YouTube Traffic thieves spotted in the wild

Remember my review of Geekversity spruiker Shaun Stenning‘s YouTube Traffic Thieves report… An odious little volume?

Apparently news aggregator site Gawker.tv (parent of Gizmodo, receivers of stolen iPhone prototypes) recently used one of the dodgy ‘tricks’ promoted by the young guru’s mephitic ‘e-book’ i.e pinching someone else’s video and uploading it to get ‘their’ traffic.

Charlie Todd spills the beans:

So Gawker.tv posted about my Star Wars Subway Car video today, but instead of embedding my video from YouTube like the rest of the Internet does, they ripped it from YouTube and uploaded it to their own site without permission.

So I get no credit for any of the views of the video on their site. How nice! Also, by uploading their own ripped version of the video, they can prevent me from seeing any AdSense revenue and focus on making their own money from the ads surrounding the post. Awesome! Continue reading →

Now that’s what I call ‘news commentary’!

Taiwanese news 'summary' of iPhone 4 issues — Hilarious! (click for video at YouTube)

Steve Jobs defeats Bill Gates/Darth Vader and becomes the new Dark Lord harnessing mystical powers of the Force while laughing maniacly … oh boy, it’s good.

Here’s an ‘artists impression'(?) of how Apple dealt with Gizmodo editor/receiver of stolen iPhone prototype Jason Chen:

Not exactly a mini documentary. Very funny.

Watch the video at YouTube.

Thanks to John (“My linking to these videos proves that I’m a hack on Apple’s payroll.”) Gruber.

Lying, my dear boy, just compounds the crime …

image: geekalerts.com (click)

A while ago I posted a few thoughts: Potshots from behind a mask of anonymity are, by definition, cheap, saying in part…

Internet anonymity has also clearly been abused by what I call cardboard cut-outs and glove puppets who pop up in online communities to anonymously denigrate their “enemies” without declaring their allegiances (or building a case other than abusive name-calling).

I’m all for well-expressed (even strident!) comments, discussion, argument and debate. I much prefer it to be in the critic’s own name (accountability) but sometimes anonymous can be OK.

The recent case of a British history professor and author, Orlando Figes, anonymously trashing his “rival’s” books and then DENYING it was him doing it when caught and confronted — lying, then threatening to sue his targets/unmaskers for libel (?!?!) — opens up a different conversation.

The aftermath to these events is this unseemly spectacle:

Historian Orlando Figes agrees to pay damages for fake reviews

Orlando Figes posted reviews on Amazon praising his own work and rubbishing that of his rivals
Alexandra Topping The Guardian Friday 16 July 2010

One of Britain’s leading historians, Orlando Figes, is to pay damages and costs to two rivals who launched a libel case after a row erupted over fake reviews [he] posted on the Amazon website.

(Hello “Slapper“? Hello “MUFFIT“? Is there anything you need to confess?)

Here’s a good background article ‘How I rumbled the lying professor’ from one of Prof. Figes’ targets. A low tale indeed.

I maintain there is a way to criticise people and their arguments: cleanly and directly. It’s what I try to do. Truly. (Do I fail? Yes, sometimes I fail.) Here’s an example of how it’s done … where Columbia Historian Alan Brinkley took issue with Seymour Hersh’s book on JFK The Dark Side of Camelot:

How to criticise — in your own name, openly.

Continue reading →

Property spruiker Steve Goodey: let’s join the dots (Part 1)

A couple of days ago in my post Dean Letfus: change of heart or rudderless mercenary? I discussed the comprehensive about-face demonstrated by property spruiker Dean Letfus who criticised US Tax Liens as ‘snake oil’ — he even warned the investing public to steer clear of them and the (according to him) dubious characters hawking them to Kiwis.

