Monthly Archives: February 2018

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El Local Food Truck Brings Tacos to Spigot, Inc Fort Myers

Spigot, Inc had another great lunch from El Local Food Truck. We are very fortunate to have catered lunches a couple of times a week, and this one was a real treat! The menu included quesadillas, marinated pork, steak or chicken tacos. It’s hard to say which one was a favorite as most of us had a taste of all. Thank you El Local. Spigot, Inc looks forward to your next visit.

Spigot, Inc Romania Goes BIG… with Pasta!

Team building is an important part of a successful company and Spigot, Inc doesn’t lack in this department! The Spigot, Inc Romania team planned a cooking event while many of the Spigot, Inc Fort Myers team were visiting Bucharest.

CulinaryOn – the largest entertaining cooking studio in Europe which is located in Bucharest is the place where you are always welcome. Unique hands-on cooking classes featuring various themes and recipes from all over the world, we prepared it specially for you with all attention to the details. There is always a professional chef, acknowledged as a star in Romania and abroad, who leads you during the evening spicing with stories.

Designed to exude a relaxed, just-like-home vibe, the CulinaryOn cooking academy with its brick walls, wooden floors, and accents of bold purple, is perfect not just for culinary activities and cooking classes, but also for entertaining events with friends or colleagues, for creative team bonding happenings.”

The team broke up into a few different groups, enjoyed a wine tasting experience and cooked the night away!

If this sounds like an environment that you would thrive in… send us your resume and cover letter to careers@spigot.com for review! Check out all of our adventures on the Spigot Inc blog. Are you a fit? Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram… like us on Facebook and never miss out on our Spigot Inc lifestyle.

 

Facebook’s Getting Messy with Malware Scans

When an Oregon science fiction writer named Charity tried to log onto Facebook on February 11, she found herself completely locked out of her account. A message appeared saying she needed to download Facebook’s malware scanner if she wanted to get back in. Charity couldn’t use Facebook until she completed the scan, but the file the company provided was for a Windows device—Charity uses a Mac.

“I could not actually run the software they were demanding I download and use,” she says. When she tried instead to log in from her computer at work, Facebook greeted her with the same roadblock. “Obviously there is no way for Facebook to know if my device is infected with anything, since this same message appeared on any computer I tried to access my account from,” says Charity.

A Facebook spokesperson said Charity may have been asked to download the wrong software because some malware can spoof what kind of computer a person is running. Still, Charity was left without any way to access her account. And her experience is far from unique.

Scantron

The internet is full of Facebook users frustrated with how the company handles malware threats. For nearly four years, people have complained about Facebook’s anti-malware scan on forums, Twitter, Reddit, and on personal blogs. The problems appear to have gotten worse recently. While the service used to be optional, Facebook now requires it if it flags your device for malware. And according to screenshots reviewed by WIRED from people recently prompted to run the scan, Facebook also no longer allows every user to select what type of device they’re on, which ostensibly would have prevented what happened to Charity.

‘I could not actually run the software they were demanding I download and use.’
Charity, Facebook User

The malware scans likely only impact a relatively small population of Facebook’s billions of users, some of whose computers may genuinely be infected. But even a fraction of Facebook’s users still potentially means millions of impacted people. The mandatory scan has caused widespread confusion and frustration; WIRED spoke to people who had been locked out of their accounts by the scan, or simply baffled by it, on four different continents.

The mandatory malware scan has downsides beyond losing account access. Facebook users also frequently report that the feature is poorly designed, and inconsistently implemented. In some cases, if a different user logs onto Facebook from the same device, they sometimes won’t be greeted with the malware message. Similarly, if the “infected” user simply switches browsers, the message also appears to occasionally go away.

“It is actually tied to one specific Facebook user on one specific browser—if I change either to a different account, or use Safari instead of Chrome with the locked-out account, I do not get the scanner dialog,” says Anatol Ulrich, a Facebook user from Germany who was locked out of his account after sharing several Google docs in comment threads on Facebook. He, too, was prompted to download a Windows file on a Mac device.

“Our visibility into each account on a given device isn’t complete enough for us to checkpoint based only on the device, without factoring in whether the particular account is acting in a suspicious manner,” Facebook spokesperson Jay Nancarrow said in a statement. In some ways that might be comforting; Facebook doesn’t collect enough information about your computer to say whether malware has infected it.

But if Facebook doesn’t know for sure, why would it push you to clean your device? Antivirus software is a powerful tool, capable of accessing nearly everything on your computer. Some users might reasonably not want to give Facebook and its chosen cybersecurity partners that level of access. Antivirus and anti-malware software are also prone to vulnerabilities themselves; in 2016, Google’s Travis Ormandy discovered critical flaws across all of Symantec’s antivirus products, for example.

