Amazon Is Suing Over 1,000 Individuals For Allegedly Creating ‘Fake Product Reviews’

by 4 years ago

morning-brew

“We announce more numbers than any company alive. But on the watch…we’re looking at this and saying, this is competitive information.” — Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking at the WSJD conference hosted by the Wall Street Journal. Yes, Tim is still tight-lipped on how many Apple Watches have been sold.

MARKET SNAPSHOT 

Energy Ebbing Over China

  • U.S. stocks made little headway to kick off the week as investors reacted to bumpy quarterly results from Morgan Stanley and data showing China’s economy is growing at its slowest pace since ‘09. Though many companies have missed revenue expectations, earnings as a whole have held relatively strong so far, especially given the low expectations.
  • The aforementioned weak GDP data from China took its toll on oil. How so? China is the largest energy consumer in the world, so it’s no surprise that the country’s economic struggles sent oil tumbling nearly 3 percent.
  • The other market affected by China’s bad news was Europe, which ended mixed—most sectors ended higher, but energy and mining stocks were hit hard (shocking, we know).
  • After a 7 percent leap last week, gold reversed the trend yesterday as a strong dollar pulled the price of gold back down. This dollar’s strength was attributed to investors getting cold feet as the European Central Bank prepares to announce its stimulus plans at their meeting later this week.
__________
CORPORATE PRIMER

Oprah to the Rescue

Entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey is taking a 10 percent stake in Weight Watchers, dishing out $43 million in the process (admittedly chump change for Oprah). The announcement gave Weight Watchers quite the jolt: its share price literally doubled yesterday from $7 to $14. Before Oprah announced her plan, Weight Watchers had been down 72 percent and sales were in freefall. Oprah’s involvement won’t magically reverse the sales trend, but here’s to hoping she tips the scales back in Weight Watchers’ favor.

IBM Says Yes, Numbers Say No

IBM’s third quarter earnings missed analyst expectations yesterday, falling well below expectations—revenues fell for the fourteenth quarter in a row (count ‘em, 14). Despite the losing streak, IBM is standing by its new-and-improved business model, referencing strong growth in current “strategic imperatives,” aka cloud computing, security and data analytics. IBM warned that profits for the next year may be lower than expected, but will be beneficial in the long run—a statement not so popular with investors as shares fell 5 percent after hours.

Wal-Mart Walks Free

Let’s recap: three years ago, Wal-Mart was accused of illegally bribing Mexican officials to obtain permits to build stores in Mexico, a market that makes up around 20 percent of Wal-Mart’s locations. Federal officials conducted a high profile investigation, but it seems to be the retailer’s lucky day: officials came up mostly empty-handed, and no Wal-Mart executives will be criminally charged. Looks like Walmart’s off the hook—legally, at least (operationally, they’re still struggling).

__________
TODAY IN TECH

The Trials of Amazon

Amazon is facing a two-pronged battle right now:

  • Prong #1: Amazon is suing over 1,000 individuals for allegedly creating “fake product reviews.” Reliable customer reviews are a big part of Amazon’s value, which is why the online retailer is going hard after these so-called fakers.
  • Prong #2: Amazon is also duking it out with the New York Times over the accuracy of a blistering article the Times published over the summer, which painted an ugly picture of Amazon’s corporate culture. Yesterday, Amazon fired back with a rebuttal attacking the article’s credibility. Amazon may have the last word at the moment, but right now all press is bad press as publicity for the online retailer grows increasingly negative.
__________
OTHER STORIES

  • Blackstone nears deal to buy Manhattan apartment complex
  • Crisis experts debate Amazon’s latest move
  • Volkswagen diesel owners in U.S. face lost value
  • FAA to require drone registration
__________
ECONOMIC CALENDAR

  • Monday: IBM, Morgan Stanley, Haliburton Earnings; China GDP
  • Tuesday: Chipotle, Verizon, Yahoo Earnings; Housing Starts
  • Wednesday: American Express, Boeing, Coca-Cola, eBay, General Motors, Las Vegas Sands, SanDisk Earnings
  • Thursday: Alphabet, Amazon, AT&T, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Under Armour Earnings; Existing Home Sales; Weekly Jobless Claims
  • Friday: Procter & Gamble Earnings

FUN RUINED

Fancy taking your drone out for a spin today? Make sure you don’t break any laws—the U.S. Department of Transportation just announced a plan requiring you to register your drone. Here’s the rest of the story:

  • At least you don’t have to worry until after Thanksgiving: Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has said the plan won’t be implemented until mid-December.
  • The registration will allow the FAA to identify the owners of anyone violating airspace rules.
  • The new regulations have been sparked by “near misses” between aircraft and drones—especially near airports. This is despite the fact that many major manufacturers have programmed devices to not be able to take off near major airports. Long story short: the sky is getting crowded. Drone pilots, enjoy your freedom while you can.

INTERVIEW QUESTION OF THE DAY

Using only two 2’s and any combination of mathematical signs, symbols and functions, can you make five? (Answer)

__________

BUSINESS TERM OF THE DAY

Goldilocks Economy — An economy that is not so hot that it causes inflation, and not so cold that it causes a recession. There are no exact markers of a Goldilocks economy, but it is characterized by a low unemployment rate, increasing asset prices (stocks, real estate, etc.), low interest rates, brisk but steady GDP growth and low inflation.

__________

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
383: the number of consecutive days Scott Kelly, an astronaut participating in a long-term mission aboard the International Space Station, has remained in space.

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
/* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block.
We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Want to get Morning Brew sent to your inbox daily? Subscribe here!

* indicates required
Email Address *

//s3.amazonaws.com/downloads.mailchimp.com/js/mc-validate.js(function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]=’EMAIL’;ftypes[0]=’email’;fnames[2]=’SCHOOL’;ftypes[2]=’dropdown’;fnames[1]=’FNAME’;ftypes[1]=’text’;fnames[3]=’LNAME’;ftypes[3]=’text’;fnames[4]=’NAME’;ftypes[4]=’text’;fnames[5]=’SOCIAL_ID’;ftypes[5]=’text’;fnames[6]=’REFERRED_B’;ftypes[6]=’text’;fnames[7]=’MMERGE7′;ftypes[7]=’text’;}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true);


TAGSBusinessFinanceMorning Brew