'Self-styled property guru Dean Letfus' warned US tax liens are snake oil ... 'Fifteen months on, Letfus is spruiking the very same system.' — Sunday Star Times (click)

I pointed out that he seems to now be actually promoting the same US Tax Liens and the same sales personnel through his NZ Property Gurus … er, sales operation (whatever). That’s since been the subject of some news media attention (well, the turnabout is striking, let’s face it.*): Property guru does US u-turn (Sunday Star Times 18/7/10)

Rob Stock’s article includes this implausible bullshit puffery from Dean Letfus:

His [Dean Letfus’s] earlier opposition had, he said, been partly based on his personal antipathy for Jones, as well as other factors such as exchange rate risk and what he saw as excessive costs.

But Letfus said his new view was based on a changed exchange rate position, as well as the tax lien education being sold at the seminar being delivered by Steve Goodey in New Zealand rather than out of the US.

“Because Steve’s involved and people are making good money out of it, and the world has a totally different look to it, it is a good opportunity for some people.”

“… a good opportunity for some people.” Yeah right. Pardon my cynicism. Let me guess WHO is (generally) ‘making good money out of it’. Yes, the spruikers! (As for Steve Goodey’s alleged ‘tax lien education’, oh please stop! I can’t breathe!)

Today, in this post I’d like to share some thoughts about why I think buying property or get-rich-quick ‘unique opportunities’ (like US tax liens) from people claiming to be ‘investment property educators’ or ‘mentors’ or ‘gurus’ (or even ‘good friends’ of such claimants) can be fraught with difficulty and hidden traps.

Since he’s been cited, I’ll focus (for illustrative purposes) on the activities of the individual Dean Leftus claims showed him the light regarding last year’s dodgy “snake oil”, this years ‘golden opportunity’ US Tax Liens: Steven Goodey.

A buyer’s tale: Steve Goodey’s ‘Due Pensione’ apartment development, Wellington

Dean McNamara spoke up about his issues with Steve Goodey. (click to view as PDF)

Earlier this year, the owner of the website www.duepensione.com (since disabled and converted into a valueless Shaun Stenning-type MFA site) apartment buyer Dean McNamara competently and comprehensively documented serious issues with former Richmastery franchisee and ‘mentor’ Steve Goodey’s ‘Venture Property Group’ ‘Haining Street Trust’ and ‘Due Pensione’ development — by publishing correspondence and contracts and posing some informed questions (PDF): Continue reading →

“If you don’t want an iPhone 4 …”

OK, it’s unofficial(?) Apple PR, but as well as being entertaining (always a plus) Jonathan Mann’s song is also a nice serving of ‘Let’s keep this in perspective‘.

Jonathan Mann song re Apple iPhone 4 antenna 'issues' (click for video)

“The media loves a failure in a string of successes / the facts won’t ever matter if they can make their bigger messes/ sure I can make it happen / but in terms of daily usage / I’ve yet to drop a call / so this whole damn thing is stupid.”

Chorus: “If you don’t want an iPhone4, don’t buy it! / If you bought one and you don’t like it, bring it back…”

Video below the fold … Continue reading →

Dean Letfus: change of heart or rudderless mercenary?

'Two faced' by Dennis Preston (den.cc - click)

Property spruiker and self-proclaimed ‘internet marketing expert’ Dean Letfus gives me the inescapable impression of being rootless and slippery. He seems to flit hyperbolically from one cash flow generating event (for him!) to the next without much regard for consistency … or the trail of disappointment he leaves. (Examples here.)

I have long criticised property ‘educators’ and ‘mentors’ who sell property to their ‘students’. I say they’re crossing an ethical line. Others like Andrew King have agreed with me (PDF).

I am personally troubled by this particular travelling salesman’s fake-it-and-make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach to ‘property education’. I honestly think it is misleading, in some cases even akin to the Blue Chip-type scam where ‘investments’ were sold off the plans with ‘projections’, ‘guarantees’ and assurances that never materialised. Here’s why:

In March 2009, as part of public attacks on his former boss Richmastery supremo Phil Jones, Dean Letfus (oh so confidently) stated this about US Tax Liens:

I’ve spoken to people here and in the USA, they [US tax liens] are snake oil, complete with white shoes and wagons.

and this:

US Tax Liens

Other than this is what everybody has said, high risk, money can be tied up for years, no guarantee of profitability etc., you also have to look at what is said and what happens.

