jomc + amazon   51

Dirty dealing in the $175 billion Amazon Marketplace - The Verge
For sellers, Amazon is a quasi-state. They rely on its infrastructure — its warehouses, shipping network, financial systems, and portal to millions of customers — and pay taxes in the form of fees. They also live in terror of its rules, which often change and are harshly enforced. A cryptic email like the one Plansky received can send a seller’s business into bankruptcy, with few avenues for appeal.
amazon  business  infrastructure 
25 days ago by jomc
The Amazon Alexa Eavesdropping Nightmare Came True
An Amazon user in Germany recently requested data about his personal activities and inadvertently gained access to 1,700 audio recordings of someone he didn’t know.
amazon  alexa  surveillance  echo  gdpr 
4 weeks ago by jomc
Fake books sold on Amazon could be used for money laundering | Books | The Guardian
Books of gibberish are listed on for thousands of dollars, with one author claiming his name was used to send almost $24,000 to a fraudulent seller
amazon  money-laundering  fake 
8 weeks ago by jomc
Prime Now tips. : AmazonFlexDrivers
Amazon does not technically steal tips, but the end result is the same as if they did. They call it variable base pay.
amazon  gig-economy 
8 weeks ago by jomc
What Amazon’s Black Friday shift is like for workers - Vox
It’s easy for Amazon to hire us because they know vets are willing to shut up and cooperate. In my opinion, Amazon is preying on the work-life balance issue that the military has, and feeds off the rigid order the Army teaches.
amazon  military  silicon-valley 
8 weeks ago by jomc
On Amazon’s Time
“Every retail distribution center operator would love to be able to just have workers when they need them and not have them when they don’t,” Mark Meinster, the executive director of Warehouse Workers for Justice, told me. “There are various schemes to try to do that.” For that purpose, the best arrow in Amazon’s quiver is VTO... “an AM [Area Manager] actually told one of my former associates ‘Do you want to go home? Because the picks are about to get really bad,’” meaning the items on their “pick path” would be spread farther apart in the warehouse, and therefore more difficult to grab in the designated time.
amazon  labor 
september 2018 by jomc
Timed toilet breaks, impossible targets and workers falling asleep on feet: Brutal life working in Amazon warehouse - Mirror Online
Alone in a locked metal cage, 10 feet from my nearest colleague, a robot approaches from the shadows and thrusts a tower of shelves towards me.

I have nine seconds to grab and process an item to be sent for packing – a target of 300 items an hour, for hour after relentless hour.
september 2018 by jomc
Amazon’s ‘worker cage’ has been dropped, but its staff are not free | André Spicer | Opinion | The Guardian
. A wristband patented by the company (but which is not yet in use) can direct the movement of workers’ hands using “haptic feedback”
amazon  factory  labor 
september 2018 by jomc
Amazon workers in Australia describe warehouse 'hellscape'
"associates", as Amazon calls them - have described a cult-like corporate culture at the warehouse, where each day begins with group stretching exercises and workers having to share an "Amazon success story".

Managers then lead a team chant, such as "Quality!", "Success!", "Amazon!", or "Prime!", sometimes while jumping in the air.
amazon  factory 
september 2018 by jomc
Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea - The New York Times
Ms. Khan was not the first to criticize Amazon, and she said the company was not really her target anyway. “Amazon is not the problem — the state of the law is the problem, and Amazon depicts that in an elegant way,” she said.
amazon  antitrust  law 
september 2018 by jomc
Bernie Sanders is picking the wrong fight with Amazon
The idea is to force those companies to increase their pay, which is an excellent goal. But this is a bad justifying argument that directly undermines the sort of social-democratic welfare state that Sanders wants to build.
amazon  labor  bernie-sanders 
september 2018 by jomc
Tips For Requesters On Mechanical Turk: The BOT problem on Mturk
In an academic setting, 95% is an A. In a professional setting, 95% is abysmal. Many studies are published on Mturk using 80-95% and some using no qualifications at all. Your study WILL fill using 99% and above if you pay a fair wage.
research  methods  academia  mechanical-turk  amazon  mturk  bots  automation 
august 2018 by jomc
Two-Faced — Real Life
Online platforms aren’t simply replacing stores by replicating their function. Instead they are making themselves gatekeepers capable of controlling and regulating commerce — just as Steam regulates the weapon skins market — playing a decisive role in which sellers continue to exist and which workers get to show up to work tomorrow.
amazon  markets  malls 
august 2018 by jomc
How a cabal of romance writers cashed in on Amazon Kindle Unlimited - The Verge
The top authors can drop $50,000 on a single ad campaign that will keep them in the charts — and see a worthwhile return on that investment.

