The headlines read loud and clear, “Trump says he’ll ‘bring fairness’ to Big Tech via an executive order if Congress doesn’t take action.” But can an Executive Order really bring a sudden change? Can it deter people from browsing Google, from buying Apple products, from ordering groceries, books etc from Amazon, or stop using Facebook, Whatsup or Instagram?
For over a year now we have been discussing the unethical behavior of hundreds of thousands of 3rd party sellers on sites such as Amazon, Walmart and eBay who pay large scale review companies to post fake 5-star reviews on their products (and fake 1-star reviews on their competitors products) to improve their chances of fooling the average person into believing their products are better than they actually are.
The popularity of e-commerce solutions is expected to enhance the AI in Supply Chain Market in 2020. The ICT industry reports are produced by Market Research Future, which highlights market options for expansion. A 37 % CAGR is projected to bolster the market in the coming period.
Coronavirus has been on every news channel and every online outlet, as many US States are under voluntary 14 days self quarantine and shelter in place orders.
The major developments around the Globe related to coronavirus:
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day shutdown would begin March 25th extending restrictions to the entire nation of more than 1.3 billion.
- The Tokyo Summer Olympics have been postponed until 2021.
- The rate of infection in New York is doubling every three days, with confirmed cases topping 25,000. More than 50,000 cases have been confirmed nationwide.
- The number of confirmed cases around the world passed 400,000, suggesting that the global pace of infection continues to increase. Italy reported 743 new deaths, bringing the country’s total to 6,820. France became the fifth country to mark more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths.
There is no day which does not bring more news of restaurants, stadiums, and artistic programs being cancelled and closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. These disruptions can lead to unemployment for millions and the bankruptcy of hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized companies.
Larry Tesler, creator of the cut, copy and paste functions, died Monday of this week at 74 years old. The former Xerox employee was famously poached by Apple during its early stages before working for Amazon and Yahoo. Lawrence Gordon Tesler studied computer science at Stanford University and, after graduating, he ventured into investigating artificial intelligence, as well as the interaction between computers and people.
US Engineers and researchers developed a new means of ensuring privacy in the 21st century, which is saturated with technological threats, on the eve of the Chi Conference On Human Factors in Computing Systems 2020, which will take place in Hawaii on April 25-30. The ACM CHI Conference is generally considered the most prestigious in the field of human–computer interaction and is one of the top ranked conferences in computer science.
The shift to public cloud providers such as AWS offers many advantages for companies. According to Your Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy, the conversation starter for cloud adoption is almost always cost savings. For many companies, this means trading the old model of heavy capex for capital to invest in data centers and servers upfront to a variable expense model of pay-as-you go.
At a time when US stock markets were making a sharp loss last Friday while the S&P 500 index falling at its worst since October last year, American businessman Jeff Bezos was making a fortune. By the end of last week, Bezos ‘fortune amounted to $124.2 billion, up $7.9 billion from Thursday. Amazon’s shares rose by 7.4% after quarterly results in the fourth quarter of last year that exceeded analysts’ expectations.
UN experts on Wednesday called for an investigation into the hacking and subsequent theft of private and confidential information from the cell phone of Amazon founder and president, Jeff Bezos. The phone was reportedly hacked after he received a WhatsApp video message from an account linked to Saudi crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman.
These days online shopping has become part of many regular shopping habits in many households around the globe. It is supposed to simplify and save time compounded with convenience. With the emerging of the virtual assistants like Alexa, it is even easier. Being an Amazon prime member, the convenience of free guaranteed delivery within 48 hours and in some instances 24 hours is an attractive shopping method.
Government support for digital transformation is one of the prime factors for the significant growth of payment platforms. The Global Payment as a Service Market was valued at $4.27 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach $14.37 Billion by 2024 growing at a CAGR of 23.20% during the forecast period 2019–2024.
There is no denying that AWS dominates the public cloud scene. In particular, according to Gartner’s 2019 report on the IaaS public cloud market, AWS owns 47% of the public cloud infrastructure market. That is almost half the total market share. AWS’s closest rival is Microsoft Azure, with 15.5%. With such impressive numbers, it is not a shock that AWS certifications are the hottest certifications in the IT field at the moment.
