Tag Archives: ACCC

The Australian Catastrophic Colliding Canine

I tend to keep my eyes on Europe, mainly because what impacts the UK today will have an impact on Australia a week later; in addition to that, what happens in Japan today when it comes to consumer electronics and mobile events will get to Australia 3-5 years later. In that respect having a larger view on matters is essential to keep an eye on what could become an impact tomorrow.

Yesterday was different, with ‘Regulation needed to save Australian journalism from Facebook and Google, watchdog says‘ we see the impact for Australia now and to be honest, I can’t stop laughing at present. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/feb/11/regulation-needed-to-curb-facebook-and-google-competition-watchdog-says)

When I read: “Rod Sims, said the digital platforms inquiry, which delivered its preliminary report in December, reveals that the market power enjoyed by the digital behemoths is weakening Australian media“, the giggles increase. Especially when we consider ‘the platforms are not creating any original, quality Australian news’, well we could consider that the Australian media is for the most not doing that either. For the most Australian media is weakening Australian media plain and simple. To name but a one issue, October 2012, I alerted the media to an issue impacting 30 million gamers within the commonwealth. I directly alerted Channel 7, Channel 9 and the Sydney Morning Herald; the all ignored it to the largest degree. There were clear screenshots on how the impact was given, yet the left it on the left of what was important. A change by Sony for their gaming community 3 weeks before the PS4 was released, they all (except for the Australian Guardian) ignored it for the most, and perhaps it was not news? What they (as I personally see it) intentionally ignored is that the Sony Terms of Service is a legally binding contract, the mention of a memo is merely a piece of paper that could be ignored the very next directors meeting. The press needed advertisement dollars and Sony is high on that list of needs, PlayStation 4 was big bucks, plain and simple. In addition there were debatable reviews of Microsoft for the period of two years and the least said about Apple the better, as I see it Australian Media is its own worst enemy. It is my personally view to size up global media as a collection of prostitutes with a priority towards the shareholders, the stake holders and the advertisers, the audience comes in 4th position at best. So when I see: “However, while taking the lion’s share of advertising revenue, the platforms are not creating any original, quality Australian news“, we need to wonder where Australian quality news is found. I will agree that this is found at SBS and ABC, but they are the two exceptions to all this.

When the British Daily Mail gives us on the 9th of February “Respected Channel 7 news reporter Emily Angwin (pictured) was said to be furious at a number of work emails questioning the integrity of the newsroom in Melbourne” is anyone actually surprised? Is it true? We cannot tell because in many ways most of the Australian media is no longer that reliable. And from my vantage point it becomes worse when we go to https://au.news.yahoo.com/. Here we see above the fold ‘Hero pitbull breaks out of home to find help for owner during gas leak‘, ‘Restaurant blames waitress for ‘incredibly racist’ receipt‘, and ‘‘Whoah!’ Man’s breath test returns ‘biologically impossible’ result‘. This is the kind of emotional reporting that gives news a bad name. Compare that to abc.net.au where we see: ‘Global drug trafficking operation run out of Villawood detention centre, phone taps reveal‘, ‘Missing persons expert slams investigation of young mother’s suspected homicide‘, as well as ‘Why the AWU wants to question Michaelia Cash in court over union raids‘. So one is clearly about news, the other is about creating emotional events. I let you decide which is which, and as we take notice of: “Given all this, it is also vital that media businesses are not disadvantaged through the exercise of market power or other mechanisms that make it difficult for them to compete on their merits” We see that the there is another case in dispute. The dispute is ‘media businesses‘ versus ‘journalism‘, so I hope that the ACCC realises that not only are they not the same, they are at present mere dimensions apart.

And questions need to be asked at the Channel 9 address as well. We can agree that the headlines are better than those of Channel 7 when we see: ‘Exclusive: Vampire Killer Tracey Wigginton’s disturbing new posts‘, ‘Man found with gunshot wound to his stomach in Melbourne’s north-west‘, as well as ‘Snorkeller found dead on sea floor off Mornington Peninsula‘, yet there too we have issues as every news item gives us headers and banners of advertisement. News is news and the main players have resorted to self-indulgence of advertising, reloading at every page. The journalism is merely second best at best.

