TIME Earnings

Google Growth Continues in Second Quarter

Google

Google continued to show large year-over-year revenue growth in its quarterly earnings report. The search giant generated nearly $16 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 22 percent increase over the same period last year that beat analyst expectations of $15.6 billion. The company posted a profit of $3.42 billion, up from $3.23 billion in the second quarter of 2013. Adjusted earnings per share were $6.08, off the mark from analyst estimates of $6.24.

The majority of Google’s revenue comes from people clicking ads on its search engine and on partner sites, and the trends there remained consistent with past quarters. The total number of paid clicks increased 25 percent year-over-year and 2 percent from the first quarter of 2014. The cost of these ads continues to fall though, decreasing 6 percent from the same period last year and staying stable from the first quarter of 2014.

Traffic acquisition costs, the money Google shares with companies who place its ads on their sites and the money Google pays to gets its search engine placed in web browsers, was $3.29 billion, up from $3.01 billion last year.

The company also announced that its chief business officer, Nikesh Arora, is leaving the company after nearly ten years to join the Japanese tech company SoftBank.

Google stock ticked up nearly two percent in after-hours trading.

TIME 2014 Election

The Best 6 Political Campaign Ads of the Summer (So Far)

Charlie Crist, Democrat For Mayor

From sign language to football coaches, here are six of this season's best political ads.

These are the dog days of election year politics. The fields are mostly set, and the final battle is still too far away to matter much. Plus, who wants to think about politics in summer? The answer: The campaign ad makers. Political Mad Men have no problem working the heat into their spots, or doing even better by making political spots so compelling we can’t look away even when we would rather be swimming.

So without further ado, here is our take on 2014′s top 6 political ads of the summer, so far.

6.”Sunshine” – Charlie Crist, Democratic candidate for Governor of Florida

Charlie Crist pays homage to the sunshine state of Florida through this ad’s theme. The high-quality video clearly outlines what Crist accomplished in his last term and what his goals are should he be reelected, which gives viewers a clear picture of what this candidate wants you to think he is about.

5.”Question from Don – Retired Coal Miner” – Alison Lundergan Grimes, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator from Kentucky

This Alison Lundergan Grimes ad pulls off a political attack in an effective, tactful and even funny manner. Rather than loud accusations and a laundry list rant about her opponent Mitch McConnell, the complaint comes from the mouth of a concerned constituent who doesn’t attack but simply asks a question. The long silence gets a bit uncomfortable.

4.”Janey” – Kay Hagan, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator from North Carolina

This Kay Hagan ad hooks you in with a personal story involving a dad, who served in the military, and his daughter, who died of leukemia after drinking the base’s contaminated water. By selecting a particular issue and highlighting Hagan’s work within it, the ad neatly showcases her accomplishments.

3.”Coach” – Mike McFadden, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Minnesota

This ad is sure to stick in your memory because, hey, it’s not every day you see a grown man get hit in the crotch by a kid. The boys from his football team play spokespeople, adding a punch of cuteness and believability to his political message. He nails the all-American dad image with this advertisement, and when you are running against comedian-turned-senator Al Franken, it’s always good to be funny.

2. “Meet My Mom” – Emily Cain, Democratic candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District

This ad stood out from others for one reason: there was no sound. Emily Cain’s mom, an interpreter for the deaf, signs the whole advertisement, which has subtitles running across the bottom. The idea is unique and the mother-daughter relationship,­ a seemingly common tactic this ad season, offers a sense of familiarity and friendliness. The connection between the Deaf Community and voting for Cain might have been a bit of a stretch, especially because the ad didn’t offer any campaign promises or pros of the candidate, but the ad does stand out.

1.”In A Box” – Darius Foster, Republican state candidate for District 56, Alabama’s House of Representatives

While most political ads focus on the politician, Darius Foster switches it up by focusing on the constituents. His ad shows him as a man of the people. Foster doesn’t pile on promises and boost himself up, but instead offers personal facts about himself ranging from his recent attendance at a Lil Wayne concert to the fact that he’s the first in his family to attend college.

MONEY Airlines

Tell an Airline How Much You Hate It and Get 8,000 Free Miles

140710_EM_IHateSpirit_1
courtesy of Spirit

The obvious downside of Spirit Airlines' new promo is that you receive 8,000 miles to use on an airline you hate.

The “Hate Thousand Miles” promotion, introduced by Spirit Airlines this week, couldn’t be attached to a more appropriate company. Spirit, known for selling low-cost flights that come with a host of pricey “gotcha” fees, is famous for being a magnet for traveler hate. The carrier is routinely referred to as the Most Hated Airline in the U.S. What’s more, in the recent past, Spirit has more or less taken the stance that it doesn’t care that it is hated by people. “We’re not for everybody, and we’re fine with that,” a Spirit spokesperson told Businessweek in 2013, after the latest survey placed the airline at the very bottom of consumer rankings.

