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Does Monsanto Hire Internet Trolls?

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does-monsanto-hire-internet-trollsIn the last several months, it has been revealed that Monsanto has a strategy for dealing with its online reputation. The strategy involves paying people to say positive things about Monsanto, defend Monsanto, and take issue with anyone who might be attacking Monsanto. Monsanto is just one company to be caught doing this.

An employee of the company inadvertently admitted to the practice some months ago, and in the meantime, no major Monsanto force has come forward to deny the claims. This means that Monsanto has Internet trolls who stalk doctors and anyone who might come out against Monsanto and they troll them. On anything, to discredit them, not just on the things that affect Monsanto.

Other companies have been caught paying trolls and bloggers to go online and defend their image. It is unknown whether such tactics have had an overwhelmingly positive or negative impact on the reach of the brands who’ve employed them.

What is known is that a quick search of the job boards will yield several positions that relate to brand management online. These positions could very well be about trolling against negativity toward a brand or company. If it were so, and if it weren’t apparent, it could potentially be illegal down the line if not already.

Companies operating in today’s climate have totally new realities to deal with, such as forums that discuss their behavior and worthiness. To compete in these new conditions, companies must find ways to keep customers happy at a whole new level.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. stuart21

    August 6, 2015 at 1:14 am

    P.H., fair bet they do – but most obvious with fossil fuel cos and AGW deniers. Could suggest a few possible candidates! Usually their arguments are so ridiculous – amounting to ‘it’s not worth saving the planet if somebody might lose their job’
    If the social media required signups including a Skype video introduction (recorded for ‘posterity’) that might make them slightly more responsible for what they say – considering that in Europe that industry has just been successfully sued for environmental damage.

  2. el rebelde

    August 6, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    good trolls need to be really smart, otherwise they are outed really quickly as paid shills.
    It’s common knownedlge that big electronics/cellphone companies also employ trolls and shills…it’s a shame

    • Your1Friend

      September 4, 2015 at 5:25 am

      If companies were actually run by intelligent people of integrity—not merely clever people, skilled at manipulating the system to get blood money into their own pockets—they wouldn’t need PR firms, shills, trolls, paid liars.

  3. Eric Bjerregaard

    August 6, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Stupid article and one that without proof should never have been written. Especially bad is the speculation that hiring trolls could be illegal. The first amendment still commands a little respect.

    • nick quinlan

      September 30, 2015 at 2:15 am

      Don’t worry, what you and the other trolls do, is not illegal. Just unethical

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        September 30, 2015 at 3:22 am

        I don’t worry Nicki. Telling the truth for free is a public service.

        • Tony Storey

          August 13, 2016 at 10:16 pm

          some truth comes with more incentives than others eh Eric?

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            August 13, 2016 at 11:37 pm

            Not that I know of, oh foolish user of the shill gambit.

          • Tony Storey

            August 13, 2016 at 11:44 pm

            personal attacks are a common thread in your arsenal that i have seen.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            August 14, 2016 at 12:01 am

            Yep, shill gambit users deserve personal attacks and get no respect.

  4. Justin Couron

    August 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    In regards to this article with no sources, links, or evidence. That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Maybe comeback when you have written an article of substance.

  5. Doug Ducat

    August 6, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    The
    OP claims that “an employee of the company inadvertently admitted to
    the practice some months ago” of “paying people to say positive things
    about Monsanto, defend Monsanto, and take issue with anyone who might be
    attacking Monsanto.”

    The citation they use for this is the following second hand account:

    “Dr.
    Moar, perhaps forgetting that this was a public event, then revealed
    that Monsanto indeed had “an entire department” (waving his arm for
    emphasis) dedicated to “debunking” science which disagreed with theirs.”

    To which the observer concluded:

    “As
    far as I know this is the first time that a Monsanto functionary has
    publicly admitted that they have such an entity which brings their
    immense political and financial weight to bear on scientists who dare to
    publish against them.”

    Well,
    this just speaks for itself. You can’t assume his statement meant
    anything of the sort concluded by the author. In fact, I would say
    placing the operative, “debunk”, in there Dr. Moar is talking
    specifically about poor quality “science”… which by extension would
    mean that it would disagree with theirs, since they stand behind the
    quality of their science. While I agree the statement was somewhat
    ambiguous making it an easy target for anti-GMO activists to pretend he
    meant something he didn’t… you also can’t forget that the second hand
    account of what was said came from a live, real-time spoken
    statement…. which is easy to mishear, misinterpret, and misrepresent
    when repeated.

    My conclusion based on what has been presented:

    Not guilty.

  6. Your1Friend

    September 4, 2015 at 5:21 am

    I think you have provided confirmation for the article above!

