Friday Five: Waving goodbye to Teletext and Zone’s got talent!
Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…
1. Cancelling free trials? There’s an app for that
A shrewd app developer has launched a service in the UK that automatically cancels subscriptions at the end of the free trial period. The app, Free Trial Surfing, gives customers a virtual credit card number and invented name, which they can use to sign up for the likes of Netflix and Spotify. It’s free to use at the moment — and already has 10,000 US users — but may bring in a subscription fee (oh, the irony).
I have mixed feelings about this — yes, it’s a pain having to remember when trials are going to end (and obviously the companies hope you’ll forget) but that’s the trade-off of getting something for free. And if it means the subscription companies stop offering free trials then this app will have turned out to be too clever for its own good.
2. WhatsApp payment service to launch in India
WhatsApp is planning to add a payment function to its service, with businesses in India the first to try it out, possibly by the end of the year. India has been a key focus area for product development for WhatsApp, with about 70% of adults owning a phone in a population of 1.3 billion.
WhatsApp’s goal is to make sending money as easy as sending a message. And as it is owned by Facebook, which has plans to launch its own global digital coin, Libra, the two projects could dovetail nicely in Mark Zuckerberg’s ongoing plan to basically take over the world.
3. LinkedIn to award badges of distinction
A good few of us have made some fairly bold claims on our CVs at one time or another, safe in the knowledge we’re unlikely to be found out until we’re already reclining in our office chairs (“Do I speak French? Oui, oui”). Well now LinkedIn is giving job hunters a chance to prove their skills on their profiles.
It’s introducing LinkedIn Skills Assessments, a tool that allows members to take tests in skills associated with their profiles, such as Photoshop or Java. If you pass the test, you can post a badge on your profile to alert recruiters. Helpfully (although less helpfully for recruiters), if you fail the test, you can simply take it again.
4. Young Zoners to join DMA judging panel
The Data & Marketing Association Awards (DMAs) have been celebrating the work of innovative brands, agencies and suppliers for almost 40 years. And this year Zone is providing four of the judges for the 34 categories, including two of our rising stars who only graduated in 2017.
Among the youngest on the panel, copywriter Charlie Bulmer and designer Emily Cooper are helping to achieve greater diversity — one of the DMA’s priorities as it is working with partners Creative Equals and Stripes to achieve gender parity. Find out more about our DMA judges in this blog.
5. Ta-ta Teletext as red button is read no more
Ah, Teletext. Such happy memories of going to Ceefax page 302 for the football headlines or playing Bamboozle on the Channel 4 version (just called Teletext, apparently). Teletext effectively died when analogue TV was cut off in 2012, but the BBC still provided news and sports updates through its red button service.
Alas, fans of waiting ages for pages to load are about to be disappointed again, as the BBC is planning to kill off all of its red button text-based news services in January 2020, with resources to be channelled into ‘even better internet-based services’. There are no figures on how many people actually use the red button but there are bound to be a few traditionalists saddened by this final nail in the Teletext coffin.