This is what Facebook’s malware scanner looks like when presented to a user.
Facebook

Facebook also doesn’t appear to have regularly updated its users about which partners it relies on to supply its malware scans. The social network began integrating the scans into its malware detection systems in May of 2014, and said they would be supplied by F-Secure and Trend Micro, according to the announcement blog post written at the time. In December of 2014, it added ESET, and in 2015, Facebook announced it was also adding Kaspersky Lab.

Facebook stopped working with Kaspersky last year, following reports that Russia exploited the company’s antivirus software to trawl US government systems for classified data. F-Secure says it also stopped working with Facebook last year, but the social media platform never announced the change. “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will update our documentation to reflect the current set of companies,” Nancarrow said in a statement.

Both ESET and Trend Micro say that they continue to work with Facebook, but stressed that they had no control over how the social network handles its scanning feature. “ESET does not have any ability to lock users out of their Facebook account, or unlock someone’s account. We recommend that people contact Facebook support for help if they experience this issue,” a spokesperson for ESET said in a statement.

No Transparency

Even with legitimate software partners, though, Facebook’s malware-scanner notification could encourage unsafe behavior elsewhere on the web. It “will possibly train users to accept or install fake antivirus products, most of which are ransomware,” says Mohammad Mannan, a security researcher at Concordia University who has studied antivirus vulnerabilities. “That is, you visit a random site, and get a scary popup which says your machine is infected and needs immediate cleaning; if you say yes to the installation, a ransom is asked.”

At least one person, New Zealand businessman Jack Yan, even reported that running Facebook’s malware detector caused his own antivirus to disappear in 2016. Facebook declined to comment on the record about why this may have happened. It’s possible the Kaspersky Lab antivirus software that Facebook mandated Yan use may have automatically deleted a number of other programs on his machine. After the incident, Yan penned a blog post describing his experience, which has since attracted a number of Facebook users who have experienced similar annoyances.

“Most of the folks who I have spoken to over the last couple of years have all said their systems were clean, and used their own virus and malware detectors,” says Yan. “Mine was confirmed clean at the time too.”

 ‘Facebook should make their agreements with antivirus partners public.’

Mohammad Mannan, Concordia University

Facebook declined to say how many users see the malware scanner prompt, possibly because it doesn’t actually know. When the social media company stopped working with Kaspersky, it said it was “unable to easily reconstruct how many Facebook users downloaded Kaspersky software.” The only public figure is from a 2015 blog post, in which Facebook said it had “helped clean up more than two million people’s computers,” over the course of three months.

Facebook also hasn’t provided information about how it uses the data it gleams from its cybersecurity partners that conduct the malware scans. “What does Facebook collect from their antivirus partners?” asks Mannan. “An antivirus product can collect a lot of useful information from the user machine—telemetry data; beyond what Facebook gets through their website—and share it with Facebook. Facebook should make their agreements with antivirus partners public.”

Facebook tells users when they agree to conduct the scan that the data collected in the process will be used “to improve security on and off Facebook,” which is vague. The company did not immediately respond to a followup request for comment about how exactly it uses the data it collects from conducting malware checks.

Facebook has legitimate reason to want to keep malware off its service. Scammers, hackers, and even would-be cryptocurrency miners have all targeted Facebook and Facebook Messenger. But if Facebook keeps forcing its malware scans on its users, it has to commit to more transparency as well.

Upping the Antivirus

They Aren’t Only Listening; They Will Start Predicting?

‘It’s a shift from instant gratification to clairvoyance’

If you were concerned about your voice devices always listening, now imagine when they start predicting! Spigot, Inc shares the details from AdWeek.
Experts say connected devices, pervasive broadband and ample data will to allow brands to predict what consumers need.

Getty Images
 Voice technology was everywhere at CES this year (toilets included), in large part because it’s an easy, natural interface. But it still requires input from consumers—which, at least in marketing terms, means friction remains.

“There are few things more natural than simply asking for something and having that thing brought to you,” said Jason Snyder, CTO at brand agency Momentum Worldwide.

Unless, of course, you don’t have to ask at all. Which is precisely how interfaces are evolving.

Per Snyder, connected devices, pervasive broadband and ample data will to allow brands to “look at consumer consumption patterns, behaviors, profiles and locations” and “understand that consumer’s needs and geography” so that they can “start to predict what’s going to happen.”

