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Monday News: Router company threatens a reviewer; credit card technology changing;...

How Does A Negative Amazon Review Result In Threats Of A Lawsuit? – This is a fascinating, frightening story of how an Amazon review of an wireless router earned the reviewer a threatened lawsuit and the router company a ban on selling its products on Amazon.

I highly recommend reading the story for all of the details, but in short when this guy was searching for a router he came across Mediabridge routers, which were incredibly well reviewed — except that he could not find any reviews outside Amazon. Furthermore, there were some assertions about the similarity of the router to another, less expensive router. When the guy posted these things on Amazon, Mediabridge took offense and sent him a cease and desist letter, insisting he remove the review or else face suit. What’s interesting is that when Amazon got wind of this situation, they revoked Mediabridge’s right to sell its products on the site. There is a link in the story to Mediabridge’s explanation, posted on Facebook, along with the information that Amazon has suspended their seller rights.

The letter T. received zeroed in on two of his assertions: that the product was identical to another product, and that it was “very likely” that Medialink was paying for reviews. The company, via its lawyer, not only demanded that T. immediately delete his review, but also told him that to avoid a lawsuit, he would need to “agree to never purchase any Mediabridge or Medialink product” and also agree “to never publicly comment in any online forum, directly or indirectly through others,” about the company’s products.

In other words, the letter basically says “if you don’t stop saying mean things about us forever, we will sue you.” –The Consumerist

United States credit card system begins complete overhaul in the next 18 months – The massive security breach Target suffered earlier in the year has resulted in a more efficient timeline away from traditional credit card technologies (the magnetic strip) to a pin and chip combination, which, among other things, may lead to more significant use of the so-called “mobile wallet,” namely apps that allow you to use your cell phone to transmit credit card information to POS stations. The process should be underway in the next year and a half.

According to research firm Javelin, the upgrade could take about three years, with international and premium cards getting the switch to the new system. For the record, there are already several cards with chip technology available to Americans, from American Express and JPMorgan Chase among other institutions. –Engadget

Here’s Why People Shouldn’t Freak Out About The Amazon-Hachette Fight – If you’ve read the rather hysterical piece in the New York Times on the Hachette-Amazon conflict (Amazon is delaying shipment of Hachette books), I hope you read this piece in Forbes that both reveals the biases in the Times’ piece (e.g. the Times seems to think it’s all about authors being victimized) and challenges the pearl-clutching panic. The way the Times reacted says a lot, though, and not much of it is professionally complimentary.

But the point is that a hardball fight between a retailer and a supplier is the oldest news in the world, that Hachette, a global multibillion dollar conglomerate, is hardly a helpless flower, and that this is how our economy functions. –Forbes

11 Beautiful Alphabets from Ancient and Medieval Times – To quote Monty Python, ‘and now for something completely different.’ And just plain lovely. It’s amazing just how modern some of these renderings appear, as well. –Mental Floss

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. AMK
    May 12, 2014 @ 04:16:50

    Aw, the alphabet piece was written by Arika Okrent. I really liked her book about artificial languages and recommend it to anyone interested in linguistics.

  2. Kaetrin
    May 12, 2014 @ 05:47:34

    Is it right that USians don’t routinely have the chip in their credit cards or use paywave?

  3. DS
    May 12, 2014 @ 06:51:35

    @Kaetrin: @Kaetrin: Correct. And this has irritated me since I heard about the chip and pin system years ago. I have had to have three cards replaced in 2014 because the numbers were stolen. One has me totally flummoxed because I last used it when I got it– I wanted the premium offered– in 2007. The physical card was locked in a safe when it happened.

  4. DS
    May 12, 2014 @ 06:54:22

    Comment got eaten. It thinks I’m a spammer.

  5. Sunita
    May 12, 2014 @ 07:19:00

    @Kaetrin: Yes, and it’s a pain when we travel overseas. In the UK you need a chipped card for certain machine transactions like buying an Oyster card. We have an account at a major bank and we’ve asked about chipped cards and they have been saying for years that they are working on it. But they never show up. We’ve had photo credit cards in the past but no chips yet.

