Amazon is suing more than 1000 people for posting shill reviews

a367201e0946d86e2063019787a78c8974059169 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.

From CNN:

Court documents say Amazon conducted an "extensive investigation" into the Fiverr users. It claims some tried to dodge'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.

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Amazon launches “Etsy-killer” Handmade at Amazon, a marketplace for handmade goods


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:

Amazon will start out with six categories — home, jewelry, artwork, stationery and party supplies, kitchen and dining, and baby — Mr.

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New $50 Kindle Fire won't recognize sideloaded ebooks on SD cards


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

Amazon Prime is on sale today only for $67/year

Today, Friday, until 11:59pm PT you can sign up for an Amazon Prime subscription for $67. I use the hell out of Amazon Prime's free two-day shipping on everything from huge boxes of toilet paper to books and records to holiday gifts shipped to family and friends. They should set up a distribution facility at the bottom of my driveway. My kids also take advantage of Prime Video streaming of movies and TV shows on our tablet. (Amazon Prime also includes unlimited photo storage, streaming music, and free Kindle books, but I've never tried those features.) For the usual $99/year, my family absolutely gets our money's worth. It's a steal for $67/year. Amazon Prime Read the rest

Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others join to create royalty-free video codecs for all

The group plans to develop a new generation of royalty-free open source digital media formats for video, audio, and still images.

Amazon cutting back on making consumer devices, reports WSJ


After failed smartphones and other gadgets, Amazon's laying off people who work on consumer electronics. Inc. flamed out with critics and consumers last year in its first attempt at a smartphone. Now, rather than forge ahead, as it has with other projects, such as its Kindle tablets, the online retailer is retrenching.

In recent weeks Amazon has dismissed dozens of engineers who worked on its Fire phone at Lab126, its secretive hardware-development center in Silicon Valley, according to people familiar with the matter.

For Amazon to quit, it must be very sure there's no place for it in whatever business it's muscled in on.

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NYT report: Amazon is hell to work at


The New York Times exposes a brutal, cultlike environment of midnight phone calls, mind-numbing jargon and sadistic management. Read the rest

Apple and Amazon spend big bucks to keep Cook and Bezos out of harm's way


Apple spends nearly $700,000 to protect Tim Cook, Read the rest

How Amazon became a larger company than Walmart

The plain truth, courtesy of anchor John Potter of KTVN in Reno. Read the rest

Amazon finally "bigger" than Walmart

Amazon's value on the stock market surged past Walmart's last night—a long-expected sign of changing times that will nonetheless generate a lot of pageviews today. Read the rest

Brace yourself for Amazon Prime Day 2: Electric Boogaloo

Watch this fun parody of Amazon's much-mocked Prime Day.

Amazon Fire Phone for $159, includes one year of Prime


On June 23, I posted that an Amazon Fire Phone (32GB, Unlocked GSM) was selling for $179. I almost bought one, because it includes a year of Amazon Prime, which I pay $100 per year for. That meant the real cost of the phone was $79.

Today, Amazon is offering the same phone for $159, including the same one year of Prime deal. That did it for me. I bought one. I'm going to use it as my international travel phone (my iPhone is locked by AT&T so I can't use another carrier's SIM card) and a replacement phone for when my daughter drops her iPhone in the toilet. Read the rest

Amazon will pay authors based on number of e-book pages read


Authors who self-publish through Amazon’s KDP Select Program will start getting paid based on the number of book pages that are read, as opposed to how many books are borrowed through two different Kindle services. Read the rest

The fate of the big box store


What happens to all the Wal-marts when we have every last Q-tip droned in from Amazon warehouses? Read the rest

Amazon will finally start paying tax in the UK

The company will abandon the pretense that its UK sales are consummated in Luxembourg and that the money floats in a state of taxless grace in the middle of the Irish Sea. Read the rest

Amazon drops "Boy" and "Girl" categories from toy listings

Amazon's toys category is no longer sorted into "Boys" toys and "Girls" toys. Read the rest

Stream Season 1 of Transparent FREE today only (24 January)


If you have not seen it yet, you can enjoy the first season of Amazon's hit series Transparent for free today, Saturday 24 January. A great way to spend your Saturday afternoon or evening! Read the rest

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