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  • Geebo 10:15 am on June 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Thiel to remain on Facebook board amid free speech concerns 

    Thiel to remain on Facebook board amid free speech concerns

    In a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Peter Thiel and the Gawker lawsuit, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has said that Thiel can and will remain on the board of Facebook. Thiel has been a long time member of the Facebook board and there were some concerns about his standing after it was made public that Thiel was personally funding his alleged vendetta against Gawker. Not only is Gawker a media partner with Facebook but Facebook has had their own issues with supposedly manipulating featured news stories.

    At the Code Conference, held in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Ms. Sandberg stated that since Mr. Thiel did not use Facebook resources in his fight with Gawker It’s not a Facebook issue, but isn’t it? What if Facebook all of a sudden decides that Gawker is no longer a featured media partner? How could that not be seen as anything but a conflict of interest? If anything it feels like Facebook is not only condoning what Thiel is doing to Gawker but protecting him as well.

  • Geebo 10:06 am on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Gawker needs to beat Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel for all of journalism 

    Gawker needs to beat Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel for all of journalism

    Everyone wants to root for the good guy. Even more, everyone wants to be the good guy.

    Take Terry Gene Bollea, more famously known as Hulk Hogan, for example. For the better part of his professional wrestling career Hulk Hogan played the good guy against the series of villains who always fell to the power of Hulkamania. Behind the scenes Hogan wasn’t all that much of a good guy. Due to his success he had massive political pull within the World wrestling Federation. He often used his clout to not only protect and promote his friends but he would often also refuse to work with up and coming stars who he felt threatened his position at the top of the company.  As most of you may know leaked a sex tape of Hogan and his best friend’s wife that was recorded without Hogan’s knowledge. A second leak of the tape showed Hogan talking to his bedmate about his daughter’s singing career and during that conversation Hogan let a few racial epithets fly. Because of the second leak Hogan lost a very lucrative ‘legends’ deal he had with World Wrestling Entertainment and has been persona non grata in the pro wrestling business. In interviews Hogan still tries to portray himself as the good guy who was victimized. Hogan sued Gawker on the grounds of privacy invasion and was awarded a $140 million settlement. That amount is being appealed by Gawker since if they have to pay that amount to Hogan they’ll essentially be out of business.

    Recently it was made public that Silicon Valley investor and big-wig Peter Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit to the tune of $10 million. Thiel feels like Gawker’s sister blog Valleywag outed him as being gay in 2007. By most accounts Mr. Thiel had only told a number of close business confidants and friends but didn’t advertise his sexual preference, although it was said to be known to most movers and shakers in the alley.  SInce then he’s been allegedly ‘helping’ people who have been supposedly wronged by Gawker Media. Thiel seems to think that he is the good guy by trying to shut down this supposed media menace in Gawker Media.

    In reality neither of the above mentioned entities are the good guy. So who is? Much like in pro-wrestling storylines the good guy has to face what seems like insurmountable odds before triumphing over the man or men that wronged him. The underdog good guy in this scenario is the First Amendment.

    While what Gawker did may seem distasteful, Thiel is continuing a dangerous tradition that harkens back to WIlliam Randolph Hearst. Thiel is using his money and influence to strong-arm Gawker Media out of existence simply because he doesn’t like them. You may say that Gawker deserves it but where does it end? Say that there’s a strangely coiffed billionaire running for federal office and a large media outlet that has a large influence in the country decides to endorse his opponent. In theory that billionaire could buy that media outlet and heavily influence what stories they report about him. Before you know it other billionaires get into the game and have the news skewed in their favor. If you don’t think that will happen you may already be too late. While he has yet to commit any egregious overreaches of journalism Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. A better example might be Las Vegas business magnate, Sheldon Adelson, who bought an entire newspaper that was often critical of him in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Reports have said that Adelson is squashing any story that may be critical of him. Before you know it most media will be skewed one way or another, not necessarily by political view but by how it can benefit their billionaire owners.