    And precisely what is a “flying yoga instructor?”
    And precisely how does being a “flying yoga instructor” (whatever that may mean) necessarily discredit him?
    (Yes, we are perfectly aware that you are speaking of Jeffrey Smith).

    Also, do you presume to know more than that MIT professor?
    If so, why don’t you debate her on national television?

  7. Your1Friend

    September 4, 2015 at 5:22 am

    I think you are quite right. But I am sure that the person suffers from SDS “Shill Denial Syndrome.”

  8. Barely_Jay

    September 5, 2015 at 3:30 am

    Please do us all a favor and go poison yourself on dihydrogen monoxide, Conspiracy Troll.

  9. Sebastian Larsen

    September 5, 2015 at 9:28 am

    I think the only evidence I have seen for paid shilling online is done by the Steiner cult. You know, those people behind homeopathy and biodynamic ‘farming’. http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/07/the-insidious-pervasiveness-of-the-cult-of-rudolf-steiner.html

  10. Jakob Milhelm

    April 3, 2016 at 1:22 am

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      August 13, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      Those aren’t sources. They are wack job sites. Sources are court records. videos of cash changing hands. Wire funds transfers or banking records.

      • Tony Storey

        August 13, 2016 at 11:52 pm

        Do you video the cash you receive from spewing your poison across the web? Criminals dont use fund transfers or use banks. Dont be silly.

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          August 13, 2016 at 11:59 pm

          OK, I see now. You are a high school kid that knows nothing about money laundering and why they made laws with unconstitutional reporting requirements to stop it. Those laws apply to banking. besides that accepting money to post stuff on the internet wouldn’t be criminal. So, more of your ignorance is exposed.

  11. tinyhawks

    April 16, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Just label it.

  12. Eric Bjerregaard

    August 9, 2016 at 3:01 am

    Well that little evidence free bit of nonsense may well explain why the shill gambit is so popular among the brain damaged.

  13. Tony Storey

    August 13, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Just been doin some research on Monsanto and Eric Bjerregaards name is coming up on most forums.. even in New Zealand two days ago. No surprises,, hes very pro Monsanto. He must be passionate about this chemical manufacturer or on the payroll.Or both.

    • Eric Bjerregaard

      August 13, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Nope I am pro the use of safe products and against dishonest fear mongering. So, I oppose you.

      • Tony Storey

        August 13, 2016 at 11:46 pm

        yep seen that line from you several times in various posts..from a template of replies. Got any original material? Or do you have to get that approved first?

        • Eric Bjerregaard

          August 13, 2016 at 11:56 pm

          Well, as your only argument appears to be the foolish shill gambit/ And as I oppose those who use such nonsense. I oppose you. All my stuff is original. That is why I can belittle you with no consequences.

          • Tony Storey

            August 14, 2016 at 12:16 am

            so how much do you receive for posting? Does it pay more than growing pineapples? You dont see any ethical issues with supporting biotech companies on a public forum in a vain attempt to sway opinion. But i guess it is effective in some regard as most sensible people want to gain knowledge in this subject not get involved in an ego-off with you. You shut discussions down. . Its a great ploy and you probably feel very superior which is an added bonus. I just dont understand how you can span so many forums across the world. The time and effort involved just to prove the safety of a product.? If your not on the payroll you have a very good case to be.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            August 14, 2016 at 12:31 am

            I receive nothing but the knowledge that I am opposing ignorance. I also have a full time job. “vain attempt?” nope. The truth will win pout in this little war. .. Attrition will take its’ toll and you will lose. Especially when biofortified crops become more common place. Please take your case for paying me to one of the biotech companies. I could use the money. Here is an example of what is coming, and another reason I post. I have posted a second time as the first response is being held up by censors. Likely because I linked to information about disease resistant bananas being developed in Uganda, and another link. Cites like this often oppose posting actual science.

          • Tony Storey

            August 14, 2016 at 12:41 am

            how bout give humanity a break and stick to your day job and let people discuss other ‘sciences’ that dont corroborate with your science paradigm. Science is fluid and constantly being questioned, not fixed. Peoples concerns are valid despite your dismissive claims. If a product was ‘safe’ as you claim you wouldnt need to run to its defense. The science that backs it is flimsy and biased. As we are slowly finding out.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            August 14, 2016 at 1:08 am

            Concerns are not valid unless backed by facts. The consensus is clear. The products are safe and you and your tribe throwing mud are the reasons for the defense. Mud must be cleaned up even when thrown by vandals.

          • Tony Storey

            August 14, 2016 at 1:55 am

            Monsanto must be absolutely in stitches laughing at the fact that your so vehemently supporting their products and buying their science without even paying you a single cent. They may even name a product after you if you play your cards right. Doing gods work Eric. Good little robot.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            August 14, 2016 at 2:17 am

            I doubt the folks at monsanto even know I exist. It’s not just their products. There are many others as well.