With its new promotion, Spirit seems to be fully embracing its reviled status. Or perhaps it’s trying to bury the hatchet. According to the terms of the deal, anyone with a Spirit Airlines frequent flier account can go to hatethousandmiles.com, spew some ill will, and then collect 8,000 free miles. While it’s assumed most haters will hate on Spirit, you can actually register a complaint about any airline at the site.

“Hate on us – or any airline of your choosing – and we’ll send you 8,000 FREE SPIRIT miles. You’ll be well on your way to earning an award flight with us,” Spirit explains.

Reward flights on Spirit can be had for as little as 10,000 miles one-way, so indeed, with 8,000 free miles, you’re almost there. But again, the downside is that you’ll have to fly on the airline you (probably) just officially targeted with hate.

What’s behind this oddball promotion? Publicity, for one thing. Spirit Airlines is known for being outrageous, with a history of invoking trending scandals (Anthony Weiner, the BP oil spill, Richie Incognito) in ads.

More important, Spirit is trying to use the hate campaign as an education opportunity. Following in the footsteps of Ryanair, Europe’s hated airline that launched a friendly rebranding earlier this year, Spirit stepped up efforts to explain its pricing structure and customer service policies with a campaign that began in May. The Hate Thousand Miles promotion is being viewed as a way for Spirit to call attention to the ins and outs of how it does its hated business, thereby, hopefully, dispelling some of the hate.

“We see this as an opportunity to educate consumers about the differences of Spirit, and in return for their hate, we’ll give them a little bit of love in the form of free miles,” the airline said in a statement to the press.

Perhaps Spirit will also read what it is that customers are complaining about, and make some changes accordingly in order to make passengers happier–or at least less filled with hate.

If you’re in the process of booking or flying on Spirit and want to vent your hate right away, however, there’s a note in the fine print of the Hate Thousand Miles offer you should be aware of: “Submitting your hate feedback is not a means to submit correspondence to our Customer Support team.”

In this case, you’ll need to send your hate message twice: once to customer service, and secondly to the Hate site in order to get your free miles. If you want them.

MONEY Sports

Tim Howard, American Stud Goalie, Is Suddenly a Marketer’s Dream

Tim Howard
Stuart Franklin—FIFA via Getty Images

Belgium may have won the match, but USA goalkeeper Tim Howard's record-breaking heroics have launched a million memes—and could pay off in a big way for the sudden superstar.

After making an amazing 16 saves in the U.S.’s World Cup match against Belgium, Tim Howard is the social media world’s favorite son. The memes range from marriage proposals (some, creepily, from dads on the behalf of their daughters), to #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave (the Titanic, Lehman Brothers, the lady about to get eaten in “Jaws,” etc.), to Howard’s status as an American hero (he’s subbed in for Captain America and George Washington, among others). Howard was mentioned in one of every five Tweets about the U.S.-Belgium match, and some prankster even changed the Secretary of Defense Wikipedia page, briefly giving the title to Howard.

What makes Howard particularly appealing—to everyday spectators and marketers alike—is that he comes across as simply a hard-working, humble dude who takes a lunch-pail “That’s my job” approach onto the field.

What’s more, all of the attention showered on him has come about organically. There’s nothing contrived or fake about it, or about Howard either, apparently. He is a 35-year-old guy from New Jersey. He plays in England for Everton, and he’s long been a world-class goalie. But his status in the U.S. isn’t anywhere close to being in the superstar stratosphere of, say, LeBron James, or another pro athlete with the surname Howard (Dwight, the center for the NBA’s Houston Rockets), for that matter. Heck, FIFA’s online store doesn’t even have Tim Howard jerseys for sale. The memes weren’t the result of some marketing campaign, but due to random people being extra excited by Howard’s record-breaking performance in goal.

All of which means that Howard is in possession of the rarest of qualities—authenticity—in a world oversaturated with advertisements, marketing, and “personal branding.” There are a quite a few brands that would love to attach themselves to Howard’s heroics and persona right about now, so the opportunity is there for the goalkeeper.

Michael Neuman, managing partner of Scout Sports and Entertainment at Horizon Media, thinks that of the many inspiring characteristics Howard has displayed via his performance at the World Cup, “reliability, durability, consistency and resiliency” are at the top of the list. “Those are attributes most brands would aspire to own in the minds of consumers who are more brand savvy than ever,” Neuman said via e-mail.