It becomes a different puppy when we look at the mention “The financial viability of these businesses is also not assured as demonstrated by BuzzFeed and Vice recently announcing redundancies in Australia, as well as worldwide“, you see from my point of visibility, we see the Wikipage part (for mere illustration) where the visible information is: “Originally known for online quizzes, “listicles”, and pop culture articles, the company has grown into a global media and technology company, providing coverage on a variety of topics including politics, DIY, animals, and business.” Now, I have seen those buzzfeeds on my Facebook page and I decided not to give them any consideration (as a news source). Even as we now see (I was honestly not aware) “In late 2011, Buzzfeed hired Ben Smith of Politico as editor-in-chief, to expand the site into serious journalism, long-form journalism, and reportage.” We can accept and appreciate that Buzzfeed was taking a serious gander into journalism, yet when people are not aware (or another part of them has created more awareness), we get the impact of consideration versus awareness and non-awareness loses clicks, it is that simple, and the same applies for Australian sources. For the most, the only Australian sources I give consideration to are: ABC, SBS, the Guardian (Australian edition) and that is pretty much it; the rest is too often a waste of time. When we are serious about news, we go to the places where they offer it, not where they claim to offer it. That is how I personally see it and I use the Guardian as a source (as it is free) and I neglect the Times (most often) as I am not a paid subscriber and I feel it is money not greatly spend when I am, like most others on a budget, as such it is not money I have available to do that. It is an important factor as I am merely one of many that need to get by on a budget, that too impacts the news and the ACCC is a little ignorant on that part as well.

They might want to strike out at Google and Facebook. Yet Google News gives us ALL the headlines, from almost every source and that links to the local news articles. So when we see “The preliminary report recommended a powerful new authority to oversee the commercial activities of Google and Facebook” My question becomes ‘How is that going to make a difference?‘ In the end this is not about journalism, but about media and they are not the same, if the ACCC wants to make an actual impact, looking at the quality of journalism we will see that Australia will be left with the Guardian, ABC and SBS. When we were introduced to: “The Turnbull government has announced a funding freeze for the ABC but a boost for the Special Broadcasting Service“, whilst the boost is a mere $14.6 million over two years, when we realise that this all reads like a joke, how useless is the ACCC in all this and whilst we see the decimated pool of journalists, what are they doing (apart from wasting our time on something that the seemingly see as a waste of effort and budget), it is from my point of view a mere article on the foundation that reads: “Australian media is seen as irrelevant, we do not know what to do“, and it is shown against the likes of Facebook and Google, where we need to realise that they are also two different dimensions. Facebook is a mass advertisement channel, a channel that assumes that they know what their granular population wants through scripted likes and the scripted likes of the connections of that person, and Google shows the news in directions that the people searched in, or searched for. One is budget based, the other is user keywords based and the ACCC is seemingly in the dark on the fact that for the most people no longer see Australian media as relevant. That is shown a mere 34 seconds ago when I searched for “Channel 7 News” in the News tab, I was treated to: ‘Channel 7 presenter makes heartbreaking plea‘, ‘Ripped bodybuilder ends TV interview on a wild note‘, as well as ‘Caesarean birth to be broadcast live on Channel 7‘. As I see it, when it comes to visibility is seems to me that Channel 7 has a lot to learn as to the bidding on keywords as well as their methodology on how to properly position news, as well as their approach on how they want to present the ‘news’ (https://7plus.com.au/seven-news-sydney), for most people a 44 minute newscast is not the way to go (having one is still important for many though).

In the end, as I see it, the ACCC is up against the image of certain channels, their digital policies, as well as the approach they have towards news and advertisers. It is becoming less about journalism and merely about the positioning of media which is done tremendously below average. If you want to see how it should be done, watch The Guardian (UK) and BBC News (also UK), for those with language skills, the Dutch Volkskrant (at https://www.volkskrant.nl/), as well as The Swedish SVT (at https://www.svt.se/). As I personally see it Australian media has a lot to learn and that lacking part is not up to the ACCC, apart from them bashing the Australian media from drowning people in advertisements to a level that is just making them irrelevant. It is merely my point of view and I might be wrong, yet I personally do not think so. The foreign amount of visitors to the Guardian, the NY Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, and the French Le Monde (at https://www.lemonde.fr/) are indicative of my views.

