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Author Topic: Fake Reviews: Amazon's Rotten Core  (Read 7196 times)
Jibz
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« on: August 28, 2012, 03:00:39 PM »

http://www.forbes.com/sit...iews-amazons-rotten-core/

Quote
Leather admitted to creating accounts on Amazon under assumed names in order to leave positive reviews of his own work.  ...  Leather is not the only one engaging in such practices. On 25 August, the New York Times revealed that the use of fake reviews is widespread. In exploring the case of reviewer-for-hire Todd Jason Rutherford, the NY Times exposed self-publishing poster boy John Locke who bought 300 reviews from Rutherford’s business, GettingBookReviews, spending about $6,000 to do so

Stuff like this makes it really hard to trust public user reviews undecided.
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Curt
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2012, 04:47:51 PM »

I expect Mr. Rutherford has a text editing software that automatically can vary a bunch of phrases - otherwise merely $20 (6,000/300) for a review really is too cheap, I think....

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cthorpe
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2012, 08:35:29 PM »

I expect Mr. Rutherford has a text editing software that automatically can vary a bunch of phrases - otherwise merely $20 (6,000/300) for a review really is too cheap, I think....

{Yes|Affirmative|Right you are|Yes Sir|You got it mister}.  The same kind of {program|software|code|magic} that {generates|produces|makes} those {articles|stories|pages|pages of text|blatherings} that {you|people|surfers|unfortunates} {find|locate|discover|happen upon|fall victim to} on the {internet|web|world-wide-web|www|intertubes|blagosphere|blagoblag} that {read|appear|look like|render} like {a hopped-up thesaurus junkie|someone who just discovered Word's thesaurus feature|a monkey with search and replace} {took a few too many liberties|went crazy on them|hates you and everyone who might come upon that site}.

And spin away...

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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 09:26:10 PM »

We are going to wake up one day and find out that half of the content on the internet (facebook accounts, twitter accounts, reviews, kickstarter donations, amazon reviews, etc.) is fake paid content designed to manufacture momentum and positive press.  Depressing.

Hopefully we will eventually find a way to get rid of this harmful practice.
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superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 10:13:53 PM »

We are going to wake up one day and find out that half of the content on the internet (facebook accounts, twitter accounts, reviews, kickstarter donations, amazon reviews, etc.) is fake paid content designed to manufacture momentum and positive press.  Depressing.

Hopefully we will eventually find a way to get rid of this harmful practice.
I believe it.  I don't know if it's the current times, or the fact that I'm in my 30s, or what...but I'm learning a whole lot about a whole bunch of misconceptions in my life.  Big stuff.  Parents, religion, people, friends, business, this country, the world...none of it is even close to the way it has been sold to me or how I pictured it.  I feel like I have studied hard and worked hard for 25 years, and the last 5 years of the internet has essentially destroyed all that stuff.  But the soul of all that work still remains, and that is the part I'm keeping.  I have no idea what that means, but it sure is weird.  I guess that's life.
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wraith808
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2012, 11:17:01 PM »

^ I totally get what you're saying, so you're not alone in that feeling. Sad
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Renegade
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2012, 12:02:52 AM »

I expect Mr. Rutherford has a text editing software that automatically can vary a bunch of phrases - otherwise merely $20 (6,000/300) for a review really is too cheap, I think....

{Yes|Affirmative|Right you are|Yes Sir|You got it mister}.  The same kind of {program|software|code|magic} that {generates|produces|makes} those {articles|stories|pages|pages of text|blatherings} that {you|people|surfers|unfortunates} {find|locate|discover|happen upon|fall victim to} on the {internet|web|world-wide-web|www|intertubes|blagosphere|blagoblag} that {read|appear|look like|render} like {a hopped-up thesaurus junkie|someone who just discovered Word's thesaurus feature|a monkey with search and replace} {took a few too many liberties|went crazy on them|hates you and everyone who might come upon that site}.

And spin away...

 Thmbsup

Incidentally, I just wrote some software the other day to help me do pretty much the same thing. However, the output isn't for posting - it's for an artificial intelligence engine.
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wraith808
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2012, 12:11:23 AM »

^ Eliza 2.0? smiley
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Renegade
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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2012, 12:44:20 AM »

^ Eliza 2.0? smiley

Heheh! Nope. This is for television sets.
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f0dder
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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2012, 02:28:24 AM »

I expect Mr. Rutherford has a text editing software that automatically can vary a bunch of phrases - otherwise merely $20 (6,000/300) for a review really is too cheap, I think....
There's (unfortunately) some pretty sophisticated software around for doing that, abusing AI and NLP. If I had my way, SEO fscktards would be publicly tortured, they're ruining the interwebs.
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- carpe noctem
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« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2012, 02:41:49 AM »

If I had my way, SEO fscktards would be publicly tortured, they're ruining the interwebs.

+1

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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 05:53:39 AM »

We are going to wake up one day and find out that half of the content on the internet (facebook accounts, twitter accounts, reviews, kickstarter donations, amazon reviews, etc.) is fake paid content designed to manufacture momentum and positive press.