With that in mind, Neuman says Howard would be a great match for the automobile industry. “Automobiles, especially SUV’s and mini-vans are the chariots du jour getting our national youth to and from soccer matches on weekends,” Neuman explained. “Detroit’s recent issues of reliability can be enhanced with an alignment with Howard across all creative media channels. If I was his agent, I would suggest he shave his beard and hang out a sign that reads ‘Open for Business, Let’s Talk.’”

For now, Howard’s associations and endorsements are fairly limited. Before the match against Belgium got underway, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) declared Howard their pick for World Cup MVP thanks to his participating in the “Ink, Not Mink” program, in which people show off their tattoos as a way to discourage consumers from wearing fur or other animal products. Here’s the fur-free stud explaining his stance on the issue:

Clearly, Howard could do a lot more in the way of endorsing products and causes, if he was interested. It’s not apparent he actually would. When asked of his future plans on Good Morning America the day after the match, Howard simply said, “Right now I’m still very emotional from the game,” and “I’m just trying to figure what’s what and let the dust settle. Spend some time with my kids.”

What we’ve learned from the recent past, though, is that one brilliant moment in the spotlight can change everything for an athlete—and quickly. The out-of-nowhere best-selling jersey phenomenon can been seen in the experiences of NBA players like Jeremy Lin and Jason Collins, who instantly became icons and heroes that fans just had to support and emulate. During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, merchandise featuring the unheralded American hockey player T.J. Oshie was suddenly in demand after he scored on four of six penalty shots to defeat Russia in a shootout.

By now, marketers are well-versed in the practice of reacting instantaneously to anything and everything that captures the world’s attention, from the power going out at the Super Bowl to a presidential candidate mentioning Big Bird during a debate. Social media dominates these “quick hit” reactions, of course, but marketers don’t limit their efforts to Twitter and Facebook. Insurer Liberty Mutual was able to produce and air a TV commercial featuring Olympic skier Heidi Kloser less than two weeks after an accident left her unable to compete in the Sochi games—and she walked memorably, with the help of crutches, into the Olympic stadium with Team USA during the opening ceremonies.

Suffice it to say that Howard has some pretty terrific prospects to parlay his newfound hero-stud status into something much bigger. Great for him. Is there any takeaway from the experience of Howard, or Lin, or Oshie, for the average Joe?

Dan Schawbel, a personal branding expert and the author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, says that when you are celebrated for a standout performance on the job, or when you’re suddenly the subject of widespread attention, you should absolutely take advantage. “When you get in the spotlight, you want to maximize that opportunity as much as possible because you don’t know when it will happen again,” said Schawbel. “You should build the accomplishment into your online profiles, share it with others and leverage it to get a promotion or salary increase.”

Career expert Stephen Viscusi, CEO of the Viscusi Group in New York City and author of Bulletproof Your Job, cautions that a worker in such a situation should proceed with a sense of graciousness, so that you’re always perceived as a good teammate. “If you had an amazing day like USMNT Goal Keeper Tim Howard did against Belgium in the World Cup Semi-Finals, the best way to get credit for that and make it last is to share the credit with teammates and your boss,” Viscusi said via e-mail. “You will still maintain credit for what you did. But, by sharing your accomplishment with your boss and colleagues, you will be seen in a better light and you won’t be seen as showing off. That’s the smart way to handle it.”

This is advice that Howard himself is already following. On Wednesday, here’s the gracious Tweet he sent out: “Im proud to suit up w every one of these guys. It’s a tremendous honor to represent this country & a ride I’ll never forget.”

TIME Google

Google Bans Porn Ads From Search Results

Updated July 2, 4:39 p.m.

Following an earlier announcement of the change, Google has begun banning pornographic ads from its search engine. As of Monday, the company now blocks explicit content from AdWords, the Google ad units that appear above users’ search results and across the Web, according to CNBC. Google now no longer accepts ads that promote “graphic sexual acts with intent to arouse.”

Google first announced the change to its advertising policy back in March. The new policy affects all countries. The company also bans ads promoting underage and non-consensual sexual content, as well prostitution and escort services. However, Google does allow ads for strip clubs and what it terms “adult and sexual dating sites.” The changes will not affect the organic results users see when conducting Google searches.

The search giant has made several moves recently to limit the amount of explicit content on its services. Earlier this year, the company issued new developer guidelines for the Google Play store that banned apps featuring erotic content.

[CNBC]

TIME beauty

This Is What the Same Woman Looks Like Photoshopped in Different Countries

Digital artists from around the world interpret the same photo based on their local and personal beauty ideals.

