Fake Online Reviews

Amazon deletes 20,00 fake online reviews after users profit from five-star ratings. An investigation from the Financial Times alleged that many users were profiting from posting thousands of five star reviews. One reviewer posted a five-star review on average once every four hours. They reviewed over £15,000 worth of products.

Products manufactured by small Chinese brands has many of these reviews to help boost sales. Reviewers would then go on and sell them on eBay. It appears that one reviewer made nearly £20,000 since June. Selling items including vacuum cleaners, laptops, dolls houses and selfie lights.

When contacted by the Financial Times, one reviewer denied posting paid-for reviews. They then deleted their review history from their Amazon page.

Can you trust online reviews?

Items posted were described as “unused” and “unopened” on the reviewer’s eBay page. These were apparently duplicates, they claimed.

In the descriptions for the products on eBay, the reviewer described an electric scooter. This was the same brand that they had reviewed on Amazon – as “hands down my favourite toy”. they went on to claim, they “purchased a second one for my fiancée”.

Two of the ten other top-ranked Amazon reviewers also deleted their history. Another removed their name and reviews, changing their profile picture to an image which read “please go away”.

The Financial Times suggests that nine of the UK’s ten reviewers were engaged in “suspicious behaviour”. “We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence knowing that the reviews they read are authentic and relevant,” Amazon said. It added that it would suspend, ban, and sue people who violate its policies.

Amazon’s community guidelines state that reviewers cannot post content in exchange for compensation of any kind.  This includes free or discounted products or on behalf of anyone else.

Fake Online Reviews

The UK Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into fake and misleading reviews. Unscrupulous sellers are using a range of tactics to evade detection on Amazon to mislead shoppers with fake reviews.

Amazon’s murky world of fake online one-star reviews

Amazon’s marketplace is being abused by independent sellers using fake online one-star reviews to harm rivals, the BBC has been told.

Newsnight spoke to a number of those affected who believe their sales have suffered as a consequence.

A consumer rights champion now wants a UK watchdog to investigate further, as part of a probe into fake reviews that is already under way. Amazon claims to be “relentless” in tackling review manipulation. Even so, some of those targeted believe it cannot eradicate the problem. Third-party vendors have sold more physical goods on Amazon’s site than the US tech giant itself every year since 2015, according to its own figures.

Honest advice from the experts

We are proud to say we are celebrating our 25th year in business. We pride ourselves on delivering nothing but the very best customer service and solutions to our customers whatever the situation may be.

Contact the LIS Help Desk for honest advice for your company’s IT requirements. We won’t advise you to have a repair or upgrade done if it’s not the best solution. Rest assured that using us for your IT support, you will enjoy the latest advice, services, technology and developments in the industry.

 LIS – SECURING YOU DIGITAL WORLD

#technews #amazon #Reviews #ITSupport

 

Cope without the Internet

Part 1: How would you cope without the Internet?

Let us look at a day in a life of a person without the Internet. Believe it or not, it is still possible to function, you just to need adapt to your surroundings. In a recent Metro article, Ike Iwuchuku reports on how he managed to cope without the Internet.

You wake up every morning and start your routine which, for most of us, includes catching up on the news. Whether this is about your friends, celebrities, sports, or current events, it usually begins on your smartphone or your tablet. Even on your commute, you have got a podcast or Internet radio station going.

Once at work, you are sending emails, video conferencing, researching and sending a few texts. Unless you have excessive website blocks at your office, you are probably also checking your social media. Finally, you head home and zone out to some Netflix and have one last browse through social media before going to sleep.

However, what would happen if the Internet vanished? We are not talking as if the Internet was never created. Imagine what life would be like without the Internet. What would really happen if we were not so connected?

Cope without the Internet

Given the amount of time people spend face down in their smartphones, swiping on their iPads
or glued to their laptops, life without the internet seems hard to imagine.