In other words, self-published romance is no joke.
publishing  copyright  amazon 
august 2018 by jomc
Amazon Alexa recorded private conversation, sent it to random contact, woman says | FOX13
SEATTLE - A Portland, Oregon, family contacted Amazon to investigate after they say a private conversation in their home was recorded by Amazon's Alexa – the voice-controlled smart speaker – and the recorded audio was sent to the phone of a random person in Seattle, who was in the family’s contact list.
amazon  alexa  surveillance  voice 
may 2018 by jomc
Amazon gives Seattle’s Mary’s Place free food and real estate—and is a total pain.
. Not only did staff not know how much to expect, they often didn’t have enough refrigerator space back at Mary’s Place to store it all—which meant the small, already time-strapped shelter staff on evening or overnight shifts had to throw away the food or else find another home for it, since it was too late to serve it at that evening’s meal.
amazon  seattle  logistics 
may 2018 by jomc
Jeff Bezos v the world: why all companies fear 'death by Amazon' | Technology | The Guardian
Of the top 10 US industries by GDP (information, manufacturing non-durable goods, retail trade, wholesale trade, manufacturing durable goods, healthcare, finance and insurance, state and local government, professional and business services, and real estate), Amazon has a finger in all but real estate...“Only looking at a consumer side of a business power is totally ludicrous. It slices the human in half, not looking at them as a worker, producer or supplier.”
amazon  retail  labor  antitrust 
april 2018 by jomc
The Unknown, Poorly Paid Labor Force Powering Academic Research - Motherboard
Even if the contractors on MTurk are paid ethically, it's not clear whether the data they provide is skewing researchers' findings.

As political scientists Kathleen Searles and John Barry Ryan wrote in the Washington Post, it's definitely reasonable to use MTurk to gather data in certain circumstances. The trouble is knowing when. Even when it's appropriate, it's important not to oversell the results because "studies using MTurk do not always lead to the same conclusion as those using national samples," they said.
amazon  mechanical-turk  research  academia 
april 2018 by jomc
Amazon Is Trying to Control the Underlying Infrastructure of Our Economy - Motherboard
His vision is for Amazon to control the underlying infrastructure of the economy.
amazon  retail  logistics 
june 2017 by jomc
Amazon Bites Off Even More Monopoly Power -
Because of their gatekeeper role, railroads had power to discriminate, both among users and in favor of their own wares. These middlemen could tax the farmers and oil producers who depended on their rails — or deny them a ride and sink their livelihoods....And like the railroads of yore, Amazon dictates terms and prices to those dependent on its rails. During negotiations with the publisher Hachette over e-book pricing, Amazon showed its might by effectively disabling sales of thousands of Hachette’s books overnight.
amazon  antitrust 
june 2017 by jomc
Amazon’s New Customer – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
“Anything they might want to buy online” was pretty broad; the advent of Amazon Web Services a few years later showed it wasn’t broad enough, and a few years ago Amazon reduced its stated goal to just that first clause: We seek to be Earth’s most customer-centric company.
amazon  antitrust 
june 2017 by jomc
Listen Up: Your AI Assistant Goes Crazy For NPR Too | KWBU
istener Roy Hagar wrote in to say our story prompted his Alexa to reset his thermostat to 70 degrees. It was difficult for Jeff Finan to hear the story because his radio was right next to his Echo speaker, and when Alex heard her name, she started playing an NPR News summary. Marc-Paul Lee said his unit started going crazy too and wrote in to tell us this - let's just say we both enjoyed the story. So Alexa, listen up - we want you to pledge to your local member station. You hear me? Lots and lots of money.
amazon  artificial-intelligence  fembots 
march 2016 by jomc
If Obama Orders the CIA to Kill a U.S. Citizen, Amazon Will Be a Partner in Assassination | MyFDL
President Obama is now considering whether to order the Central Intelligence Agency to kill a U.S. citizen in Pakistan. That’s big news this week. But hidden in plain sight is the fact that Amazon would be an accessory to the assassination.

