Link roundup March 25, 2013

  1. 9 Year Old Girl RPG Kickstarter … A Pack of Lies?

    She’s the founder and CEO of The Judgment Group, a company that focuses on debt collection. She was featured on CNN Money as part of their list of The Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs. Oops.

    I’ve withdrawn my pledge for this campaign, and I encourage everyone else to do so. After I tweeted about this campaign last week, I’ve noticed a lot of details that add up to a very questionable story. The fact that Susan Wilson is a CEO of a group that collects debt is by itself not very incriminating. There are poor CEOs too, and $1000 is a hefty sum.

    But add to it that she has her own crowdfunding site, that she used Occupy Wallstreet to fundraise before (in a way, running a company that collects debts is not really in line with the Occupy Wallstreet movement), the spammy behavior, casting her sons as villains and not disclosing all the details – just the ones that play on the heart strings of the community – and it shows an ugly picture.

    But even if I was willing to overlook those details, Susan Wilson’s cyber squatting shows a complete lack of ethics that make the above details even uglier.

    Thanks to @IBecameCompton on Twitter for pointing me to this story.

  2. GoPro Issued DMCA Notice to DigitalRev

    DigitalRev lashed out at GoPro for an apparent attack on their use of GoPro’s name and images in a review, but the story went deeper than that.

    well, except that it didn’t: GoPro’s letter clearly states that the offending page is the review page. Either way, this only shows that hiding behind DCMA is a bad thing: you’ll end up looking as the bad guy no matter which way you turn. There must be better ways of fighting “unauthorized resellers” (a term that makes me suspect that this is only the symtom of another problem: your sales organization and business model) than yelling for mom.


  3. My Amazon bestseller made me nothing –

    My novel shot to the top of the site’s bestseller list last summer. You won’t believe how little I got paid

    Remember the author who got a really nice cease and desist letter from whisky brand Jack Daniel’s? Here’s an article in Salon where he writes what he made off the book.

    The problem? He made good money. Being on the top list in the digital age isn’t like being in the top list back when they were compiled by year or month. From what I can tell, mr Wensink made $12,000 for 4,000 copies and was at the top list for a week. That’s $3 per book, which is good.

    Now, mr. Wensink says on Twitter that he’s not as bitter as the article makes him sound, and that he trusts Salon that they know what they’re doing. I’m not sure I do, because this is a Fox News-like tweaking of facts.

    However, if you’re just interested in the economy of things, this is an interesting article – especially the comments.

  4. Will Anyone Create a Killer App for Google Glass?

    Early apps could be evolutionary, not revolutionary, because it’s hard to build a new business when few people have it in their hands, he adds.

    Interesting read about the potential for apps for Google Glass.

  5. The Google Glass feature no one is talking about — Creative Good

    From now on, starting today, anywhere you go within range of a Google Glass device, everything you do could be recorded and uploaded to Google’s cloud, and stored there for the rest of your life. You won’t know if you’re being recorded or not; and even if you do, you’ll have no way to stop it.

    Imagine going to a public urinal, and the guy beside you wears Google Glass. Would you be comfortable?

    This is a very important aspect of the new wave of lifelogging devices like Google Glass or Memoto. We cannot count on legislation dealing with the issues, not without crippling the technology to a point where it’s virtually useless. This is the time for all tech enthusiasts to discuss the problems surrounding ethics and privacy when it comes to lifelogging. And no, “not using the technology” is not the answer, just like “going back to living in caves” isn’t the answer to global warming.

  6. Response: Facebook Reach is the Most Important Performance Metric –

    Let’s say you have a choice to place your ad on two different billboards of the same size, look and feel. The first, on a small road with an average count of 1,000 cars a day, and another situated on a highway with a traffic count above 100,000 cars a day. Which one would you choose?

    This is the only argument here that I don’t agree with. With this logic, it would be better to have a Facebook Page with 100 000 bought likes from wherever, instead of 1000 engaged likes from your own region.

    Other than that, it’s an insightful post, especially on how to measure engagement by using reach instead of total amount of likes.


  7. Google Now For iPhone and iPad ad

    Google Now is deeply integrated into Google’s Android operating system. It’s not clear how deeply Apple would let a service like Google Now embed itself in iPhone or iPad devices. Still, Google Now could approximate its Android capabilities by using push notifications and Apple’s Passbook feature.

    This is the biggest challenge for Apple: others are becoming better at building apps for iOS devices than Apple are. Now, Apple must decide whether they want to go towards more access to core functions (phone, Siri etc) for third party app developers, and lose control of their walled garden but get better apps, or keep control but have inferior apps compared to Android.

    Right now, I don’t use Apple’s calendar (I use Sunrise and Fantastical), mail program (I prefer Mailbox), notes app (Evernote rocks) … it’s actually easier to list which of Apple’s core apps I do use: Safari, the phone app and the messaging apps.

