Is Amazon Doing Anything To Fight Latest Wave Of Fake, Paid-For Reviews?

Is Amazon Doing Anything To Fight Latest Wave Of Fake, Paid-For Reviews?

Since Amazon began allowing customers to post reviews on product pages, various waves of bogus reviewers have attempted to game the system by posting fictitious or dishonest write-ups. While Amazon has recently taken legal action against people paid to write fake reviews for products, and the site has a ban on most forms of “paid” reviews, there’s a new crop of compensated reviewers who are receiving free or discounted products in exchange for then writing “honest” reviews. But some of these users are writing dozens of reviews a day, sometimes for products they couldn’t possibly have tried. [More]

(Ann Fisher)

1/3 Of American Adults Use Online Ad-Blockers, Few Publishers Try To Stop Them

If you’re one of the approximately 1/3 of American Internet users who employ an ad-blocker in your web browser, we don’t mind, because Consumerist doesn’t accept advertising. Other websites that do depend on ads for their income definitely do mind that customers are using ad-blockers, but they don’t really do anything to stop users. Why is that? [More]

Schefter's Tweet should have been flagged as an ad for Domino's, but someone goofed and failed to mention this sponsorship.

ESPN Admits: Tweets By Adam Schefter & Chris Mortensen Were Unmarked Ads For Domino’s

Plenty of famous people post Tweets, Facebook updates, and Instagram photos where they mention a product or company name that they truly enjoy. But if those celebs are getting paid to slap their name on these messages, they need to be transparent about it. A pair of sportscasters at ESPN apparently missed that memo when they recently name-dropped Domino’s Pizza on Twitter. [More]


New Bud Light Deal Means Active NFL Players Can Be Used To Shill For Beer

Bud Light has been an official beer-like drink of the National Football League for a few seasons now, and ads for Bud Light have long featured retired athletes, but the league had barred the use of any active players in beer commercials. That’s about to change thanks to a multi-year deal between the NFL and the popular beverage brand. [More]

Hulu Finally Offers Ad-Free Option For $12/Month

Hulu Finally Offers Ad-Free Option For $12/Month

The rumors are true — you can now get Hulu (well, most of it) without the ads. You’ll just have to pay more to avoid all those obnoxious, repetitive commercial interruptions. [More]

Hulu May Finally Offer Ad-Free Subscription Option, But It Won’t Be Cheap

Hulu May Finally Offer Ad-Free Subscription Option, But It Won’t Be Cheap

After years of hoping that consumers would eventually come around to the idea of paying for streaming video content that is still interrupted by obnoxious, repetitive commercials, the folks at Hulu may finally be willing to give folks the option of paying for an ad-free version of the service. [More]

Amazon Now Selling Ad Space On Shipping Boxes

Amazon Now Selling Ad Space On Shipping Boxes

Amazon has been using its boxes to advertise its own products and services for years, but now the e-commerce giant is realizing that there might be some money to be made by shipping customers’ packages in cartons branded by paying advertisers. [More]

(Rendering of World Cup venue in Qatar; via FIFA)

Visa, Coca-Cola Respond To Human Rights Concerns About Qatar World Cup; Not Pulling Out As Sponsors

Since the mysterious cabal that is FIFA announced that the 2022 soccer World Cup would be played in Qatar, there have been rumors of graft, concerns about the exceedingly high temperatures, and most importantly multiple reports of human rights abuses at worksites for the new stadiums and other facilities being erected around the country. As more people call on the event’s largest sponsors to pull their support, some are responding, though none are giving any indication that they won’t slap their name on the wildly popular tournament. [More]

Congresswoman Backed By AT&T, Comcast Introduces Bill To Kill Net Neutrality

Congresswoman Backed By AT&T, Comcast Introduces Bill To Kill Net Neutrality

While some members of Congress have argued that the best way to deal with net neutrality is to create a law that guides what broadband providers can and can’t do with regard to data, one legislator from Tennessee — who has received significant money from neutrality’s biggest opponents — has introduced a bill that would kill neutrality and strip the FCC of its authority to regulate broadband as a necessary piece of telecommunications infrastructure. [More]

If you can take your eyes away from the dreamy visage of Shervin Pishevar for a second, you'll notice that little black box on the right hand side touting content paid for by Fidelity without disclosing that it's actually an ad.

