Why is Apple "Closing" Businesses?

A bug is showing businesses on Apple Maps as "permanently closed" and business owners are furious

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TikTok Testing 30-Minute Video Uploads

First, it was 3. Then it was 5. Then, 10. Now, TikTok is testing letting users upload 30-minute videos.

This is, of course, all because of one thing: To make the world a better place.

Naw, it’s advertising. 🤣 Fact is, it’s hard to monetize short videos — your placement options are fewer, for one; users don’t want their 30-second video interrupted by a midroll, but they’re used to that on a 30-minute video.

…Pre- and mid-roll ads… can then be attributed back to the creator directly. That’s been a key challenge for TikTok, in facilitating effective monetization, and keeping creators aligned to its app.

YouTube can offer better revenue potential, because it shares the income from ads shown within each clip, but in shorter, 30-second videos, that’s not possible, as you can’t use pre and mid roll approaches, and you can’t directly attribute viewing of ads shown in-between shorter clips.

30 minute uploads could provide some solution on this front, and could be another step towards expanded revenue sharing for TikTok creators.

Where will it stop? Probably there, at least if TikTok’s sister app in China is any bellweather. The Douyin app increased its upload limit to 30 minutes per video in 2022, and hasn’t introduced anything beyond that since.

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What is the average daily time spent by a user on TikTok as of 2023?

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Apple Maps is “Closing” Businesses

There appears to be a big bug with the business listings in Apple Maps.

9 to 5 Mac is reporting that some businesses are showing up as permanently closed when they are, in fact, still very open.

One business, a Thai restaurant in Australia, got a call from a customer asking why he’d shut his business down.

He hadn’t, of course, but it showed “Permanently Closed” on Apple Maps.

Trying to get it fixed was harder than it should have been because the owner uses Android on his phone and Microsoft on his work devices. He has no connection to the Apple ecosystem and when he called Apple, a rep told him that they couldn’t help him because he wasn’t an Apple customer.

The owner says the mistake cost them about USD$8,000 in lost revenue.

He tried to open an Apple business account, claim his business, and then mark it as Open. That seemed to work, but it also started showing the restaurant in the wrong location.

We have reached out to Apple for comment, and will update this story if we hear back.

Meet Amazon’s New GenAI for Listing Details

Amazon is rolling out a new generative AI tool for third-party sellers on the platform.

It can rewrite all sorts of parts of a listing, including titles, bullet points, descriptions, and product attributes. Sellers can review these suggestions before they are added to the Amazon catalog.

For the nerds out there: The tech comes from Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud platform and uses some open-source Large Language Models on Nvidia GPUs. These chips specialize in handling tasks like text recognition, summarization, translation, and content creation.

Amazon says the new tech has cut down the time required to generate these predictions by threefold, compared to previous models.

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Google is Removing “Driving Directions” Insights

Google says it will remove some of the data it’s been sharing with marketers in their Google Business Profile.

Specifically, the driving directions report.

This a chart showing how many people asked for directions to your business from your Business Profile.

The fact that Google is removing data points from marketing reports isn’t new. What’s weird though is the rationale it gave:

Google is making updates to better protect people's privacy and give you more accurate results.

So, let’s break this down.

  1. Better privacy: Google’s reporting never gave any information about individuals. You couldn’t learn where they were starting from, or the time of day they requested this data. It was a simple month chart showing how many requests there were.

  2. More accurate: Google didn’t say the previous numbers were artificially inflated, so — assuming they’ve been accurate numbers all along — it’s not at all clear how getting less data is more accurate.

All that said, though, I suspect most business owners and brand managers never even really looked at that screen. Though let’s not tell Google, lest the pull the chart entirely.

How often do you check the Driving Directions metric insights?

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Instagram Tests “Note” Suggestions

In case your social media manager is at a loss of what to post on Instagram, a new test underway might end up helping them a little — though it’s probably less helpful than post suggestions.

The suggestions, instead, are for the Notes section of the app. These are tiny little status update texts that attach to profile photos at the top of the Messaging part of the app.

Based on the replies that I see every time I write about Notes, many IG users are still confused as to why Instagram keeps updating this feature, and why it even exists in the first place.

Here’s why: Notes is really popular with young users.

Instagram is desperate to keep a hold on younger audiences, especially as more of them drift off to TikTok and Snapchat instead. IG does not want to go the way of Facebook, and become the old person’s social platform, so it’s doubling down on anything that resonates with younger users.

This isn’t used much by brands, but could be a quick place to drop a surprise discount code, or ask people to DM, or alert them to a newly uploaded post — especially if your audience is teens.

Instagram says teens are about 10x more likely to create a Note in the app.

Has your brand ever used the Instagram Notes feature?

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Can Celebs Be Authentic? BeReal Wants to Find Out

BeReal, the upstart app which positioned itself as the social media platform for authenticity, is now bringing brands and celebrities aboard.

Starting February 6, these entities can join with the titles "RealBrands" or "RealPeople," with the app saying they’ll be encouraged to share candid moments from their daily lives with fans.

The app gained popularity in 2022, and was designed to offer a less curated experience. It notifies users at a random time each day to share a real-time photo within two minutes, often capturing mundane activities. Initially focused on deepening connections among existing friends, BeReal is often seen as a counter to the polished images typical of platforms like Instagram.

It’ll be interesting to see if this potential influx of brands and celebs will raise questions about BeReal's commitment to authenticity. The company said they think showcasing the ordinary aspects of well-known figures and brands aligns with its positioning.

BeReal has reported a slight increase in daily active users, now at 23 million, up from 20 million in August.

The app has been experimenting with new features such as groups, multiple daily posts, and a "friends of friends" feed.

About 13% of U.S. teens use BeReal, according to a Pew study.

Meta Loses Case Against Company It Once Hired

Meta has lost a court case against Israeli company Bright Data.

Meta had accused Bright Data of violating its terms of service by scraping data from Facebook and Instagram. However, the court ruled in favor of Bright Data, saying Meta failed to prove the data harvested was private and not publicly accessible.

Interestingly, the case revealed that Meta had previously employed Bright Data's services to gather data for brand profiling on its platforms. In the lawsuit, Meta alleged that Bright Data sold a large dataset of Instagram user information, but the court said that information was already publicly available.

The court also dismissed Meta's claim that Bright Data used tools to bypass security measures like CAPTCHAs. It differentiated between bypassing a CAPTCHA and accessing password-protected data.

Meta is fairly aggressive in suing entities it says scapes data, a practice which could compromise user privacy, depending on the data that’s scraped.

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Iceland: Please Don’t Use AI to Bring Dead People Back

Iceland is considering new legislation that would restrict the use of generative AI — specifically, AI that can reanimate dead people.

It comes after the country’s public broadcaster used AI to bring back a nationally treasured comedian for its New Year’s Eve special.

The comedian died a decade ago, but in the special, he appeared to be standing with his arms around two of the show’s hosts — and it was moving video, not just an image.

The lawmaker behind the bill says he plans to move it to the floor as quickly as possible.

How do you feel about generative AI, overall?

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