Conde Nast Proudly Using Editors To Write Sponsored Content For Advertisers

Conde Nast Proudly Using Editors To Write Sponsored Content For Advertisers

For quite some time, we’ve been telling you about a particularly pernicious evil that goes by various names — advertorial content, native advertising, brand reporting, branded content, sponsored stories, pure crap — that a growing number of websites have tried to slip past their readers as actual editorial content. The most ethical sites take measures to call these stories out as being bought and paid for, and many sites refuse to taint their editorial process by allowing their staffers to work on this nonsense. But Conde Nast has decided that the best way to use its highly qualified and talented staff is to have them writing shill content for advertisers. [More]

Verizon Nearing End Of Plans To Build FiOS Network

Verizon Nearing End Of Plans To Build FiOS Network

Are you like a lot of people in this country — You want to change your broadband provider but you can’t because the only high-speed option in your town is your cable company? Maybe you’ve been holding out hope that Verizon will bring FiOS to your town so that you’ll at least have something that resembles a choice. We’ve got bad news for you, the company says it’s getting to the end of its current plans to build out the FiOS network. [More]

The Reality Of The KFC Double Down Hot Dog Is Depressing

The Reality Of The KFC Double Down Hot Dog Is Depressing

Nearly five years ago, KFC tried to rejuvenate interest in its menu by going the extreme-food route with the Double Down, a bacon and cheese sandwich with two pieces of fried chicken for the bun. Now the fast foodery is trying to push a hot dog version of the Double Down on its customers in the Philippines, and the results leave a lot to be desired. [More]

Politicians’ Letters In Support Of Comcast Merger Were Actually Written By Comcast

Politicians’ Letters In Support Of Comcast Merger Were Actually Written By Comcast

In the eleven months since Comcast announced that it would acquire Time Warner Cable, numerous local and national politicians have written to the FCC in support of the merger, claiming it will create jobs (in spite of the fact that thousands of employees will inevitably be made redundant), spark investment (even though Comcast could just invest the $40 billion instead of using it to buy TWC), and provide broadband access for the poor (a program that’s been criticized as window dressing), without hurting competition (because there isn’t any to begin with). Many of the letters hit the same points… almost as if they were ghostwritten and the politicians just signed their names to them. [More]

(Christopher Tarr)

Uber Caps Surge Pricing During Juno Snowmageddon (Because It Sort Of Has To)

As those of us in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast prepare to slaughter a tauntaun and seek shelter from the snow in the warmth of its belly, the folks at Uber say they will put a maximum on surge pricing so as to avoid the backlash it has experienced in the past during emergencies, and because it promised it wouldn’t do this anymore. [More]

Scammers Manipulate Lowe’s Receipt-Checking Policy To Steal $80,000 In Tools

Scammers Manipulate Lowe’s Receipt-Checking Policy To Steal $80,000 In Tools

Many consumers don’t like it when stores check their receipts on the way out of the building, claiming it treats all shoppers like shoplifting suspects. But a trio of scammers had no problem showing their receipt at Lowe’s, running a multi-state shoplifting/return scheme for several months. [More]

(Tim Knifton)

Cable Industry Asks FCC To Continue Using Outdated “Broadband” Definition

Currently, a 4Mbps broadband connection — barely enough to stream a single HD movie and insufficient for accessing higher-definition content or for homes with multiple simultaneous data-heavy uses — is considered “broadband” in the eyes of the Federal Communications Commission, though that should change with the FCC’s plan to redefine broadband as the significantly faster 25Mbps, which would acknowledge both the recent improvements in broadband delivery and consumers’ increased use of web-connected devices. And yet the cable industry is fighting to retain the already outdated 4Mbps standard for broadband. [More]

Sprint Offers $350 For T-Mobile Customers To Switch. But There’s A Catch

Sprint Offers $350 For T-Mobile Customers To Switch. But There’s A Catch

Today, Sprint got tired of trying to win over customers from bigger wireless players like AT&T and Verizon, and decided to take a swing at T-Mobile, offering up to $350 for T-Mo subscribers willing to switch and trade in their phones. But there’s something off about the math Sprint is using to compare its plans to T-Mobile’s. [More]

