There are those who say that leaving ironic product reviews on Amazon is proof that we have ultimately failed in our haphazard pursuit of a higher purpose, but those people would be wrong. What was Jonathan Swift's famous op-ed about eating dead Irish babies if not a proto-Amazon review done in irony? Is the Book of Revelation anything more than a parody of Roman imperial politics and luxury obsession? Anyway, here's a Playmobil playset that Amazon doesn't even sell, and the Freedom Writers are leaving some very biting fake reviews that are probably really more about their unhappiness with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.
First in a series of two essays today on freedom and the Internet. Next: Google, Sci-Fi And The MTA.
Late last Friday, news broke that the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, an online discussion board and community commonly referred to as the WELL, was on the verge of being shut down. Founded in 1985 as a dial-up BBS, the WELL is an enormously important part of internet history, both as a place where things happened and as a model for how discussion and community should work on the web; the comments system below this post owes its existence, in many ways, to the WELL. The site's ethos [...]
Data from StatCounter.
Did you know that most of Firefox's budget comes from Google? That is because Google pays the Mozilla Corporation, the for-profit arm of the Mozilla Foundation, a share of ad revenue gained by displaying Google as the default Firefox search engine. By most, really, one means "almost all": in 2010, 84% of Mozilla's royalty revenue came from Google, and royalties counted for $121 million of the Foundation's $123 million in income. Pretty good sugar.
The agreement expired in November. (It first expired in 2006, was renewed through 2008 and then again through 2011.) The rapid growth of Google's Chrome browser threatened the survival [...]
William Morrow/HarperCollins has pulled Neal Stephenson's brand-new book, Reamde, off Amazon after, one would guess, getting tired of hearing about just how many errors there are in the e-book production. (It's not clean.) Now the e-book version is no longer visible at all to U.S. visitors to Amazon, and appears as "unavailable in the U.S." to mobile viewers. (This was first noticed late last night by Macworld editorial director Jason Snell.) Reamde is #36 in books overall on Amazon this morning, so removal of the e-book, even temporarily, is a serious financial choice. (The Kindle version was #6 on the Amazon scifi list, while the print/audio was at [...]
You know the panicky, paranoid manner in which the Tea Partiers appear to cling to their guns and religion, as if someone really were trying to take them away? For some of us, the same condition of ongoing nerves regarding the encroaching powers of the State comes instead from a V for Vendetta- or Fahrenheit 451-type terror of the State coming after our books. Various States have indeed come after all of these assets, from time to time, so it’s not like any of us is entirely making this stuff up. At this very moment they don’t let Chinese people or Cubans or Belarusians or many, many others [...]
There is a new Kindle reader. It is larger than the previous one. It will cost $489. You can pre-order it now (sorry, "reserve your place on line"), although it won't be available until summer. Will it save the newspaper industry? Too soon to tell. But so far it has certainly done wonders for the liveblogging the new Kindle press conference industry.
Congratulations, everybody: Black Friday retail sales topped a billion dollars, which means everybody is rich and happy again. Whether shopping from a laptop in bed with a variety of empty bottles and pie crumbs or "at the actual store" with your fellow shoppers in their sweatpants, you helped make America great again.
How much greater? How about 26% better than Black Friday 2011! That is just a phenomenal amount of spending, for a phenomenal amount of consumer goods, electronics, gifts, and whatever else people buy. Pretty much everything is a Black Friday sales item in 2012. Cars? Oh hell yeah, go buy a car on Black [...]
When I got my first royalty check from Amazon, I went to my boss at the bar and was like, “Mike, I quit, dude,” and he was like why, and I was like “Look at this check, man,” and he said, “I’d quit too.”
This is what I’m doing now. My three stories that are out have now sold in excess of 93,000 copies, and I have another Kindle Single that I’m working on for later this year, and hopefully working on a book.