I wouldn't worry that half of the Internet is written by AI, if three fourths of the readers will be bots - statistically we still get ahead...
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2012, 06:06:56 AM »

I think the whole issue needs to be resolved at ISP level. Just like we have certificates for websites ISPs should issue certificates for users and websites and email should only allow certified users to use the service. The ISP has to know who you are and where you are to bill you so when you sign up for an account your details could be fixed by the certificate issuing authority. It would also save having to fill in name and address details all the time.

Websites could then refuse access to someone who doesn't come with a verified certificate. Could potentially reduce the amount of spam if mail servers only accepted mail from genuine certificated users.

Would also stop fake accounts because the certified user would have to be registered at an address with credit card or bank details to get the certificate.
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Renegade
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2012, 06:12:46 AM »

I think the whole issue needs to be resolved at ISP level. Just like we have certificates for websites ISPs should issue certificates for users and websites and email should only allow certified users to use the service. The ISP has to know who you are and where you are to bill you so when you sign up for an account your details could be fixed by the certificate issuing authority. It would also save having to fill in name and address details all the time.

Websites could then refuse access to someone who doesn't come with a verified certificate. Could potentially reduce the amount of spam if mail servers only accepted mail from genuine certificated users.

Would also stop fake accounts because the certified user would have to be registered at an address with credit card or bank details to get the certificate.

Sounds very, very dangerous. It basically eliminates privacy entirely. Besides, it wouldn't stop spammers. e.g. http://pwnieexpress.com/products/wireless-plug

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SeraphimLabs
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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2012, 07:30:43 AM »

I expect Mr. Rutherford has a text editing software that automatically can vary a bunch of phrases - otherwise merely $20 (6,000/300) for a review really is too cheap, I think....

{Yes|Affirmative|Right you are|Yes Sir|You got it mister}.  The same kind of {program|software|code|magic} that {generates|produces|makes} those {articles|stories|pages|pages of text|blatherings} that {you|people|surfers|unfortunates} {find|locate|discover|happen upon|fall victim to} on the {internet|web|world-wide-web|www|intertubes|blagosphere|blagoblag} that {read|appear|look like|render} like {a hopped-up thesaurus junkie|someone who just discovered Word's thesaurus feature|a monkey with search and replace} {took a few too many liberties|went crazy on them|hates you and everyone who might come upon that site}.

And spin away...

 Thmbsup

Incidentally, I just wrote some software the other day to help me do pretty much the same thing. However, the output isn't for posting - it's for an artificial intelligence engine.

The markov algorithm can already generate sensible phrases. Imagine a furby with an entire server's worth of memory and processing power behind it. That's what I got when I coupled the markov algorithm to an IRC bot so that people could interact wtih it.

But so much of what is out there on the internet really is fake, or is actually half-truths driven by corporate incentives. It's impossible for the little guy to get ahead anymore, all of the big brands beat him down at the first sign that he might succeed.

And even the KSSN system- where you have to use your social security number to gain access to certain content, is still unable to completely prevent internet abuses. Forcing legitimate users to jump through hoops to use will just kill off any chance of the internet being useful at all. They should instead crack right on down on the less honest people that are poisoning the apple barrel for everyone else.

Because it's inexcusable that someone convicted of thousands of dollars in fraud is able to start right back up and do it all over again.

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Curt
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« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2012, 08:44:26 AM »

... the New York Times revealed that the use of fake reviews is widespread. ...

Try to search Slate.com for jacob silverman   against enthusiasm
-his original post is about the very same problem on facebook.
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40hz
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2012, 10:30:24 AM »

... the New York Times revealed that the use of fake reviews is widespread. ...

Try to search Slate.com for jacob silverman   against enthusiasm
-his original post is about the very same problem on facebook.


Link to article here.
 smiley
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2012, 10:58:05 AM »

I think the whole issue needs to be resolved at ISP level. Just like we have certificates for websites ISPs should issue certificates for users and websites and email should only allow certified users to use the service. The ISP has to know who you are and where you are to bill you so when you sign up for an account your details could be fixed by the certificate issuing authority. It would also save having to fill in name and address details all the time.

Websites could then refuse access to someone who doesn't come with a verified certificate. Could potentially reduce the amount of spam if mail servers only accepted mail from genuine certificated users.

Would also stop fake accounts because the certified user would have to be registered at an address with credit card or bank details to get the certificate.

Sounds very, very dangerous. It basically eliminates privacy entirely. Besides, it wouldn't stop spammers. e.g. http://pwnieexpress.com/products/wireless-plug

I'll add a new wrinkle and say that the whole certificate thing leads to all internet activities tied to permanent histories, which will eventually become so juicy to the feds in our age of "automated law enforcement", and then coupled with the rise of "hackers release X records to protest ____". I've remarked that one version of the "Mayan Doomsday" which is almost on schedule is the global leak of the internet history of everyone on the planet through some stunning security breach of some kind. That's like a Blackmail Engine running on nuclear power to send the world into chaos.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2012, 11:18:19 AM »

I think the whole issue needs to be resolved at ISP level. Just like we have certificates for websites ISPs should issue certificates for users and websites and email should only allow certified users to use the service. The ISP has to know who you are and where you are to bill you so when you sign up for an account your details could be fixed by the certificate issuing authority. It would also save having to fill in name and address details all the time.