Consumers increasingly expect products and services on demand. Amazon Prime made two-day delivery standard, giving rise to Prime Now, which reduced delivery times to hours. Meanwhile, Amazon also launched Dash buttons—some of which offer automatic replenishment—along with Subscribe and Save, a service that establishes recurring deliveries for select products. Similarly, apps from players like Starbucks store money and automatically reload when the balance falls below a given threshold without any input from the consumer (beyond establishing said threshold).

Jeremy Lockhorn, vice president of experience strategy, mobile and emerging technology at digital agency SapientRazorfish, called this a shift from explicit to implicit interfaces.

“The way to think about it is: Right now, we are working the computers and devices, but … in very short order, it’s going to flip and the computers and devices will work for us,” he said. “If you play that out a bit more, it’s much less about me as a user saying, ‘Alexa, turn the lights on,’ or, ‘Google, help me figure out the answer,’ and it’s more about devices getting so smart about our context … they are able to predict what you want and deliver it before you ask for it, regardless of device. It’s a shift from instant gratification to clairvoyance.”

For example, Lockhorn said Google can already send a push notification if it’s time for a user to leave for the airport because Google sees the flight on that user’s calendar and knows the user’s location and nearby traffic conditions.

“I think it’s not too big of a leap to think that the next generation of that will be [Google saying], ‘It’s time to leave for your flight and I called you an Uber,’” he said.

Or, in the connected home, if a consumer accesses a recipe for a casserole from a smart refrigerator and the recipe will result in a pan that’s difficult to clean, the refrigerator could theoretically communicate with the dishwasher to brace itself to run the heavy cycle. Something similar already happens with Whirlpool’s smart washer with Amazon Dash replenishment that automatically reorders laundry supplies when a customer is running low.

Taking that a step further, the washer could perhaps put out a call to retailers for laundry supplies in order to find detergent at the cheapest price, Lockhorn added.

“[It’ll be] brands understanding … what is appropriate to bring you,” Synder said. “All of those friction points are reduced, so it’s [about reading] your mood.”

An even further extension would be a self-driving car that takes a passenger to the beach instead of work because it knows that passenger needs a day off, he added.

But, of course, this requires extensive data that would have to be compiled to assemble a picture of a consumer across touchpoints, with some AI thrown in to make predictions.

“[Brands] need to be able to stitch together and make intelligent guesses about what the user is going to want next, which is a whole lot harder than it sounds … it’s going to be a mix of third party and first party data,” Lockhorn said. “It’s clear that brands and marketers are investing heavily in infrastructure, but there’s a lot more in the works.”

Lockhorn said he has some clients experimenting with this in private programs and he expects to see it more broadly in about 18 months. A rep declined to provide any client names.

“Convenience is huge. We often get into discussions around [whether AI will] destroy jobs and put people out of work, and what we’d] do in that new world,” Lockhorn said. “I think the positive side of that is there are more opportunities for human-machine collaboration. And the other positive is [that] it frees us up to do other things potentially that are [better] tasks in terms of professional and personal development.”

 

Sneaky Mobile Ads and What Marketers Learned

These ads are sneaky—but do they work?

Dozens of subreddits are dedicated to uncovering such stealthy-yet-spammy tactics. A few weeks ago, a screenshot of a mobile banner ad for Chatmost, a competitor to Craigslist, started spreading on Twitter and Reddit because the creative included a small speck that looked like a piece of dirt, encouraging users to swipe their screen as a way to drive clicks.

Chatmost is far from the only brand running sneaky mobile ads. Adweek dug through Reddit to pick four mobile ads before asking BBDO New York creative director Tom Markham to analyze the copy and design to determine if they would, in fact, trick him to click on an ad.

1. A banner ad for Chatmost

The trick: Placing a brown pixel on a bright pink background to look like a piece of dust.

Did it work: Yes

“It’s really convincing,” Markham said. “Because of the way that dark color pings off the pink background, it really did look like a speck on my screen. In that sense, it’s pretty genius, but evil genius.”

That said, the ad is effective in getting a consumer to tap the screen, but it’s not so effective at getting someone to do much else, he said. “If you’re getting paid for every tap you can get on a banner, it must be rich to do something like this,” he added. “If you’re getting paid to get sales or have some sort of meaningful interaction with your brand, then doing something like this is a really negative thing.”

2. An Instagram Stories ad for a Chinese sneaker manufacturer called Kaiwei Ni

The trick: Placing a curved line in the middle of the picture to look like a piece of hair, again encouraging consumers to tap it.

Did it work: Yes

“It’s kind of brilliant in a really cynical way if all you care about is ‘swipe ups,” Markham said. He added that while it may be deceptive, the ad doesn’t violate any laws. “Everything else is legit—they’ve just added a curved line, which isn’t illegal.”

