Monday, October 19, 2015



Link to TechEye

Amazon sues fake reviewers

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 01:26 AM PDT

AmazonAmazon has sued more than 1,000 people for posting fake "five star" reviews on its US site.

The online retailer said its brand reputation was being tarnished by "false, misleading and inauthentic" reviews.

Amazon claims the 1,114 defendants it is suing touted their false review service for as little as $5 on the website Fiverr, an online platform for buying and selling minor tasks.

Many of the fake reviewers, had requested review wordings from sellers and had used multiple accounts and IP addresses – numeric codes that identify a device in a network – to avoid being caught.

The e-commerce company started its campaign against the alleged fake reviewers by hiring some of the Fiverr members.

In its complaint to a court in Seattle, Amazon said that only a small minority of sellers and manufacturers attempted to gain unfair competitive advantages by creating false, misleading, and inauthentic customer reviews for their products on"

It added: "While small in number, these reviews threaten to undermine the trust that customers, and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers, place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon's brand."

"Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate," court papers said.

Amazon said there had been misleading five-star reviews and comments about products, such as: "This has lit up my life" about a USB cable. A bogus comment said: "Definitely buying more … I was impressed with how bright the lights on the cable are," while another reviewer gave a product top marks and added the comment: "Cool charger."

Fiverr said it had worked closely with Amazon to remove services that violate our terms of use, and respond promptly to any reports of inappropriate content.

Amazon is also using algorithmic filtering to tackle the issue of fake product reviews and inflated star ratings, it was revealed earlier this year. According to

Amazon, the artificial intelligence will bring more accurate reviews to the top, using them to create a star rating.

Curiously though Amazon has not worked out a way of tackling one-star review campaigns which are conducted against an author by political groups or religious cults. The cult floods a book review site with one star reviews to try and take the book out of the market. Amazon has received complaints about this particular sort of attack and refused to do anything.

Qapla! Apple fined $234 million for stealing Warf’s idea

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 01:25 AM PDT

worfFruity cargo cult Apple has escaped mega-fines for stealing a university's idea for improving the performance of computer chips.

The fruity cargo cult could have faced a billions of dollars' worth of fines but in the end will only have to pay the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) $234 million.

The damages were reduced because US District Judge William Conley, who is presiding over the case, ruled that Apple had not wilfully infringed WARF’s patent, eliminating a chance to triple the damages in the case.

WARF wanted $400 million in damages.

Apple said it would appeal the verdict on the sound legal ground that everyone knew it invented everything and it was part of its religion to steal other people's technology while suing others for poaching its beloved rounded rectangle.

WARF Managing Director Carl Gulbrandsen was happy with the verdict.

The jury found that Apple’s A7, A8 and A8X processors, found in the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 Plus, as well as several versions of the iPad, violated the patent.

WARF sued Apple in January 2014 alleging infringement of its 1998 patent on a “predictor circuit,” developed by computer science professor Gurindar Sohi and three of his students.

Apple claimed that WARF deserved less than even the $110 million the foundation settled with Intel after suing that company in 2008 over the same patent. Of course Intel did not have to be dragged to court and admitted that it might have used the idea.

Apple insisted that WARF’s patent entitled it to as little as 7 cents per device sold, a far cry from the $2.74 that WARF was claiming.

In court, Apple was told off for trying to refer to WARF as a patent troll. In fact WARF uses the income it generates to support research at the school, doling out more than $58 million in grants last year.

It is still not over for the fruity cargo cult. Last month, WARF launched a second lawsuit against Apple, targeting the company’s newest chips and devices, the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and iPad Pro.

It would appear that Apple's belief that it invented everything and can defend this religious belief using expensive lawyers is not paying off – at least in this case.

Ballmer owns four percent of Twitter

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 01:23 AM PDT

steve-ballmer-tongue-540x334The shy and retired former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer now owns a big chunk of Twitter.

Ballmer has a four percent stake in Twitter according to his spokesman, making him the third biggest individual shareholder in the social notworking outfit. In other news Ballmer has become so shy that he has hired someone else to do his speaking for him.

To put this in some perspective, Ballmer’s stake is worth more than $800 million based on Twitter’s $21 billion market value. Only co-founder Evan Williams and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal have greater stakes.

Shares of Twitter rose 5.6 percent to $31.34 on Friday, hours after Ballmer tweeted he built up his stake over the past several months. After all, if Steve invested a pile of dosh in the outfit, it must have a future – just like Nokia.

Ballmer's tweet praised Twitter’s new ‘Moments’ feature, which curates the best tweets of the day, and Dorsey’s appointment as permanent CEO last week.

“Good job @twitter, @twittermoments innovation, @jack Ceo, leaner, more focused,” the tweet said. “Glad I bought 4% past few months.”

Ballmer has $21.5 billion in his piggy bank, making him the 35th richest person in the world, according to Forbes magazine.

Ballmer now owns more of Twitter than co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, who has a 3.2 percent stake. Williams is the largest individual shareholder with about 7.5 percent, followed by Alwaleed with about 5.2 percent.

It is an odd time to be optimistic about Twitter. Last week Twitter said it will lay off about eight percent of its workforce and on Wednesday, it hired Google executive Omid Kordestani as executive chairman.

FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi reckoned Ballmer’s stake could be indicative of widespread confidence in Dorsey and his strategy. Surprisingly this is not the kiss of death that many would expect.

iPhone is me

Posted: 19 Oct 2015 01:20 AM PDT

Old Apple logo - Wikimedia CommonsIf you ever wondered why Apple fanboys are so stupid and defensive about their over-priced gadgets, modern science has finally figured it out.

According to University of Illinois researchers, consumer psychology is changing and fanboys and fangirls don’t perceive their beloved brand as a relationship –  some may consider it an extension of themselves.

A study in which they first assessed the level of their study volunteers’ attachment to a brand and then showed the participants critical statements about the company, shows that.

Those who were most attached to the brand reported lower self-esteem than those who were less attached. So this means that some people, the authors claim, start to incorporate their love for Apple or Xbox into their own identity.

The idea has been backed by a recent paper  by the Journal of Consumer Research which argues that people feel ashamed and insecure when a company betrayal is discovered, much like what would happen when trust is broken in an interpersonal relationship, precisely because of the fact that their self-concept has been tied up with their products.

Although the story is being tied up with the recent Volkswagen scandal, it equally applies to Apple fanboys or those very weird creatures, AMD fanboys. The point is that when you write a news story which points out how bad a product is (Apple), or that the company is suffering (AMD), you are not insulting the brand but the people who declare themselves as fanboys.

Apparently they have invested more than just too much money in the product. Insulting the product creates an emotional response as if you were attacking them.

The interesting thing about this psychological state is that it is replaceable. While many people might feel that their friends are trapped within the Apple cult it is untrue. Another study found that when people find suitable substitutes for products they loved, their loyalty for their once favourites quickly dwindled, within a matter of days.

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