Amazon has a $600 million contract with the CIA to provide the agency with “cloud” computing services. After final confirmation of the deal several months ago, Amazon declared: “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

The relationship means that Amazon — logoed with a smiley-face arrow from A to Z, selling products to millions of people every week — is responsible for keeping the CIA’s secrets and aggregating data to help the agency do its work. Including drone strikes.
drones  amazon 
february 2014 by jomc
Hundreds of German Workers at Amazon Walk Off the Job | The Nation
At the end of November, hundreds of Amazon employees in Germany began staging a series of wildcat strikes. On Monday, hundreds of workers again walked off the job in an effort to put pressure on the company during the busy days before Christmas. The Ver.di union says Amazon workers receive lower wages than others in retail and mail-order jobs. According to the the union, “The Amazon system is characterized by low wages, permanent performance pressure and short-term contracts.”
amazon  labor 
december 2013 by jomc
Why Drone Delivery Will Be A Nightmare For Law Enforcement - Forbes
When you drop off a package at an automated postal machine, it takes a photo of you and keeps it on file for 30 days. That can help law enforcement figure out who sent a package full of drugs. If online drug bazaar Silk Road had had autonomous drones making its drug deliveries instead of the normal postal service, there would likely be a few less vendors under arrest.

In addition, the postal system logs all mail for law enforcement, scanning the information on the outside of letters and parcels before they are delivered. And if they have a warrant, or if it’s crossing a border, they can open it. That scanning helped law enforcement track ricin-laced letters sent to Michael Bloomberg and President Obama back to a C-level actress in Texas.
surveillance  amazon 
december 2013 by jomc
I Was a Warehouse Wage Slave | Mother Jones
Plenty of things can hurt my goals. The programs for our scanners are designed with the assumption that we disposable employees don't know what we're doing. Find a Rob Zombie Voodoo Doll in the blue section of the Rockies sector in the third bin of the A-level in row Z42, my scanner tells me. But if I punch into my scanner that it's not there, I have to prove it by scanning every single other item in the bin, though I swear on my life there's no Rob Zombie Voodoo Doll in this pile of 30 individually wrapped and bar-coded batteries that take me quite a while to beep one by one. It could be five minutes before I can move on to, and make it to, and find, my next item.
automation  warehouse  amazon 
august 2013 by jomc
We're watching out for the crowd in crowdsourcing because nobody else seems to be. Turkopticon helps the people in the 'crowd' of crowdsourcing watch out for each other—because nobody else seems to be.

Almost half of the Mechanical Turk workers who wrote their Bill of Rights demanded protection from employers who take their work without paying. Team Turkopticon uses the power of minimally designed websites to be part of the ecology worker mutual aid -- an ecology that crucially includes the forums listed below.

Turkopticon lets you REPORT and AVOID shady employers.
turk  labor  amazon  cloud 
july 2013 by jomc Joanne McNeil: Wish List
as it turns out my bookmarking an book goes to a parallel world wishlist rather than my main one i've had for 10 years
me  parallel-worlds  amazon 
november 2011 by jomc
One-star Ratings on Amazon for Book Without Kindle Version | Publishing Perspectives
need for content vs. delivery reviews. one star reviews nothing about the actual books. see also netflix etc
amazon  reviews  netflix 
december 2010 by jomc
The new rules for reviewing media
I've noticed an increasing tendency by reviewers on Amazon (and Apple's iTunes and App Stores) to review things based on the packaging or format of the media with little regard shown to the actual content/plot. Here are two recent examples.
media  kottke  amazon  consumer-reviews  yelp  books  objects 
march 2010 by jomc

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