We’ve become accustomed to seeing photoshopped images in media. But journalist Esther Honig decided to do something a little different. She wanted to conduct a little experiment in beauty ideals so she sent the same picture of herself to Photoshop artists in 25 different countries with a simple request: make me beautiful. What she got back was 25 different versions of herself: The artists changed everything from her eye color to her makeup to her skin tone.

The recently released “My project, Before & After,” examines how these standards vary across cultures on a global level,” Honig wrote on her website.

It should be noted, however, that the results of her experiment don’t necessarily embody the typical attractiveness standards for an entire culture or country. The images reflect the tastes and skill level of each of the photoshop artists Honig commissioned. The U.S. example, for instance, does not look anything like what you’ll see in most fashion magazines or ads, but it is distinct from the images from other countries.

“[All of the photos] are intriguing and insightful in their own right; each one is a reflection of both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator,” she writes. “Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.”

What is clear from the wide range of results is that there is no singular definition of what is beautiful. The standard varies according not only to country but to culture and individual preferences. TIME has gathered just some of the examples.

TIME Soccer

World Cup’s Teddy Roosevelt Was Sent By an Ad Agency

Apparently he can't get enough funding from the ad agency that sent him there

“Teddy Goalsevelt,” the Teddy Roosevelt look-alike who rode into the World Cup in full Rough Riders regalia, is a little hard-up for cash, according to the ad agency that sent him there.

Cavalry Agency, a subsidiary of advertising giant WPP, launched a fundraising campaign to keep Teddy Goalsevelt, a.k.a. Mike D’Amico, in Brazil. Goalsevelt has made waves at the tournament, appearing opposite Will Ferrell at a pep rally and valiantly leading the U.S. soccer team through floodwaters by pointing a gloved finger toward the stadium.

Sadly, budgeting for a vacation doesn’t seem to be Goalsevelt’s strong suit. “Unfortunately, Teddy is scheduled to return to the States at round 1′s conclusion,” Cavalry wrote in an open call for donations on its Gofundme page. “We here at Cavalry, the advertising agency where Teddy (Mike D’Amico) works, see him as the team’s mascot now. And we don’t think we’re alone.” The agency offered up to match upwards of $2,500 in donations. His fans, with a big assist from McDonald’s, rallied to their side. Listerine took up the cause to keep #TeddyInBrazil. Now flush with $5,513, Goalsevelt has triumphed as the self-appointed mascot for America. Especially corporate America.

TIME Media

This Ad About a Doorbell Will Totally Make You Cry

Grab a tissue now

There is nothing like a commercial for home improvement to get the tears flowing. “The Perfect Daughter,” a new commercial for ProMart Homecenter, shows the touching story of a father who takes it upon himself to make his daughter happy.

The commercial has no words, nor does it need any. Director Ricardo Chadwick meshes the two seemingly-unrelated themes, home improvement and family love, into a short sequence of what looks like a feature film. Fahrenheit DDB from Lima, Peru produced the advertisement. The commercial recently won a silver Lion in Film in Cannes last week, according to Adweek.

Take a look.

MONEY stocks

You Say You’d Give Up Online Convenience for Privacy — But You’re Lying

142506_INV_ONLINEPRIVACY
Users say they're not willing to trade privacy for online convenience, but actions speak louder than words. pearleye—Getty Images

A new survey says internet users are unwilling to trade their privacy for a better online experience. But investors shouldn't take it too seriously.

The New York Times’ Bits blog recently reported on a worldwide poll that asked, among other things, if those surveyed would be willing to trade their private information for a more convenient online experience; 51% said no, and only 27% said yes. (The rest were unsure or didn’t have an opinion.) The majority also believed “businesses using, trading or selling my personal data for financial gain without my knowledge or benefit” were the greatest threat to their online privacy.

If customers really did prefer privacy to convenience, these findings would be a blow for companies like Facebook and Google, which have built their massive businesses around the personal data their customers hand over for free. But, luckily for Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and their respective shareholders, online privacy is an area where few of us act on our stated intentions.

Some, like Bits’ Steve Lohr, explain this phenomenon by arguing that many Internet users simply aren’t aware of the tacit bargain they make when using online services. But if that’s the case, it’s hard not to feel that such ignorance is at least partly willful. The Word Wide Web is in its 23rd year, and privacy scandals involving internet firms are too common to miss.

Take the example of Google, which has been the subject of repeated accusations for everything from wiretapping to illegally collecting passwords, usernames, and other personal information from nearby wireless networks. In 2012, the company was fined $22.5 million dollars by the Federal Trade Commission for misrepresenting its tracking policy to users of Apple’s Safari browser—the largest penalty for violating an order in FTC history.

