In my weekly segment on KCRW's “Press Play” news program with host Madeleine Brand, we listen to Elon Musk wax poetic about artificial intelligence and whether life might be a dream--and his plans to send humans to Mars by 2025.
If you're an Amazon seller and you pay people to review your products on Amazon, the company may sue you. The online commerce giant sued three sellers today for using sockpuppet accounts to post glowing but phony product reviews.
In this video from the Recode conference, an interesting reveal of what Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos thinks of the legal battle between Peter Thiel and Gawker, with Hulk Hogan as a most unfortunate proxy. Bezos is full of surprising insights here, and offers Thiel some tough love.
The only effective defense public figures like Thiel have against their critics, says Bezos: “Develop a thick skin.”
Publishing is in a weird place: ebook sales are stagnating; publishing has shrunk to five major publishers; libraries and publishers are at each others' throats over ebook pricing; and major writers' groups are up in arms over ebook royalties, and, of course, we only have one major book retailer left -- what is to be done? Read the rest
A federal judge ruled that Amazon is responsible for billing parents unauthorized charges that kids made within apps, the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.
Amazon's Kindle Unlimited service allows subscribers to download as many books as they want, and then pays writers based on the number of their pages that readers have read. Read the rest
Amazon's Kindle devices run a custom version of Android that, until today, supported full-disk encryption. Now they don't. Read the rest
Eric Springer is a former Amazon engineer and a heavy AWS user. He's posted a long, terrifying explanation of how identity thieves have been able to repeatedly extract his personal info from Amazon's customer service reps by following a simple script. Read the rest
Amazon is advancing its drone program with great speed. This is not a joke. Say goodbye to the brown trucks.
Fiverr.com is a website where people will do all sorts of things for as little as $5. People will draw illustrations, fix problems with website code, promote things on their blog, or compose a podcast jingles. Some people offer to write a 5-star review for any book or product on Amazon for $5. It is against Amazon's rules to write shill reviews, and now more than 1000 alleged shill reviewers are getting sued. Amazon has sued websites that offer shill reviews in the past, but this is the first time the company has gone after individuals.
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Court documents say Amazon conducted an "extensive investigation" into the Fiverr users. It claims some tried to dodge Amazon.com's review controls by posting from different accounts and IP addresses.
"In at least one instance, the seller of a 'Verified Review' was willing to receive an empty envelop, not the product itself, simply to create a shipping record," the court filing says.
Online retail giant Amazon just launched a marketplace for handcrafted goods: Handmade at Amazon. It's “an arts-and-crafts bazaar online that squarely takes aim at a niche but growing market dominated by the Brooklyn-based Etsy,” as the New York Times puts it.
Handmade at Amazon went live early Thursday more than 80,000 items from roughly 5,000 sellers in 60 countries around the world. They're launching with only 6 categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby.
Crafters can sell their crocheted pants or 3D-printed succulent cozies on the new Amazon marketplace, just as they've been able to for years at Etsy, a $2bn-a-year business .
Amazon's business is a lot bigger: $75 billion in annual sales. And Amazon's is growing, while Etsy appears to be challenged. One recent change at Etsy that allowed sellers to outsource their production to others is seen by many as a move away from its maker/seller roots.
Amazon, on the other hand, promises “Genuinely Handmade.” In the launch announcement, Amazon emphasizes that everything will be “crafted and sold directly from artisans.”
“We only approve artisans whose products are handcrafted,” said Amazon in a statement. “We are factory-free.”
Them's fighting words. Is this the end of Etsy as we know it? I hope not, I love Etsy.
Here's the full Amazon press release. And here's a snip from the Times story:
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Amazon will start out with six categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby — Mr.
The Kindle Fire comes with a SDXC card slot that outclasses every other tablet in its price range, accommodating storage cards that can hold as much as 128GB of media -- but it won't read ebooks from the slot. Read the rest