Reston, VA

Thursday Morning Notes

Playa Bowls Brings Taste of Jersey Shore to Reston — “Robert Giuliani started Playa Bowls in 2014 on the Jersey Shore, as a surf-themed restaurant offering healthy food for people on the go.” [Reston Patch]

Herndon Police Arrest Man in Connection with Child Pornography Charges — “After an investigation in conjunction with the Internet Crimes Against Children  Taskforce, Zoubir Chenini. 39, of Annandale, VA, was arrested by Herndon Police Department on one felony count of possession of child pornography, nine felony counts of 2nd/subsequent possession of child pornography, and five felony counts of distribution of child pornography.”[HPD]

CEO of Reston-based Company Lays Out Five-Year-Plan for Embattled Firm — “For years, comScore was distracted by prolonged and pricey internal investigations and high-cost debt. Now, at long last, CEO Bill Livek said he can focus on its future. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Flu Shots Available at Giant Food Stores in Reston — “Giant Food announced Monday flu shots are available at in-store pharmacies, including locations in the Reston area. The flu vaccines are administered by Giant pharmacists and do not require an appointment.” [Reston Patch]

County Fire Chief Selected for Award — “Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department  Fire Chief John Butler has been selected as a recipient of the 2020 International Association of Fire Chiefs President’s Awards of Recognition.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Underwhelming Response to Sale of Comscore — “ComScore, based at Reston Town Center, has been pursuing a sale since late 2019. Comscore Inc.’s attempt to sell itself has hit some snags — its potential suitors’ offers thus far have been underwhelming, it said in new Securities and Exchange Commission filings.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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A Reston based global company is using data to try and track COVID-19 discussion around the world.

Comscore, headquartered at 11950 Democracy Drive, helps clients “evaluate media across platforms” to boost audience engagement, according to its website. Major clients for the company include Pepsi and Oracle.

The company recently expanded its efforts to provide “insights” into COVID-19.

Those insights range in data from things like media consumption during the outbreak to surging levels of in-home data usage.

Now that people are staying home, the company announced that as of today (Tuesday, March 24,) data use by gaming consoles is up 48% along with a 44% data use rise by in-home speakers.

When it comes to media consumption, roughly 3.2 million people checked governmental websites including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control. Between March 9115, roughly 24.4 million people logged on to these websites. That’s over a 670% increase from the first few days of January, according to Comscore.

Due to recent changes in commerce, Comscore also noticed changes in other industries like retail and manufacturing.

“In looking at total digital visits to an aggregate of Amazon, Walmart and Target’s sites, we saw 779 million visits the week of March 9-15,” the company’s website said.

According to a blog recently released by Comscore, studies show that people are turning to local news when they face uncertainty during the pandemic.

“We need local news in times of crisis to learn about the changes impacting our daily lives,” Rachel Cooper-Blank, the author and company’s lead account manager, wrote in the blog.

Going forward, it seems that Comscore will continue to track changes to the economy and people’s habits during the pandemic.

Reston Now reached out to Comscore for comment and is awaiting a response.

Photo via Comscore/Facebook

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Reston Baker Builds Granola Empire — Reston resident Dania Abimourched recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of her business, Dano’s Granola. [Reston Patch]

Virginia Heads Toward Peer-to-Peer Auto Rental Law — “Virginia lawmakers are considering a bill that would establish rules for peer-to-peer car rentals, in which a car owner could rent a vehicle to a stranger, for a fee. Unlike traditional car rental companies that monopolize airport rentals, and established ride-sharing companies that enable a driver to rent a car by the hour, in peer-to-peer rentals, the car owner lists a vehicle for rent in an online, searchable marketplace.” [WTOP]

Reston-based Company Signs with CBS — Comscore, a digital audience measurement firm, signed a multi-year renewal with all 27 local television stations owned by CBS. [Potomac Tech Wire]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Comscore, a media measurement and analytics firm headquartered in Reston Town Center, and its former CEO Serge Matta have been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for defrauding investors and making false and misleading statements about the company’s performance.

In a Tuesday release, the SEC stated that Comscore and Mata agreed to pay $5.7 million in penalties. Matta will also reimburse Comscore $2.1 million.

“As the SEC orders find, Comscore and its former CEO manipulated the accounting for non-monetary and other transactions in an effort to chase revenue targets and deceive investors about the performance of Comscore’s business,” said Melissa R. Hodgman, Associate Director in the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “We will continue to hold issuers and executives accountable for such serious breaches of their fundamental duty to make accurate disclosures to the investing public while giving appropriate credit for a company’s prompt remedial acts and cooperation.”

The investigation revealed that the company — which measures audience engagement across different platforms — overstated revenue by roughly $50 million. Between February 2014 and February 2016, the company attempted to increase its reported revenue by exchanging data sets with another party by inflating revenue, according to the release.

The SEC also said Comscore and Matta create an “illusion of smooth and steady growth in Comscore’s business” by making false and misleading public disclosures about the company’s customer base and products. Specifically, the SEC found that Matta lied to the company’s internal accountant and external audit firm, allowing the company to artificially exceeds its analysis’ revenue target in seven consecutive quarters.

The last few months have been rocky for the media measurement firm. In April, the Wall Street Journal reported the company’s chief executive, Bryan Wiener, left the company after less than a year due to disagreements over the board’s execution of the company’s strategy.

Comscore is located in the heart of Reston Town Center at 11950 Democracy Drive.

Image via Google Maps

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