In our first article we explained why Amazon, lead by Jeff Bezos, has or soon will pass Bernie Madoff as the largest beneficiary of the biggest dollar scam in history. We also reviewed how brazen the fake review market is for companies on the Amazon platform (we have not seen any fake reviews offered on Ebay or Walmart), and we highlighted four fake review farms. If you found it shocking that fake review providers are shamelessly and publicly selling their wares through websites, advertising, Twitter and on videos– then the next 11 companies we’re going to spotlight (bringing the total to 15) should prove how widespread this scam is. Remember Amazon and our government bragged about taking down a single fake review ring in 2016 that resulted in the shutdown of three merchants.
The amount of fake review consumer fraud on Amazon is massive and shocking. The truth is, no single company benefits more from this massive fraud than Amazon.com. The Jeff Bezos company doesn’t use their monopoly powers in the traditional way to create higher prices. Instead, they knowingly choose more unscrupulous ways to advance their dominate market position, but always using their size and reach to ensure other companies in the marketplace are forced to react to their leadership.
We believe the Ebanel pain relief product with both Ultra-Potent Hemp Extract and Menthol is unethical and illegal under the rules of the Federal Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has not approved hemp or cannabis products.
The FDA has not approved this use. Hemp extract can not be included with any FDA active ingredient, or an FDA approved use like “pain relief.” For example menthol is considered an FDA active ingredient for pain relief. All pain relief products with menthol must work under the FDA regulatory umbrella.
Ebanel has more than doubled their fake reviews on a single product, literally overnight! Just look at the photo’s. Thursday evening their spray product was struggling with a slowly sinking score (despite a load of fake positive reviews!). As part of their product launch strategy, they gave their spray an immediate fake review boost by claiming it was a size and color variation on their cream product. We believe Amazon forcibly separated the two products after complaints of malfeasance. As a result, Ebanel’s fake review count went down significantly and so did their score on that spray product.
So what did Ebanel do? In addition to slowly adding fake reviews to the spray, they went back in a few weeks later and recombined the products!
After we sent our last article to the Department of Justice, they have responded. So we will be coping them on all of our future articles. We have made a claim that Amazon discriminates against both against US and honest businesses; that Amazon gives an asymmetric and unfair advantage to known and documented cheaters and/or offshore companies that use large scale fake reviews from day one.
US President Donald Trump accused his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron over the digital service tax, hinting that he would impose a tax on French wine in the United States in return. Trump expressed displeasure from his Twitter account Friday over French plans to tax multinational technology companies such as Google. The French authorities have justified this tax because such companies pay little or no taxes at all in the countries where they operate.
We have written news articles about Amazon. No matter how bad and dishonest the paid, fake reviews became on their marketplace website, Amazon persistently responded to our complaints by sending us their guidelines and continuing to make public statements such as:
“One unauthorized review is one too many.”
“Any attempt to manipulate customer reviews is strictly prohibited at Amazon.”
“Small and medium-sized businesses are thriving with Amazon.”
We have repeatedly submitted factual evidence and documentation of the systemic use of fake reviews directly to Jeff Bezos at Amazon, and no matter how bad the documented malfeasance is, Amazon just skirts the issues.
After a good deal of anticipation, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday it was opening a broad and sweeping antitrust review of some of Big Tech’s biggest firms. While the department didn’t mention any names, the Wall Street Journal reported it was acting on “new Washington threats” from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. It is the boldest action yet against the Silicon Valley giants, and comes off the heels of a rocky week on Capitol Hill. The announcement is sure to attract praise from the likes of both Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)— for different reasons.
Matt Drudge gave a speech before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in 1998. He was already deemed an internet leader in both news and aggregated news distribution. His Drudge Report challenged the ethos of the newspaper society, which was just the beginning of dynamic revolutionary change in the news world order. The Drudge Report made friends, added enemies, created new futures and helped forced everyone in the industry to change many times over in order just to stay relevant.
We reviewed Travelamo this week. We have found that companies are often the most egregious users of fake reviews during a new product launch. We reviewed the Travelambo Leather Business Card Holder Case for Men or Women Name Card Case Holder Magnetic Shut (Napa Red Wine) on Amazon.
This week, Durig Capital provides a brief update on 99 Cents Only Stores LLC, a deep discount retailer whose bonds we have reviewed in the past for our Fixed Income 2 (FX2) High Yield Managed Income Portfolio. 99 Cents Only Stores has recently been challenged by its outstanding debt obligations. Here are some of the highlights:
Deep discount retailer 99 Cents Only Stores recently completed an arrangement with creditors which would eliminate many of their short term debt obligations.
Debt to equity swaps are a common method companies use to improve liquidity.