          • Tony Storey

            August 14, 2016 at 4:49 am

            So theres more companies with liitle or no integrity you come to the defense of. Do tell…Where does your affection lie?

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            August 14, 2016 at 12:44 pm

            You are making an assumption about moral issues and still have posted no evidence. This continues to show your basic dishonesty. My affection lies with your enemies.

          • Tony Storey

            August 14, 2016 at 10:07 pm

            enemies? give me a break

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            August 14, 2016 at 10:52 pm

            No, I will not. I’m sick and tired of guys like you trying to harm progress especially in These areas. Cassava disease resistant and biofortified, and Ugandan bananas both disease resistant and biofortified. I scrolled up and checked. The idiotic censor deleted my comment with the links to research papers. So, I can’t post more. So, look em up. When you oppose safe technology. You also harm small scale farmers in areas that need the new crops. Thus you make enemies.

          • Tony Storey

            August 15, 2016 at 10:06 pm

            if harming progress means raising serious health concerns, then yes , i will till the end of time, long after your GM fruit has mutated into a non food full of harmful chemicals, just to keep it growing. Stupid humans

          • Tomas Moravec

            August 15, 2016 at 11:06 pm

            So why is GM fruit more likely to mutate into non food full of harmfull chemicals than non-GM fruit? Organic or conventional?

          • hyperzombie

            August 14, 2016 at 11:41 pm

            Does it pay more than growing pineapples
            I would think that everything pays better than growing pineapples, they are very tough to grow and take about 18 months to mature. They can only be grown in certain soils and are crazy labour intensive.

            Why would there be any ethical issues with supporting bio-tech or any technology? Or are you one of the folks that believes that everyone needs technology, except for farmers? Are you anti tech in any other field?
            “Darm Elementary Particle Physicists, don’t need those atom smashers, it is so unnatural. They should smash atoms the old fashioned way, with a hammer”

            “People don’t need the internet when we have smoke signals and cups and string. ”

            I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that Agriculture is the only field that you believe should be free from modern technology.

          • Tony Storey

            August 15, 2016 at 3:32 am

            nice argument you had going all by yourself. i feel like i would be intruding if i commented

      • Tony Storey

        August 13, 2016 at 11:49 pm

        how can you oppose me?, you dont even know my stand on the issue. The ego loves an enemy so i see where your coming from.

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Altcoins

Stellar Acquires Blockchain Startup Chain to Form Interstellar

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The commercial arm of the Stellar Development Corporation has acquired a promising blockchain startup by the name of Chain, paving the way for possibly higher enterprise adoption of distributed ledger technology. The deal adds to Stellar’s credibility as one of the world’s leading blockchain companies.

Chain Acquired

Chain, a San Francisco-based startup pursuing enterprise grade adoption of blockchain technology in finance, has sold to Lightyear in an undisclosed cash agreement. Lightyear, the subsidiary of the Stellar Development Corporation, will be re-named Interstellar, according to official reports. Jed McCaleb, Stellar’s founder, will be the chief technology officer of the newly formed company, which he said should help companies build on the Stellar network. He adds:

“Chain’s team has led the market for enterprise adoption of blockchain technology, which is a critical component of building a future where money and digital assets move over open protocols.”

Interstellar’s new CEO Adam Ludwin explained how the newly merged company will work together:

“Chain has worked from inside the enterprise while Stellar has focused on the network between organizations. As a single team we will have a complete view and set of capabilities to make value-over-IP a reality.”

Chain is said to be a leader in the world of fin-tech, having built enterprise-grade blockchain solutions for Visa, Citigroup and Nasdaq, among others. With the merger, Interstellar will have access to Sequence, Chain’s powerful cloud solution that enables companies to monitor assets moving between private ledgers and the Stellar network.

Previously, Chain had raised more than $43 million across multiple deals. Financiers included Capital One, Citigroup, Pantera Capital and Blockchain Capital.

XLM Price Update

Although the merger between Chain and Lightyear has not had a demonstrably positive effect on XLM’s price, the cryptocurrency continues to outperform leading assets such as Ethereum and bitcoin cash. The XLM price was down 4.4% on Tuesday but has gained 3.2% over the past seven days. By comparison, bitcoin has declined nearly 1% over that period while Cardano has lost more than 10%. Ethereum is trading in positive territory over seven days as prices recovered from 16-month lows.

XLM, which is currently valued at $0.197, has declined roughly 12% over the past month. At current values, it has a market capitalization of $3.7 billion, placing it sixth among active cryptocurrencies. Bitbox is the most active market for XLM traders, accounting for more than 54% of daily transactions.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 603 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Nvidia Pulls Out of Cryptocurrency Business amid Declining Profit

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California chipmaker Nvidia Corp (NVDA) has officially pulled out of the cryptocurrency mining business over declining GPU sales and dwindling profits. However, a closer look at the mining landscape reveals that competition, and not declining demand, is at the root of Nvidia’s decision to exit the industry.

