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The Almighty Buck

Could Amazon Reviews Be Corrupt? 201

adeelarshad82 writes "In the first academic study of its kind, Trevor Pinch, Cornell University professor of sociology and of science and technology studies, independently surveyed 166 of Amazon's top 1,000 reviewers, examining everything from demographics to motives. What he discovered was 85 percent of those surveyed had been approached with free merchandise from authors, agents or publishers. Amazon is encouraging reviewers to receive free products through Amazon Vine, an invitation-only program in which the top 1,000 reviewers are offered a catalog of free products to review. John Dvorak puts up an argument which hints that some of these Amazon reviews may be corrupt."

How Major Film Studios Manipulate YouTube Users 120

An anonymous reader writes "A year before the major movie companies were offered the chance by YouTube to 'block, monetize or track' uploaded copyrighted material, studios such as Disney were already commissioning PR companies to create bogus YouTube users — complete with authentically 'trendy' semi-literate user-profiles, on accounts that appeared to be set up by young and 'edgy' teenagers. These faux 'users' were able to post high-definition videos from copyrighted movies without being penalised or impeded by YouTube's Content ID algorithms, and their posts, deliberately crammed with piracy-related search terms and timed (even to the day, in one case) to coincide with related DVD and Blu-ray releases, sometimes accrue a million and a half hits or more, whilst those of genuine YouTube uploaders fall at the site's Content ID firewall. This article looks at how the major studios have reacted to YouTube in the last four years, and also examines in-depth three such examples of apparent 'astroturfing' involving the theatrical or disc releases of Toy Story 2, Speed Racer and Spider-Man 3."

Dev Booted From App Store For Inflated Reviews 178

An anonymous reader writes "Molinker, a Chinese developer of iPhone apps, has been booted from the App Store after being caught trying to game the App Store review system. It seems reviewers were being paid off with free apps in return for 5-star reviews." This means the removal of over 1000 apps, described in this article as "knock-offs of existing applications."

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