Amazon promotes competitors' prices
Amazon.com Inc. is testing a new paid advertising program that will drive shoppers away from products on its own Web site. On some Amazon product detail pages, competing or complementary items and their prices now appear in a list of text-link ads under headings such as "Available at these other websites." When shoppers click, Amazon makes money and the advertiser's site opens in a new window. Razor-thin retail margins have prompted Amazon to look beyond directly selling and shipping merchandise to customers. To stay profitable despite money-losing promotions like its unlimited free shipping program, the company opened Amazon.com to other merchants, letting them peddle their wares alongside its own and use its fulfillment system, for a more attractive cut than its normal sales margin.
Hackers use rogue servers to attack
They're called "servers that lie." Mendacious machines controlled by hackers that reroute Internet traffic from infected computers to fraudulent Web sites are increasingly being used to launch attacks, according to a paper published recently by researchers with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Google Inc. The paper estimates roughly 68,000 servers on the Internet are returning malicious Domain Name System results, which means people with compromised computers are sometimes being directed to the wrong Web sites — and often have no idea. The peer-reviewed paper, which offers one of the broadest measurements of the number of rogue DNS servers, was presented at the Internet Society's Network and Distributed System Security Symposium in San Diego.
ICANN may allow domains like '.pdf'
Internet addresses ending in ".pdf" or ".mp3" could appear under a new proposal, while domain name suffixes consisting entirely of numbers would likely be rejected. Hints about such dos and don'ts appeared in a new report issued by the Internet's key oversight agency, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. The organization is looking for feedback on security and operational issues that may arise from the introduction of new domain names as early as this year. ICANN said it considered banning suffixes that match common extensions for file names, such as ".exe" for Windows. But the organization concluded it would be too difficult to keep track of which extensions are popular enough to ban. Once ICANN finishes crafting its criteria, it will start taking bids for new names.
Brain-reading game headset coming soon
Hands cramping up from too many video games? How about controlling games with your thoughts instead? This year, Emotiv Systems Inc. plans to start selling the $299 EPOC neuroheadset to let you do just that. The headset's sensors are designed to detect conscious thoughts and expressions as well as "nonconscious emotions" by reading electrical signals around the brain, says the company, which demonstrated the wireless gadget at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The company says the headset can detect emotions such as anger, excitement and tension, as well as facial expressions and cognitive actions like pushing and pulling objects. The headset will be sold with a game developed by Emotiv, but it can also be made to work with existing PC games, the company said.