Dear Verizon Customers: Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting For Rollover Data Plans

(Mike Mozart)

While T-Mobile and AT&T have each recently started allowing smartphone users to carry over unused data from one month to the next, customers of the nation’s largest wireless provider shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for Verizon to announce something similar. [More]

(Jimmybionic)

IRS Says Thousands Have Been Scammed Into Paying Bogus Back Taxes

Let’s be honest for a moment and acknowledge that not everyone is 100% honest or accurate when filing their tax returns. There are lots of people out there who wouldn’t be shocked to hear from the IRS that they owe more or didn’t pay enough, which is why thousands of Americans have been scammed out of millions of dollars by con artists pretending to represent the IRS. [More]

(Ken Fager)

North Carolina May Be Next To Get Google Fiber

It’s been nearly a year since Google announced plans to expand its Google Fiber broadband and pay-TV service to new markets around the U.S., but the company has yet to say which of the 34 eligible cities would be the next to benefit from much-needed competition, but there are some indicators that folks in North Carolina may be getting on the Google fiberwagon. [More]

(frankieleon)

3 Mistakes To Avoid When Making A Credit Card Balance Transfer

If, like a lot of people, you’re slowly chiseling away at the debt on a credit card with an interest rate of 15% or more, it’s so tempting to take advantage of a competing card’s offer for promotions like 0% APR balance transfers. And while that may be the way to go, there are common mistakes people make that end up negating the benefits of transferring their credit card balance. [More]

(Paxton Holley)

SkyMall Files For Bankruptcy Because You’re Not Buying Enough Inflatable Movie Screens

The SkyMall catalog has always been good for a chuckle when you have absolutely nothing else to read during a flight and you just can’t sleep. Some people have presumably even bought stuff through the publication, as it’s difficult to sustain a business for 25 years if the only revenue is punchlines. But apparently not enough of us are doing our inflight shopping through SkyMall, as the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. [More]

(Great Beyond)

Some NFL Fans Will Have To Wake Up At 6:30 A.M. To Watch Games Next Season

One reason I could never live on the West Coast — aside from the warrants out for my arrest in every county from Multnomah to Imperial — is that I’d have to wake up before noon on a Sunday to watch football. But today the NFL decided that the entire continental U.S. must wake up early to catch games — or at least the three bouts taking place in London in 2015. [More]

(Taber Andrew Bain)

Wells Fargo, Chase To Pay $35.7M For Allowing Illegal Mortgage Kickbacks

Federal law prohibits giving or receiving kickbacks in exchange for a referral of business related to a real-estate-settlement service, but for four years a now-defunct title company in Maryland provide cash, marketing materials and consumer information in exchange for referrals. And now the banks have agreed to pay more than $35 million — including $11.1 million in redress to affected consumers — for their sins. [More]

T-Mobile's "Zero Down For All" slogan should probably have an asterisk indicating that "For All" means "For everyone who has paid their T-Mobile bill for at least a year."

T-Mobile’s “Smartphone Equality” Targets Loyal Users With Bad Credit

If you have bad credit or no credit history, it can be tough to take advantage of the best pricing plans available from wireless companies — even if that stain on your credit report is years old. Today, T-Mobile said that subscribers with imperfect credit may now be able to enjoy the company’s $0 down-payment perk — if they’ve been loyal and responsible customers. [More]

(Joe M. O'Connell)

Startup Claims It Can Automate Copywriting Process, Leaving Copywriters Time To Finish Their Novels

All that junk promotional mail that ends up in your mailbox or e-mail inbox is presumably written by a human being. But many of these items are just variations on themes that have been played so many times that you could teach a machine how to write them. Which is apparently why some investors are putting their money into a startup that aims to automate the copywriting process. [More]

(Steve)F

Are You Vaping Formaldehyde In Your E-Cigarette?

Formaldehyde may be good for preserving dead bodies, but as a known carcinogen, it’s not really something you want to put into a living body. But when users of e-cigarettes — many of whom ditched smoking because of cancer-causing chemicals like formaldehyde — enjoy their tasty vapor, they may be getting more formaldehyde than they would from smoking a cigarette. [More]