  8. Crowdfunding your launch in a new market

    Everlane is crowdfunding their Canadian launch, to gage and raise interest. I love how they think.

  9. How times change …

    (via Photo by todayshow • Instagram)


Photo Credit for header image: Julia Manzerova via Compfight cc

Link roundup February 17, 2013


  1. Google Could Pay Apple $1 Billion Next Year To Remain Default Search Engine On iOS, Report Says | TechCrunch »

    Google could pay more than $1 billion in 2014 to remain the default search engine on iOS.

    Now this is big business. And it says a lot about how much iOS users are worth to Google, if they’re prepared to pay that much.

  2. The next 10 years in mobile | TechCentral »

    Nokia reported at MindTrek 2010 that the average person looks at their phone 150 times a day, or once every six-and-a-half minutes of every waking hour.

    This is why something like Google Glass Project will succeed. We’ll quickly grow tired of pulling the phone out of our pocket.

  3. 14,000 people fooled by fake SAS Instagram account | Media Culpa »

    @scandinavianairlines, promised two tickets to New York including 5 stars (sic) hotel to the first 20,000 people that followed the account.

    @kullin does a great job of reporting the latest Instagram scam where people create fake brand accounts promising great prizes to new followers.

    However, I’m not sure that I agree with Hans when he writes

    And for brands, it is always wise to secure the most apparent versions of your brand name on popular social networks. At least that makes it a bit harder for others to use your brand to scam people.

    You should make it easy for people to research your digital presence, but it’s the audience’s responsibility not to fall for tricks like this. Having an account on a network just to protect your name gives an illusion that you’re present there, sort of like having a phone number. When you don’t reply, people will get mad. Also, if people find three instances of your brand on Twitter, which should they mention? My advice would be: make sure you have an official list of your social media accounts and URLs on your site.

  4. f.lux: software to make your life better »

    During the day, computer screens look good—they’re designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn’t be looking at the sun.

    f.lux is an app for your Mac that changes the screen warmth to remove the blue notes in the evening. Since blue light affects our sleep, this is a good thing to use in the evenings in order to allow your brain to start winding down. I’m giving it a try to see how it works.


  5. Facebook Gets a Multibillion-Dollar Tax Break – Businessweek

    Even though Facebook (FB) reported $1.1 billion in pre-tax profits from U.S. operations in 2012, it will probably pay zero federal and state taxes

    … and they will get a tax refund of $429 million. I guess Facebook and Zuckerberg weren’t fans of Warren Buffett and his supporters who wanted to pay their fair share of taxes.


  6. The Amazon Archipelago | Critical Legal Thinking

    Con­trol is abso­lute: the work­ers are under 24 hour sur­veil­lance. They work under guard, they eat at the guards’ behest.

    Is this a report from North Korea? No, it’s from Germany, a well known company’s warehouse. Read, be horrified and demand answers from Amazon.

  7. Subway Restaurant In France Says “Adieu” To Gay Couples On Valentine’s Day / Queerty

    But the owner indicated only male-female (or “h/f” for homme-femme) couples were allowed to use it—and insisted he was within his rights because same-sex marriage hasn’t official passed in the country.

    A Subway restaurant in France refuses a Valentine’s day offer to same sex couples. Subway blame the franchisee and claim s/he’s been “reprimanded” but this shows just one thing: the franchise concept is bad for a brand. Because I as a consumer don’t buy that you as a brand owner can get the benefits, but blame the shortcomings on your business partners. So yes, Subway, I still blame you.

    EDIT: two of my tweeps made me realize that the article says Subway closed that shop. Which is a) swift action and b) Subway taking their responsibility.

  8. Your body language shapes who you are

    This TED talk is great. It’s a simple thing, it takes 120 seconds to do, it helps everyone – and it doesn’t cost anything to implement. You do want to see this!
  9. Facebook May Soon Be Tracking You At All Times

    Facebook is “developing a smartphone application that will track the location of users … even when the program isn’t open on a handset.”

    As always, I’m positive to sharing data on a voluntary basis (for example, on my blog you can see where I am as I share my position through Google Latitude). But I’m sceptical to Facebook monitoring where you are, because I can’t see that the benefit for users outweighs the intrusion in privacy. Add to that that Facebook repeatedly has shown that respect for privacy is more an afterthought than something top of mind.  But Facebook and its advertisers will think this is golden.


  10. A Most Peculiar Test Drive | Blog | Tesla Motors

    On the third leg, where he claimed the car ran out of energy, he stopped charging at 28%. Despite narrowly making each leg, he charged less and less each time. Why would anyone do that?

    New York Times reporter John Broder writes a story about how the Tesla Model S didn’t deliver. The problem for the mr Broder is that Tesla logs all the data about the car, and present them all. And there are things that don’t add up. It certainly seems like mr. Broder already had the story outlined before the test drive. If you’re interested, there’s also a very interesting discussion on Hacker News.