Forbes Now Including Advertiser-Created Content On Front Cover Of Magazine

If you thought the demon who goes by many names — native advertising, advertorials, sponsored stories, promoted content, utter bullsh*t — was something that was relegated to the Internet, then go check out the new issue of Forbes, which not only comes complete with some of this bought-and-paid-for crap, but which actually lists it on the front cover of the magazine like it’s just another story. [More]

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]

Expect To See More Ads Pretending To Be Editorial Content

This lovely story -- which grossly overestimates my affection for kale -- is currently sitting at the top of the Buzzfeed homepage. Expect to me 34% more of this kind of crap in the coming year... You were warned.

At the same time as Google is looking to give some sites a way to make money by not running ads, advertisers are ramping up their spending on ads that look like editorial content and can’t be avoided with any ad-blocking plugin. [More]

(Paxton Holley)

Hasbro Looking To Buy DreamWorks Animation Because There Aren’t Enough Toy Movies

For decades, Hasbro products — Transformers, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Jem & the Holograms — have been the subject of TV shows and movies, but now the toy company is reportedly looking to go even bigger with the possible acquisition of DreamWorks Animation. [More]

Beats Headphones Join iPads On List Of Products Banned From NFL Sidelines

Beats Headphones Join iPads On List Of Products Banned From NFL Sidelines

While NFL stars like Colin Kaepernick might love the Beats by Dre headphones they get paid to wear, they won’t be allowed to sport the fashionable headgear on the sidelines of their games, or even around their necks during post-game interviews, thanks to an exclusivity deal reached between the league and Bose. [More]

If Facebook Is Going To Label Satirical Stories, It Should Be Calling Out Ads Posing As News Links

I'm mostly doing this story so I can repeatedly share my Facebook profile photo of an 18-year-old me with a glorious head of 1993 hair.

Facebook began labeling certain shared links as “satire,” as a bit of hand-holding for its less-savvy users who can’t tell the difference between an actual news headline and one written by the writers of The Onion. But what Facebook really needs to do is start labeling so-called “native” or sponsored stories on non-satire sites so that your idiot friends might think twice before sharing a story that is really just an ad for some juice company. [More]

Comcast Makes Money Off Everest University Ads, Even As Schools Are Being Sold Or Closed

Comcast Makes Money Off Everest University Ads, Even As Schools Are Being Sold Or Closed

Earlier this summer, facing lawsuits and investigations from multiple state and federal agencies, Corinthian Colleges Inc. struck a deal with the U.S. Dept. of Education to either sell off or wind-down most its schools, including Everest University, WyoTech, and Heald College. Yet Corinthian continues to plague the airways with ads, enticing potential students into enrolling in schools that may not exist in a few months. And guess who is making money off the ads? The folks at Comcast. [More]

As Facebook begins selling info to advertisers about your browsing habits, it will roll out a feature that lets you see why you're seeing specific ads. Hint: It's because Facebook knows way too much about you.

Facebook Is Now Selling Your Web-Browsing Data To Advertisers

You know how it’s really creepy when you go looking for a new TV online and then go to Facebook and the ad spaces that you typically ignore are now populated with advertising for the very brands of TV you just checked out? Until now, they’ve been the product of third-party ad networks and creepy data aggregators like Acxiom while Facebook itself had kept its hands clean by not selling the data it had acquired about your Web browsing habits. But in an effort to bring you even creepier, more targeted ads, Facebook will now be making more info about you available to advertisers. [More]

Op-Eds In Favor Of Cable Company F*ckery Are Bought & Paid For By Cable Industry

(Dan Century)

Most of media coverage surrounding the net neutrality — or rather, cable company f*ckery — issue raise concerns about the current FCC plan, which would create an unbalanced, non-neutral Internet where the quality of data delivery depends on how much the sender is paying. A number of op-ed pieces have popped up in recent weeks cheering the plan on, or claiming that broadband competition is just fine (hint: it isn’t), but these are just fictions sponsored by the cable and telecom industries. [More]