Almost 9 percent of popular apps downloaded from Google Play interact with websites that could compromise users’ security and privacy, according to a study released this month by researchers at the University of California, Riverside.

The team that put out the study is trying to do something about it — develop a tool that allows users to evaluate the riskiness of individual apps before downloading them. It’s yet to be released.

Researchers at UC-Riverside conducted an analysis of URLs embedded in 13,500 free android apps downloaded from Google Play.

“We focused on a relatively neglected aspect of security research, which is the potential for good apps to leak personal information through the sites they interact with,” said Michalis Faloutsos, a computer science professor in UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering.

“A lot of people believe that if an app is popular or available on one of the big app stores then it must be safe, and we suspected that wasn’t the case.”

Perficient Buys Digital Marketing Agency

Perficient, a St. Louis, Mo.-based digital transformation consulting firm, has acquired Enlighten, a $12 million annual services revenue digital marketing agency.

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Enlighten specializes in the development, implementation, integration and support of digital experience solutions.

Jeffrey Davis, Perficient's chief executive officer and president, said the buy will strengthen the company's digital strategy, creative services and marketing expertise. It will also add approximately 75 consulting, digital agency, technology, sales and support professionals to the team, as well as enhance client relationships with enterprise customers.

Enlighten works with companies including AAA Life, Hunter Douglas, Janus Capital Group, Jimmy John's, Johnson & Johnson, Learning Care Group, Michigan Lottery, OhioHealth, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Smith and Noble, The Henry Ford, University of Michigan and Victory Capital Management

Selfie Problems

We’re going mad. We don’t know what photos to delete. And it’s making us sad.

Western Digital Corp. and research firm Vanson Bourne found that having to choose which photo or video to delete to free up storage space, and then regretting doing so, is a bona fide, as researchers put it, "#firstworldproblem."

The study, from a survey of 5,000 consumers across the UK, France, Germany and the United States, analyzes how people create, consume, share and store digital content.

Key findings include:

  • More than 76 percent of respondents aged 16 to 24 delete content to make space, and then regret it
  • The era of digital media has arrived, and the end of the CD is near
  • Streaming of feature films or TV shows is not taking over from digital ownership today
  • One in four say their digital content is "priceless," while the rest place the average value at approximately $5,500

"Running out of storage space isn't the greatest challenge threatening mankind at the moment, but it's certainly an annoyance for a great many consumers," said Jim Welsh, executive vice president and general manager of Content Solutions at WD. "Our findings clearly show that consumers are sacrificing precious memories and valuable content to make more space on their devices."

Frustrated with CMS?

TV broadcast managers who are frustrated with their CMS provider are a perfect fit for GTxcel, officials at the Berkeley, Calif.-based company claim.

GTxcel for Broadcast is a new end-to-end solution for local broadcasters that encompasses broadcast capture.

“Over the course of my 15 years in the broadcast industry, the biggest problem broadcasters encounter daily is that they don’t have a modern, mobile-first platform,” said Peter Stilson, CEO at GTxcel. 

“Broadcasters are being overcharged for an aged platform and on top of it all, they are losing their ad revenue. GTxcel doesn’t take your ad revenue, has an integrated app out of the box, and offers a next generation and fully responsive video experience.”

GTxcel enters the market by partnering with Bahakel Communications.

People Hate Poor CX

A new Corvisa survey found that customers hate, well, being poorly served. And when they are poorly served, they yell.

In the third annual Customer Service Report of more than 1,200 US consumers, 48 percent of respondents said they have stopped doing business with a company due to negative customer service experiences in the past year. Additionally, nearly a quarter of millennials would stop doing business after just one negative interaction.

Some frustrated customers reported going so far as yelling at the call center agent (18 percent) or hanging up the phone (40 percent).

Proactivity is key to excellent customer service experiences, Corvisa officials said, but up to 43 percent of companies rarely or never proactively reach out to customers, even though 80 percent of consumers say they would be impressed if a company did.

"If customers aren't calling in, it doesn't mean they wouldn't benefit from some proactive outreach that could help them down the line," Corvisa CEO Matt Lautz said. "Proactive care is looking at the behavior of your customers, how they are using your product, how they are interacting with you and calling them when you see something could be better or before they notice there's a problem."

Makeover in Branding

RelayRides, a car rental marketplace, has a new name. It is now called Turo and also announced that it has raised $47 million in Series C funding. The funding round is led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and its affiliates with participation from existing investors August Capital, Canaan Partners, Google Ventures, Shasta Ventures and Trinity Ventures.

"We envision a world where travelers can rent the perfect vehicle for their next adventure no matter where they are — a world where car owners transform their idle cars from depreciating assets into earning engines and help fuel travelers' adventures," said Turo CEO Andre Haddad. 

Turo has a presence in more than 2,500 cities and 300 airports.

"Turo is injecting adventure and personality into car rental, a $65 billion industry ripe for disruption," said KPCB partner Brook Porter. "There are $20 trillion worth of cars in the world today and these cars are used less than four percent of the time. Turo's rapid growth leverages that massive, underutilized base of vehicles in a peer-to-peer marketplace to deliver an outstanding product."

The $47 million Series C funding brings total funding to $101 million.

Title image by Pawel Kadys