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August Spark

Ad tech veteran Michael Cassidy is embarking on his second act – and his first big bet is on the future of e-commerce.

The former CEO and chairman of ad tech company Undertone is trying to build a portfolio of profitable companies centered around technology and marketing services through August Spark, a family office fund he launched 18 months ago and runs with cofounder Stephen Wall.

His first big investment is in San Diego-based e-commerce agency BVAccel, which helps design, build, and optimise digital storefronts for several hot and up-and-coming direct-to-consumer brands. It also provides marketing services to clients, using data to map out the customer journey and optimise their e-commerce websites for conversion.

To read more about why Cassidy is betting on e-commerce, click here.

In other news:

Facebook says Iran-backed accounts pretended to be news organisations to spread information and to launch cyber attacks. The company says it removed 652 Pages and accounts on its services that it linked to Iran, as well as numerous Russia-linked accounts involved in inauthentic behaviour on Tuesday.

Facebook is also rating the trustworthiness of its users on a scale from zero to 1. The company developed its reputation assessments as part of its effort against fake news, Tessa Lyons, the product manager who is in charge of fighting misinformation, told the Washington Post in an interview.

And in more Facebook news, the company is removing more than 5,000 ad targeting options to prevent discrimination. Advertisers will no longer be able to hide their ads from people interested in things like “Passover,” “Evangelicalism,” “Native American culture,” “Islamic culture,” and “Buddhism,” reports BuzzFeed.

Amazon removed one of the best features from Amazon Prime, and Twitch users are furious. Amazon’s incredibly popular Prime service is losing a major benefit: ad-free Twitch viewing.

Google created a fake pizza brand to test out creative strategies for YouTube ads. Its Unskippable Labs team tested ad effectiveness by creating a fake pizza brand called Doctor Fork, using stock footage to create 33 ads and then serving them up on YouTube to reach 20 million impressions, Tech Crunch reports.

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