Under the newly agreed upon terms, 99 Cents Only Stores will issue common and preferred stock for some of its outstanding debt.
Recent Financial Statements
We went through the reviews of Wewgo Ball Bearing 608-2RS and they had an incredible rating of 4.4 stars by Amazon. For this very high rating they were awarded an Amazon Choice Badge.
Having 4.4 stars made everything about this product look great, but there’s one major issue: The reviews were bought. Worst yet, over 70% of the total reviews for the Wewgo Ball Bearing 608-2RS were fake. Wewgo is another cheater! It appears everything about Wewgo was set up from day one to be a consumer scam, more on that later. Wewgo never deserved the Amazon Choice Badge. We’ve asked Amazon publicly to remove fake advertisers /reviews from their platform but after many complaints about Ebanel (so far the most successful at being a serial perpetrator of consumer fraud), they haven’t even removed the Amazon verified fake reviews or Amazon’s Choice Badge!
The cloud wars are becoming a duopoly with Microsoft operating their Azure division and Amazon offering the public their Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Amazon has first leader advantages and works in the fastest growing part of the cloud where they focus more on start ups. Amazon advertises heavily to make sure people know it’s a lower cost provider. The AWS business segment has been growing at an annual rate of 43-55% for the last three years and grew 41% last quarter alone. This is Amazon’s largest margin business.
- Amazon to Walmart: U.S. retail giants woke up Thursday to yet another challenge from Amazon.com. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, this time with a call to match his company’s recent increase to a minimum wage of $15 per hour. “Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us…It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone.”
The Numbing category on Amazon is rampant with fake reviews both positive and negative. Nowhere could we find a worse perpetrator than Ebanel Laboratories. After an in depth review of thousands of potentially false reviews, positive on their products, negative on their competitors, we filed a complaint to Amazon, and wrote an email directly to Jeff Bezos about Ebanel.
Amazon emailed us back on March 26th 2019.
- Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: “Meanwhile, far-left activists succeeded in forcing Amazon to abandon plans to create a second headquarters in the New York City area, which would have brought 25,000 jobs and injected billions of dollars into the local economy. Where has common sense gone?“
- Endeavor currently offers streaming for the NFL, NBA, UFC, and Euroleague. In announcing the launch, the newly formed division has added new clients WWE and their WWE Network, one of the largest sports-entertainment OTT platforms in the world.
- The combination of IBM and Red Hat, it’s a game changer. IBM will be the undisputed No. 1 leader in hybrid cloud tech.
- Microsoft just leapfrogged Amazon with $8.5-billion in cloud revenue last quarter, opening a decisive lead over Amazon as the world’s leading enterprise cloud provider for the past 12 months.
- AWS retains its title as the world’s biggest cloud provider, but the position is not going unchallenged by the likes Microsoft and Google third quarter market analysis shows.
- IBM with it’s biggest software acquisition ever, could potentially be the new sheriff in town. With this elevated profile in the cloud landscape, IBM now offers a more compelling alternative to Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) , and Alphabet (GOOGL).
- Dark clouds are on the horizon for Google: An outage at YouTube highlights the unknown technical risks faced by cloud providers like Google. Investors know clouds are economically efficient, and large companies that can afford cloud infrastructure now dominate the global economy.
- OPINION: The true lesson of IBM’s move for Red Hat: Open-source has truly arrived. After years of wondering whether companies could make money on freely available software, hybrid-cloud infrastructure has solidified open-source’s role in tech.
Companies with stocks list in this report are Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN) and Facebook (FB)
- Netflix to report Q3 revenue Tuesday after the close — the consensus is for revenue of $4.23 billion (up 29%) and EPS of $0.50.
- Amazon wants to dominate global streaming, there is little Netflix could do about it. On paper Netflix is a big fish with a market value of $154bn, but Amazon became the second company to reach a trillion-dollar valuation.
- Generation Zs top brands: #4. Netflix # 3. Oreo #2. Doritos # 1. YouTube, with at Amazon at #11 and Facebook at #39.
- Bearish bets against Netflix have more than tripled this year to an all-time high, according to data.
- Disney has four times as much revenue and twelve times as much net income as Netflix. With Netflix’s outstanding growth rate, there’s no question that investors should pay much higher multiples for Netflix, but the question is “how much higher?”
- Netflix’s fast-growing, big-spending ways suddenly don’t seem so ironclad. Investors wonder whether a maverick giant is about to facing its own disruption.