So in all that, how are regulations going to solve anything in any near future?

 

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Two sides of fruit

There are always issues when you get to the topic of fruits. One is the question whether it applies to the members of the US congress (the members of the US Senate are usually labelled as nuts). Is it an issue with actual nutritional products or are we talking about the device that Newton used for gravity? Yes, it is the third one as Newton discovered gravity with an apple.

Yet even here we see two sides at present. The first one is seen with ‘iMac Pro: Apple launches powerful new desktop – starting at $4,999‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/05/imac-pro-apple-launches-powerful-new-desktop-macbook-starting-at-4999). Here we see the quote “The new iMac Pro starts with an 8-core Intel Xeon processor, but can be configured with an 18-core processor variant, as well as up to 128GB of EEC RAM, 4TB of SSD storage and Radeon Vega discrete graphics cards with up to 16GB of memory“, you see, Apple, like Microsoft, IBM and since resent ASUS have become agents of iterations, true innovation has not been on their shores for too long a time, which is why my new device is for consideration with Huawei and Google alone. Only they have shown the continued race for actual innovation. there is also Samsung, but as I had a legal issue in 1991, I took them from the consideration list, I can hold a grudge like only the Olympian gods can. Still in their defence. the question becomes how can you make a computer truly innovative? It is a question that is not easily answered. there are a few options, yet some of the technology required is still in its infancy here.

In addition, in similar ways, iWork has been unable to grow due to the restrictions (read: limitations) that the suite offers. Instead of trying to persuade the Microsoft Office users (which is not a bad path), iWork has not grown in the directions it could and they are now paying for it through reduced exposure. Still, there remains a valid opposition to my accusation of: ‘have become agents of iterations’. To see this, we cannot just state that there is a new iMac and as such they are merely iterating. There is in addition the issue of hardware versus software. So in my view, a true innovation would have been a Wi-Fi upgrade, not just a faster system, but a system that is keyed to the home and mobile devices. As we are now a little over a year from the first steps of 5G, as we are all more and more connected via different devices, Apple left out in the open a huge sales opportunity by having the options of having devices linked and interlocked. A missed opportunity. You see as bandwidth becomes more and more an issue, as we tend to have a home bandwidth that is 100 times larger, having the option of the auto upgrade manager on your desktop device (iMac). So when you come home, apps and content will be distributed to the devices you want them to placed in. So at home ‘without even thinking’ (sorry Microsoft for using your Windows 95 slogan). the devices will do what needs to be done and you need not mind. You see, as people are trying to push Block chain into every financial corner, those people forgot on how block chains can also be the foundation for users on multiple devices. Now that is not always needed, because we get mail in the cloud, data in the cloud and via the cloud, but that is not for everyone. In addition, people forget about the photo’s they took and they do not always want that in some cloud. There are legions of options here, but at time we want some of this offline. finally, as we do specific tasks (for example on a train), we prefer not to lose too much bandwidth whilst on a train. Tablet and mobile bandwidth can be expensive. In equal size we tend to forget how large some files are and as such we could rush through our bandwidth in no time. This is just one of two options and we have seen very little development in that regard. Apple might want to let others develop it first, but that also leaves them with less when they need to have that additional step forward. It was a mistake Microsoft hid behind for the better part of 2 decades. In that same approach we see how consultancy and project software could benefit a different side in their designs. Now, that is not for Apple to side with, but it could have been an opportunity to grow in new directions. Anyway this is not about starting a fight on 3rd party vs others, this is about iteration vs innovation and Apple has been reluctantly innovative.

