Wires Crossed #19 - December 14

Online Retailer Scare Tactics Lead to Arrest
Being in digital media ourselves, we can sympathise with Vitaly Borker – to a degree. Trying to get a Google ranking is important for the success of a website – not just for advertising purposes, but for Google’s search function, too. When you put in a search request for a product, it is an online retailer’s dream to have their site come up first. Enter Mr Borker who sells eye glasses online. He had a theory that if he abused customers who returned goods (even going as far as to send one hapless woman a photo of the front of her apartment) it would increase his ranking. Over three years he was allegedly abusive to an array of clientele, which lead to him being arrested for making interstate threats and cyberstalking, as well as an array of other charges. And in the end, his strategy was futile because Google has said it has changed its algorithm so that any negative experience was penalised. Mr Borker, if found guilty, could have a maximum of 20 years to think about new avenues of customer service that might not get him in such hot water.

One In Five Divorces Caused by Facebook
We’ve been bleating on for ages about how social networking has changed the fabric of society – whether it be famous people dropping F bombs on their Facebook pages, scumbags making fun of the recently deceased, or people being sacked for being critical of their employer. It was only a matter of time before Facebook was being blamed as a reason for divorce. The American (where else?) Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers conducted a survey that found that Facebook was involved in some way or another in one in five divorces in the Western World. Strange that a website set up to get people together is actually tearing them apart. And we’re not even going near MySpace or Twitter…

Cisco Green, Oracle Less So
Greenpeace’s latest Cool It leader board shows that Cisco and Ericsson are leaders as the greenest IT companies, while Dell and Oracle are found wanting. A company’s score is made up of many factors including the firm’s commitment to energy savings, political advocacy, climate solutions and not using toxic chemicals in their products. Oracle scored a pitiful 12 out of 100, with Greenpeace indicating that the Larry Ellison-led company is not even interested in engaging in green solutions for its products. At the other end of the spectrum, Cisco scored a massive 70 out of 100.

iPad Killing Newspapers
A survey bound to send a tiny tremor down the spine of media moguls, has found that just over 58 percent of those who subscribe to newspapers will probably cancel the physical copy within the next six months in favour of digital copies. Most of us knew it was coming, but the survey, carried out by the Donald W Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, had a huge sample of 1600 people, so the idea is now becoming a reality. While News Corp head Rupert Murdoch has been putting up pay walls for the likes of the online version of the Wall St Journal, there are plenty of free sources out there. The survey authors believe the iPad is the chief culprit with 84 percent of respondents saying they used the slate to surf the net for news. While some media companies are already creating apps for online editions to be read by the iPad, whether people will be willing to pay for them is yet to be seen.