In PJ’s [Phil Jones] latest blog he says that they showed students 3000 properties for sale at 5 to 10% of their value, then says that their students deal is fantastic at 22% of valuation.

Why wouldn’t they buy such a bad deal?? Probably because the good ones don’t exist.

And the discount is off the valuation, which means nothing at the moment, and there is no mention of the taxes required etc. to hold the property. Yet this is all being talked about as “profit” instead of paper only equity, which may equate to zero in real dollars.

It is therefore logical to conclude that the “profits” from the liens may be paper only also.

In many states you require about a 22% yield to actually be cashflow positive.

I can find no evidence whatsoever of [Dan] Eckelman being involved with Trump as their Number 1 gloabl [sic] trainer and Tom was stopped at customs because of proceedings against him.

Would you trust the words of these people?

… but NOW Dean Letfus is actually promoting US Tax liens (!!) — as part of his business partner Shaun (G-string) Stenning‘s joint venture NZ Property Gurus hard-sell roadshow — the very US Tax Liens and the very operators (Dan Eckelman et al) that he and Matthew Gilligan criticised and warned people to stay away from. (Well, that’s how it looked — and not just to me, apparently.)

That’s a pretty serious change of tune: from ‘snake oil’ to amazing ‘opportunity’. That was then, this is now, I guess.

The self-proclaimed NZ Property Guru “educators” also seem to be selling “unique opportunities” to buy property in the USA, like this: Continue reading →

Who am I thinking of?

No comment! (image: fanpop.com - click)

OK, I don’t mean to denigrate anyone. I find this funny. Best wishes, P

Say goodbye to Paul Henry the abusive try-hard

image: wqxt.com

TV breakfast shock jock Paul Henry was over the line with his “retarded” comments about Susan Boyle the Broadcasting Standards Authority found, and TVNZ didn’t do enough to rectify the matter.

The BSA ordered the broadcaster to “read an agreed summary-of-decision statement on Breakfast within a month.”

Given his history, Paul Henry appears to believe this abusive (‘schizo’, ‘unnatural’ homosexuals, ‘moustache on a woman’ and this ‘retarded’ comment) bullshit is part of his ‘charm’. I don’t agree. It’s pathetic attention-seeking discrimination and denigration, just as the BSA found.

Enough.

Drop him.

Pressure and persuasion

Cost of principles? Too pricey, it seems.

image: Huffington Post (click)

‘Tested and found lacking’ would be one way to describe Google’s push-me-pull-you relationship with the Chinese government.

Highlighted first in March Google ‘leaves’ China over censorship with worldwide fanfare and admiration that they’d finally grown some stones, it started to unravel a bit (The cost of principles?) and now it looks like Google joins the ranks (if it wasn’t there already) of those schmucks who talk a good game as far as standing up for what’s right but, when pressured, retreat to ‘commercial realities’.

China Renews Google’s License Despite Censorship Row

Joe McDonald | 07/ 9/10 03:15 PM | AP via HuffPo

BEIJING — China renewed Google’s license to operate a website, preserving the search giant’s toehold in the world’s most populous country after the company gave up an attempt to skirt Beijing’s censorship practices.

Google said Friday that Chinese officials had approved its Internet content provider, or ICP, license but gave no details of what services it would offer.

Renewal had been in question after Google began automatically redirecting users in China to an uncensored Hong Kong search site. But the company dismantled the virtual bridge to Hong Kong last week after regulators objected to the sleight of hand and threatened to revoke its Internet license.

Caving in to a power-play. Appeasement. Gutlessness.

I see this all the time. People are lured into alliances with immoral operators, their eyes firmly fixed on the potential gain for themselves, ignoring the integrity and veracity ‘principles’ they’re compromising. They revise or swallow their initial — probably more accurate — intuitive assessment of the issues, the situation or the character of those involved. It becomes akin to an act of prostitution.

Google, it appears to me, is taking a view that they’re better compromising and operating in the world’s fastest growing economy (even if it is a totalitarian one-party state) than being shut out with their integrity intact. By thus doing, they’ve confirmed something negative about themselves and trained the Chinese government to see them as craven and easily able to be intimidated.