  6. Kaetrin
    May 12, 2014 @ 07:38:35

    I have this view of America that it’s way ahead technology-wise for some reason so this surprises me. Here, they’re just about to stop accepting signatures. It’s all PIN and all the new cards have PayWave (my son loves scanning my credit card at the grocery store. It’s alarming). In most places, for transactions under $30 you don’t even need a PIN if your card has just a chip. And if you have PayWave it’s transactions under $100. Scary how easy it is to spend money these days. Beats me how this is safe but apparently it is.

    I’m so used to paywaving or using my PIN it’s got to the point where I feel like I’ve forgotten my signature.

  7. Christine M.
    May 12, 2014 @ 07:41:58

    The one time my credit card info was stolen then used was when I went to the US on a one day trip this February. I did 5 transactions that day, all of them using the mag stripe rather than the chip. It so happens that my best friend’s card, who was with my on said trip, was also cloned that day and within a week crazy transactions were made on it in the US (we live in Canada). I was Not Impressed given it happened in one of four places. A Walmart, a McDo, a chain grocers (can’t recall the name) or Arby’s. The only positive in this story was that the credit card company was very nice about it and had my card replaced without hassle within 3 days.

  8. Darlynne
    May 12, 2014 @ 08:26:04

    We started asking about the chip years ago when we couldn’t use our debit cards at ATMs in England. Talk about being behind the curve. Finally, one of ours is chipped and we’re seeing retailers moving toward card readers that recognize the technology. It took a catastrophe at one retailer to motivate the others apparently.

  9. Zara Keane
    May 12, 2014 @ 08:36:54

    @Christine M.: Happened to me the last time I was in the US, too. And my Swiss bank’s reaction was to grumble at me because *I* had been foolish enough to pay via magnetic strip and not via my chip and PIN. :D I didn’t have a choice!

    To be fair, the chip and PIN system isn’t foolproof. You can still get your card details hacked, but at least it gives you an added layer of security. All Swiss bank cards and credit cards have the PIN and chip and there’s talk of adding some form of biometric authentication next year.

    What I’d like to see is a move toward extra security measures when using credit cards to make online purchases. It’s already happening on some sites whereby you have to input a series of code numbers before your payment can be processed. It’s not as convenient as the one-click solution, obviously, but I’d rather jump through a couple more hoops if it meant a reduced risk of credit card fraud.

  10. Lindsay
    May 12, 2014 @ 08:46:04

    I was really grumpy at the nytimes article, I know it’s too much to ask for actual research in reporting and it involved a lot of panic, but the fact that they featured N.K. Jemesin’s tweet (as it was relevant as it was her books being affected) but didn’t quote her, and instead quoted the dude who replied to her with RAAAR AMAZON MONOPOLY ANTITRUST. I know who Stross is, but seriously, wtf. This follows in the Forbes piece as well, they question that authors are even feeling any effects when there is a tweet right there in their source article from an author saying they are feeling effects. A+ journalism.

  11. Renda
    May 12, 2014 @ 09:09:05

    We had to upgrade one of our cards for a European vacation this summer (my son’s vacation, not mine, alas). So I had to pay an additional $95 for the privilege of a chip.

    (Son is graduating from college next week but doesn’t yet have credit history/cards of his own. He will be paying his own bills from the trip. I am not being an overindulgent parent. Well, I am, but not about this.)

    And having me do math to prevent spam is just cruel and unusual punishment. :-) But it is easier than figuring out those captcha thingies.

  12. AlexaB
    May 12, 2014 @ 10:02:41

    Funny enough, I’ve only had a card cloned twice. Both times it was my chip and PIN British bank ATM card, and the cloning occurred in London. Chip and PIN are not immune (nor did I appreciate my UK bank cutting off my card for suspicion of fraud without alerting me first. I found out the hard way, at the till while shopping. That was fun).

  13. jmc
    May 12, 2014 @ 10:06:42

    @Kaetrin: I’m not sure it’s a technology issue or a bank lobbying/cheapness issue. A friend in commercial banking told me several years ago that the upfront cost to issue new cards and update transaction points was why the US hasn’t adopted chip and pin already, despite the lack of security in the current cards.

