Category Archives: Realtime Tools

Cyber Security Threats To Keep You Awake At Night

Cyber Security Threats To Keep You Awake At Night

As if it wasn’t bad enough that there are people out there in the world who have made it their mission to breach and steal our secure information, now they’re doing it using very sophisticated spyware. We’re all familiar with the concept of big brother and of being watched by someone in the shadows, but what makes it scary is that it’s real. No, you’re not reading some conspiracy theorists’ take on government agencies or state-sponsored cyberwars. This is very real.


Cyber Data Hacks: No One Is Safe

According to research conducted by the technology services company NetStandard, the U.S. suffers over 5,000 cyberattacks per hour. Malware, ransomware and DDoS attacks run rampant while darker, more sinister attacks lie in wait and ready to strike, or so we thought. As it would happen, these terrible hacks have hit the mainstream, and the more we know and learn about them, the better we can protect ourselves against them.

The Webcam Hack

The idea of some stranger being able to watch our every move through our webcams (and our smart device camera too) is bone chilling. With technology integration, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become part of our everyday life. There’s no disputing that IoT has made our lives easier. Did you forget to turn off the oven? The app on your phone can turn it off. Forgot your grocery list at home? That’s okay, just open your camera and look inside the fridge to see what you need. Unfortunately, this streamlined technology has weakened our cybersecurity and made it easier for cybercriminals to enter our homes by exploiting vulnerable code. By having visual access to our home, cybercriminals can livestream our every movement to sites like YouTube. They can screenshot compromising pictures and use it against us as blackmail. Cybercriminals can disable our home security systems, making our homes ripe for the picking.


A piece of software known as a keylogger captures and logs every key you press on your keyboard. What does this mean for you? Cybercriminals can access your usernames, email, passcodes, credit card numbers and other private information. A form of malware, you can download keylogger software by clicking on an infected link or visiting an infected website. What’s more, keyloggers can be installed on your computer with a compromised USB drive. Do you use a shared USB? Are you prone to clicking on and reading spammy looking emails? A keylogger could be lying dormant on your computer and you wouldn’t even know it.


We are our own worst enemies when it comes network security breaches. We download torrent videos without double checking its source, and we keep the same password for every website we visit. These actions don’t help to strengthen our cybersecurity. Spoofing, similar to phishing, is when you receive an email in your inbox with a forged email header that appears to be from a legitimate service or site. Back in February, a Snapchat employee fell victim to a spoofing email. A cybercriminal had successfully crafted an email that looked like it had been sent from the company’s co-founder. The email asked for payroll account information, and the employee complied, thinking it was his boss he was responding to. The cybercriminal was able to get the payroll information of current and past employees, compromising their bank and other financial accounts.

What You Can Do About It

Cyberattacks are expensive, costing $4 million on average. If you regularly use a shared computer or use integrated technology, you’ve doubled your chances of an attack. Fortunately for us, there is such a thing as cyber insurance. More companies are starting to pop-up, like CyberPolicy, that specialize in offering discounted cyber insurance rates from well renowned cybersecurity insurance providers. It’d be wise to total your business’s assets so you know exactly what you’re risking or protecting as you decide if a cyber security policy is in the best interest of your operation.



Vine Adds Loop Count, Updating Video Views in Realtime

Last week, Vine introduced a “Loop Count” metric that shows users and marketers how many times people are watching, (or looping) their videos. Before the release of this new feature, brands and users of Vine had to rely on likes, comments and revines (which not longer exist) to determine the reach of their videos. Now with loop count, the number of people watching any Vine is updated — in realtime.

Vine began tracking loop counts on April 3rd of this year, so for videos posted before then, a “+” is placed next to the loop count to signify that that particular video may be missing loops from the displayed total.

Loop count allows brands and users to see how many people are viewing their videos, in realtime.

Loop count allows brands and users to see how many people are viewing their videos, in realtime.

The development of loop count will be extremely beneficial for brands currently using Vine as a marketing tool, and potentially will encourage more brands to use the service. Michael Kelly, senior/media consumer communications manager at American Licorice Company, which owns Red Vines (a regular user of Vine) says: “With digital/mobile spend being under intense scrutiny, the ability to measure the performance of content is key. Therefore, loop count is necessary and important for Vine’s future as a marketing tool: having an understanding of which content is keeping viewers engaged can a help to inform the creative direction or style of the Vines made in the future.”