Life without the Internet

Some purists might argue that having no Internet would be the best thing to happen. They are the same people who think it is horrible and that all Millennials do is Instagram all day. They are not entirely wrong. Studies show that such incessant social media use can negatively impact our lives.

Cons of having no Internet

Of course, it is easy to discuss how life would be miserable without the Internet. It would be a lot harder to talk to your friends on a daily (or hourly) basis. But it would take away a sense of community that, for many of us, is vital. This could be anything from fantasy sports leagues or even virtual mental health groups. As a result, we may be more disconnected than ever before. You would have to go to a shop and buy a digital file in person to access new music beyond the radio. Possibly one of the biggest downsides would be the lack of dog or cat photos in our lives.

What are the benefits of no Internet?

On the other hand, being cut off from the Internet might do wonders for our personal relationships. Because we would not have a screen to distract us. We would start to live in the moment. Imagine heading out to a dinner with your friends and having a conversation. Although it still may be about gossip, it would focus on the real world. There are plenty of benefits to a life without the Internet. In particular, it is worth noting that you would get to truly interact with people. The benefits are not just about the time we spend awake. Our addiction to connected devices is ruining our sleep. It is possible in the short term to cope without the Internet.

What would change and how would you cope without the Internet?

News: The way we take in news and information has been impressively quick thanks to the internet. Without it, we would rely on TV programs, newspapers (yes, actual newspapers), and, worst of all, word of mouth. If you think politics has been strange lately, imagine it with even fewer sources of information and no way to verify their credibility. We imagine politics would take a surprising turn, although we are not really sure which direction that would be.

Health: The long-running joke is to never use the Internet for your symptoms. Otherwise you will end up thinking you have five types of cancer and the plague. However, having access to an online directory of symptoms has certainly helped millions. With such platforms, we can self-diagnose with a degree of accuracy. This saves us time and money on health-related costs. Without it, there would be a lot more and possibly unnecessary trips to the doctor. Even still, medical professionals now rely on a connected network to pass along patient data and research conditions. Having no Internet would slow this process down for sure.

Work: Working without the Internet seems like an impossible task. Whether you have an international team or simply advertise locally, the Internet has a profound effect on our productivity. Without it, we would rely a lot more on spoken word of mouth, advertising in print and on TV, and take days to complete even the smallest tasks. Additionally, global commerce would be impressively slow and tedious, if not impossible for some brands. On the whole, scaling as we do in the current market would be all but unattainable.

Commerce: Likewise, our shopping experiences would become drastically limited. In regards to fashion, trends would slow as it would take longer to spread new styles. From there, it would be very difficult for global sales and innovation would suffer. Imagine technology without crowdfunding campaigns (that is not a world we want to live in).

Finances: Having an app to show all our finances in one place is certainly something we take for granted. Without the Internet, you would be back to a standard cheque book and calling your bank to find out your balance. It also means paying bills would take much longer, as banks would also be less connected.

Social life: Hanging out with friends would go back to the methods of yesteryear. You would need to send letters to far away friends or probably get back to paying high rates for long distance calls. Want to make plans? You would better hope your friends remember the event date. However, we would rely on in-person interactions which would encourage us to get out and see each other more often.

General information: Gone would be the days of Google Maps. Researching for a school paper or a project at work would require a library card and some serious effort. Unless we archive the entire Internet and hit print, we would lose a lot of access to information, never to be seen again. Ultimately, our society would suffer from this lack of knowledge.

Law and order: The Internet has been an essential tool to help law enforcement identify and arrest suspects. It is also a powerful method to finding evidence. Having no Internet would certainly take cyber-crime off the table, but it would leave a gaping hole for all new crime. Knowing the limits of CCTV where there is no cloud or digital locks or alarm systems, criminals would be more likely to commit more crimes. At least initially, our society would experience a large spike in crime before new methods could take the place of current systems.