  14. Liz H.
    May 12, 2014 @ 11:29:48

    I’m American but live in Edinburgh, and have both US and UK cards. I have 2 US cards with chips, but one of them is chip and signature (Chase only does C/S, no pin). That actually causes more confusion than swipe cards.
    That said, I’ve been lucky and haven’t had any problems, and I’ve used both swipe and chip cards all over the world in some pretty questionable places.

  15. Liz H.
    May 12, 2014 @ 11:38:50

    Any consumer protection and/or constitutional (correct specialties?) attorneys who can comment on the validity of the threatened lawsuit over the Amazon review?
    The idea is intimidating to say the least; the last sentence of the article, quoting the reviewer says a lot- “It makes me really nervous to leave a negative review in the future. At the very least I’ll never use my real name when posting a review ever again.”

  16. Maite
    May 12, 2014 @ 16:39:57

    On the chip/PIN thing…
    Here in Chile, banks were giving cards with PIN the moment they could, and have been issuing cards with paywave even though there’s no law on chips yet. So the chip can’t be activated or used, but the card has them. Why?
    ‘Cause if your card gets cloned, the bank has to pay the expenditures. With PIN/chip, they are legally able to say it’s your fault and not have to give a peso back to you.
    I am pretty sure the only use the chips are going to see for the next five years is being stolen through smartphone apps and similar.

  17. cleo
    May 12, 2014 @ 18:29:39

    I thought the name Mediabridge sounded familiar – it turns out I ordered a couple USB cables from them through Amazon. They sent me two follow up emails after each purchase, among other things asking me to leave a review at Amazon. I remember being taken aback at the time, since I don’t usually get product review requests from third party sellers at Amazon (maybe I just don’t buy the right kind of thing) – it seemed a bit excessive for a $7.99 purchase.

  18. theo
    May 12, 2014 @ 19:01:40

    I live in the US and we took a lengthy trip this past year by rail from Germany to London. Problem is, we never left our living room. I surely hope whoever actually took the trip enjoyed it. We called the credit union the minute we saw the $1000 charge (which thankfully was within 2 hours of the charge going through) and our credit union immediately put the money back in our account. It does make me wonder with the ‘better’ technology in place in Europe though how they could have gotten the charge to go through without the physical card as they were bought at the station.

    We’ve had a couple problems in the past but our CU has always been wonderfully responsive. They did tell us that the number could have been lifted at any time and most often, the number is then sat on for up to a year to make it almost impossible to trace.

  19. theo
    May 12, 2014 @ 19:02:18

    And I am yet again, a spammer. *sigh*

  20. KB Alan
    May 12, 2014 @ 20:56:57

    I thought the chip cards were the ones that were EASIER to be cloned!? Aren’t they the ones that are in the news because someone can have a reader and be some distance from you and still manage to clone your card without your ever taking it out of your wallet? And isn’t that why people are now selling special wallets and purses with chip blockers, or something? This is the first I’ve heard that the cards are supposed to be better, so I’m curious. Or maybe I’m mixing things up. I just know I was annoyed by the idea I’d have to carry a special wallet or purse to protect my CC if I got one with a chip.

  21. SonomaLass
    May 12, 2014 @ 21:17:57

    Chip and PIN system isn’t foolproof, but it is definitely more secure. We’ve had it on our UK cards for years; we keep separate funds and accounts for when we’re in the UK, and this has been part of the reason.

    I’ve had my card info stolen once, and three other times I’ve had cards canceled because the info MIGHT be compromised, all in the last five years. I keep a sharp eye on transaction history.

  22. Christine M.
    May 13, 2014 @ 06:43:57

    @KB Alan:

    You’re confusing the chip + PIN (no signal) with the PayPass/PayWave function which credit cards company put on said credit cards and which can be deactivated quite easily. But even this (weak) signal can not be copied from a great distance. 90% the time, my card needs to touch the reader for PayPass to function.

    The mag stripe, OTOH, can be cloned anytime, anywhere, as my last trip to the US taught me. Even when the CC doesn’t leave your sight even one second (I swiped my card myself at every machine I used).

    @theo: They could have cloned the mag stripe a year or two ago, sold the data in Europe and put it on a blank card, which was then used to purchase those train tickets. It’s unfortunately easy to do.

  23. KB Alan
    May 13, 2014 @ 22:45:05

    @Christine M: You’re exactly right, I thought those were the same thing. Thank you for the clarification!

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