If privacy was a primary concern of Internet users, a track record like this would hurt Google’s business. Search engine rival Microsoft built an entire ad campaign, “Scroogled,” around the notion that people would flee Google in droves if they knew how much of their data the search giant was grabbing. Instead, web users apparently tuned the ads out: Google’s Gmail continues to prosper, its search engine remains dominant, and its Android operating system, which extends the company’s data mining operation to your mobile device, runs on 80% of the world’s smartphones. Microsoft killed “Scroogled” earlier this year, effectively acknowledging that customers don’t care if Big Brother looks over their shoulder — as long as he offers a high-quality product in return.

Facebook, Snapchat, and other Internet outfits have similarly seen potential privacy scandals met by widespread indifference. Facebook’s repeated changes to its privacy policy never fail to rile up the tech world, and Snapchat recently settled with the FTC after it was revealed that millions of the app’s disappearing messages had not actually disappeared at all. But in both cases, users hardly blinked an eye. Facebook is still growing at its usual rapid pace (especially internationally) and in May, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel told the Verge it is now serving 700 million photos a day. Remember when the social networking app Path spammed its users’ entire address book with texts asking them to join? Investors are so confident you don’t (or if you do, that you don’t care) that in January they gave the company another $25 million in Series C funding.

The pattern is clear. Surveillance angst may make headlines, but users will choose their favorite websites and services over privacy almost every time.

If people are so indifferent about their online privacy, why do they say otherwise? The answer probably comes down to consumers talking about what they want instead of what they’d be willing to use. We would all like a Facebook that doesn’t track us in the same way that we’d all like free donuts every Tuesday — but that doesn’t mean we aren’t willing to go to Dunkin’ when fantasy doesn’t become reality.

And as Stratechery‘s Ben Thompson explains, in the case of many online services, fantasy can never be reality. Products with a strong social component (which seems to be every start-up on the planet nowadays) must be free in order to gain the large network of users that makes them valuable. (No one would use a social network that their friends couldn’t easily join.) And sites that are free tend to be funded by ads, and advertisers will only pay top dollar to business that know all about their users and can show specific ads to specific sub-groups.

Ultimately, Facebook, Google, and the rest will do what the market will support. Don’t want your web search service to see what you do? Use a site like DuckDuckGo, which calls itself “the search engine that doesn’t track you.” Tired of Facebook’s prying eyes? Close your account. But until you (and a few million of your closest friends) start actively boycotting sites and apps that track, don’t expect much change.

And don’t expect such an exodus to occur anytime soon. Even committed privacy advocates have a hard time letting go. “Quitting Facebook isn’t easy,” QuitFacebookDay.com admits on its homepage. “Facebook is engaging, enjoyable and quite frankly, addictive.” With enemies like that, who needs friends?

TIME Advertising

Like My Facebook Page, Buy My Product? Well, No

A view of Facebook's "Like" button May 1
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

Social media doesn't drive sales, research says

People go on Facebook and Twitter mostly to learn about companies or products. True or false?

Answer: Are you kidding me? I don’t do it. You don’t do it. Nobody you know does it. We use social media to brag about our accomplishments, post vacation photos, see what our friends and family (and maybe a few celebrities) are doing and talking about.

This seems almost too obvious to mention—but companies are desperate to reach consumers, and with hundreds off millions of them visiting social media sites every day, marketers feel like they simply have to be there too, so they are—to the tune of more than $5 billion last year in the U.S. alone, according to social media consultants BIA/Kelsey. By 2018, that figure could rise to $15 billion.

Evidently, they’re wasting their money. A new report from the Gallup Organization titled State of the American Consumer has now quantified the obvious: 62% of consumers say that social media have “no influence at all” on purchasing decisions, while only 5% say the sites have “a great deal of influence.”

That’s not to say that social media isn’t a great place to get advice about stuff to buy—it’s just that we tend to look or advice from people we know and trust. And those people aren’t usually named “L’Oreal” or “Coca-Cola.”

Like much of the research that gets published, the results of this survey seem pretty obvious. Still, a study like might be useful for advertisers and marketers who aren’t always at the forefront of understanding how society is changing (think of Don Draper confronting the ’60s on Mad Men). What they should do, writes Gallup’s Ed O’Boyle in a blog post for the Harvard Business Review, is to come across as more authentic, be more interactive, and make their content more compelling. “Gallup research has consistently shown,” he writes, “that customers base purchasing decisions on their emotional connections with a brand. Social media are great for making those connections—but only when a brand shifts its focus from communication to conversation.”

Good advice. Now let’s see if anyone is paying attention.

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