This gets us to the other side of it and here I am not siding with Apple, but I am wondering if Apple has been treated correctly. This we see in ‘Apple ‘error 53’ sting operation caught staff misleading customers, court documents allege‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/05/apple-error-53-sting-operation-caught-staff-misleading-customers-court-documents-allege). Now first let’s take a look at the error 53 part. The issue is that “‘Error 53’ is a message that occurred after updating to iOS 9.0 on iPhones of people who had had their TouchID fingerprint sensor replaced by a repair shop not licensed by Apple. The phones were rendered useless because the operating system update detected a mismatch between the sensor and the phone, and locked the device, assuming unauthorised access was being attempted.

Now here we see two sides.

In the first side we see “Knives damaged by misuse, improper maintenance, self-repair, or tampering are not covered.“, this is something Buck knives has in play. By the way, this comes with a life time warranty so that remains awesome. In addition, for decades TV warranties were voided if unauthorised repairs were made (or repairs by unqualified repairman). With laptops there was Compaq, who would void any warranty if a non Compaq technician had worked on it. They even created special Compaq screwdrivers to keep a handle on it all. So when we see ‘replaced by a repair shop not licensed by Apple‘, I am not certain if the ACCC has a case, they have not acted against Philips, Sony and a few others for the longest of times.

So when I read: “accuses Apple of wrongly telling customers they were not entitled to free replacements or repair if they had taken their devices to an unauthorised third-party repairer” I remain in doubt whether they have a case.

So when we see “Australian consumer law clearly protects the right of a customer to a replacement or free repair if the product is faulty or of unacceptable quality“, which I agree with, yet the owner did not go to Apple, did they? I have had my own issue with Apple in this regard (different device), yet can we agree that when we read: “It is however important to note that if a non-genuine part is fitted to your Toyota and that part’s failure or the incorrect fitment damages your vehicle, then that damage may not be covered by your Toyota Warranty“, so how can something that applies and is valid for Toyota is not valid for Apple?

I believe that ACCC acted out with another agenda. The need for warranty protection by having repairs done by authorised service people has been in the axial of repairs for decades. In addition, when we look at the facts, why would ANYONE go to a third party for warranty repair? That is just insane. So when we read “wrongly telling customers they were not entitled to free replacements or repair if they had taken their devices to an unauthorised third-party repairer“, I am actually wondering how they could come to the conclusion ‘wrongly‘. You see when we read: “Australian consumer law clearly protects the right of a customer to a replacement or free repair if the product is faulty or of unacceptable quality” we now wonder how true that is. You see, warranty is either valid (Apple fixes it for free), or it is beyond the warranty term and you have to pay for it and then it is no longer done for free, so you might select a third party. Yet if this is not an Apple authorised dealer, don’t you have anyone but yourself to blame?

So this is the other side of the apple, what constitutes voided warranty.

You see, if Apple loses this part, I can start repairing Raytheon’s Griffin systems. You see the upgrade (from C to C-ER) and equipment alignment costs are roughly $15,000 per day (excluding parts), if you do not have the proper Service Level Agreement. I can offer to do it for $5,000 a day. so if my work is shoddy (which they will not know until they fire the device, I can be very innovative towards my income), can they apply for warranty at Raytheon, or have they voided their options? You see I will have a NDA with a ‘this repair has been completed to our highest corporate standards’, so I am in the clear and the way the world goes, with 225 upgrades, I will have a decent Christmas this year. Yet at that point the ACCC will not go after Raytheon, it will go after me (what a whuzzes). So how come that the rights of Raytheon are better than those of Apple?

It seems that people assume so much with their mobile devices nowadays, I need to wonder if people comprehend what they buy and what responsibilities come with it. In this the initial question ‘Why did you not take your device to Apple?‘ is one that is not addressed at present and as such I have little faith that the ACCC has a decent case at present (in the shape we saw presented today).

the second and first part interacts as the upcoming shifts will in equal part see new frontiers in Service Level Agreements, Customer Responsibility and the comprehension of the elements covered in a warranty. Because what is included is likely to shift a fair bit over the next 2 years. In addition, innovation is also a shifting concept. Whilst it was “a new idea, device or method”, we (read: the corporate marketing departments) have often seen it as ‘the application of a solution that allows to meet the new or altered requirement of the customer‘ which we get when we iterate with a more powerful processor, more storage, larger screen. So going from 1080i to 5K screens might be accepted as truly innovative, because that took another level of screen and electronics. Yet at times, the pass through of merely upgraded speeds are also seen as innovation, yet at what level is that? When the device remains merely the same to the largest extent, is that not merely iteration?

