Sometimes, I wonder if the internet can be boiled down to a single sentiment: “Oops.”
That was surely the underlying topic of some major news items this week, like the one our headline alludes to — more on that below.
After all, the digital scenery is a defining that can be described at once as a playground and a hellscape, where mistakes never really disappear( even if you rapidly delete them, thanks to screen shoots ), contentious rivalry never ends, and customers are often left wondering, “What the hell is going on? I only want a machine to read my schedule to me in the morning.”
This week — as with many others — was a busy one in the worlds of tech and marketing. Here’s what you missed.
It’s a Boy! Nope, It’s Just a Glitch From Amazon
If our headline freaked you out, you’re not alone: a yet-to-be-determined number of Amazon clients experienced a similar sentiment the coming week when they mistakenly received emails considering phantom baby registries.
Last Tuesday, several Amazon clients reported receiving an email from the online merchant reading, “Someone great lately bought a gift from your baby registry! ” And while the internet typically can’t be used for a pregnancy test — unless you count Target’s 2012 public relations tragedy after predicting a teen’s pregnancy by tracking her shopping habits — it still caused brief moments of panic among those who got the email.
There were some were afraid that the emails were a result of phishing tries, but in the end, Amazon confirmed to TechCrunch that the emails were the result of a technological flaw, going on to send apology emails to the customers that received them. It’s not clear what exactly happened or what the the flaw necessitated, but let this be a lesson to marketers: triple check your email workflows.
Among the panic, Twitter had quite a bit of fun with the error 😛 TAGEND
a Telisa Gunter (@ telisann) September 19, 2017
a James O’Meara Sr (@ jamesomearasr) September 20, 2017
I couldn’t help but wonder … had everyone get the Amazon baby registry email except me? pic.twitter.com/ DR3S6m2ejq
a Gabe OrtAz (@ TUSK8 1) September 19, 2017
More Trouble for Targeted Ads
Followinglast week’sProPublicarevelation that Facebook was letting advertisers to use anti-Semitic targeting criteria for promoted content, it was quickly discovered that Google and Twitter had similarly flawed advertising technology.
BuzzFeedwas the first to discover that the Google allowed advertisers to use anti-Semitic and racially-charged search terms to target certain audiences, and soon after, theDaily Beastreported that Twitter permitted similar targeting criteria, which resulted in an audience of roughly 26.3 million users.
All three companies have since responded that they either have or are working to remove this criteria, with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg publishing a very lengthy, formal apology on Wednesday 😛 TAGEND