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Free Amazon Products For The Price Of Fake Reviews

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Earlier in 2019, Jessica (not her real name) had “spent” over $15,000 on Amazon for over 700 products – all as a dishonest side hustle.

In the back corner of Jessica’s two-family home dining room is a table with un-reviewed Amazon products on top and up-for-grabs underneath. Jessica’s routine goes a little like this: her boyfriend brings in Amazon packages from their front porch, she takes photographs of the products from the boxes, and while watching TV, she posts thoughtful 5-star reviews (some complete with photos and a video) on the Amazon products.

Full Of Everything

In her home are the most random finds, from Halloween decorations and common house items to more faux leather purses, earbuds, and queen-size inflatable mattresses than humanly needed. Although most are cheaply made, Jessica has given each a 5-star review and proudly points to the items as ones that she “would have had to pay for”. Not that she does a faulty job at quality assurance, but that those companies that sell on Amazon send her products and commission her for the purchases.

What Jessica (treacherously) does helps sellers who are seeking growth in their businesses in two ways: by bolstering their reviews and by elevating their items’ sales ranks against similar listings.

Bribery

To make it to Amazon’s massive scale of inscrutable algorithms and fickle rules, third-party sellers can easily get away with a reliable cheat to get good reviews and a high search ranking – through bribery.

Reaching out to Jessica and other review groups with thousands of dedicated members through Facebook, WhatsApp, or email means giving a specific set of instructions to follow to closely simulate a legitimate-looking Amazon purchase that typically goes like this: look up specific, company-provided keywords to elevate the product’s profile in the search results; purchase a certain product using, in Jessica’s case, her Amazon Prime member account and Amazon Chase credit card, to be labeled as a “verified purchase”; and leave a 5-star review after a calculated amount of time, at least five to six days upon receipt of the items.

The sellers then reimburse the expenses incurred outside Amazon, perhaps via PayPal or with an Amazon gift card, and allow the reviewers’ possession of the items. 

Since Jessica’s credit card is an Amazon-branded rewards card, she also gets extra bonuses for her purchases. Looking at it this way, third-party sellers aren’t the only ones reimbursing her fake reviews – Amazon is in on it, too.

“Inauthentic Reviews”

On BuzzFeed News’ query on how Amazon policies inauthentic reviews, the Amazon spokesperson noted that over 13 million bogus review attempts had been prevented and that it responded accordingly against more than 5 million accounts of review-manipulating sellers. Sly third-party sellers, though, still continue to exploit the blind spots in the system and get away unharmed.

Most Amazon products aren’t really sold by Amazon itself, but by independent third-party sellers. If you ever come across a product with a “Sold by (Store Name) and Fulfilled by Amazon” written below the price, these are merchandisers who get a cut in the sales with their access to Amazon’s customers. In 2018, Amazon recorded a $160-billion spending by customers on items from third-party sellers – an impressive 58% portion of all the site’s sales, which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos doesn’t find delightful.

With thousands of new sellers on the site each day, a Wall Street Journal story in 2018 reported that in every 1/50th of a second, a new product from China was uploaded. As an appeal, comments from these Chinese sellers like, “This will help our small business out a lot!” and “We’re a small family business selling on Amazon” draw in the empathy of reviewers to the small business owners.

This scheme on Amazon’s algorithm gives people the illusion that a product has a crazy sales velocity, making it more search-visible. In addition to reviews largely impacting listings, search ranking also depends on the frequency of sales. The higher the ranking, the bigger the sellers’ monthly revenue.

In Jessica’s experience in fake reviewing, she has rated almost every item five stars, except for a cross-body purse that shipped with a broken magnet, which she rated a three to eventually receive a $20 refund from the seller. Although sometimes there are awful products, they still get the same 5-star rating; she just doesn’t trust health and beauty products on Amazon for her chemist boyfriend’s warnings on toxic ingredients in unregulated products.

Diminishing Returns For The Rest Of Us

This involvement in product reviewing was enough to give Jessica the exposure to the existence of inauthentic Amazon reviews. For other customers, however, the trouble of discerning commissioned reviews from genuine ones becomes present, all while unsuspecting patrons become prey to cheap products with inflated ratings. This display of fraud then diminishes the factor of trust in the site.