So here we see the two sides of the other Apple. What we see, what the maker offers and how we both interpret the presented term of innovation.

 

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Taking Xbox to Court?

Microsoft seems to have done it again and if the evidence holds up, there will be a powerful backlash towards Microsoft which will have interesting repercussions for Sony. Now, we have seen this all before and even I have a few issues with this all, which was until the following evidence was presented.

  1. The Broadband 4G modem had been exclusively used for the Xbox One.
  2. Security was properly in place (as far as I have been able to confirm)

The following had happened:

Without consent, the Xbox One has seemingly uploaded the following amounts of data:

Date Uploads Date Uploads
2017-01-13 339.1 MB 2017-01-21 591.0 MB
2017-01-14 445.1 MB 2017-01-22 277.6 MB
2017-01-15 242.3 MB 2017-01-23 607.5 MB
2017-01-16 268.8 MB 2017-01-24 210.6 MB
2017-01-17 113.1 MB 2017-01-25 358.8 MB
2017-01-18 793.6 MB 2017-01-26 493.5 MB
2017-01-19 251.6 MB 2017-01-27 482.4 MB
2017-01-20 332.0 MB 2017-01-28 65.2 MB

 

According to the mobile provider the uploaded files are all labelled Windows Azure – support large files download? When calling Microsoft, the help was not any better, the lady was trying to be nice, yet not really aware of what she was talking about. Her response was: ‘we have no influence on uploads, that is the responsibility of your ISP!

So, as the Xbox is uploading, that is suddenly the worry of the victims ISP?

So far the player has only played Fallout 4 without DLC’s, Diablo 3 and the Ezio Collection (Assassins Creed), all these games were played in single player only, so there is absolutely no reason to upload at all. What is even more disturbing is that there are no checks on this part, the mobile provider data so far matches the times that the system was in use for gaming and the times the uploads were happening.

What Microsoft would not be realising, which was a former Microsoft executive referred to as Don Mattrick, who tried to be funny with: “Fortunately we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity; it’s called Xbox 360“, yes and as orders were cancelled all over the place Xbox suddenly had a new boss. This all started in November 2015. Well as we seem to gather Microsoft is at it again and they haven’t been thinking this through as per usual (that is, if the facts handed to me and collected are correct), because some gamers are now facing a $120 a month additional bill, so year one for these gamers would be 12 * $120 + $450 for the console, making this device at $1850, three times more expensive than any other console. I think Microsoft forgot about mobile broadband users, they just get additional hardship. What is the issue is that all this is happening without consent and as far as the absent help from Xbox support has indicated, without the ability to switch it off. You see, there are plenty of places where broadband is an issue and those people are depending on mobile broadband and at $10 per 1 GB it adds up really fast.

So, even as Microsoft has now changed this approach (again), would customers have a case to get a full refund for console and all purchased games? Let’s not forget that Microsoft has done a 180 degrees turn on their ‘online requirements’ twice now, as well as it seems the requirement to be online to upload, which in light of single player games should result in several additional questions by parties involved.

So this is where I now stand. Awaiting two additional pieces of evidence. Should they arrive, the plan as the victim wants it is to prohibit Microsoft to continue sales of their devices until the forced uploads are deactivated, as well as reimbursements have been made. I do not think that this has any decent chance, but I will lend my support to all this. Microsoft has been playing their game via third party ‘players’ and as such there have been a few things rising to the surface. I personally believe it to be a harassment approach by Microsoft ‘to be online or else‘. I tested that with the Ezio collection. I went offline and played the game, so far after two days, after restarting the game, the achievement begotten whilst off line did not update. An issue the Xbox 360 never had and actually until recently it was not an issue (so this might be the side effect of something else). As I see it, the same day our victim suddenly say his annual Xbox one usage cost go up by a potential $1440, so we can agree that Microsoft, as per their usual self decided that profit at the expense of anyone else is preferred to a situation where the needs of the customer were respected, especially after the backlash that the first attempt had given them, again, awaiting those two pieces of evidence.

