiry looking at cable TV distributors potentially stifling the growth of online video.

Some of those channels, which Kamangar said receive little or no affiliate fees from cable distributors, could be one of the viable offerings for Google-owned YouTube as it weighs selling subscriptions to some of the hundreds of millions of people who watch videos on the website every month. YouTube is also considering making some of the original video programs featured on recently-launched YouTube “channels” available for a fee. “We don’t have anything to announce now. It is something that’s really important to a lot of our top existing content creators as well as ones that aren’t on YouTube today, so we’re taking very seriously and we’re thinking about it very carefully,” said Kamangar, Google senior vice president, YouTube and video.

Read the rest of the article at Reuters.

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