And the thing is, chickens come home to roost.

The internet’s ‘completely over’ — or is it just blogs?

Here’s an alternative view of the growth of the interwebs … from Prince, whose new album is going to be a free insert in this Saturday’s (10 July) Daily Mirror. Interesting.


“You must come and listen to the album,” he says. “I hope you like it. It’s great that it will be free to readers of your newspaper. I really believe in finding new ways to distribute my music.”

He explains that he decided the album will be released in CD format only in the Mirror. There’ll be no downloads anywhere in the world because of his ongoing battles against internet abuses.

Unlike most other rock stars, he has banned YouTube and iTunes from using any of his music and has even closed down his own official website.

He says: “The internet’s completely over. I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.

“The internet’s like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good.”

Read the full interview at the Daily Mirror website.

Meanwhile, there’s this: about the changing landscape and possible ‘death’ of blogs …

The evolving blogosphere: An empire gives way

The Economist 24 June 2010

… Earlier in the decade, rates of growth for both the numbers of blogs and those visiting them approached the vertical. Now traffic to two of the most popular blog-hosting sites, Blogger and WordPress, is stagnating, according to Nielsen, a media-research firm. By contrast, Facebook’s traffic grew by 66% last year and Twitter’s by 47%. Growth in advertisements is slowing, too. Blogads, which sells them, says media buyers’ inquiries increased nearly tenfold between 2004 and 2008, but have grown by only 17% since then. Search engines show declining interest, too.

It’s interesting how the advertisements are used as a metric. Of course, the ‘monetization’ of the internet (or our daily lives) by the various ‘internet marketers’ and snake-oil merchants will, no doubt continue as they move from business niche to niche, from valley to valley like the rapacious carpetbaggers they are — shabbily cloaking their exploitation in devoutly-expressed (but unbelievable) claims they’re ‘helping’ their victims ‘live the life of your dreams’.

Both these articles are worth reading. (And so, too, are their comment threads. If you’re interested.)

Giving scumbags a second chance

Surely this is an argument for lifetime bans from business and legal practice.

image: psychologytoday.com (click)

It was a surprise to read over the weekend that Blue Chip’s shonky lawyer had, like Mark Bryers and other crooks, come back for a second bite of the cherry — i.e. just as with Bridgecorp’s Rod Petricevic, the failure to drive a stake through this arsehole’s professional heart after an earlier debacle meant he used his ‘second chance’ to destroy a whole new bunch of people’s dreams and make them miserable.

I’ve said before the real crime of the Blue Chip-type investment rort is that it penalised those who got off their chuff to do something about providing for their own retirement. From my observations, I saw the BC snake-oil slippery sales operation targeted naive people with equity to exploit. (And oh boy, they were SLICK!)

My former colleague, now Herald on Sunday business editor Maria Slade’s story Lawyer’s past censure hushed shows the Law Society fluffed a previous ‘censure’ and restrictions on Jonathan Mathias — which had been in response to previous misconduct and skulduggery by the lawyer. They allowed him to recommence his practise, with the past misconduct (including raiding funds in trust accounts) swept under the carpet.

Let me be clear: the scam that was Blue Chip was only made possible because ‘repectable’ ‘professional’ faces like Mathias, and Walters Law and Lowthers accountants (not to mention the former cabinet ministers John Luxton and Wyatt Creech and former senior Simpson Grierson law partner Jock Irvine) lent their names and reputations — their ‘legitimacy’ — to the Mark Bryers blood-drinking circus.

In my personal view, those professionals, not the window dressing directors, effectively connived and conspired with Blue Chip to enable them to extract money and equity from the investors. (I think I read that 75% of Mathias’ business was from Blue Chip — so, ask yourself: Who was he working for? The buyer/investor or Blue Chip?)