So far all contacts with Microsoft have been with the given air of ‘Well, everyone has unlimited broadband, don’t they?‘, which is nice until you get confronted with the most dangerous of obstacles, the disagreeable landlord, which in this day and age is not a good person to cross and that tends to happen more and more often, yet that is not what this fight is about. We are dealing with consent and undocumented consequences that doubles a person’s internet bill, through means that were not even essential. Off course that is not regarding the need Microsoft has to keep a record and copy of everything you are doing on your console, which by the way is well over 1000% of what multiplayer bandwidth would require, so there too are questions that need to be addressed.

From my point of view, apart from the financial damages that some players are now facing there is:

  1. How can uploads without consent be allowed?
  2. How can 2 single player games trigger a 5.8 GB upload in 15 days?
  3. The reference that the Mobile operator gave was: ‘Windows Azure – support large files download’, all uploads have that same title!
  4. Why is there no logging of uploads in the Xbox One?
  5. Which files and what exactly is being uploaded?
  6. Why did this suddenly start at midnight Friday January 13th 2017? (Which reads equally weird).

These are questions that matter, the reason is that without certain facts, there is absolutely no guarantee that this isn’t merely a hijacked router, which I have been able to prove that this is not the case to some extent.

Questions remain, you see, that part is given by the following sources: “They have clearly mentioned that their commitment to the UK is unchanged. In particular, those customers in Microsoft’s UK data centres should continue to rely on Microsoft’s significant investment plans there“, as well as “Microsoft highlighted that they have more than 5,000 highly qualified people working in fields including support, marketing, gaming, communications, cybersecurity and computer science research in the UK. Also, they have built a global centre of excellence for the development of artificial intelligence and other computing disciplines“, which we see in MS Power User (at https://mspoweruser.com/microsoft-re-affirms-its-commitment-to-the-uk-data-centre-expansion-plans-are-still-on-track/), now we need to realise that these are statements from a spokesperson, which means that that we are misrepresented without being lied to. I know, it’s a harsh world. Yet ‘5,000 highly qualified people‘, whilst seeing ‘marketing, gaming, communications, cybersecurity‘, could clearly imply that these are employees and it is not impossible that 40% of that workforce is not working on or connected to Azure. You see, the issue is when we see “Global Data Center Market Strategies, Analysis and Opportunities 2017-2023: Amazon (AWS), Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are in a Class of Their Own“, which we see in Global Newswire. The question that these parts lead to is whether it is possible that:

  1. Microsoft is trying to get an advantage on its capabilities and is trying to maximise the load of their Azure data centres, someone had the bright idea to use gamers for that and the people who tend to be useless in the technical field (read: senior management) forgot about the fact that not everyone has unlimited broadband and that some people (all over the world) pay per gigabyte and after a certain point that gets to be very expensive.
  2. Because the test requires that all (read: unknowingly) must participate, there is no option to switch uploads off, leaving us with the mess in option 1.

Now, this is for now speculative, but in light that I got this scoop and the media is ignoring gaming issues, just like the Sony Issue of 2012, so I am going ahead, so mind you, this story will be updated and there will be a part 2 when the rest of the evidence arrives, which could spark an official request against Microsoft with the Australian ACCC and the British CPS, and if Microsoft is proven not to be the evil organisation that they have been too often, than I will report that too, because just and fairness go both ways, and because it must rain on the just and unjust alike.

So stay tuned!

 

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Is it a scam?

We are all curious by nature. Some facts we want to see, some facts we want to read about, some make us search what is behind it all. This is our natural status to question things. It is our natural way marketing has relied on for decades and it has worked in many ways for all forms of events.