That being said, loop count does have its problems. Loops can be counted even if the video is not actually being watched; for example, if a Vine video is embedded in an online article, the loop count will continue to increase as long as the tab is open (Clickz). Also, loop count neglects to account for numerous views by a single person – potentially skewing the size of a brand’s audience on Vine.

Along with loop count, Vine has added other new features, including widened videos that span across the entire mobile screen, and milestone alerts when a user’s video receive a certain number of likes.

Because loop count is only a week old, its impact on the amount of brands using Vine as a marketing tool is yet to be seen. With the addition of this new feature, is your brand more likely to use Vine?

Yo. Is It Here To Stay?

The seemingly pointless app Yo, which was released, rather fittingly, on April 1st, is causing a buzz in the mobile world. Yo lets users send messages to friends that say “Yo”– and thats it. So is it for real?

The app was launched months ago, but numbers skyrocketed after it was recently revealed to the public that Yo had attracted $1 million in funding. The app now has accumulated over 1 million users, and at one point made its way into the top 10 of Apple Store Apps (but then fell to #86, and has since dropped even lower).

The question remains: is Yo a fad or is it here to stay?

Yo allows users to send "Yo" to friends.

Yo allows users to send “Yo” to friends.

The app originated when Moshe Hogeg, founder of Mobli, wanted to create an app that would allow him to reach his assistant with the touch of a single button. After only 8 hours of work, Or Arbel (who worked at Mobli for two years) delivered, and Yo was born. According to Arbel, the app extends beyond its original purpose: “If you think this is just an app that says ‘yo,’ you are getting it wrong. It’s a new way to get lightweight, non-intrusive notifications. We are here to cut through the noise. We like to call it context-based messaging.” (Mashable)

World Cup YoYo has even joined the World Cup frenzy. Any user who sends a Yo to “WORLDCUP”, will receive a Yo notification every time a goal is scored. One of Yo’s four part-time employees is responsible for watching every World Cup game, and sending out the notifications.

The long-term goal is to partner with brands, and turn Yo into a notification tool for people, brands, and advertisers. For example, when your Starbucks order is ready, Starbucks could send a Yo, or when a friend’s plane lands, Delta might send a Yo (Think Progress). Although Arbel says he will not add new features to the app, another option would be to allow brands to sponsor one word messages related to their brand (ex. Nike could use “run”).

Yo also held a Hackathon on Friday, June 27th in an attempt to brainstorm possible uses for the app.

One big bonus: its simplicity means that, unlike most other messaging apps, Yo does not access user’s personal information.

However, the app has had some security issues; three college students already successfully hacked Yo. The hack gave the students access to every Yo user’s phone number, the ability to pretend to be any user, send spam, and replace “Yo” with a different message. Arbel told TechCrunch: “Some of the stuff has been fixed and some we are still working on. We are taking this very seriously.” Arbel admitted to some vulnerabilities of the app, but then brought in a security team to deal with the issues; Yo has not experienced any problems since.

Though many have already written off the insanely simple app, it does have some potential. Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat all started simple – though not this simple, admittedly –  but they prove that an uncomplicated app can evolve into something bigger, and more useful. When Twitter first launched, 140 characters seemed incredibly short; now Yo takes messaging down to just two characters.

Yo has been host to plenty of media attention (both good and bad), but since its brief moment in the spotlight roughly two weeks ago, there has been little published about the app.

The app has acquired a solid initial investment and user base, but numbers have begun to fall rapidly; is there any possibility that Yo will mature, and grow into a usable marketing tool? Do you see your brand using Yo in the near future?

MyPermissions’ Android App: Is Your Private Information Secure?

The amount of time the average U.S. consumer spends on their mobile device has risen to 2 hrs and 42 minutes per day in 2014, according to Flurry. U.S. consumers have then dedicated 86% (2 hrs and 19 minutes) of that time to their mobile apps; making it essential for people and brands to understand which of those apps are viewing their private information–and to manage that access.

That’s why we paid attention when security technology company MyPermissions announced version 3.0 of their Android app, a mobile application that protects users against unwanted access to their private information. The updated Android app features a new dashboard that shows users which of their mobile apps are accessing personal data, and allows them to either block or approve accessibility.

MyPermissions' new dashboard organizes all apps accessing private information into distinct categories.