    For those reasons the $140 million settlement awarded to Hogan should be denied on appeal. If not it will set a dangerous precedent where those with the money can buy any kind of news coverage they want. While some of us were worried about the government possibly curtailing the free speech of journalists we should have been paying more attention to the financially elite. Sometimes a bad guy needs to win so the good guy’s triumph is more impactful.

  • Geebo 10:31 am on May 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , identity theft, MySpace,   

    The MySpace hack could cost you 

    The MySpace hack could cost you

    Do you remember MySpace? You know, the sparkly animated background plagued social network of the mid 2000s. Admit it, you had one but you abandoned it after the advent of Facebook. Recently it was made public that the former king of the social networking world had been hacked and hundreds of millions of usernames, email addresses and passwords have been compromised.

    So what does this mean to you? Well, that depends. Are you still using the same password that you were using with MySpace? If you use the same password on multiple websites or apps you are in danger of having all your information compromised. Internet security experts often say that you should use different passwords for all your different accounts and to aid in doing so you should use a password manager like Lastpass or KeePass to keep them all straight and passwords should be changed routinely.

    Even if you’ve abandoned your MySpace account and haven’t logged into it in years there still could be personal information attached to the account that could potentially lead to identity theft. If you no longer use a service you’re better off deleting the account than letting it sit out there as a potential target for identity thieves.

  • Geebo 9:52 am on May 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Candace Payne, , , viral video   

    Off Topic Friday: Mom in Star Wars mask breaks the internet 

    Off Topic Friday: Mom in Star Wars mask breaks the internet

    You can never predict what goes viral on the internet. This past week Texas mother of two Candace Payne took the internet by storm after she livestreamed herself on Facebook Live trying on a Chewbacca mask from the Star Wars franchise of movies. This video is as follows…

    Candace’s video shortly became the most watched video on Facebook exceeding 134 million views. The lighthearted four-minute video led to a star-studded whirlwind tour in Ms. Payne’s life. Not only did she get a tour of the Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California but she also received a tour of Lucasfilm Studios and got to meet new Star Wars head JJ Abrams and Peter Mayhew who portrays Chewbacca in the movies.

    What do you think of the ‘Wookie Mom’? Are you happy for her, totally jealous or both? Please leave your comments below and have a great and safe Memorial Day Weekend.

  • Geebo 10:22 am on May 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , insurance   

    Healthcare coverage that leaves you feeling sick 

    Healthcare coverage that leaves you feeling sick

    The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was designed to bring affordable healthcare coverage to US citizens who previously couldn’t afford it. Even with Obamacare there are still a vast number of Americans who can’t afford health coverage. Many of those desperate for some kind of coverage may respond to one of the many ads for discount healthcare coverage that they may have found online, on TV, or even on a roadside sign that promises great benefits at a cut-rate price. As is the norm in many of these cases, the promises of great coverage for your family go largely unfulfilled.

    A lot of these healthcare plans aren’t insurance but they’re what’s called discount programs. In some cases these programs make a deal with a local or national PPO network and will allow you to see doctors at the same discounted rate that fully insured people get however the plan doesn’t actually pay any money on your behalf to your doctor. You only get a discount and still have to pay the majority of your bill to the doctor’s office. Many healthcare professionals may be in-network with the PPO plan named on the discount card but a great number of them won’t even accept any patients using only a discount plan. That’s not even mentioning that these discount plans don’t fulfill the Individual Mandate requirements of Obamacare that say those that don’t have sufficient health coverage will be fined by the government.

    Here’s a tip on how not to be fooled by these programs if you’re looking for real healthcare coverage. There’s one word you need to keep an eye out for and that word is ‘insurance’. If the ad does not use the word insurance then it isn’t healthcare coverage that you need. Back in the days when fax machines were more prevalent than the internet these plans would spam fax machines with these same promises but in very small print at the bottom, sometimes blurred out by poor quality faxes, would be a disclaimer that said ‘This is not insurance.’