One of the most successful marketing ploys I have ever seen came from the early 80’s. Somehow over the term of a few months in bus booths and on outside walls we would see the spray painted term ‘Penguin Park’. No one had any idea and we all wanted to know what it was. We all started to ask questions and it went viral without needing the internet (which was still a DARPA concept at that time). The buzz was all over the place and within 5 months we found out. A Dutch DJ named Tjarda Leegsma had an idea, he made sure there was a buzz and when his nightclub ‘Penguin Park‘ opened, there was a massive queue to get into his place. That queue would remain for many months when it started. It was the coolest place to be. The music was the hottest, the drinks were the coldest and a Rotterdam night club legend was born. A clear marketing triumph!

Now, many rely on the internet. In this case I am looking at the smoke that is forming around a site called ‘GetMoreIncome’. Here we see a known approach. It is all about implying issues like ‘what you could’, what your lifestyle could be and so on. But do they deliver? That is the entire question, isn’t it?

Unlike an organisation called AMWAY, we get other questions. When you look for AMWAY information, the issue becomes clear soon enough. The internet is riddled with examples. AMWAY is basically a perfectly legal ‘pyramid’ scheme. The people behind it were sort of brilliant. The more people you know and attract, the bigger your discount bonus (read commission becomes). They are not into some quick expensive sales part. It is the one thing we all need: Household articles. The cleaning chemicals are stated to be good, the nutrition bars do not seem to be too bad, so a multibillion dollar industry is here to stay and all can get a few coins out of it. The verdict is out there, most (over 93%) will never get rich, but they end up having lower shopping bills. Is that a bad thing? I think not.

So what about this ‘GetMoreIncome’?

That is indeed the question. When searching Google and other sources, we see many blogs, and they all seem to be some marketing hit towards and in support of this ‘GetMoreIncome’ and NONE OF THEM give you any clear information. I found two that showed a little more, but there too it was all about carefully phrased mentions. This GetMoreIncome should be regarded (as others state) as an MLM approach (not unlike AMWAY). Yet there is a difference. When we see the quote on their site, which is also all over FOXTEL, we see a problem, the quote “I have been thrilled with the results, having made over $15,000 per month for the past 6 months”, sounds nice, but at what cost? Is that including the dozens of hours of phone costs? You see, the website gives NO information at al. It requires you to register and give your details.

This all becomes interesting when we take the quote by the ACCC “No matter how a business communicates with you—whether it’s through advertising, packaging, online, logos, endorsements or a sales pitch—you have the right to receive accurate and truthful messages about the products and services you buy.

The little problem as I see it is that you have to sign up to get any type of information. If this is all online and through TV, I say that in my mind, their website has a distinct obligation to clearly inform you online. This becomes a worry especially as there is no clear information anywhere. No mention on who is behind it, who is involved, we get absolutely nothing, just quotes and innuendo.

I also like the implied ploy (read sarcasm). When we see the quote: “I was a former CEO. I left the corporate world behind and have been able to replace my executive income working from home.” Is this the stated person who was in the news as: “a judge in the Reykjavik District Court sentenced, the former CEO of Glitnir Bank, to nine months in prison in December 2012” (at http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-12/iceland-prosecutor-investigates-convicts-bankers-for-financial-crimes) Can you tell, because I cannot. That is the issue with small impersonal quotes; it makes perfect sense that this person needs a work from home income. But is it the same person? How many are on that $12,000 a month income? No one seems to know and no one seems to be looking into it.

In this age of bad economy, when all are looking for a way to make a buck and to make ends meet. There needs to be a level of protection against exploitation. That part seems to have gone missing. If you doubt me (which is always fair enough), then check your own browser. When we seek AMWAY, we see SMH, The Australian. They all had their articles on AMWAY. Some agree with the approach, some do not. Their stance does not matter. AMWAY is not ‘hiding’ in any way (they even have a Wiki page online). When we look at ‘GetMoreIncome’ we see quite the opposite. The papers are not asking any questions, they do not seem to have looked into it in any way. There is no visibility. My question becomes Why not? When someone has the budget to advertise to this extent on FOXTEL we can grasp that this might involve substantial funds. Yet no one seems to be looking into it, get precise information and whatever you find on the web is either a hidden advertisement or a ‘hidden’ promo clip on YouTube.

