A 3.20 carat diamond bracelet is a great way to commemorate a trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico — or so Pamela Gaspard thought. The seller insisted it was genuine, and gave her a “certificate of authenticity” as proof. Continue reading…
Not a day seems to go by that I don’t receive an email that commends me for my “well-written” site and asks, “Do you accept sponsored content and if so, how much you charge?”
These blind queries — they’re so generic that they can’t even bring themselves to address me by name or say which site I write for — are being sent by companies trying to place what’s called “native” advertising online.
Here’s what you need to know about native content: They’re ads masquerading as objective stories. And the practice has become so worrisome that the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates this form of advertising, recently held a workshop to discuss the problem.
But what, exactly, is the problem?
Online reviews are great sources for information about a hotel or restaurant — except when they’re not. Here’s how to spot a fake.
You’re surrounded by fakes. The clothes you wear could be fake. The money you use? Not real, maybe. Even your “friends” on social media are sometimes fake.
What’s a consumer to do?
We’ve had a lively conversation about authenticity during the last two weeks, dissecting the problem of counterfeit electronics and phone cards. But as it turns out, the problem runs much deeper.
Fakes are everywhere.
Ever had a “duh!” moment that you regretted for years to come?
Here’s one: you’re a college freshman living with your grandmother for the summer. You’re running a few errands in town with a friend and you pull into the parking lot of a grocery store. Some guy approaches and offers to sell you a “new” TV, “still in the box”, for just $40.
Ah, your own TV! Wouldn’t that be great? No more sharing the TV with grandma. Can you have a look at it, you ask?
“No, no,” the guy whispers. “Not here.”
Someone is spoofing the accounts of a celebrity’s wife and teenage kids. What’s an IT guy to do when Facebook ignores him?
Question: I handle IT for a celebrity in the UK, and we are having a problem with Facebook that we’re hoping you can help us with. Our client’s wife and two teenage children have set up Facebook accounts under aliases, for security reasons, but lately there has been a spate of fake profiles being made in their real names.
These profiles contain personal and private photographs of the family members and our client. Several of them purport to be our client or a member of his family. As I am sure you understand, this is very distressing for the family and could cause problems, as the power of Facebook to influence public opinion is huge.
We have gone through the online channels of reporting the fake profiles and requesting that Facebook remove them with limited success. Recently the profiles have become more personal and we have e-mailed Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg for help and have had no response. We have messaged the fake profilers requesting that they remove the profiles – again with limited success. Profiles come down, only to reappear a few hours later.
TripAdvisor is a regrettable by-product of the information revolution whose user-generated ratings too often hurt travelers and travel companies more than they help.
As I’ve noted in the past, the company cynically monetizes the labor of its unpaid contributors while making virtually no effort to verify its reviews.
TripAdvisor doesn’t promise its readers much, but the least it can do is to live up to the few guarantees it makes.
Even so, when I heard from Ellen Garland, who charged the company with allowing a hotel in Anguilla to brazenly game its ratings, I didn’t want to go there.