What in the World—Week of May 3

Microsoft looking for a new default font
Even if the name isn’t instantly recognizable, Calibri has been a big part of the business world since 2007. That was the year it was adopted as Microsoft’s default font across its Office suite of software. But now Calibri is being replaced, and Microsoft is asking the public for feedback on five new fonts it has commissioned—Tenorite (above), Bierstadt, Skeena, Seaford and Grandview. “Default fonts are perhaps most notable in the absence of the impression they make,” said Microsoft in a blog post announcing the change. “When a font blends into the background of a user experience, people can jump right into the creative process and stay grounded in their thoughts rather than thinking about the form those thoughts take.” The five new fonts are available for download now, and Microsoft is asking consumers to try them out and share their feedback. For those who are comfortable with Calibri, fear not—it will be retained in the library of more than 700 font options in Word.

Activist group says it targeted kids on Facebook
The Australian lobby group Reset Australia—which advocates for policy to counter digital threats to democracy—issued a report last week claiming it was able to target children as young as 13 with alcohol, vaping, gambling and extreme weight loss ads. According to The Guardian, the group, which created a Facebook page and advertising account under the name “Ozzie news network,” said it had the ability to reach 740,000 Australian kids aged 13 to 17, and could have sent a cocktail recipe ad targeting 52,000 teens interested in alcohol for a total cost of $3.03. “Facebook appears to use teenagers’ data in the same way as adults,” said Chris Cooper, executive director of Reset Australia. In a statement, Facebook said “anyone advertising on our platforms must comply with our policies along with all local laws and codes, such as those restricting the advertising of alcohol to minors in Australia… To support this, we also have age restriction tools that all businesses can implement on their accounts themselves to control who sees their content.”

Verizon sells AOL and Yahoo
Verizon’s ill-fated attempt to challenge Google and Facebook in digital advertising is seemingly over. The American telecom giant announced it is selling a 90% stake in Verizon Media—Yahoo and AOL—to private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $5 billion. Verizon spent $4.4 billion to acquire AOL in 2015, and $4.48 billion for Yahoo in 2017. “Both the Yahoo and AOL acquisitions were meant to give Verizon lots of data so that it could sell targeted advertising against its media assets,” reported Axios. “It quickly became clear that the data-based ad play wouldn’t work.” Meanwhile, Apollo is reportedly upbeat about digital advertising, and expects the industry to grow. “Does most of that go to Google and Facebook and Snap and Twitter? Of course,” Apollo’s Reed Rayman told The New York Times. “But, is there still a role for others in the digital media space to benefit from the rising tide, like Yahoo and the other properties? Absolutely.”

ANA launching study of programmatic ad buying
The Association of National Advertisers is launching another study to determine where advertisers’ money goes during the programmatic ad-buying process. Advertiser investment in programmatic is expected to reach US$81 billion this year, but ANA CEO Bob Liodice says its murkiness is costing marketers billions and making it difficult for them to plan their investments. According to a study cited by the ANA, advertisers are unable to account for the final destination of about 15% of the money that goes into automated ad buys. The new investigation will look not just at the programmatic process and companies that support it, but also digital video and social media companies with their own digital properties and operations, says The Wall Street Journal. “Marketers have become very used to just simply performing and executing without the material understanding of the nature and makeup of their investments in this supply chain,” said Liodice. “We have to learn more.”

Walmart challenges Kanye over Yeezy logo
Walmart is accusing Kanye West of copyright infringement over the logo for his Yeezy brand, saying it’s too similar to the “star logo” it has been using since 2007 and could lead to confusion for consumers. West filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last year, which described the Yeezy logo as “eight dotted lines, each comprising three totally shaded circles, with a total of 24 circles, arranged at equal angles as rays from a sun.” In an 86-page notice of opposition last week asking the USPTO to refuse to register the trademark, Walmart said that the Yeezy mark is “likely to cause confusion, mistake and deception” and potentially create a “false affiliation” with its mark that could “injure and damage” its brand and the “substantial goodwill” it has amassed.

David Brown