When a website is all about “do not call us, we’ll mail you!” there is reason for concern, the fact that those who should look into matters like these, don’t seem to be doing so is a bigger worry still.

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Protecting Consumers!

I am still on the Sony horse! It is interesting to see how consumers are do not seem to be protected and how little visibility some cases seem to get. I seem to have found what I consider to be severe consumer injustice!

This injustice is on two levels. The first level is on the side of ‘the small print approach’, the second side is on the consumer side through the shops. So as discussed in my previous blog (pricing a Sony game), where they changed the user agreement to make illegal the reselling of games and on the other side the TPP will allow them big companies to charge us more.

At the DPP, no one was willing to take any calls (they apparently do not take any calls ever). They referred me to the ASIC and the Law society of NSW. They were little help, however the Law Society did what it service minded does, and they would be able to refer me to private solicitors. This is what they do (and what they are supposed to do), so there is no case here, other that they were willing to give all the assistance they could. From there I ended up with the fair trades commission who listened and explained on how I had to go to the ACCC.

The ACCC logged the issue and it is now investigated internally.

I also talked to Channel 7, Channel 9 as well as the Sydney Morning Herald. They were all interested, but seemingly unaware to the issues that are going on at present. In my view I have always be loudly outspoken against this and I did so against the acts of Don Mattrick when he was with Microsoft. It seems hypocrite not to speak out against Sony when they try to hide in the weeds not quaking!

I am all for protecting gamers, if the little time I have left on this earth is to get some protection for them against injustice and greed, then this is a fight worth fighting. The gamers are now swiftly placed between the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact), raising the price of entertainment even further and the forces crushing the options of pre-owned games for those not being able to afford full priced games, something must clearly be done.

It is also interesting how the government and the Fair Trade commission remain silent on these matters. Shops rely on pre-owned games to survive after the margins of new games are reduced to an absolute minimum. The pre-owned games keep them into business. As large companies are paying less and less corporate tax as their offers go to downloaded revenue (which often goes via non-commonwealth tax shelters). We see that they are paying less and they are the cause of shutting down local shops with these new arrangements. I believe in fairness and at present there is no fairness in any of this.

Too squeeze a population already in hardship, to hurt them even further with these events is beyond acceptable!

In case you see some response on ‘generic’ or some party line response how this is not the intent of the Sony User agreement, then consider one other piece of information. PlayStation Home offered an amazing private space for sale. It was by loot and it is a graphic and technological highlight. You buy the private space where you can walk around. It is so amazing as this is a new form of private space. Not only is it graphically superior on many levels, it has a new level of interactivity. The private space allows you to monitor twitter via a light bar in your apartment. It offers LOOT™ Radios (music) and EOD TV (movies, TV shows). This is a new era in entertainment, yet not everywhere available. They were very clear in communicating that part. I get that part! Yet, consider that Loot is part of Sony, and that the TPP is about to limit retransmissions of broadcasts even further, how long until consumers ‘lose’ those options? In addition some places cost US$2.99, whilst in Australia the same places cost AU$4.99 and in the UK GBP 2.39. So, when we set this all to the same (US) currency we see:

United States $2.99, Australia $4.61 (+54%), United Kingdom $4.19 (+40%). So not only do we pay on average a lot more, we get less for the overall package. Interesting how this lacks the visibility it deserves!

I wonder how much visibility the press and the news casts will give all this in the coming days. In my eyes it might be an interesting stretch to see how much power they have over the press, in case of the UK we should look at how much visibility they give all this. They claim that they could regulate themselves? Well, if this is true, how come that NO ONE (of the big newspapers in the UK) has had any visibly outspoken view on these matters by Sony? I saw a few sources like ‘reddit’ and other bloggers pick this up, but that is about it. If you are wondering on the size of these matters, I am not a journalist, I am not some high powered media mogul, I am just a blogger who knows games. The gaming industry encompasses a market in extent of 20 billion dollars a year. That is a market big enough for ALL newspapers to keep one eagle eye on any news that impacts it. No visibility seems to have been given at present. A questionable turn of events!

Who is looking out for the consumers, especially those who do not have that much to spend?

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