MyPermissions’ new dashboard organizes all apps accessing private information into distinct categories.

MyPermissions’ dashboard organizes apps accessing personal information into distinct categories:

  • Apps acting on your behalf
  • Apps that know your location
  • Apps that read inboxes and contacts
  • Apps that use pictures and files
  • Apps that access personal information
  • Apps that access other information

Realtime notifications are sent to users when a new app gains access to their personal data on Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, and Dropbox.

With the release, MyPermissions CEO Olivier Amar explained that, “Regardless of whether the app is open and running, closed or has been dormant on a mobile device for years – the app still has the ability to access a wealth of personal data. MyPermissions has updated the Android app to provide privacy protection to mobile users and for the first time enable the mobile user to control which app can access personal data and what type of data they are comfortable with sharing.”

MyPermissions’ Android app can be downloaded for free on Google Play.

How are you managing permissions for all of the apps on your phone?

Influicity Introduces YouTube Influencer Marketplace

Influicity is set to unveil a “first-to-market” platform that allows marketers to efficiently search and connect with YouTube influencers. This YouTube influencer platform categorizes 140,000 influencers into one marketplace, where brands are able to browse through them using filters such as age, gender, location and subject-matter. Once selected, marketers can collaborate with influencers using the platform’s campaign management and analysis tools to bring a video campaign to life.

Influicity's search page, where clients can select their influencer search filters from the menus on the left. Selections appear on the right.

Influicity’s search page, where clients can select their influencer search filters from the menus on the left. Selections appear on the right.

Influencer data and information is gathered by analyzing the profiles of tens of thousands of YouTube influencer channels using around 20 pieces of criteria: number of subscribers, views, comments, location, return viewers, etc. Once this data is polished and organized, the YouTube influencer profile is put into the marketplace ready to be searched for by brands who want to create influencer marketing campaigns.

Influicity's video approval page, where marketers can see their influencer’s video and discuss with their team.

Influicity’s video approval page, where marketers can see their influencer’s video and discuss with their team.

Influicity has also created some technology-driven solutions to protect against common “pain points” when working with influencers. For example, marketers and influencers can waste a great deal of time agreeing on pricing. Influicity attempts to solve this problem  by evaluating the performance of each influencer and comparing that to the entire YouTube influencer population to calculate a fair price. Though that number is not always agreed upon, it often limits negotiations on both sides. The campaign management portion of the platform also features messaging tools where clients and influencers can communicate using one discussion thread, avoiding any unorganized conversations.

Influicity also provides marketers with a post-campaign analysis dashboard, giving brands full view of how their campaign performed. With detailed analytics on engagement, share rates, purchase intent, and brand awareness, Influicity gives marketers useful data that extends beyond just views.

Though there are other YouTube influencer sites, such as FameBit and VidRocket, Influicity founder & CEO Jon Davids claims that his company “has yet to see competition from them directly.” According to Davids, Influicity’s campaign management tools, along with their ability to identify and organize influencers, are the biggest differences that separates Influicity from competitors. While other networks require influencers to register, Influcity’s platform works without anyone signing up.

Influicity’s  pricing ranges from $125-$4,500 a month. Influicity’s client list currently includes John Frieda, Garnier, U By Kotex, and Puma; in the coming months the company looks to license its software to 5 client or agencies. Influicity is currently working with a major retailer on a national activation, with 6 other campaigns in development.


#HashAtIt: Now You Can Search Hashtags Over Multiple Social Platforms

Are hashtags part of your brand’s marketing plan?  Hashtags work on multiple social networks — but until recently there was no easy way to search them on all of these platforms.  Enter; the site bills itself as “the first social media search engine that gives users a way to gather information on any metadata tags (#hashtags) from popular social networks.” logo

Users can search a single hashtag and collect all the relevant posts and status updates, worldwide, from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram — in realtime. It’s a place for big or small brands to watch how their hashtag campaigns are playing out, and also a way to follow breaking news stories — social networking platforms like Twitter are known for breaking news before major media outlets.

Founder Laurie Paolone spoke about testing #HashAtIt when the story of Paul Walker’s death broke out; the site showed a video of the crash six hours before it aired on a large news media site. “We realized that our platform could give people the results they’re looking for as-it-happens, without any biased censorships,” said Paolone.