In conclusion

Suffice to say, the Internet has bettered our lives. We can communicate with every corner of the globe. As well as maintaining friendships that were previously impossible no matter how good of a pen pal you were. However, life is about balance. LIS can help you cope without the Internet and make sure you stay connected. We have the Internet at our disposal and have the choice to use it for just about everything. We highly recommend signing off every now and then to connect with those, and the world, around you.

Contact the LIS Help Desk about your broadband and telecoms. We can provide you with super fast broadband, that will make your business more efficient and stay connected with your team. Talk to our experienced team about your phone systems and business mobiles. As well as, saving you money with low cost phone calls.

Stayed tuned to read part 2 of this blog next week. We will take a look at how businesses would cope without no Internet. LIS will help set up a business disaster recovery plan.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#homeless #NoInternet #ITSupport #Business

Driving test website

Driving test website for England and Wales crashes shortly after reopening. DVSA portal had almost 7 million visits in 12 hours when it reopened after several months of suspension.

Driving test website crashes

The BBC reported millions of people were unable to access the site at all or losing their booking part way through the process.

Learner drivers will be unable to book a driving test until Wednesday. Urgent maintenance has started on the website after it crashed at a time of unprecedented demand.

Driving test website

The DVSA said 210,000 driving tests had been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Credit: Alamy

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said its driving test booking service had almost 7m visits in 12 hours. It reopened after several months of suspension during the coronavirus lockdown.

It said on Saturday that it had taken the service offline until 8am on Wednesday. Increased demand on the site led to essential maintenance to keep the site running.

Gareth Llewellyn, the DVSA’s chief executive, said: “Coronavirus has severely impacted our business-as-usual operations, including by stopping driving tests in March. Since then DVSA have only been dealing with applications for emergency driving tests for critical workers.

“Following unprecedented demand for the driving test booking system with almost 7m attempts to book a test when it opened, we need to carry out urgent maintenance so people can book tests. DVSA have closed the booking service until Wednesday 26 August and are sorry for any inconvenience.”

When will the driving test website re-open?

The DVSA driving test booking service for England and Wales reopened again at 8am on Friday after being closed since 20 March. The service received 7 million visits by 8pm. This left candidates unable to complete their bookings. Users received an error message when attempting to access the bookings page.

210,000 tests had been cancelled and tens of thousands more were delayed because of Covid-19, said the DVSA. Learners whose tests were cancelled during lockdown were first invited to rebook in July.

Driving tests in Scotland are due to restart from 14 September, but people are not yet able to book a slot.

IT does not have to drive you mad

Don’t let your IT system drive you mad. We are the IT recovery service for when your website crashes and/or you experience computer problems. Contact the LIS Help Desk today and our friendly team will be glad to offer you assistance.

We can fix your problems, suggest upgrades and manage your back up solutions. With a monthly IT contract, the benefits are endless. Can you afford not to work with an efficient, reliable and knowledgeable IT company. We are only one click or a phone call away. With our help you can drive towards your goals without tests getting in the way.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Websites #Internet #ITSupport #Security

Instagram as a news source?

Every month younger people are using Instagram as a news source

Why are millennials and Gen Z turning to Instagram as a news source? For many young people, clicking on to Instagram to get the latest news is now second nature. We all used to find the latest news in a daily newspaper. Instagram was a site that has traditionally shared lifestyle content rather than hard news. This shift in millennials and Gen Z users, have made news updates more important than ever.

The Guardian published a story this week. They spoke about young people getting information about protests, police actions and stay-at-home orders. Using their social media feeds – but the trend isn’t harmless.

According to recent data on how people are accessing news about the coronavirus pandemic, more than 25% of 18- 24 year olds in the United States reported getting their news from Instagram within the last month. The age group was unsurprisingly the most likely to use social media as a news source in general. Other popular platforms including Snapchat, where 19% of people in the 18-24 age range turned for news. Whilst TikTok drew in 9%.

Instagram as a news source

Instagram features like IGTV (a standalone video app) and Instagram stories could contribute to its surge as a source for news since these features are visually interactive.

