Saturday, August 27, 2005

Taguchi Me This!!!!

From Icringey

"By Robert X. Cringely

Privacy, identity theft, and how information technology makes the former harder and the latter easier has been our theme for the last two weeks. And this is a story that we'll continue, probably next week, as it further unfolds. But now it is time to take a short breather and consider what I learned by selling my Bowflex home gym on eBay. It is a lesson that could be worth billions.

My reason for selling the Bowflex was simple: I am a slug. Six weeks to a fitter body only works, I learned, if you actually use the machine. Muscles are apparently involved. So when I finally faced reality, I decided to sell my Bowflex on eBay. I wrote the ad, pasted a very nice picture of it that I found on the Bowflex web site, and listed the gym only to find the next morning that eBay had rejected my ad and refunded my money. It was that picture, which was copyrighted, and I had infringed Bowflex's copyright, so they very properly demanded the ad be delisted. I have no problem with that, though it might have helped had eBay made the situation a little clearer. They wrote me a very ominous e-mail saying if I relisted the item horrible things would happen to me. But when I called Bowflex they told me to just take my own darned picture, which I did. "

A crated Bowflex PowerPro XT (my crates are industrial strength -- no, make that indestructible), by the way, weighs 145 lbs.

How did Bowflex know I was using their picture? A spider program looks at every eBay picture in several categories, and if any of them match an official Bowflex shot, then a challenge is automatically generated and the axe falls. What's amazing about this is that what we are talking about is not a deterrent in the classic sense -- it is actual prevention. Bowflex has the capability of finding EVERY violator, which is why they are satisfied with just stopping us rather than whacking off our hands to discourage others.

This ability to look at every eBay ad and learn something from it intrigued me, and I began to think about what other information could be gleaned the same way. Certainly, there are outfits that keep an eye on final sale prices on eBay and other auction sites so they can tell you what you can expect your item to sell for. But the potential for this historical information goes much, much further. I believe that it could be used to easily double eBay sales.....

Read the full article here : Icringey


Blogger Zack Simone said...

You know what, reading this. There are bigger things to worry about. A little 'spider' program by bowflex is nothing compared to the power that ibm has to track peoples computers in their offices to see if they are using a one license product on multiple machines or using copywrited material. The way governments and major corporations have their own 'hackers' is more scarry and dangerous (i imagine) that the average loose hacker out there who tinkles into someones major corporation for a couple hours.

7:41 PM  

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