The site features customizable #hashtag boards, created and tailored by users. The free service gives users the ability to:

  • craft their own hashtag boards
  • mute the posts they find irrelevant
  • embed their boards on their personal social networks, blogs, or websites
  • see results for each hashtag on all platforms, or on a single platform
HashAtIt Hashtag Search #BringBackOurGirls

The results of a search for #BringBackOurGirls on Instagram

Other hashtag monitoring sites include, which only tracks specific hashtags on Twitter, and #Tagboard, which is the closest competitor to In general, #Tagboard is focused on collecting posts around a specific hashtag on an ongoing basis, where users pay more to gather more information; is more about hashtag search, with the added benefit of creating a board to keep or share mentions around a certain hashtag.

We’ve listed a few other differences between the two:

  • users can share any of the results from a hashtag search to other social media platforms directly from the post; #Tagboard users can respond to or share a post only within the social platform that the post came from
  • #Tagboard is free for basic use, but then has a variety of pricing for ‘plus,’ ‘pro,’ and ‘enterprise’ levels; #HashAtIt is free for all users
  • #HashAtIt offers an embed code for the #hashtag search board so that users can put it on their own website, blog or article

Given that hashtags are now a mainstream source of conversation on social networks, keeping track of all hashtag mentions in one place is valuable for average users as well as for brands.  How does your brand search for hashtag mentions and follow hashtag campaigns?

#ActionTags Let Consumers Buy Products Directly From TV Ads Using Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

Chirpify's TV #ActionTagsStarting March 4th, consumers can instantly purchase products that they see on TV through Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Chirpify’s new #actiontags for TV could be a game-changer for brands, making it possible to create conversions and purchase opportunities directly from TV ads.

The hybrid of old and new media is promising. “It’s a ‘yes’ button to traditional media,” said Chirpify CEO Chris Teso in the press release. “By using hashtags as the glue to connect traditional and social media, suddenly consumers can digitally raise their hand and start a direct customer relationship with a brand they value.”

What exactly is an #actiontag? It’s a way for consumers to respond, opt-in and buy with a social post from anywhere they encounter a brand’s message; previously that included print, in-venue and online sources. With the addition of TV to the #actiontag line-up, brands now have access to prime-time audiences.

Using hashtags to purchase or sample products, enter a promotion or access premium content has already proven successful for Chirpify and participating brands, including some big names like adidas, AT&T, Forever 21, Lenovo and Sprint.

Chirpify #actiontags

Consumer responses via #actiontags can be tracked, meaning brands can see how far their reach extends.  Here are a few stats to check out:

  • in just 90 days, brands using #actiontag campaigns engaged 300,000 customers
  • in the same time period, #actiontags drove 50 million earned media impressions, and reached more than 25 million social accounts
  • during one campaign, the brand added 20,000 Twitter followers (a 10% increase) in less than a week
  • 65% of consumers who use an #actiontag go on to complete the conversion action (purchasing a product or participating in a promotion)

Mobile accounts for a huge portion of #actiontag engagement: more than 60% of #actiontag responses so far have been via mobile devices.

How will #actiontags on TV change things?  According to Chirpify, a recent brand campaign used #actiontags in a primetime TV commercial that offered consumers first-time access to a new product and saw impressive results, driving up to 5,000 tweets per hour for the #actiontag and “catapulting” the campaign to become a nationally-trending Twitter topic.

What do you think – are you ready to buy through a hashtag? Hashtags were used by 57% of brands advertising during the Super Bowl this year; how many purchases or conversions could those brands have seen using TV #actiontags?

Would You Sacrifice Your Privacy For A $5 Gift Card?

Placed tracks consumer location data for marketersYour location is very, very valuable to marketers.  Are you willing to offer them that information, around the clock, in exchange for $5 and $10 gift cards — as well as the occasional bigger prize?

So far, at least 125,000 Americans have answered yes to the above question. Location analytics startup Placed convinced those people to download a mobile app that tracks them wherever they go, 24/7, in exchange for accumulating $5 and $10 gift cards over time, as well as being eligible for drawings of bigger ticket items, like an Apple iPad.