Regardless, the ad didn’t pass Instagram’s standards. As The Verge reported, the ad violated Instagram’s policies and was removed. Instagram also shut down the brand’s account.

3. A generic banner ad that shows an unread message

The trick: Using an icon of a new email message to encourage consumers to click on an unbranded ad.

Did it work: No

“It should be illegal,” Markham said. “It’s been around for a long time—[display] pop-ups tried to replicate alerts and tried to copy that style so that you would think your computer was telling you that you needed to act on [something]. This is the same thing … it’s copying a [user experience] that you were used to being excited by and tricking you with it.”

4. An ad within the mobile game WWE Champions that links to an app download

The trick: The only way to exit the ad is to click on a fake ‘X’ in the upper right-hand corner, which pops open a link to download the app.

Did it work: Yes

“I have little kids that use iPads and it drives me crazy—some of the ads that they have to negotiate in order to use game apps and even educational apps aimed at kids,” Markham said. “There are so many ads with those fake close buttons in circulation. That’s the problem: They are successful if your only intention is to get a tap or a click.”

Thanks for the tips AdWeek.

 

Spigot, Inc Sponsored the FGCU Spring 2018 Business Career & Internship Expo

If you didn’t know, Spigot, Inc is right around the corner from FGCU! Our team at Spigot, Inc has many FGCU alumni on staff as well as current students working with us as interns. This year we sponsored the event to show our support and thanks to FGCU Career Services for their dedication and leadership to their students success. The room was buzzing with college students eager to learn about the companies at the expo. Spigot, Inc was very pleased with the turnout and excited about the possibilities of adding more FGCU Eagles to our team.

Spigot, Inc welcomes visitors. Reach out to us if you would like to check out our cool, laid back offices. If this sounds like an environment that you would thrive in, send us your resume and cover letter to careers@spigot.com for review! Check out all of our adventures on the Spigot Inc blog. Are you a fit? Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram… like us on Facebook and never miss out on our Spigot Inc lifestyle.

Xin Nian Hao from Spigot Inc!

Today China celebrates their New Year. Calendars are different across the world… and for China, the New Year is the most important and also a different day every year… All of us at Spigot, Inc wish everyone the best of years!

“The Chinese New Year is the most important of the holidays for the Chinese. It is defined to be the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar. Unlike the Christian New Year, which is based on a solar calendar, the Chinese New Year is based on a traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar whose date indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year. A lunar month is around 2 days shorter than a solar month. In order to “catch up” with the solar calendar, an extra month is inserted every few years. This is why, according to the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.

Normally, the celebration will start from the New Year’s Eve and will last for around 15 days until the middle of the first month. Before the celebration, people will normally completely clean the house and display traditional New Year decorations. This festivity is the time for family reunion, which is the most important part of the Chinese New Year celebration. People will normally visit relatives and friends, do some shopping, watch traditional Chinese shows, launch fireworks, and plan for the coming year. The celebration will sometimes be highlighted with a religious ceremony given in honor of heaven, earth, the family ancestors and other gods. In modern China, working professionals will normally have 7 days of holiday including the weekend to celebrate.”

What an awesome culture to be a part of. Genimous, our parent company is based in China. Let’s all celebrate the Year of the Dog!

Spigot Inc Celebrates Red with Genimous, our Parent Company

Red is a very prominent color that means so many different things to us all. Today, we celebrate Valentine’s Day in the States and red is definitely the color of the day. In China, the color red represents much more. Red now has a new meaning. It’s fascinating to learn how other cultures celebrate color in such a strong and meaningful way. Thank you Genimous, for sharing with Spigot, Inc. the Chinese meaning of red. I’d say that we all feel differently about a color that in the US… just think of a color in the rainbow.

“From among a world of colors, red stands out the most. The color red is fresh and pure, and in China we call it China Red. Chinese people are fascinated by the color red not only because of its intoxicating vibrancy, but also because of its rich meaning in Chinese culture and history.

It is believed that no country in the world has ever adopted a color in such a thoroughgoing way as China, where red is a symbol that gives color to the soul of the nation. In the past, red stood for dignity and mystery. Even now, we adore the color much more than we love it. It is can be said that ‘China Red’ is an eternal theme for China, and an essential color for the Chinese people. “China Red” has become a quite popular word, attracting the world’s attention.

Shooting red-colored things in China is an easy task, as its powerful presence can be found every-where. All traditional red things have been playing special roles in China: the walls of ancient palaces, the national flag, Chinese knot, lantern, couplet, clothes, traditional paper-cuts for window decorations, and even red tanghulu (sugar-coated haws on a stick). Red is the color of the auspicious, signifying reunion, health, happiness, harmony, peace and prosperity. Only real things and events can fully display and explain its beauty. Only in its relation with people can the color be alive and meaningful.”

