Online ‘bots’ net billions in ad dollars

March 24, 2015

Traffic, traffic everywhere, and not a click to monetize.

Web advertising pros have long lamented the disparity between digital ad rates and those for traditional media, but the news could be worse than they thought. A study by digital security firm White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers monitored 181 online advertising campaigns by 36 brands measuring 5.5 billion impressions in 3 million domains over 60 days. The results weren’t good. The report predicted that online advertisers are losing as much as $6.3 billion a year due to bot fraud. But what is bot fraud and how does it work?

The who, where and why of the Yemen conflict

March 23, 2015

Fighting in Yemen flared up over the weekend as Iranian-backed Houthis gained control of the city of Taiz in their battle against the country’s Sunni government and al Qaeda. As this Reuters graphic shows, the group, which effectively deposed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi last year,  controls Sanaa and is battling for the parts of western Yemen that it doesn’t already control.

Postcards about phone calls, bunnies and wine, zombie satellites and more

March 20, 2015

Both the vernal equinox and March Madness tip off this weekend, and to celebrate Data Dive presents a list of light links for your springtime reading pleasure.

An anniversary assessment for Ebola

March 20, 2015

Ebola marks a dubious birthday this weekend. Guinea first confirmed the current outbreak of the virus on March 22, 2014, and by the time the world took notice, the situation looked dire: Last September, the CDC saw a possible worst case scenario of as many as 1.4 million cases. But the world health community proved up to the challenge, and while the virus has sickened nearly 25,000 and killed more than 10,000, it has fallen short of the worst-case predictions.

Processing Iran’s centrifuge numbers

March 19, 2015

The fervor inspired by Iran’s nuclear program has been particularly intense the past few months. Iranian claims that their program’s lone, peaceful goal is electrical power production have been met with a particularly jaundiced eye by a bomb-wary world community. As Western talks with Tehran continue, where do Iran’s nuclear facilities stand?

Alibaba’s rocky first six months

March 18, 2015

Open Sesame! Alibaba’s six-month lock-up period ended today, opening the door for the company to release an additional 337 million shares for sale. But news could be better for the Chinese e-commerce giantAs this Reuters graphic shows, Alibaba surged after its record-breaking $25 billion IPO last September. But since a Nov. 13 peak of $120, the stock has bled value, and is trading today just above $85 per share—down more than 29 percent since its November high.

The dollar, the Fed and deflation

March 17, 2015

If you’re an analyst or investor, you’re undoubtedly paying close attention to the Fed’s two-day policy meeting. Soft U.S. data has slowed the dollar’s run against the euro, but as this Reuters graphic shows, inflation rates in the majority of euro zone countries have fallen into negative territory, prompting concerns of outright deflation.

March Madness: In defense of wasting company time

March 16, 2015

The first game doesn’t tip off until tomorrow evening, but the 2015 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is already in full swing. As soon as the tournament’s 68 teams were announced last night, tens of millions of Americans began filling out the office pool brackets that will consume untold hours and energy over the next few weeks.

Cheap weddings, unrhymable words, mustard tasting tips and more

March 13, 2015

This weekend’s Data Dive features more light learning from the week that was on the Web.

For restaurants, antibiotic meat is more than a matter of taste

March 13, 2015

Bowing to pressure from critics, McDonald’s earlier this month announced that the company would move away from using poultry raised with antibiotics that can also be used to treat humans. An increasingly vocal constituency, led by the Centers for Disease Control, has agitated for change for years, concerned with the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in a world in which animal consumption accounts for four-fifths of all antibiotic use.