Robert Cookson

Endemol, the television production company behind Big Brother and Deal or No Deal, has placed a bet on the growth of social casino gaming with the acquisition of a $13m stake in London-based startup Plumbee.

The deal, which values Plumbee at $40m, brings together the world’s largest independent TV production company with a two-year-old startup whose flagship title Mirrorball Slots is among the top ten highest grossing social casino games on Facebook. Read more

Robert Cookson

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has thrown his weight behind a new campaign to encourage people across the world to fight back against online censorship and surveillance.

In a letter to the Financial Times on Thursday, Sir Tim wrote that “now is the time for citizens to mobilise to demand that governments and companies respect and protect our basic freedoms online”. Read more

Robert Cookson

If any single piece of technology underpins the $100bn global online advertising market, it is the cookie.

So news that Google plans to ditch cookies and replace them with its own tracking solution has big implications for advertising technology companies and the venture capital funds that have poured billions of dollars into the sector in recent years.

Rocket Fuel, a real-time ad-buying platform that went public in the US this week, and Criteo, a French ad tech company that this week filed for an IPO on Nasdaq, have both warned about the reliance of their businesses on cookies. Read more

Robert Cookson

A disgruntled British Airways passenger has bought adverts on Twitter to complain about the airline’s customer service, in an unusual reversal of the way that big brands use social media.

Hasan Syed, a businessman who goes by the Twitter username @HVSVN, took the action on Monday out of frustration with the way that British Airways was handling his father’s lost luggage. Read more

Robert Cookson

It’s personal, attention-grabbing, and highly effective: email is one of the most important ways that companies market their products to the masses.

So no wonder that email marketers are concerned that Google has redesigned Gmail in a way that filters deals, offers and promotional messages into a less prominent part of the inbox.

How worried should marketers be? To answer the question, FT Tech Blog has rustled up some striking data about how Gmail users are behaving following the changes. Read more

Robert Cookson

German publishers just can’t seem to make their minds up about Google.

Publishers such as Axel Springer pushed hard this year for a new law that only allows Google to include snippets of their articles in Google News if they have explicitly opted in to the service.

That law was introduced today – but nothing has changed. Rather than withholding their content, Germany’s top publishers have given Google News permission to continue as before. Read more

Robert Cookson

As apps go, Ant Smasher sounds simple enough. The free game, which has been downloaded more than 50m times from the Google Play app store, allows mobile phone users to entertain themselves by squishing digital ants as they scurry down the screen. Splat, splat, splat.

But Ant Smasher has a dark side. It is one of a growing wave of apps that contains “adware” – aggressive advertising technology that displays ads in a phone’s notification bar and other places outside of the app itself, without consent. Read more

Robert Cookson

What does Bitcoin have in common with 3D printing, besides both being technologies loved by geeks? On the face of it, not much: one is a digital currency and the other allows you to reproduce almost any small, solid object in the world.

But as lawmakers are starting to realise, there is a key similarity: both Bitcoin and 3D printing have the potential to reduce the power of the state and put it into the hands of individuals. Read more

Robert Cookson

Duedil, a start-up that provides information on every private company in the UK, has raised $5m in funding ahead of an expansion into more than a dozen countries across Europe.

The London-based company takes data from public and private databases and links it together to provide users with insights that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. Read more

Robert Cookson

Ford and WPP have apologised for tasteless ads showing scantily-clad women bound and gagged in the back of a car.

While the images were never published as part of an official campaign, someone at JWT India, Ford’s agency in the country, uploaded them to the sharing site Ads of the World. Read more