  11. DMCA As Censorship: Site Reposts Articles About Disgraced Researcher, Claims Copyright, Has Originals Removed

    While all of the links to the site in the original DMCA takedown now lead you to a 403 Forbidden error message, it’s pretty clear that the site copied all of RW’s content and then filed a DMCA takedown to get the originals down.

    If you’re at all interested in copyright laws, this is a must read. Anil Potti is a scam, and he found an “online reputation management firm” that uses US copyright legislation against original content creators. This is why I have a real problem with “online reputation management firms”. Unless you’re the victim of some vindictive SEO douche bag, you should be fine if you just follow the golden rule: “be honest and do good shit”.

  12. Seth’s Blog: Open, generous and connected

    fear is the damper on all three. Fear of failure, intimacy and vulnerability. Fear closes us up, causes us to self-focus and to disconnect.

    Seth writes very insightful stuff. This, I loved so much that I’m changing my motto from “Be honest and do good shit” to “Be open, generous and connected. Be honest and do good shit”

  13. AP bans use of words “husband,” “wife” for legally wed gay couples

    Generally AP uses couples or partners to describe people in civil unions or same-sex marriages.

    It’s lucky AP banned ‘homophobia’ first, because that’s what I’d call this reasoning. Now I have to stick with ‘asshattery’.

  14. Yours vs. Mine | Dustin Curtis

    should the interface refer to the user as “your” or “my” when talking about the user’s stuff, as in “my profile” or “your settings”?

    Great thoughts on copywriting for app interfaces.

Photo Credit for header image: Julia Manzerova via Compfight cc goes sexist with Lovefilm

Lovefilm is like a backwater cousin of Netflix. They offer physical mailing of DVD and BlueRay discs with no streaming, and it’s a pretty expensive thing unless you really watch lots of movies. To be fair, the retardedness of Lovefilm is partly to be blamed on the movie industry and their lack of understanding of the value of offering legal, paid for alternatives to access their content through digital means. Just the fact that services like Voddler and Headweb, that offer your to rent and stream movies, have some movies for only a limited time is so stupid that it makes my brain itch. But this is not about that. This is about the marketing of Lovefilm, and how they drag their owners Amazon down into the dirt doing this.

Lovefilm came up with a great idea (or rather, copied a great idea): renting out games for consoles like Xbox 360 and PS3 in the same way they rent out movies. You pay a monthly fee, and you can have a game at home for as long as you want to. When you’re done, you send it back and get another one.

These are examples of their latest promotion of this service:

Sexist ad from Amazon's Lovefilm
The copy reads "Beloved Åsa, I promise to never, never, never buy video games again. Your tiger."
Sexist ad from Amazon's Lovefilm
The copy reads "Beloved Ann, I promise to never, never, never buy video games again. Your hubby."
Sexist ad from Amazon's Lovefilm
The copy reads "Beloved Åsa, I promise to never, never, never buy video games again. Your tiger."

Lovefilm present themselves as a part of Amazon, so the Amazon logo endorses each of these messages. So let’s break this down: the message is that there are no female (or gay male) gamers, and that female have an inherent hate for video games.

I’m sure that both Lovefilm and the agency responsible for this campaign would respond with “We see this as a humorous approach, joking around with stereotypes”. They have obviously missed that the gaming industry, which indeed still is so sexist that the 50’s would be envious, actually is trying to take steps forward. There actually is a growing community of female gamers, games now have female lead characters, and many games are experimenting with a more Torchwood approach to character sexuality.

Whenever an agency uses the excuse “Humorous approach” to enforce a stereotype, my douche bag alert goes through the roof. What they’re actually saying is that “we’re ignorant assholes who can’t come up with a better idea than to enforce stereotypes, but we do it in a funny way so we can blame those who don’t like it for being prissy bores”. This is the problem, because if you, like me, have a problem with this you either shut up and sacrifice your integrity, or you speak up and risk being labelled as the boring, politically correct person.

The funny thing is that I’m not even disappointed at Lovefilm. I don’t expect more from them, they’ve always been average at best. However, I do expect more of Amazon, a company that I like a lot and that I frequently buy from. I’m surprised that they would like their name to be associated with something this stupid and sexist.

Those of you who live in Sweden (and many other European countries) and want to rent computer games on a month-to-month basis should check out OnePlay. It’s cheaper and as far as I’m concerned, more ethical.

Edit: one of the commenters points out that there also were tv commercials created (thanks!). They’re just as prejudiced as the print material (girls don’t like to play videogames). The good thing: they’ve got more dislikes than likes, and most of the comments are critical to Lovefilm’s approach.

Also, Lovefilm’s Nordic Manager has replied to the criticism which I had missed. Just as I said, she says (in PR terms) that “the people who don’t understand us have no humor, and we’re sorry for that”. I’d never consider Lovefilm again, and I’m seriously thinking about minimizing my business with Amazon.

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