Nvidia Quits Crypto Mining Business

Colette Kress, Nvidia’s CFO, announced the decision last week in a report that was published by The Wall Street Journal.

“We believe we’ve reached a normal period as we’re looking forward to essentially no cryptocurrency as we move forward,” Kress said. “Our revenue outlook had anticipated cryptocurrency-specific products declining to approximately $100 million, while actual crypto-specific product revenue was $18 million, and we now expect a negligible contribution going forward.”

The company, which is best known for developing chips for supercomputers and video game systems, experienced an upsurge in GPU sales last year as miners rushed to capitalize on the crypto boom. Earlier this year, Nvidia revealed for the first time how much revenue it generated from crypto market sales. As Hacked reported back in May, Nividia’s first-quarter chip sales to cryptocurrency miners hit $289 million, far exceeding forecasts of $200 million.

Despite better than expected results, the company warned of a steep fall in subsequent quarters as mining profitability plummeted.

“Crypto miners bought a lot of our GPUs in the quarter and it drove prices up,” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said on a Q1 earnings call back in May.

Nvidia may be exiting the crypto mining business, but its overall profitability is as good as ever. For the quarter ending July 29, profits nearly doubled to $1.1 billion, or $1.76 a share. Revenues surged 40% to $3.12 billion. Both results beat analysts’ forecast.

Bitmain’s Growing Dominance

Following a series of acquisitions and funding rounds, China’s Bitmain has emerged as the world’s biggest blockchain conglomerate. The company, which is valued at $19 billion, generated $1.1 billion in profits during the first quarter. As CCN reports, Bitmain’s crypto venture earned 65 times more profit than Nvidia during the quarter.

Bitmain’s profitability suggests that demand for mining equipment remains strong despite the seven-month downturn in cryptocurrency prices. What’s more, bitcoin’s hash rate has increased significantly this year, offering further evidence of continued growth. As Hacked reported last month, bitcoin’s hash rate has risen 100% amid the downturn. What’s more, the hash power that has come online since the end of last year is equivalent to more than 2 million SHA-256 ASIC. Each of these units is valued at roughly $1,800.

The real issue for Nvidia isn’t that crypto mining is on the decline but that demand for GPU-specific equipment has fallen.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 603 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Overstock.com Shares Spike 17% After Chinese Private Equity Firm Pledges $270 Million for tZERO

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Shares of Overstock.com (OSTK) surged in after-hour trading Thursday after a major Chinese equity firm agreed to invest in tZERO, the blockchain subsidiary vying to reshape the investment world through a SEC-regulated alternative trading system (ATS).

GSR Capital to Invest Heavily in tZERO

CNBC confirmed on Thursday that Hong Kong-based GSR Capital will invest up to $270 million in tZero. The investment is based on a valuation of $1.5 billion, giving GSR an 18% stake in the new blockchain startup. GSR will also buy $30 million worth of tZERO security tokens.

“We are honored to have GSR Capital as a strategic investor,” said tZERO CEO Saum Noursalehi in a statement, as quoted by CNBC. “The tokenization of securities has the potential to disrupt global capital markets responsible for moving hundreds of trillions of dollars. Together with our partners, we will globalize our blockchain-based platform, bringing more efficiency, liquidity, and trust to capital markets.”

The announcement came less than six weeks after GSR Capital signed a letter of intent with Overstock to purchase $160 million worth of security tokens.

Launched in December, tZERO’s initial coin offering (ICO) has raised $134 million to finance its ATS infrastructure, which will provide a regulated venue for securities trading. The company plans to build similar systems around the world.

Despite a highly successful crowdraise, documents submitted to the SEC earlier this year revealed a target of $250 million. Independent valuations had placed tZERO’s ICO anywhere between $200 million and $500 million.

Overstock.com Spikes

Overstock.com’s share price was up by as much as 21% after-hours. It would eventually settle at $45.40 for a gain of 17.6%.

As the following chart illustrates, the OSTK price rose 4.5% in regular trading on Thursday to settle at $38.60.

Despite the gain, OSTK has been a dismal performer this year. Share prices are down 40% year-to-date, vastly under-performing the Nasdaq Composite Index, which has returned more than 14%.  What’s more, the stock is trading at less than half of its 52-week high.

Overstock’s share price has been rocked by disappointing quarterly results and the cancellation of a proposed public stock offering. Last March, the company offered four million shares of common stocks before abruptly cancelling those plans. Noursalehi said the decision to pull the offering was due to “market volatility and price.” To be sure, OSTK had declined 20% following the initial announcement to issue common stock.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 603 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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