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Weekly martech review: Marriott data breach, Google prevents AI bias, Amazon doubles ad revenue

In our review of last week’s martech news, we highlight the Marriott data breach, Google preventing AI bias, and Amazon’s doubling digital ad revenue.

Marriott / Starwood data breach: GDPR fines?

What it is

Last week, hackers stole the personal data of up to 500 million Starwood guests, a company which was bought by Marriott in 2016. Personal information as well as rewards points were compromised in the breach.

Now, New York’s attorney general and European regulators are investigating the incident, and whether or not Marriott will be the first company to fork over huge fines for violations of GDPR.

Why it matters

Starwood faced a security intrusion in 2015. The WSJ reported that the company could have ( / should have) responded to the discovery of that 2015 incident with heightened investigation and security, but failed to do so effectively. Instead, the intruders were able to lurk inside the company’s reservation system for three years.

As ever, cyber and data security is no joke. Seemingly small incidents can snowball into nightmares. GDPR exists for a reason. Marriott shares fell 5% on Friday and are predicted to drop further.

Google blocks gender-based pronouns from Gmail AI tool to prevent bias

What it is

In May, Google launched a Smart Compose AI feature in Gmail that predicts the end of a sentence or phrase the user is typing.

Now, Google has blocked the use of gender-based pronouns in the technology in order to avoid biased predictions of a user’s sex, gender, or sexual orientation. For example, if a user types “I love,” the technology will predict “you” or “it” and avoid “him” or “her.”

Why it matters

AI bias has been an issue since day one, and something many people are working hard to overcome. Like many companies in today’s day and age, Google would rather err on the side of caution than face scrutiny for discrimination.

Amazon doubles digital ad business by EOY to $5.83 billion

What it is

Amazon is expected to double its digital ad business by the end of this year to $5.83 billion. As ecommerce buyers move to Amazon‘s growing selection of products, competitive prices, and unbeatable delivery speed, marketer budgets follow.

Why it matters

Amazon’s AWS cloud service remains the company’s highest earning business, but some analysts predict that the ad business will overtake AWS as the highest revenue generator by 2021.

Before you go

  • More than 500 Googlers globally signed open letter on Medium calling for end to Dragonfly and for “transparency, communication, and real accountability.”
  • Matchmade raised $4.8 million ($4.5 million Series A) for influencer game marketing.
  • Red Hat acquired NooBaa, a Tel Aviv-based hybrid cloud data management service. Red Hat themselves will be acquired by IBM.
  • Disney is partnering with Google for a cross-channel video advertising strategy including live streaming and direct-to-consumer content on web, mobile apps, connected TVs, and live events.
  • LinkedIn introduced an email address privacy feature that puts users’ default setting as “No” for “Who can see your email address” — preventing people from exporting their connections’ emails.
  • Amobee is partnering with Oracle Data Cloud to give users access to offline purchase-based transaction data sets.
  • Moving ad budgets to Amazon? Some tips for Amazon SEO.
  • 6 great examples of email marketing from Cyber Monday and Black Friday.
  • Total sales numbers from last weekend’s shopping frenzy.

See something we missed? Leave us a comment below!

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