Amazon Enables Spammers By Taking Away Review Comments


Have you noticed that you can’t comment on a product review on Amazon any more? One of my favorite uses of this feature was to ping a buyer for updates on their initial reaction to a product. A product really shows its stripes after a few months of usage, not at the initial unboxing.

Additionally, organic discussion is a strong indicator of whether a review is authentic or not — a real problem in the Amazon ecosystem. If Amazon were serious about cutting down review spam, they’d leave this already-operational system running.

I got this email from Amazon Services last winter explaining their action.

On 2020-12-15 03:25, Amazon Services wrote:
> Dear seller,
>
> You are receiving this email because you recently left a comment on a review.
>
> While reviews and feedback are important to our customers and sellers,
> the comments feature on customer reviews was rarely used. As a result,
> we are retiring this feature on December 16, 2020.
>
> We are committed to your continued success and will innovate and
> develop other opportunities for you to connect with customers.
>
> Thank you.
>
> Amazon Services

Rarely used? Really?
I think this is foolish. It’s important for users to discuss products months after the initial honeymoon period has ended.

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The Austin Videogame Writer Liked on YouTube: A helmet has always been a good idea

Your Austin game writer thought you might appreciate this video: A helmet has always been a good idea.
The Vikings are here – wear a helmet!

Helmets have protected our ancestors throughout centuries.
Wear a helmet next time you mount your bike!

The campaign is produced for the Danish Road Safety Council by NewLand Film and &Co 2021

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The Austin Videogame Writer Liked on YouTube: Answering Machine

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Provided to YouTube by Ryko/Rhino

Answering Machine · The Replacements

Let It Be

? 1984 Rykodisc, Inc.

Writer: Paul Westerberg

Auto-generated by YouTube.

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How to Do Text Forwarding with Google Voice 2021

Forward Google Voice Messages to SMS/Your Cellphone

Google Voice just turned off “message forwarding to linked numbers” and yeah, that’s a big deal. Thanks a lot, Google. But there’s a pretty simple if ugly workaround that I’ve yet to see written up so it’s not quite time to give up on Voice.

Why Message Forwarding to Linked Numbers Is a Big Deal

Voice used to be a fantastic utility layer you could add to your cellphone. Instead of giving out your true phone number, you could give out a Google Voice number, and use it to route intelligently all your texts and calls. Want your texts to go to your brother’s phone when you’re in class, but not on weekends? Sure. Want your incoming calls to ring three burners but not before 8 AM? No problem. And if your phone number changes, all you have to do is update the setting in Google Voice — no more spamming your friends with your new number.

Well, Google just shut down the whole text message part of the picture. No more message forwarding to other numbers.

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The Fix Is… Gmail

As many have noted on Reddit and Androidpolice and elsewhere, you can get Voice to forward your incoming text messages to email. So… that’s nice. Wouldn’t it be nicer if you could get your email to autoforward those messages to your cellphone? Wouldn’t that do the same damned thing as what Voice was doing in the first place?

Kind of. It’s uglier. A lot uglier. And you can’t reply to it to get a message back to the sender. But at least you’ll get the message and know that something urgent is going down, even if you have a bad data connection.

Anyhow, here’s the trick.

  1. First, find out what the email address is for your cellphone. “Email address for my cellphone huh?” you may be asking. Yeah, the email for your phone. Almost all providers have an email address for each customer, like 5558761234@txt.att.net; emails sent to that address will be converted to texts and delivered to the customer. Here’s an article on the topic that has a handy list of email formats for popular carriers. If you use an MVNO, try the format for the carrier that your MVNO licenses from. Email your phone to make sure it’s working.
  2. In Google Voice, go to Settings > Messages and turn on “Forward messages to email.”
  3. Assuming you use Gmail, switch to Gmail. (If you don’t use Gmail, that’s okay; you just need to do these same steps with your mail provider’s forwarding rules.)
  4. In the inbox, type “from:txt.voice.google.com” into the Search mail box at the top. If your message forwarding to email hasn’t kicked in yet, you may not find anything, but that’s ok. Now click the goofy settings icon to the right of the X button in the search bar and click Create Filter in the dropdown that appears.
  5. Next to “Forward it to” is a link to “Add a forwarding address”. That’s the stuff. Click that and put in the email address for your phone. Google Voice will require you to authenticate.
  6. Once authenticated, click the “Forward it to” checkbox and choose the email address for your phone. Click “Create filter” and you are almost done.
  7. Repeat steps 4 and 6 for the search “from:voice-noreply@google.com“. This is the email address that Google Voice uses to notify you of group texts. You won’t get the actual content, but at least you’ll know when your buddies are trying to get you for a hang.
  8. OPTIONAL: SteveTN writes, “Problem I have found is that the forward to my mobile number from Gmail is usually not immediate. I have texts that take over a half hour.” This is a good point. Gmail is not exactly snappy. Suggestion: use your own outgoing mail server! If you have a website (and who doesn’t?), use that mail server. If not, you can sign up for a SMTP email service. (Sendinblue’s forever free basic plan sends 300 emails per day; that should cover you, right?) Then just go to Gmail’s settings > Accounts and click on “edit info” for the account you’re using to send your messages.

Is this anywhere as clean as the original Google Voice message forwarding? Hell no. You’ll have stupid formatting and all the extra text that Google Voice puts in its email notifications, and as I mentioned before, replying to these texts via text is pointless. But at least you won’t be in the dark if your data craps out and your friends are desperately trying to reach you.

The Austin Videogame Writer Liked on YouTube: Passenger taped to seat after attacking flight attendants on flight to Miami, police say

Your Austin game writer thought you might appreciate this video: Passenger taped to seat after attacking flight attendants on flight to Miami, police say.
(Flight Attendant Speaks) Passenger Taped To Seat After Attacking Flight Attendants On Flight

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The Austin Videogame Writer Liked on YouTube: Morphine Girl

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Provided to YouTube by Redeye Worldwide

Morphine Girl · Mandolin Orange

This Side of Jordan

? Two Vans / Riff City

Released on: 2013-08-20

Artist: Mandolin Orange
Composer: Andrew Marlin

Auto-generated by YouTube.

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The Austin Videogame Writer Liked on YouTube: Wildfire

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Provided to YouTube by Redeye Worldwide

Wildfire · Mandolin Orange

Blindfaller

? Party Fowl admin Songs O Routie BMI

Released on: 2016-09-30

Composer: Andrew Marlin
Music Publisher: Party Fowl admin Songs O Routie BMI

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The Austin Videogame Writer Liked on YouTube: Aunty Cutiepie’s meat floss sales pitch

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The Austin Videogame Writer Liked on YouTube: Daniel Camarena, a Padres reliever called up today, hit a GRAND SLAM off Max Scherzer!

Your Austin game writer thought you might appreciate this video: Daniel Camarena, a Padres reliever called up today, hit a GRAND SLAM off Max Scherzer!.
Camarena is the first reliever to hit a grand slam since 1985.

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The Austin Videogame Writer Liked on YouTube: Let You Go

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Let You Go · ilan Bluestone

Impulse

? Anjunabeats

Released on: 2021-05-07

Music Publisher: Involved Publishing Ltd

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