FTC brings its first case against fake paid reviews on Amazon – TechCrunch
The Federal Trade Commission announced on Tuesday evening that it has brought its first case against using fake reviews to sell products online. The Commission said it will settle with defendant Cure Encapsulations Inc., a New York City-based company, and owner Naftula Jacobwitz, who it accused of making false claims about a weight loss supplement and paying a third-party website to post fake reviews on Amazon.
Fake reviews are a constant nuisance for Amazon shoppers, despite algorithms designed to safeguard its review system, and the company has hit back with a series of lawsuits against websites that offer to post fake verified reviews.
According to the FTC’s complaint, Cure Encapsulations sold pills with garcinia cambogia, a tropical fruit also called brindleberry that is sometimes used as a “natural” weight loss aid. Called Quality Encapsulations Garcinia Cambogia, the pills were sold only on Amazon. Jacobwitz paid a website called www.amazonverifiedreviews.com to post favorable reviews in order to boost its rating.
On October 8, 2014, Jacobowitz sent an email to the site’s operator saying he’d pay a total of $1,000 for 30 reviews, three per day, with the goal of increasing its 4.2 rating to 4.3, which he claimed was necessary in order to have sales. He also wrote that he wanted the product to “stay a five star.” Www.amazonverifiedreviews.com then posted a series of fake five-star reviews praising the pills. The FTC said the reviews made false claims, including that the pills were a powerful appetite suppressant, caused weight loss of up to 20 pounds, and blocked the formation of new fat cells.
The proposed settlement includes a judgement of $12.8 million, to be suspended upon payment of $50,000 to the FTC and certain unpaid income tax obligations. The settlement also bans Cure Encapsulations and Jacobwitz from making weight-loss, fat-blocking, or disease-treatment claims for dietary supplements, food, or drugs, unless they have reliable scientific evidence from clinical trials in humans. They are also prohibited from making misrepresentations about endorsements, including fake reviews, and must tell Amazon which reviews were faked and email customers who have bought the pills to give them information about FTC’s allegations.
In press release, Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said “When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its Amazon ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules.”
In a statement to The Verge, an Amazon spokesperson said “We welcome the FTC’s work in this area. Amazon invests significant resources to protect the integrity of reviews in our store because we know customers value the insights and experiences shared by fellow shoppers. Even one inauthentic review is one too many. We have clear participation guidelines for both reviewers and selling partners and we suspend, ban, and take legal action on those who violate our policies.”
The 5 Greatest McLaren Racing Liveries, Ranked
2018 saw McLaren F1 cars return to an orange livery after many years of alternative color schemes. Many of these additional liveries were attractive offerings and deserve a note of praise. However, there’s just something about the blazing orange McLaren livery that’s special.
In 2018, McLaren went all out to bring this pattern back in style. Unlike the previous year, in which orange highlights made a noticeable impact across an otherwise black car, the 2018 MCL33 was completely orange. To complement the style, sponsorship hues from Chandon (a California sparkling wine producer) blanket the tail and nose wings in deep blues that pair perfectly with the bright and aggressive orange of the bodywork.
In 2018, McLaren not only revamped the exterior style of the car, but the team also introduced a Renault engine to the vessel, doing away with the Honda powerplant that hadn’t yielded the results McLaren was hoping for three years in a row (from the introduction in the black and gray 2015 iteration). The team earned 40 points in the first five Grands Prix alone, and ultimately finished sixth in the 2018 season standings. Even so, the return to an orange livery has largely remained a central fixture in McLaren’s yearly product destined for the track.
[Featured image by Alberto-g-rovi via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY 3.0]
Is ChatGPT Plus Worth The Price?
That brings us to our titular question: should you commit $20 monthly for ChatGPT Plus? If you have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of ChatGPT and are actively applying it to your professional or academic life, then we’d say it’s worth at least trying.
If you frequent the tool, you’ll want to ensure you can access it no matter how many people are using it. Plus, the few seconds you’ll shave off from the quicker response times will pay dividends in the long run, allowing you to get your work done faster and return to your uniquely human life. Lastly, you’ll benefit from its updated dataset and the increased complexity with which it can handle your queries, improving the depth and accuracy of the results you get.
If you’re someone who’s just looking to create the odd scratch of creative content or needs to ask basic questions that don’t rely on technical or ever-changing information, then you should get by just fine with the free version. Just note: ChatGPT is imperfect no matter which version you use, and it’s unlikely to ever reach true perfection, so continue plugging away at your due diligence of fact-checking and polishing its results whenever you turn to it for help.
How To Unsend An Email In Microsoft Outlook
It’s easy, during the course of a long work day, to mistakenly add a name to an email or forget to add somebody who needs to recieve the contents of your message. What Microsoft Outlook offers, then, is the capacity not only to unsend an email entirely, but also to make quick edits to the existing text and send it straight back out.
The next time you make such a slip, here’s how to correct it.
Firstly, double-click the offending email from the Sent tab so it pops out on its own.
Select the File menu, then click Info.
Select Message Resend or Recall.
Clicking those options box will present you with two choices you may not have known you had. The first option allows you to re-send an email if it didn’t reach somebody it was intended for. It’s also possible to amend it, should deadlines, plans or anything else previously communicated change. The previously-sent email, however, remains with any recipients the first time around.
It’s Recall This Message that allows an email to be un-sent. By selecting this, you can either opt for Delete Unread Copies Of This Message or Delete Unread Copies And Replace With A New Message. As demonstrated in the Microsoft Support tutorial, both remove the initial message from the system of any recipients, the latter allowing for customization.
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