Websites could then refuse access to someone who doesn't come with a verified certificate. Could potentially reduce the amount of spam if mail servers only accepted mail from genuine certificated users.

Would also stop fake accounts because the certified user would have to be registered at an address with credit card or bank details to get the certificate.

Sounds very, very dangerous. It basically eliminates privacy entirely. Besides, it wouldn't stop spammers. e.g. http://pwnieexpress.com/products/wireless-plug



Don't really understand the last comment - if ISPs only actually accept email from certified users then spam would be seriously reduced and prosecutions more effective. If you want to use your own domain name you already have to register it and are legally required to provide accurate contact details - if certificates could be attached to your account and/or hosting server it would make it far harder for spammers to spoof your email address - and you wouldn't have to divulge any information that isn't already required.

As for privacy on the internet - in this day and age privacy is a total myth - on the internet doubly so.

I don't see why certification, per se, should impact on privacy - I am not suggesting that they should collect all user activity as part of that (beyond what they do now) and they wouldn't have to collect any more personal data - but they would be required to verify that the data provided is accurate before issuing a certificate. Given that ISPs have to know who you are, where you live, and a payment method it shouldn't take much more for them to issue a secure certificate which you can then use to verofy your genuine user status when you register at a webshop (which again needs the same information). It would also stop fraud because they shop would know your real name and address for shipping goods and so no one else could hijack the account to send stuff to alternative addresses.

The UK government are already (and repeatedly) pushing for legislation to force ISPs to log website visits, internet traffic and even email content for all users (of course if we don't want it we are all terrorists). The US already does this sort of thing as a matter of course.

Don't know about other countries but I am pretty sure the last UK Labour government made it illegal to use encrypted content email because they want to be able to read it. God knows how they plan to enforce that but then it is illegal in the UK to own software or hardware that even has the potential to commit illegal acts (and especially DVD/BD ripping) - presumably everybody with a computer is a potential prosecution target!
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40hz
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« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2012, 11:40:23 AM »

The UK government are already (and repeatedly) pushing for legislation to force ISPs to log website visits, internet traffic and even email content for all users (of course if we don't want it we are all terrorists). The US already does this sort of thing as a matter of course.

Pretty much, except the US government doesn't feel there's a need for specific legislation as such. They just make it known they'd appreciate "cooperation" , remind ISPs that the government has the power to make their lives a living hell of regulation and subpoenas if they don't "help out", and then let the imagination of ISP management to take it from there...

"Blackmail is such an unpleasant word. We prefer to think of it as moral suasion."

Like the old song said:

What will it take
   To whip you into line?
      A broken heart?
      A broken head?

Because it can be arranged,
   Quite easily arranged,
      Mr. Blue.

 tellme

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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2012, 11:42:53 AM »

if ISPs only actually accept email from certified users then spam would be seriously reduced and prosecutions more effective.

That's only one leg of the journey. Much of the mail flow is server-2-server making the user (and their cert) slightly irrelevant. All email spoofing is done at the S2S level/leg of the journey. So to have the entire trip certified end-to-end via encryption would put a hell of a lot of extra load on the servers.
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40hz
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« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2012, 11:52:05 AM »

...if ISPs only actually accept email from certified users then spam would be seriously reduced and prosecutions more effective.

I don't know how much it would reduce spam. It would only make spamming a slightly bigger technical challenge. And that would only be short-term.

Although I'm certainly sure it would make the persecution prosecution of private individuals (not businesses or scammers) who commit so-called email offenses more widespread and effective.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2012, 11:56:44 AM »

Certified email already exists - I don't really understand why it can't be made mandatory.

I don't see why every stage of the journey would need to be different to now - you could leave the certificate verification to the last leg of the journey - ie. the POP or IMAP server accessed by the user - just bin anything that doesn't have a valid certificate before it gets to the end user.


I think it would remove a lot of spam - one of the main features of email systems at the moment that makes spamming so easy and lucrative is the ability to abuse servers and remain anonymous. If spammers were easily identifiable it would remove a lot of the incentive.

It would also be useful if emails could be automatically tagged with tracking info as they pass through servers.

Geo Referencing IPs is so easy these days it would be really good to see a human reable geo location list of where the email originated etc. added by every server it passed through.
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« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2012, 12:27:33 PM »

I want to note that I love Amazon, and I wouldn't say this issue is Amazon's rotten "core" -- it's absolutely a hugely important and corrupt aspect, but not the core of what makes Amazon special.
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wraith808
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« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2012, 01:01:22 PM »

If I had my way, SEO fscktards would be publicly tortured, they're ruining the interwebs.

+1



Only if they crucify the spammers first.

...and the lawyers, and the politicians.  And especially the lawyers turned politicians.
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