astroturfing posts on CNET

astroturfing

The 404 1,349: Where we white-out the Web (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- New law lets teens delete digital skeletons.

- "Dumb and Dumber" sequel in production: Jeff Daniels, Jim Carrey share photos from set.

- Netflix launches Spoilerfoiler to stop Twitter from spoiling "Breaking Bad."

- Companies to pay $350,000 fine over fake online reviews.

- "Safe texting zones" coming to a New York state highway near you.

- Spoof advertisement fools Apple fanboys into dunking their "waterproof" iPhones.… Read more

The 404 1,118: Where we've got the right stuff (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Study finds "about one-third of all consumer reviews on the Internet are fake."

- Why investors (but not consumers) love LinkedIn.

- Meet the people who comment on porn videos.

- Religious sites have more Trojans than naughty ones.… Read more

The 404 1,074: Where it's not you, it's us (podcast)

The new Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display announced earlier this week just got an Editors' Choice review on CNET, but some die-hard tinkerers are upset about the lack of upgradeable components inside. According to iFixit.org, the latest MacBook Pro is the least reparable Apple laptop to date.

For starters, users are locked into the amount of RAM they choose at the purchase date, as the memory is actually soldered to the logic board. The proprietary solid-state hard drive is staying put as well, and watch out for a couple of booby traps concealed underneath the lithium-polymer battery! The laptop certainly remains incomparable in terms of display, I/O ports, and chassis, but keep in mind that your upgrade options down the line are severely limited if you go with this model.… Read more

Microsoft, Nokia linked to comments on negative Lumia review

Microsoft and Nokia have been linked to the posting of astroturfing comments on a negative Nokia Lumia review.

The review of the Nokia Lumia 800, posted on the Indian Web site Moneylife.in, was based on the technical specifications rather than hands-on experience with the Windows Phone device. The review concluded that "Although Nokia sees its Lumia 800 to be a competitor to Apple iPhone [sic], it is nowhere near the niche product. In fact compared with iPhone, the Lumia 800 can be termed as 'noPhone'."

Many commenters were unhappy with the review. However, the tenor of the … Read more

The 404 774: Where we survive the test of time (podcast)

Are viciously negative Yelp reviews putting an unfair stigma on small businesses? Today's two-part episode of The 404 Podcast weighs the effect of crowd-sourced review sites like Yelp and Zagat on independently owned establishments, and asks the question: will future generations understand topical shows like "The Simpsons" and "30 Rock?"

Part one: this insightful article in The Atlantic magazine questions the legitimacy of online reviews and the misplaced responsibility that Yelp bestows on citizen journalists with little or no training in voicing their opinions.

The piece calls out six distinct types of crowd-sourced reviewers who make us all look bad. Our least favorite is the "Hater's Ball," but we prefer to call them trolls--people who make scathing, borderline vindictive criticisms online about the most minor offenses at restaurants that they would never voice in person.

How many negative Yelpers do you think actually call the manager over after a meal to politely voice concerns? Most of the time, Yelpers don't think about how a single bad review can springboard a series of negative press that could potentially shut down an independent business, so make sure your complaints are legit before you post!

Don't forget that there are always real people behind the keyboard...and sometimes they have access to weapons.

Part two: This Salon.com article raises an interesting question about future generations understanding the pop culture references in topical television shows like "The Simpsons" and "Glee."… Read more

The 404 765: Where we dare you to give us a mature rating (podcast)

Our guest on today's episode of The 404 Podcast is Russ Frushtick, the games and tech editor for MTV Multiplayer, but the ESRB has assigned him an AO rating for Adults Only, so he won't be visiting Australia anytime soon. Similarly, Australia also refuses to welcome the latest Mortal Kombat game due to excessive violence.

The real story, however, is Australia's outdated rules for video game classification that currently only accommodate a maximum MA15+ rating, so video games that surpass these limitations are automatically banned in the country.

Since Australian adults still have access to mature media in its other myriad forms, it doesn't make sense that local gamers can't also enjoy video games with similarly "explicit" content.

And speaking of risque video games, a U.K.-only Nintendo Wii title is promising "flirty fun for all" with its latest adult-friendly release, called We Dare. The trailer for We Dare illustrates gameplay in the form of four consenting adults using the Wii remote to control virtual versions of party games like Spin The Bottle, Kiss Under the Mistletoe, and the ever-popular Take Off Your Clothes.

The We Dare trailer is a perfect example of vendors using viral marketing to hype up the release of video games that may not be as fun as the videos suggest.

The Dead Island trailer is making similar waves for two reasons: because of its graphic nature that makes sensitive babies like Wilson and me squirm, but also because it doesn't show footage of actual gameplay in Dead Island.

Game previews often show cut scenes or, worse, videos exclusively created for the trailers, which leaves plenty of gamers feeling cheated when the gameplay doesn't even come close… Read more

BOL 1021: Bird-eating blob

While Yahoo and Microsoft are flirting again and video game sales are plummeting, it doesn't matter. We are all going to be eaten soon by the blob of organic material floating by Alaska. It ate a bird, people! Get with it! Seattle is next. Oh and we can film our demise with the first 3-D webcam. So that will comfort us during our demise.

Subscribe now: iTunes (audio) | iTunes (video) | RSS (audio) | RSS (video) EPISODE 1021

Yahoo, Microsoft finally near deal http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10289209-56.html

Video game sales revenue plummets 31 percent http://news.cnet.com/8301-10797_3-10289207-235.html

Games Industry Suffers From Recession, Finally http://technologizer.com/2009/07/16/games-industry-suffers-from-recession-finally/

Blu-ray celebrates 91 percent sales increase for first half of 2009 http://www.engadget.com/2009/07/16/blu-ray-celebrates-91-percent-sales-increase-for-first-half-of-2/

Possible Twitter lawsuit would dive into murky blog waters http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135606/Possible_Twitter_lawsuit_would_dive_into_murky_blog_waters

Cosmetic surgery co. gets slapped for fake online reviews http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/07/cosmetic-surgery-co-gets-slapped-for-fake-online-reviews.ars

World’s First 3D Webcam Tested http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/09/07/16/2213224/Worlds-First-3D-Webcam-Tested

New Air Force BACN system ends incompatibilities between comm systems http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/07/air-forces-universal-translator-has-everybody-talking/

New DVDs For 1,000-Year Digital Storage http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/09/07/17/1213203/New-DVDs-For-1000-Year-Digital-Storage

Huge Unidentified Organic Blob Floating Around Alaska http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/07/16/1421255/Huge-Unidentified-Organic-Blob-Floating-Around-AlaskaRead more

Comcast hits the snooze button

Cable giant Comcast seems to have moved on from its anti-BitTorrent filtering, and now appears to be engaged in a fairly low-tech astroturf campaign--which one commentator has called a "Denial of Citizen attack."

The Federal Communications Commission held a public hearing at Harvard University yesterday, primarily to discuss the cable giant's widely criticized filtering of BitTorrent traffic.

According to a number of first person reports posted online, as well as eyewitnesses that this blogger has spoken to directly, Comcast packed the room with hired warm bodies, some of which were sleeping. In addition to ensuring that there'… Read more