    While these ads may use words that sound like they may be insurance, unless they use the actual word they’re not.

  • Geebo 8:49 am on May 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Online ticket sales are rip-offs 

    Online ticket sales are rip-offs

    And I’m not even talking about the exorbitant service fees that legal ticket vendors add on.

    Anyway if you’re looking to buy tickets to that sold out concert, game or show you may have considered looking to online marketplaces in hopes for finding a pair of tickets at a reasonable price. Best of luck to you since finding tickets like that is almost like finding the Holy Grail but here are some tips to use in order to avoid being scammed.

    The first is being asked to wire the payment to the seller. This is a good tip to keep in mind with just about any online transaction. If someone asks you to wire the money to them through services like MoneyGram or Western Union it’s more than likely a scam. In cases like this the tickets never existed and the seller is almost impossible to track and you’ll lose your money and have no tickets. While those wiring services are legitimate services for sending money to people you know they are used heavily by scammers.

    Another tip to keep in mind is to never buy the copy of an e-ticket from someone online. There’s nothing stopping someone from buying an e-ticket with a stolen credit card then selling copies of the e-ticket to multiple victims.

    This last item isn’t as much of a tip as it is an explanation. You usually can’t defend yourself against counterfeiters. Once you’ve been sold a counterfeit ticket you’ve already lost and you have little recourse against the scammer. Counterfeits range from cancelled tickets that were charged on stolen credit cards to tickets that were printed on a computer that look so genuine it’s almost impossible to tell apart from the real thing.

    With the summer months upon us many of these activities will be in full swing. Don’t let yourself fall into one of these traps.

  • Geebo 8:22 am on May 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Colorado, ,   

    Can legal weed be sold online? 

    Can legal weed be sold online?

    DISCLAIMER: This is not an endorsement for the use of or prohibition of recreational marijuana. This is merely the discussion of a topic.

    Whether or not you’re a fan of legal recreational marijuana use or not you can’t ignore the economic impact it has had on states like Colorado and Washington. This industry however, is tightly regulated by the state. Not just anyone can set up shop in these states.

    That hasn’t stopped people from trying to be the modern-day equivalent of street corner pot dealers. In Colorado specifically, police are patrolling online venues looking for illegal marijuana sales. While the recreational use of marijuana may be legal the recreational sale of it is not. Some people are using their medical marijuana cards to legally purchase it then turn around and try to sell it online for a profit. Others are growing their legally allowed personal plants and trying to sell them online. Both of those practices are considered illegal since the sellers are circumventing tax laws and we all know how seriously the government takes their tax money. That’s how the Treasury Dept. was able to apprehend Al Capone.

    Just because something that was previously contraband that has now been made legal doesn’t make the situation like the Wild West. If you use, please use in moderation and obey all local laws and ordinances.

  • Geebo 9:24 am on May 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BBB,   

    Is this the ultimate scam busting tool? 

    Is this the ultimate scam busting tool?

    Scams exist everywhere these days. Not only has the internet become a virtual goldmine for scammers and con artists but scams still persist in the offline world. What’s worse is that these scams often target specific geographic locations in the country at different times. If you want to keep tabs on probable scams in your area you definitely want to bookmark the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker. If you allow the Scam Tracker to discern your location it will tell you about both the on and offline scams that are occurring in your area. For example, in the Kansas City area there’s a scam going on where someone will call you pretending to be the IRS telling you that you have an overdue tax bill while they try to get some kind of payment out of you. For the record, the IRS never contacts anyone by phone.

    Even if you’re tech savvy or street smart you should still check out the scams going on in your community from time to time. You’d be surprised how often that your friends or family members could be targeted by scammers. With the help of the BBB you could be a potential protector of your community.

  • Geebo 6:44 am on May 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , New York City,   

    Off Topic Friday: Craig’s new modest $6M NYC digs 

    Off Topic Friday: Craig's new modest $6M NYC digs

    Not an accurate depiction. Or is it?