The latest trend

The trend toward social media as a news outlet isn’t exactly surprising. It seems to have risen in recent months as people turn to Instagram for information about community-led initiatives surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. Experts suggest such platforms may present a more attractive alternative in an age of growing news-media scepticism.

“Social media offers, on the one hand, a medium for filling what feels like a vacuum of trustworthy information sources,” Amelia Gibson, assistant professor and director of the Community Equity Data and Information Lab at the University of North Carolina, told the Guardian.

Of course, this doesn’t by any means make social media a flawless news source. On platforms where anyone can be a journalist and fact-checking is — at best — optional. Concerns about bias, fake news and misinformation are valid.

“Our social media environments are still so segmented that some people really do live in different information worlds,” said Gibson. “In one information ecosystem, people might read this moment [and current social justice movements] as a hopeful international awakening related to anti-racism, others read it as a time of deep existential threat.”

The solution, according to Gibson, could be in a combination of social media’s ability to amplify voices and social movements, coupled with the journalistic rigor and responsibility of traditional news outlets. “I think that social media has done a lot to push social justice movements forward in the last decade but that traditional media still has a lot of power to command national and international attention.”

Helping businesses stay safe, secure and up to date

We are unable to predict the latest fads, news stories or trends. As a business owner / decision maker, it is up to you to make sure you IT system is up to date and secure. Your team rely on the latest technology to help them with their work load.

Companies working through this tough time have employees working from home and in the office. Your IT system is more important than ever to keep you company running. Contact the LIS Help Desk for a free IT audit. We can advise on hardware and software updates. Recommend the latest security with our anti-spam, anti-virus and office 365 security package. As well as cloud back-up solutions and telecoms.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#News #SocialMedia #Instagram #ITSupport

A summer of music

Good news, Spotify has lifted its 10,000 song cap for online libraries. With the great weather we are having, it’s likely you’ve been creating loads of Spotify playlists to listen to in the garden – we have. You can make a playlist for every mood and occasion! So, start creating a summer of music playlist now! Read the full article written by Simon Cohen from Digital Trends.

Spotify users, rejoice! Today, the music streaming platform announced that their “unlimited library experience” is fully underway, meaning that users are no longer limited to the once-held 10,000-song capacity on personal libraries. This is a massive sigh of relief for anyone who’s had to be picky about what they save and what they don’t for fear of meeting capacity.

In a new community blog post, Spotify said they will be lifting the cap in the coming days after the user request became one of the most popular in their Community Ideas Exchange. Since 2014, the streaming giant says it had received over 12,500 votes to lift the cap.

The limit, which currently affects liked songs and liked albums, meant that it was only possible for users to save 10,000 items in their Spotify library at any one time.

Once users hit the cap, they would receive a message saying: “Epic collection my friend. There’s no more room in Your Library. To save more, you’ll need to remove some songs or albums.” While users will still be restricted to 10,000 offline downloads, online libraries will now be unlimited.

A summer of music

Streaming music is probably a part of your daily life at this point, and Spotify is a great service to do that! Spotify removes 10,000 song cap for online libraries.

Did you know?

Spotify today also published some common FAQs regarding this announcement, check it out below.

Q: Can I like/save as many songs, and albums as I’d like?
A: Yes

Q: Does this impact the offline listening limit?
A: No

Spotify users are able to download 10,000 songs on 5 different devices for offline listening.

Q: Can I add as many songs as I’d like to a playlist?
A: No

This doesn’t impact the current limit of 10,000 items in a playlist.

If you’re still getting the limit message, don’t worry. You’ll get the new experience soon!

We are not able to guarantee you with the best weather this summer. Nor are we able to settle any disputes about which music should be played. However, contact the LIS Help Desk for the latest broadband, IT equipment and support. Our experienced team are here to help your business whether you are working from home or in the office.

Let the sun shine, the music play and enjoy summer!

#spotify #SongCap #WeNeedAPlaylistForThat