At least the view was nice
A wired world means even one unsatisfied customer can cause a public relations headache for a company. Brand management demands a strong bulwark against the brickbats, which is what a small hotel in Blackpool, England, thought it had.
The Broadway Hotel has operated under a strict "no bad review policy," warning that "For every bad review left on any website, the group organizer will be charged a maximum £100 [$178] per review," Agence France-Presse reports.
Despite the threat, TripAdvisor displays 255 often anonymous reviews: the hotel's tally includes 17 "excellent" and 146 "terrible" assessments, with the latter offering pretty emphatic advice to anyone thinking of checking in.
But comments posted on the site by one Tony J of Whitehaven, U.K., accompanied by a photo of him, were enough for the hotel to identify guest Tony Jenkinson, and hit him with the maximum penalty.
While it's fairly safe to say that "FILTHY, DIRTY, ROTTEN, STINKING HOVEL RUN BY MUPPETS" (his caps) qualifies as a bad review, Mr. Jenkinson nonetheless complained to trading standards authorities. In the end, the local city council encouraged the hotel to drop its practice and refund the fine.
Canadians give back to charity
The U.K.-based Charities Aid Foundation released its 2014 World Giving Index on Tuesday, giving Canadians good reason to hold their heads high.
The data, collected by Gallup in more than 135 countries, surveys the percentage of national populations which engage in each of three charitable activities: giving money, volunteering time and personally helping strangers.
Tied for first place in the overall results were Myanmar and the United States, followed by Canada.
Myanmar, the report notes, has a strong cultural tradition of donating money, and scored an astonishing 91 per cent in that category, far and away the highest: no other nation scored into the 80-per-cent range.
The international foundation, whose network spans six continents, launched operations in Canada this year. CAF Canada advises and facilitates the flow of funds to groups selected by donors, which are then vetted to ensure they comply with Canada Revenue's rules on claiming charitable donations.
Dumb and dumber in the finance sector
Ever hear people in finance say things that sound stupid, but you don't want to say anything for fear you'll look stupid? It's not you – they are saying stupid things. Really stupid things. All the time.
Here's just a small sample that financial writer and Motley Fool contributor Morgan Housel has called out:
"They don't have any debt except for a mortgage and student loans."
Okay. And I'm vegan except for bacon-wrapped steak.
"Earnings met expectations, but analysts were looking for a beat."
If you're expecting earnings to beat expectations, you don't know what the word "expectations" means.
"More buyers than sellers."
This is the equivalent of saying someone has more mothers than fathers. There's one buyer and one seller for every trade. Every single one.
"We're trying to maximize returns and minimize risks."
Unlike everyone else, who are just dying to set their money ablaze.
"This is a strong buy."
What do I do with this? Click the mouse harder when placing the order in my brokerage account?
Crowdfunding is really taking off
The crowdfunding phenomenon is gaining altitude with the Wednesday launch of Lunar Mission One's crowdfunding drive on Kickstarter. The space venture aims to send an unmanned module to the moon's South Pole to search for a location to establish a permanent base.
The organizers aim to raise £600,000 ($1-million) within a month for startup costs, but the entire project is expected to cost £500-million, most of which will rely on further crowdfunding. As of midday Thursday, more than 2,500 backers had signed up, raising £250,000.
Funders giving at least £60 for a digital memory box will have their messages, pictures, videos and – through a strand of hair – DNA buried in a capsule on the moon to be preserved for "a billion years" (give or take a few million).
There's an app for everything
Three students in Singapore have won funding to develop an app which encourages people to switch off their smartphones, The Straits Times website reports.
Apple Tree promotes spending face time over screen-staring time while socializing by immobilizing phones when users touch them together. If they're left alone, an apple tree grows on the screen and rewards users with digital fruit which can be "harvested" and exchanged for rewards, Channel News Asia says. The longer the phone sits idle, the more bountiful the harvest.
The inventors were one of the winning groups in Singapore's annual Splash Awards, securing $30,000 Singapore dollars ($26,000) for the project.
That's a whole lotta bandwidth
Netflix Inc. is not just top dog in terms of North American bandwidth usage, it's the 900-pound e-gorilla, taking up more than a third of it.
With its 35-per-cent share, followed by YouTube at 14 per cent, the two top players account for half of all fixed bandwidth use, according to a report from Waterloo, Ont.,-based Sandvine, Quartz reports.
The data measured only evening use, and Quartz noted that Amazon Instant Video is also growing, though to date it's still a tiny player, and currently not available in Canada.