It worked like this: Continue reading →

Incredible Science

My hat’s off to the Faculty and Students of the Auckland University Science department who put on a brilliant day for kids (and, ahem, accompanying adults) at yesterday’s Incredible Science Day.

image: scottthong.wordpress.com

Wow we had a good time and the place was buzzing. Special mention to the Wow Physics show which was a heady, indulgent mix of geekery, high voltage, aliens and explosions.

Best line:

“By themselves, Ricies don’t burn very well at all. You can try it at home. But add some liquid oxygen like this and they turn into rocket fuel!” Whoosh!

The Tesla coil blew everyone’s mind with two metre sparks but the explosives and pyrotechnics made a huge impression.

I would have loved to had an introduction to University science at such a young age (the boys I took are 9 years) … and following on the Brain Day we went to at the University medical school earlier in the year, well, I’m grateful that my son is getting a chance to imprint on the place and start getting a tangible picture of his post-secondary school study options — before he’s even left primary school.

Thanks to the Scientists for all the effort they put in — even a souvenir T-shirt for the boys!

Great stuff!

Re-touching to the point of distortion

From an eye-opening Dove soap commercial. Kudos to them!

The 'raw material' — fairly standard nice-looking young woman albeit with shaped eyebrows...

Good lighting, professionally coiffed hair and makeup. So far so good...

Now the DECEIT starts. Photoshop to 'lengthen' the neck, reposition and enlarge the eye sockets, changing the jawline and forehead (!), shaping the lips, 'carving' off the shoulders, neck ... over all, setting an impossible, unachievable target for young women. 'No wonder our idea of beauty is distorted.' There isn't a real person who looks like this.

Watch it happen in high speed stop-motion below the fold.
Continue reading →

What an amazing coincidence!

Er, does anyone really expect anyone to believe this? (It appeared in my browser all by itself this morning after I visited who-knows-what dodgy website.)

Or is it a sign of a ‘scarcity mindset’ to even question my good fortune in ‘winning’ this ‘prize’?

'Click "OK" to close window'? Uh, No thanks. I can close a window other ways. (image: unknown advertiser)

Oh boy. (It jiggled and blinked on the screen, too, in case I missed it. Thanks, Adobe Flash!)

Meanwhile,

Fraud takes new forms on internet

By Helen Twose | NZ Herald |Friday Jul 2, 2010
…. Cardiff University professor Michael Levi, [says] after nearly 40 years studying fraud and white collar crime nothing surprises him.

Levi is in New Zealand as the keynote speaker at the White Collar Crime and Serious Fraud Conference today at the University of Auckland Business School.

He joins Serious Fraud Office chief executive Adam Feeley, barrister Paul Dale and academics speaking on fraud detection, regulation and prosecution.

Levi said the internet has transformed the scale of fraud.

“There’s nothing new about international fraud.

“It’s not itself a product of globalisation but the internet has certainly transformed the potential for schemes because people have got used to supplying their credit card details or responding to international calls even if in some cases they think they’re dealing with someone in their own country.”

Yah. It’s like that. And in some cases the smooth-talking internet hucksters can and do make all sorts of claims (‘top’ this, ‘most successful’ that, ‘most-trusted’ the other etc.) without people checking up on them … until it’s too late.

The cost of principles?

Not a flattering headline, but I’m sure they have their reasons for the [reported] backpeddle after this brave start back in March: Google ‘leaves’ China over censorship

Will Google roll over for China?

By Marianne Barriaux | NZ Herald Wednesday Jun 30, 2010

BEIJING – Google has changed tack in China to address government complaints about its attempts to evade censorship, as it vied to get its business licence renewed in the world’s largest online market.

The US web giant said it would stop automatically redirecting mainland Chinese users to an unfiltered site in Hong Kong, a process it began in March in response to censorship and cyberattacks it claims came from China.

“It’s clear from conversations we have had with Chinese government officials that they find the redirect unacceptable – and that if we continue redirecting users, our Internet Content Provider licence will not be renewed,” Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond said on the company’s blog.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find Google’s attachment to the valued Chinese-government issued ‘Internet Content Provider licence’ funny?

Internet Content Provider? Who? Google? Content provider?’Content’? Whose content? as Rupert Murdoch might ask. (Just a minor amusement.)