theEweekly Wrap: Tickets, tirades and trade shows
|Pay Per Con||It emerged this week that Google has been running PPC ads for London Olympics ticket scammers. A listener named Liz contacted the BBC 5 Live Investigates radio show, complaining that she had been conned out of £750 by a company called LiveOlympicTickets, after clicking the uppermost PPC ad on Google. Even if the tickets were real, unofficial resale of Olympic tickets is illegal; the Metropolitan Police had asked Google over a week previously to remove all ads for LiveOlympicTickets, but to no avail.
BBC researchers also found that as well as many ticket scams, PPC ads could be found for fake ID cards, fake passports and buying cannabis online. All these ads were removed by Google as soon as the BBC contacted them. A spokesperson for the search giant pointed out that AdWords is an automated system, and therefore “we are not responsible for, nor are we able to monitor the actions of each company”. Google has previously been heavily penalised for illegal ads, and criticised for profiting from illegal activities even if ads are later removed.
|Dark days||Social news and sharing site reddit has announced it will be blacked out in protest at controversial new US legislation, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The impending bills are controversial because, if passed, many believe they would be tantamount to censorship; copyright owners and the US Department of Justice would be able to remove user-created content from all over the internet, including Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia and reddit. An official blog post on Tuesday revealed that for twelve hours on January 18th, the site will show a “simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action”.
Reddit taking a stand against PIPA and SOPA has prompted others to join the cause. Hacktivists Anonymous will be joining the 12-hour blackout, WordPress has posted a call to arms, and Jimmy Wales is considering blacking out Wikipedia if users agree with the protest. Other high profile figures who are against the legislation include Twitter’s Evan Williams, Google’s Matt Cutts and Sergey Brin, media magnate Arianna Huffington, and MC Hammer. The bills will be discussed in the Senate from January 24th 2012.
|CES 2012||The annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is drawing to a close today in Las Vegas. For years, CES has been the must-see event for technology investors, journalists and bloggers wanting to find out what gadgets will be launching over the coming year. As usual, the 2012 event saw a few novelty items: 3D printers, a touch screen Android camera, smart products for the home, an eye-controlled laptop, and a robot unveiled and demonstrated by none other than Justin Bieber.
Meanwhile, the more traditional offerings from tech giants were very impressive. Ultrabooks, tablets and smartphones were the order of the week, with big names like Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft and Intel vying for attention – Apple, as usual, was absent. Intel in particular attracted media interest for its Ultrabooks, powering models by Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer and Asus, and showcased on stage by will.i.am (pictured), formerly of the Black Eyed Peas and now Intel’s director of creative innovation. Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer delivered the opening keynote on Monday, promising Windows 8 would be launching soon, and hinting at more work with smartphone manufacturers in the near future; nothing very surprising. It was also announced that this is the company’s last appearance at CES for the foreseeable future.