Mad Men?

“Doubts Rise on Digital Ads,” The Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2016 A1.  Front page.  Above the fold.  Right before Ad Week.  The timing and placement were superb; the content, less so.

Yesterday, I posted about Facebook having overstated the time viewers spent watching video ads for two years.  Today’s paper tells of a Japanese ad company that admitted overcharging  for internet ads.  And do ad agencies get hidden rebates, that don’t go back to the companies paying for the ads?

If there’s no truth in advertising, is it worth it, either for the people who pay for it or the people who consume it?

If you’re an ad agency, does this affect your business model?  If you’re a business, does it affect your digital ad spend?

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Two years, again

Facebook has been overstating the time viewers spend watching video ads.  For two years.

Allegedly, didn’t affect billing rates.  But would advertisers have spent so much if the data were accurately reported?  “Were” in the subjunctive – condition contrary to fact.

“Facebook Misstates Video,”The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2016 B1.

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Two years later

“Judge: Rolling Stone Case Can Go to Trial,” The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2016 A6. Defamation suit by UVA official claims defamation from false gang rape story published in Rolling Stone.

Publishing false information is a problem.  Newspapers/magazines have duties, too.

Is this within the remit of information governance?

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Timing is everything

Two years, two weeks  –  what’s the diff?

Yahoo Data Breach Hits Millions,” The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2016 A1.  Yahoo, the subject of a proposed deal with Verizon announced July 25, apparently had a major breach of its network two years ago, affecting upwards of 500 million users.  But in a proxy filing on September 9, Yahoo said it wasn’t aware of any breaches.

So which is it?  Did Yahoo not know for two years about the breach?  Did it not know two weeks ago?  Or did it forget?  $4.8 billion deal may turn on this point.  When did Yahoo tell Verizon?  Can you hear me now?

How many theories can you think of for individual director liability if this deal craters?  Failure to protect the assets?  Failure to inform shareholders?  Lying to the market? Fraud?

 

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Silence is golden

Silence is golden – but for whom?

“Investor Claims Against VW Jump,” The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2016 B3.  VW lost 45% of its market value after the US EPA claimed the company had violated the Clean Air Act by rigging diesel emissions data for vehicles sold in the US.  Shareholders are not amused that VW didn’t tell them sooner about the ongoing EPA investigation or about the financial risk from using the illegal software.

More than 1,400 suits have been filed, seeking more than $9.1 billion.

The article doesn’t say whether the directors or senior management have been sued individually.

 

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What is the Board accountable for, anyway?

Earlier this morning, I posted about the Wells Fargo CEO, and his responsibility/lack-of-accountability for the illegal conduct at the bank in creating customer accounts to meet performance objectives.  https://infogovnuggets.com/2016/09/22/responsible-v-accountable/

But the beat goes on.  Or went on.

“Wells Fargo Board Comes Under Fire,” The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2016 C1.  Some members of the Senate Banking Committee are curious as to why, for three years, the Board did nothing to the managers in charge of the business, and who had either not seen the illegal conduct, or, having seen it, had done nothing about it.  Should the Board have done “something” more?  Claw back salaries?  Bonuses?  Fire a manager or two?  Clearly, adequate controls to prevent illegal conduct either were not in place or were circumvented or ignored.

Does the remedy reside with the Senate?  Or with courts and shareholder derivative suits alleging negligent oversight of the corporate operations?  The Board knew this was going on and sat back, apparently.

And what was the culture at the bank during this period?  What is it now?

 

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Value = Information

Is how you account for the value of your corporate assets “information”?

“SEC Probes Exxon Over Accounting For Climate Change,” The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2016 A1.  While the primary focus may be projected costs of climate change regulations, another front is why Exxon hasn’t adjusted its reserve valuation to reflect the drop in the value of oil and gas.

Other oil majors have reduced the values of their reserves, which has been tricky over the years.

Would information governance people get involved in this discussion?  How about the compliance folks?  Who’s responsible for pointing out the potential compliance issue?  Does the CFO walk the plank?

 

 

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