Attracting genuine customers to a listing could cost excessive amounts of money without the guarantee of good reviews. To solve this, some desperate sellers engage in treachery. Pattern chief revenue officer John LeBaron inferred, “The cheapest, easiest way to make money is to cheat.”

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Top Three Tech Start-Ups To Watch in 2022

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The enterprise tech startup sector is packed with companies capitalizing on growing demand — even amid the disruptions caused by the pandemic — for tools in the world of big data, devops, cloud, mobility, the internet of things and cybersecurity. 

According to Gartner, global IT spending is expected to grow by 6.2% this year, with total spending  projected to hit $3.9 trillion. The unprecedented acceleration of digital transformation in 2020 to satisfy the move to remote work, changes to education and new social norms presented by lockdowns has largely offset the early hit to IT spending caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite a rocky year, funding hotspots emerged from during the pandemic, with Massachusetts in the US, India, Indonesia, Israel, Australia and New Zealand, France, Belgium, and Brazil all reporting above average levels of funding.

“COVID-19 has shifted many industries’ tech-quilibrium,” said John-David Lovelock, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “Greater levels of digitalization of internal processes, supply chain, customer and partner interactions, and service delivery is coming in 2021, enabling IT to transition from supporting the business to being the business. The biggest change this year will be how IT is financed, not necessarily how much IT is financed.” 

In this list, we highlight some of the hottest startups building software and services aimed at large enterprise customers, who their customers are, their funding so far and how close they might be to initial public offerings (IPOs) or acquisition in 2022.

  1. Cockroach Labs

Cockroach Labs is a software firm that develops commercial database management systems. Founded in 2015 by three ex-Google employees, it’s best known for CockroachDB, a cloud-native, distributed SQL database that provides “next-level consistency, ultra-resilience, data locality, and massive scale to modern cloud applications.”

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Cockroach Labs saw its revenue more than double in 2020, thanks in part to wide-spread cloud adoption. The startup expects to see similar levels of growth this year and claims to be on track to double its workforce from 200 to 400 employees by the end of 2021.

  1. Cohesity

There are a lot of factors that make Cohesity a ‘hot’ enterprise startup: unique technology, a founder on his second act after co-founding the now public software company Nutanix and $250 million in funding from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. 

The startup was originally pitched as a cheaper way for enterprises to store what it calls “secondary data” — backups, files, test/dev and analytics data — all monitored using a single cloud platform. It has since expanded into other areas of enterprise data management, including analytics, security and rapid recovery.

  1. Confluent

Founded by the creators of open-source Apache Kafka, Confluent is a commercial version of the software that helps developers manage system and application messaging at high volume and add real-time streaming data to their apps. 

Kafka has proved popular with companies like LinkedIn, which uses the technology for activity stream data and operational metrics; Netflix for real-time monitoring and its event-processing pipeline; and Spotify, where it’s used as part of the company’s log delivery system. 

The idea behind Confluent is to make it easier for companies that don’t have a surfeit of developer power to harness Kafka.

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A Beginner’s Guide To Flying Your Drone

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You’ve picked up a drone, congratulations! You have taken the first step into a fun new world. A limitless world with new perspectives and freedoms that come with being un-tethered by gravity, free to travel the skies any way that you choose. Drones can be fun to fly as a hobby, or perhaps you want to create inspiring aerial photography. While this can be a little intimidating at first, with a few simple steps you can take to the skies and master your aerial platform in a safe and controlled way. Today we’ll take a look at some of the important steps and elements that come with flying a drone.

How Well Do You Know Your Drone?

Before going airborne, take a few minutes to become familiar with your drone. Learn about the controls, settings, and discover key information about the battery performance. It’s also a good idea to do some research about air traffic and drone rules in your area.

Even if you have never flown a drone before, you can become a master in a short amount of time with some practice. Many drones offer beginner modes and simulators that allow you to get used to the controls and fly in a safe way, without putting your drone or anyone else in harm’s way. Many of the drones in the DJI lineup offer both a simulator that connects the controller to your phone or tablet and a beginner mode that restricts the drone altitude and speed. These two modes provide a great opportunity for novice pilots to build their confidence before embarking on a full-fledged flight.

