17 February 2015 – Global marketing news
Image leaked of Chinese worker manipulating app rankings
An image has appeared online apparently showing a Chinese worker deliberately manipulating Apple app rankings.
The image, which was originally posted on the Chinese social network Weibo, shows a woman sat in front of around 100 switched-on iPhones. The photo caption reads: “Hardworking App Store ranking manipulation employee”.
If the caption is correct, Yahoo News speculates that she is probably uninstalling and reinstalling apps to artificially boost the apps’ download figures. The number of downloads is believed to be a key part of Apple App Store’s ranking algorithm, so uninstalling and reinstalling apps on a large scale would artificially boost the apps’ ranking.
Apple has tried to discourage such dishonest ranking practices in the past, with the company famously cracking down in 2012 on marketing firms and developers that used dubious tactics such as software bots and professional human downloaders.
Twitter uses wrong flag in UAE hash-flag gaffe
Twitter was left red-faced after it used the wrong flag for the United Arab Emirates as part of its “hash-flag” Cricket World Cup feature.
When Twitter users typed in #UAE, they were supposed to be presented with a small UAE flag, which has a red vertical stripe along the left and green, white and black horizontal stripes, in that order, from top to bottom.
Instead, Twitter’s UAE hash-flag moved the black stripe to the top and turned the red stripe into a triangle.
Disgruntled users notified Twitter of its error, which led to the network removing the hash-flag feature for all countries.
Baidu revenues lower than expected in last quarter
The Chinese search engine Baidu failed to reach its forecast revenue in the last quarter.
Baidu said the drop is thanks to more people searching from their mobiles and that this presents them with fewer and lower value advertising opportunities than on desktop.
Baidu’s Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Li commented, saying: “The investments we’ve made in mobile over the last two years have clearly paid off and set the stage for Baidu to capture an even larger market opportunity.”
Baidu is not the first search engine to see its revenue drop as its proportion of mobile users increased, with Google also having experienced the trend.
Pakistan to continue with YouTube block
The Pakistani government is to continue to block access to YouTube within the country, it has announced.
YouTube is blocked in Pakistan as a result of its strict anti-blasphemy laws, which state that imprisonment and even death sentences can be given to those who insult Islam.
Critics say that banning YouTube goes against the Lahore High Court judgment, however, which decided last year in a YouTube blasphemy case that the government should display warning pages before a user enters a potentially blasphemous page, rather than blocking access to YouTube entirely.
The leader of the pro-YouTube group Bytes For All has voiced his disagreement with the government’s actions, saying that: “By the logic the government is applying in this case, they should block the entire Internet… What the government should do is seek a clarification of the Supreme Court order, which it doesn’t want to.”
Video of 78-year-old grandmother arguing with iPhone goes viral online
And finally, a video of an Italian grandmother arguing with Apple’s artificial intelligence Siri has gone viral online.
The video shows 78-year-old Paola trying in vain to ask her iPhone what the time is in Italy. Siri consistently has trouble understanding what she is trying to say, however, and produces nonsensical and hilarious responses.
This is not the first time has Siri has attracted the attention of online comedy-lovers, with The Guardian previously having compiled a list of phrases that the artificial intelligence refuses to answer, including “How did you get my number?” and “Are you plotting the downfall of humanity?”
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