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News, Tech Roundup

Tech Beat by Namecheap – 15 September 2023

In the digital age, online reviews have emerged as a critical factor in consumer decision-making. From choosing a restaurant for dinner to purchasing a new gadget or booking a service, customers increasingly rely on the experiences and opinions shared by others in the form of online reviews. In this week’s lead story, we delve into the world of online reviews, exploring their profound impact on consumer behavior and the businesses that depend on them.

In tech news:

  • Google recently banned millions of ‘pirate’ URLs. Google has reaffirmed its commitment to fighting online piracy by blocking hundreds of millions of URLs before they appear in search engine results. According to TorrentFreak, Google’s preemptive takedown strategy also targets advertisements for streaming piracy that has not yet occurred. Under the current DMCA legislation, US-based internet services are required to remove infringing links upon receiving a complaint from a copyright holder. Google has defended the effectiveness of the DMCA but has implemented additional anti-piracy measures in response to criticism from rightsholders. These efforts include platforms like YouTube Music and YouTube TV, as well as adjustments to its search engine to redirect users away from pirated content.
  • FBI tricks a massive botnet into uninstalling itself. In a multinational effort led by the US government, a massive network of computers infected with the notorious Qakbot malware has been dismantled. The Verge reported that operation “Duck Hunt” involved multiple countries, including Europol, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Romania, and Latvia. The US claims that the botnet caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and infected over 200,000 computers within its borders. US Attorney Martin Estrada hails the international partnership’s success in dismantling Qakbot, stating that it was one of the most notorious botnets ever and was favored by infamous ransomware gangs. 
  • Do robotic anchors dream of electric news? The media landscape in India is undergoing a significant transformation with the advent of AI newsbots. Nikkei Asia reported that Odisha TV, a prominent Indian broadcaster, recently unveiled an AI that reported the news in place of a human anchorperson. Some hailed this development as “pathbreaking,” while others criticized the AI anchor for being “robotic” and lacking emotional depth. The integration of these virtual anchors in newsrooms offers the advantage of eliminating interpersonal conflicts or “ego hassles.” However, the broader implications of this shift, especially concerning job security for traditional news anchors and media professionals, remain a topic of debate.
  • Square goes pear-shaped in a major outage. Last week, payment terminal provider Square experienced a significant outage attributed to a DNS blunder rather than a cyberattack or intrusion. According to The Register, this 14-hour disruption rendered businesses in the US, UK, and other regions incapable of processing credit and debit card transactions, and many establishments like restaurants and cafes were forced to request cash payments or alternative payments like Venmo, and numerous businesses reported substantial financial losses. Shares in Block, Square’s operating company, plummeted by over 5% during this period. Square explained afterward that while updating their internal network software, “the combination of updates prevented our systems from properly communicating with each other, and ultimately caused the disruption.” Square has since taken measures to prevent such future meltdowns, including modifications to its DNS and firewall servers and enhancing its Offline Mode.
  • Texans sweat the bills while Bitcoin miners cash in. In August, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) paid a Texas-based Bitcoin mining company a whopping $31.7 million to suspend operations to conserve energy and protect the floundering power grid during record heat. The Austin Chronicle reported how Riot, the country’s most power-intensive Bitcoin mining operation, earned far more from the utility service operator than from Bitcoin mining itself, which netted the company only $8.9 million. This arrangement has incited frustration among Texans, who, despite facing scorching temperatures, had been urged to voluntarily conserve energy while grappling with escalating electric bills. A recent investigation revealed that 10 Bitcoin mining operations in Texas, including Riot, have contributed to a 5% annual hike in electric bills for residents, with five of these operations collectively pocketing $60 million since 2020.
  • Reddit’s new policies did not make people smile. Reddit has experienced a significant decline in user activity following recent protests. While initially it appeared that Reddit had emerged victorious post-protests, the reality is more nuanced. The removal of moderators from numerous communities has led to what many users describe as a “brain drain” on the platform. The Substack Garbage Day reported that major subreddits have seen a drop of 50 to 90 percent in average daily posts and comments compared to the previous year, as calculated by Subreddit Stats. This indicates a significant reduction in the user base, suggesting protests and subsequent changes on Reddit seem to have driven users away, with many not returning. The platform’s shift towards monetization and its stance on API pricing further alienated its user base, emphasizing the commercialization of online spaces.
Graphic from Garbage Day

Previously in Tech Beat: Think twice before trusting online reviews

Fake reviews on shopping websites are a growing problem on many online retail sites. A survey conducted in 2022 highlighted that a significant number of shoppers rely on reviews when making purchasing decisions. However, many reviewers are motivated by money, free products, or other incentives, and may not have used the product they’re reviewing or may give glowing reviews for faulty products. In 2020, nearly half of the reviews on Amazon were identified as fake. While major platforms, including Amazon, are taking steps to combat this problem, the challenge remains significant, and consumers need to be cautious. To learn more about this issue, read our article, Don’t get fooled: the truth about fake reviews. 

Tip of the week: Crafting helpful and heartfelt online reviews

Writing an impactful online review that helps others contemplating a purchase can be both easy and rewarding. Here are some simple yet powerful tips to guide you in creating reviews that are not only positive but also practical. 

  • Start with positivity. Begin your review on a positive note by highlighting what you loved about the product or service. Whether it’s exceptional customer service, outstanding product quality, or an enjoyable experience, express your genuine satisfaction.
  • Be specific and detailed. Provide as much detail as possible about your experience. Explain why you liked the product or service. Mention specific features or aspects that stood out. The more specific your review, the more helpful it will be to others.
  • Address potential concerns. If you encounter any minor issues or drawbacks, don’t shy away from mentioning them. However, do so in a constructive and solution-oriented manner. Offer suggestions for improvement or share how you worked around the issue.
  • Tell your story. Share your personal experience with the product or service. Describe how it met your needs, solved a problem, or enhanced your life. Sharing your story adds authenticity to your review and helps readers relate to your perspective.

If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest tech news, be sure to subscribe to Namecheap’s blog today!

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Rodney Brazil avatar

Rodney Brazil

Rodney is the Content Marketing Editor for EasyWP, and a writer at Namecheap. As an SEO specialist, he strives to create entertaining and valuable publications for all internet creators. Offline, he enjoys running, acting, and pizza. More articles written by Rodney.

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