It has been another busy week in the world of digital, with Black Friday website failures taking top spot on our run-down of the big stories this week.
Retailer websites crash on Black Friday
Black Friday has brought its usual chaos and, as fights break out in supermarkets across the country, online bargain hunters have been crashing the websites of some of the UK’s biggest retailers.
The websites of Tesco, Game, Argos, Boots, John Lewis and Currys PC World have all struggled with traffic since sales got underway at midnight. Currys PC World has had a queuing system on its website for much of the day, which at one point was showing queues of around an hour.
Reports on Twitter have also suggested problems with the websites of Amazon UK, Top Shop, Very.co.uk, Littlewoods, Cotswold Outdoor, Pets at Home and Miss Selfridge, amongst others.
— Currys & PC World (@curryspcworld) November 27, 2014
#BlackFriday – Due to the overwhelming response to our amazing Black Friday offers, we're experiencing a technical difficulty on our website
— GAME.co.uk (@GAMEdigital) November 28, 2014
We know some of you are experiencing problems getting on to our site this #BlackFriday. Please bear with us, we hope to be with you soon.
— Argos (@Argos_Online) November 28, 2014
.@daniel_colson Hi Daniel, our web team are having stern words with the website as we speak.
— Cotswold Outdoor (@CotswoldOutdoor) November 28, 2014
Website Technical Issues update! pic.twitter.com/rThorv0cxS
— Pets at Home (@PetsatHome) November 27, 2014
Problems were also reported with Google Adwords at around midnight, as retailers rushed to get their Black Friday ads launched in time for the sales.
But Google is likely to be the big winner on Black Friday, after a number of retailers kept paid ads running whilst their websites were down. We were quickly able to find both Currys PC World and Argos directing paid traffic to a crashed or traffic controlled website earlier in the day, although both retailers appear to have since paused their paid campaigns.
World Cup tops internet searches in 2014
The FIFA World Cup topped web searches in 2014, according to data from Yahoo.
The World Cup was the most searched-for topic this year, ahead of Michael Schumacher and the iPhone 6.
Michael Schumacher’s recovery from a skiing accident last Christmas was also the most searched for news topic, ahead of Malaysian Airlines MH370, which went missing en-route to Beijing, and the Oscar Pistorius trial.
The deaths of Peaches Geldof, Robin Williams and Rick Mayall, the Scottish Independence referendum, Rolf Harris, the Ebola outbreak and Madeline McCann made up the ten most searched for topics this year.
The European Parliament takes on Google – sort of
The European Parliament has approved a motion that recommends the break-up of Google, due to the search engine’s dominance in Europe. Google currently holds 90% of the search market in Europe, which authors of the motion claimed was a ‘monopoly’.
The parliament voted on the motion, which encourages the European Commission to consider breaking up Google’s search business from its paid advertising business.
There is just one problem for the EC – it actually has no power to break-up Google in such a manner. The recommendations have been criticised by some as an attempt to politicise what is, in law, a regulatory issue.
The EU has also ordered Google to extend the controversial “right to be forgotten” rule to its international services. Currently, right to be forgotten request are only applied to European Google domains (such as Google.co.uk, Google.de and Google.es), but the EU wants this to be extended to cover Google.com.
Twitter scanning user apps to deliver tailored content
Twitter has confirmed that it is using a new data collection system that scans the applications that its users have installed onto their smartphones, using this information to deliver ‘targeted’ content.
Twitter confirmed in a blog post that it is gathering data on the applications that users have installed on their iOS and Android devices, with the intention of pushing particular types of content, both paid and organic, that it believes are most relevant to that user.
Users will soon start to see a prompt that tells them that their data about their apps being collected (although data within the apps themselves cannot be seen by Twitter). Users who don’t wish for this feature to be activated will have to opt-out by amending their privacy settings.
Teens bored with Facebook, switching to Tumblr
Tumblr is the web’s fastest growing social network, according to research from GlobalWebIndex.
Tumblr’s active users grew by 120% in the last six months, with its registered user total growing by 45% in the same period.
By comparison, Pinterest experienced growth of 111% active users and 57% registered users, while Instagram saw growth of 64% and 36% for the same metrics.
GWI suggested that Tumblr’s gains are coming at the expense of Facebook, with 50% of American and British Facebook members claiming that they used Facebook “less frequently than before” and 37% saying that they were “bored with Facebook”.