Hellzapoppin' in the world of intellectual property rights these days. Lawsuits, corporate flim-flamming, the claims of far-sighted academics and developers, furious authors and artists and the conflicting demands of a sprawling Internet culture have created a gargantuan, multi-directional tug-of-war that will inevitably affect what and how we will be able to read online in the future. Recent developments indicate, amazingly, that there are grounds for hope that the public will in time benefit from the results of this epic tussle.
Have you read the story about the Amazon warehouse outside Allentown? You should! It's not… good. In short, Amazon largely staffs that warehouse with temporary workers through an agency, dangling the prospect of being promoted to full-time employee. Then it parks ambulances outside for when they pass out from heat exhaustion. Then, when they don't make quota, what with all the passing out, they're often dismissed. (Yes, to be fair, some are promoted, and some do fine.) Hold on to your Kindles!
Have you visited the saddest IMDb page in existence? It belongs to Anne Sellors, a woman just barely featured in the 1984 BBC television play Threads, which imagines the aftermath of nuclear armageddon in England. What role did Ms. Sellors play? "Woman who urinates herself." She did not receive a credit and understandably never acted onscreen again.
Twenty-six years later, that lone performance is being recognized.
Last week, Amazon purchased the company that makes Stanza, the really quite awesome book reader for the iPhone. (It is basically the only way I read books anymore.) But lurking somewhere in their book-selling vendors, particularly Fictionwise, which is now-awkwardly owned by Barnes & Noble, there is a vandal defacing reviews. A wonderful, hilarious, subtle vandal, as this screenshot shows.
"Amazon.com Inc. is planning an online marketplace for wine sales directly to consumers, said executives for several California wineries, marking the Seattle Web giant’s second foray into the business in three years." —Oh, man, this is some seriously DEVIOUS strategy right here. You order a bunch of wine from Amazon, get drunk, and then order a bunch of other crap you would never buy when sober. Soon Jeff Bezos will own us all!
As an Amazon affiliate, we get a wee percentage of sales from people who click through from our site to Amazon. But better than that, we get a report from Amazon about what people have purchased! (Don't worry, it's all anonymous: there's no information at all passed on about the purchaser's identity.) One thing we can guarantee: you people buy things online. Here are just a few excerpts from the year 2011, here with quantity, title, media and cost.
1 Chupacabra (HD), Amazon Instant Video, $2.84
2 "Top Chef: Don't Be Tardy for the Dinner Party," Instant Video, $1.89
1 Buffalo by David Bitton Men's Bridle Strap Belt [...]
After pulling Neal Stephenson's ebook of Reamde off Amazon on Tuesday, early this morning, Amazon emailed to tell readers they could replace their copy. "The version you received had Missing Content that have been corrected," they wrote. (Or, apparently, their machines wrote. So glad the "Missing Content" "have been corrected.") And here's how it works: "If you wish to receive the updated version, please reply to this email with the word 'Yes' in the first line of your response. Within 2 hours of receiving the e-mail any device that has the title currently downloaded will be updated automatically if the wireless is on." It's a strange kind of [...]
Yesterday, Amazon made Nielsen Bookscan information from just the last four weeks of sales available to authors. (Bookscan tracks most booksellers, but not WalMart/Sam's Club, museum stores, etc.—the general disclaimer is they get about 75% of sales.) And, for the most part, it's killing people! If you had a book that just came out, the tool is maybe useful: you can see [...]
Everyone knows that Zappos sold to Amazon for $900 million human 2009 dollars which makes the schadenfreude super spicy and causes pancreatic cancer. So it was extra eye-rolly that this site that doesn't even carry Nicholas Kirkwood is so special now and can be "helpful" to where it suggests other things you'd be interested in based on your selections. You know, that annoyingly aggressive thing that Amazon does where it insists that EVERY Tamilee Webb thing EVER is up your alley because ONE TIME you bought a Bowflex. So you can imagine how thrilling it was to find that this pump-slinging zapateria's shiny new function was BROKE. [...]