Astroturfers Revisited

Good piece (video) by Jon Ronson about astroturfing: Esc and Ctrl: Jon Ronson investigates astroturfing – video In the second part of Jon Ronson’s series about the struggle for control of the internet, he looks at online astroturfing – when unpopular institutions post fake blogs to seem more favourable. He meets the former vice president …

Continue reading ‘Astroturfers Revisited’ »

The Traffic Light Scam

If true, this is a scam that is going to fuel the conspiracy theories of every driver who feels they were fined unfairly for crossing a red light. Police in Italy have arrested the inventor of a smart traffic light system, and are investigating another 108 people, on suspicion of tampering with the software to …

Continue reading ‘The Traffic Light Scam’ »

The Revolutionary Back Channel

A tech conference appears to have marked yet another shift in the use of social tools to wrest control and flatten the playing field. Dan Fost of Fortune calls it Conference 2.0 but I prefer the term (which Dan also uses): The Unconference Movement. (I prefer it because anything with 2.0 in it implies money; …

Continue reading ‘The Revolutionary Back Channel’ »

The Other American Idols

My wife’s in the other room watching American Idol, and while I’m amazed it’s been going so long, you gotta admire its emphasis on quality and professionalism. And no mention of money (isn’t there something vaguely obscene about a program like Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader where avarice and greed are paraded before …

Continue reading ‘The Other American Idols’ »

The Puppy Love Scam

A few weeks back I wrote about love scams (“You Give Love a Bad Name,” WSJ.com) — how scammers are trawling online dating sites looking for suckers. What interested me about the scam is that in some cases the scammers play a very patient game — luring the mark in over a period of months …

Continue reading ‘The Puppy Love Scam’ »

The Real Conversation

We all keep talking about the idea of conversations — the “market as a conversation” (as opposed to the companies shouting at us to buy their stuff) and, nowadays, as the blogosphere as the manifestation of this. The problem is: A conversation between whom and whom? And, more important, what happens when the conversation starts …

Continue reading ‘The Real Conversation’ »

Old Journalists and New Facts

It’s not hard to see that old-style print media and journalists are still torn over what, exactly, the Age of Blogging means for them. For Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times, it’s part of a our culture’s newfound “enshrinement of subjectivity” — a fancy way of saying we don’t really care whether something’s right …

Continue reading ‘Old Journalists and New Facts’ »

Are Spam Lawsuits A Waste Of Time?

Not everyone thinks the big boys are on the right track by pursuing spammers in the courts. Postini, ‘the industry’s leading provider of email security and management for the enterprise’, says spam “cannot be solved by lawsuits and legislation alone”. America Online, Microsoft, Earthlink and Yahoo announced on Wednesday that they had filed numerous civil …

Continue reading ‘Are Spam Lawsuits A Waste Of Time?’ »

Stopping Spammers and Scammers By Patrolling Their Shopfront

America’s new anti-spam CAN-SPAM Act is a great way to stop spam, so long as the spammer is legit. The problem is, most spammers aren’t. Mass.-based software company Ipswitch Inc. estimate that more than two-thirds of all spam is deceptive, meaning that spammers disguise the links to their website “behind unrelated graphics and pictures, or …

Continue reading ‘Stopping Spammers and Scammers By Patrolling Their Shopfront’ »