This picture represents who we are as a company… harmonious, vibrant, healthy, happy, peaceful and prosperous.  Thank you Genimous for teaching us a lesson in color, and life!

If this sounds like an environment that you would thrive in, and if you’d like to wear one of those red scarves… send us your resume and cover letter to careers@spigot.com for review! Check out all of our adventures on the Spigot Inc blog. Are you a fit? Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram… like us on Facebook and never miss out on our Spigot Inc lifestyle.

Publishers Get a Virtual Bomb Dropped by Facebook

Facebook dropped a virtual bomb on the digital publishing ecosystem with its announcement last month that the platform’s News Feed will focus mostly on users’ personal posts rather than content published by publishers or businesses.

The social network’s justification—that it will be making updates to the “ranking so that people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about”—can be translated as such:

Although many publishers may be moving through the seven stages of grief, I suggest that we gladly skip ahead to the last one: acceptance.

No longer in a relationship

After continuous algorithm changes that sent teams into a tizzy over how they will possibly survive in the volatile world of media, it’s become clear that Facebook will take actions that best serve its business interests, leaving its publisher constituents high and dry in the process.

Although it’s a given that Facebook’s needs evolve, and that as a commercial entity, the company is committed to its shareholders, as a de-facto monopolizer in digital content discovery worldwide, it should be expected to assume responsibility for society’s greater good. This can come in the form of regulating content to promote truthful, safe news, and it can also come in the form of enabling any business to promote its company and content online.

This recent announcement, coupled with those that have come before, make it clear that Facebook will operate solely based on its own interests, leaving the ailing digital publishing industry to look after itself. And as in any relationship—business or personal—one grows tired of being treated poorly.

Read the entire story on Adweek

7 Stats That Sum Up the Week in Digital Marketing

From the Winter Olympics opening ceremony to net neutrality and intriguing ecommerce partnerships between brands and publishers, here are a handful of stats that stood out this week.

1. Olympic drones

Last year, Intel choreographed a fantastic show of drones during Lady Gaga’s halftime show.

And for this year’s Winter Olympics, Intel took it up a notch, flying 1,200 drones—and breaking its own world record—in the shape of a snowboarder, a dove and the Olympic rings during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

2. Insane social rules

Speaking of the Olympics, Rule 40, a bylaw in the Olympic Charter, restricts public references to Olympic competition. The law puts severe limits on what athletes and brands can say about the games either on social media or IRL if they aren’t an official sponsor, which requires paying millions of dollars.

Why all the fuss over the Olympics? Because the games are expensive—the 2016 Rio Games cost $13 billion—and sponsorships make up a large portion of revenue (sponsorships made up $848 million in Rio).

For an in-depth guide for tweeting at the Olympics, click here.

3. Seriously weird shoppable content

Mashable announced a partnership with eBay this week that will embed shopping links into 160 articles.

While publishers like Popsugar and Purch have embraced ecommerce as a revenue stream, Mashable’s move into shopping is perplexing because the images are … stock images, which Mashable doesn’t own.

Adweek’s newest tech reporter, Lisa Lacy, dug into the intriguing partnership.

4. Weighing in on net neutrality

In light of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to end net neutrality, a number of brands like Burger King and Sonos have found creative ways to take a stand on the issue.

According to LinkedIn’s upcoming quarterly report about buzzy topics discussed on the platform, the topic of net neutrality made up the top five articles on the platform and was mentioned in 12,000 posts during the fourth quarter.

5. Bot invasion

Think fraud in advertising is such a 2014 topic? Think again.

Lotame, an exchange for third-party data, removed 400 million, or 10 percent, of its users’ profiles after they were discovered to be bots.

6. Social cannabis

As marijuana becomes legal in 30 states, cannabis brands are finding new ways to market but have struggled with social platforms that have strict rules over what advertisers can and can’t promote.

Here’s one interesting anecdote illustrating weed brands’ struggles: MassRoots, a digital community for medical cannabis users, said it has spent more than $150,000 on Twitter ads but isn’t allowed to advertise on Facebook or Instagram and has had its Instagram account removed and restored three times.

7. Top Super Bowl searches

After the Super Bowl, a slew of digital marketing companies tracked social and search activity for advertisers who paid $5 million for 30 seconds of air time.

Adthena, a search intelligence company, analyzed 725,000 Super Bowl-themed ads between Jan. 26 and Feb. 1 and found that the NFL and Amazon dominated search, with 16.83 percent and 11.43 percent, respectively, of search ads.

This story was brought to you by Adweek