Drone Controls

Many drones on the market use a standard controller layout, consisting of control sticks and buttons. While the appearance of some controllers can differ in shape and size, the fundamental controls are the same. For the sake of simplicity, today we’ll talk about the modes commonly found on consumer drones like the Mavic, Phantom, and Spark.

Pushing the left joystick up causes the drone to fly up while pushing the joystick down causes the drone to descend. Alternatively, pushing this joystick to the left and right rotates the drone to the left and right, respectively.

The right stick controls the drone’s heading or movement. Pushing the right joystick up, down, left, and right causes the drone to move forward, backward, left, and right, respectively.

You will most likely also have several buttons that allow you to control the camera. These controls can take photos, record video, tilt or pan the camera, as well as give you access to menus. It can help to learn what each button does before flying.

The drone control layout is quite intuitive and easy to operate. Just be sure to remember which side of the drone is the front, so that you can remember which way is forward and backward. For added safety, keep your drone in GPS mode while flying; so that it hovers and maintains its position if the input to the control sticks is ceased.

Pre-Flight Checklist

  • Check the physical condition of the drone. Look for signs of wear, or cracks in the propellers;
  • Check the rules and regulations for the area you plan to fly in;
  • Check that your batteries are charged and have adequate power for flight;
  • Check that your controller and drone are properly connected;
  • Pay attention to the weather conditions;
  • Check that the immediate area around your drone to determine if it’s clear to take off and land;
  • Check your camera settings. Being able to see what your drone sees makes for safer flight;
  • Be sure there’s a memory card in your drone if you plan to take pictures or video;
  • Announce to anyone close to the drone that you are about to take off;
  • Monitor the drone settings as you fly.

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The Seven Best Healthy Lifestyle Apps To Keep You In Tip-Top Shape!

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A healthy lifestyle is about more than just proper nutrition and consistent exercise. Getting enough sleep, taking care of your body and mind, and managing things like medications and doctor’s appointments also play important roles in staying healthy.

A good app can be a great way to manage it all. That’s why Healthline tested a variety of different healthy lifestyle apps. We chose the year’s best based on content, reliability, and user reviews.

  1. HealthTap

Questions about your health? Browse more than 2.6 million answers from doctors and 700,000 topics and articles about 850 conditions. Ask a question for free and get a confidential answer from a doctor within about 24 hours, or pay to see a doctor immediately.

  1. ShopWell: Better Food Choices

Simplify nutrition labels and find foods that suit your healthy diet with ShopWell. Create a food profile with your dietary goals, allergies, health concerns, and dislikes, and get personalized nutrition scores when you scan a label. Other features include food recommendations and location awareness tips to find products in your local grocery store.

  1. Elevate: Brain Training

This brain-training program is designed to improve your focus, speaking abilities, processing speed, memory, math skills, and more. Get a personalized training program that adjusts the more you use it to maximize your results.

  1. Fabulous: Self Care

Build healthy habits with Fabulous so you can enjoy a healthier, happier life. The app takes a holistic approach that motivates you to be more productive. You’ll maximize energy levels, find more focus, lose weight, and sleep better — just follow the app’s prompts.

  1. Health Pal

Health Pal has all the features you’d ever think to need to keep your lifestyle healthy. From a step counter and diet reminders throughout the day to food and exercise trackers, the Health Pal app is a daily companion tool to empower your journey toward a holistically healthy lifestyle. It houses info on your diet, your fitness, and many other health resources in one place.

  1. Remente – Self Improvement

Being healthy is more than just eating right, drinking enough water, and sleeping well — it’s also about getting your mind right. The Remente app gives you many resources to help search your life for happiness and fulfillment, with goal setting, a daily planning tool for day-to-day tasks and longer-term goals, and written and visual features to help you track your feelings in detailed ways that can help you better understand what brings your life purpose.

  1. Health and Nutrition Guide & Fitness Calculators

Trying to actively diet and lose weight can seem like math when you try to break down macros, parse ingredients, or seemingly calculate every calorie. This app helps you understand how the choices you make about your overall diet, rather than fixating on certain nutrients, affect your health and nutritional intake. It provides detailed information about the benefits of many healthy foods for vegetarians and meat eaters. It also lets you calculate your BMI and other body measurements to see how changes in your diet result in either positive or negative health results.

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