Tracking consumers around the clock obviously yields a ton of valuable data for businesses and advertisers. Here are some of the trends revealed by Placed data (reported by Bloomberg Businessweek):

  • Asian American mothers shop at Trader Joe’s more often, while white moms visit big grocery chains
  • McDonald’s is the most visited restaurant in the country; nearly half of Americans ages 13+ visit on an average month (really?)
  • Starbucks attracts nearly 1/3 of Americans each month
  • 25 to 34 year-olds are most likely to eat Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos at Taco Bell

With so many Americans up in arms about government tracking and surveillance, are consumers too creeped out by this technology?  Placed can even access the compass and accelerometer on users’ phones, and has software to help pinpoint your location even when the data isn’t clear (ex: if you’re in a basement).

However, personal identification information is removed before Placed shares its data with companies. Placed founder David Shim told Bloomberg, “There isn’t this creepiness factor. These people have opted in to being measured.”  And you may already have apps on your phone that are tracking your data (Foursquare, etc).

And don’t forget, there are other ways of tracking consumer locations – for instance, the Apple iBeacon technology used in Major League Baseball’s ‘At The Ballpark’ app at Citi Field, and in Apple’s retail stores, transmitting precise location data so advertisers can reach consumers the moment they enter a store. Consumers opt in to this tracking via mobile app, and can turn off the ability to share location data.

One more thing to consider: the Placed mobile app can drain anywhere from 5-15% of your phone’s battery life each day. Ouch.

What do you think — how valuable would this type of data be for your brand? Are you willing to be tracked around the clock?  And if not, what amount of gift cards/prizes/etc might change your mind?

Tweet to Translate: Free Twitter Hub at Sochi Games

One Hour Translation: free realtime Twitter service at Sochi GamesWe’ve all heard the dismal reports from journalists checking into not-quite-ready hotels, but there’s some good news at Sochi too.  One of our favorites is a free, on-demand Twitter translation service for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

One Hour Translations‘ Twitter Hub is available in realtime to anyone watching the games (at Sochi or anywhere around the globe). Users just tweet @OHT during the Games with the message to be translated, and what language they need it in.  According to One Hour Translations, they’ll have an answer “within moments” on Twitter.

Free translations available via Twitter at 2014 Sochi GamesThe service will come in handy for tourists and athletes attending the games, whether they need a translation of directions, events, news stories, or a way to communicate in the local language.  Those watching from home can use it to cheer on their favorite athletes.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this service to the global community so that they may send their words of encouragement to their athletes and fellow citizens,” said Ofer Shoshan, One Hour Translation’s CEO.

The Twitter hub will launch during the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games; translations will be available in 70+ languages.

We’re pretty excited to try out this fun tool during the Winter Games — and see if the translation comes through in realtime!

Cinime Lets Moviegoers Connect Little Screen To Big Screen

The time has come: mobile apps have arrived at the movies.

cinime appCinime, a new “second screen” app developed by Digital Cinema Media and Yummi, serves as a realtime viewer companion for users looking for interactivity in a classically passive medium.

The second screen platform, designed by Yummi, recognizes time, location, image, and even sound; this helps the app decide which content to send to users before the movie, and when to send it.

Before taking a seat, users can scan posters in the lobby and potentially receive rewards based on the frequency of their visits to specific theaters. And then before the film even begins, moviegoers can interact with advertisements and trailers located on the big screen, by way of the small screen on their phone. Users can take part in quizzes as they watch ads, and win prizes depending on how successful they have been in answering movie-related questions (The Independent).

Does that mean it’s now ok to have your phone buzzing and ringing during the film? Thankfully no; once moviegoers have found their seats, the app suggests switching phones to silent but leaving the cinime app open to “respond and interact with the screen” while the ads are playing, using a non-intrusive low-light emitting interface.

[CORRECTION: This article previously stated that the app was also for use during the movie; it is designed only for use before and after the main feature, and all rewards are locked until after the movie is finished. We apologize for the error.]

The app is currently available on both iOS and Android, and is testing in selected Odeon, Cineworld and Vue cinemas in the UK. While the app does work offline, not all content can be accessed, particularly any realtime content that loads up during the course of the film. All campaigns located within the app are pre-downloaded at each app update.

Making use of the time before the film starts is fairly brilliant — how often have you arrived early at a film with nothing to do for 10-15 minutes? Now moviegoers can interact with Cinime and potentially win rewards (more popcorn, anyone?) instead of just checking emails.

Do you think interactive movie theater apps will catch on? Have you tried Cinime yet?

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