    Craig Newmark, founder of the list that bears his name, likes to portray himself as a man of the people. Mr. Newmark likes to say that he’s not about the money. If you were to see craigslist’s home office you may think that was true. The building in San Francisco is so unassuming that if you were passing by you might miss it if you blink. Craig has often bemoaned that craigslist’s profit margins are so razor-thin that they can not hire additional staff such as moderators or customer service reps.

    Now it seems that craigslist’s profits may be more lucrative than Mr. Newmark was possibly leading us to believe. Recently Craig bought a $6 Million home in New York City. According to the New York Post the modest home takes up two floors of a four-story building and has three bedrooms and 3 and a half baths in the West Village. This won’t be Mr. Newmark’s primary residence either. This will be his New York crash pad for when he’s conducting business in New York. His primary residence will remain in the Bay Area where real estate prices are some of the most expensive in the country.

    Now we would never begrudge someone for their success, except when it comes at the cost of their honesty, ethics and the safety of their customers.

  • Geebo 7:44 am on May 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The craigslist safety app is too little too late 

    The craigslist safety app is too little too late

    Recently craigslist announced that they have sanctioned a smartphone app that shows users where they can supposedly make transactions safely. The app is said to show the locations of coffee shops and police stations. While we commend craigslist for finally starting to think about the safety of their users we here at Geebo have to ask, what took them so long?

    We’re not even talking about the fact that Geebo is an industry leader when it comes to assisting in our customers’ safety. For example back in March of last year Geebo CEO Greg Collier partnered with the SafeTrade Stations initiative that was started by industry watchdog, The AIM Group. The SafeTrade Stations program was started in response to the fact that at the time 84 people had been violently murdered after using craigslist. That number has since risen to 103. While these deaths may only be a minute fraction of the number of transactions that take place on craigslist it should be a large enough number to cause craigslist concern. However this is the first step, as far as we can recall, that craigslist has taken in years to aid in the safety of their users, except they didn’t even take this step. Another company developed the app and craigslist just gave it their seal of approval. So in reality craigslist barely lifted a finger.

    This is not surprising considering craigslist’s lax history when it comes to safety. They say that their site is too large to moderate their ads yet they have no problem in pulling all sorts of ads that aren’t even flagged by their so-called ‘community police’. In the past they’ve pulled ads for such things as unlocked iPhones to recalled baby strollers yet they don’t pull ads for such things as illegal drugs, firearms, human trafficking and the multitude of scams that craigslist is awash with. Speaking of their community police, it seems the term police is used rather loosely. For lack of a better term it seems that the craigslist community police are a case of the inmates running the asylum. Too often craigslist ads are flagged for personal reasons like the ad is flagged by a competitor of the ad’s poster. While on the other hand they tend not to flag any ads for obvious illegal activity. In contrast Geebo has its ads moderated by staff members who have a keen eye when it comes to scams and illegal content.

    In the past craigslist was infamous for its adult ads where human trafficking thrived. Although it did remove those ads after consumer and media pressure, craigslist still has sections that could be considered dark alleys of the internet. An inordinate amount of arrests have been generated from their personals and the ‘casual encounter’ section of craigslist along with an inordinate number of victims of online predators. Years ago Greg Collier, against common practice, removed personal ads from Geebo  in order to better provide a safer experience to Geebo’s users. At no point did Geebo ever accept ads that had their roots in human trafficking.

    Geebo even takes the safety and welfare of those unable to defend themselves seriously. Another Geebo policy is that we do not accept ads that deal  in animals. This is because of the number of puppy mills that deal in unhealthy animals but also because of the number of scams that involve animals. However on craigslist you can find a number of either wild, dangerous, illegal or unhealthy animals.

    For a company that professes to be such a pillar of not only the online community but the real world community as well craigslist doesn’t appear to be acting in any community’s self-interest except its own.

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