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  Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities! 
 
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Dr. Peaceful Aug 01, 2014, 07:28pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 01, 2014, 07:50pm EDT

Replies: 9 - Views: 2606
I haven't shopped Newegg for a long while until recently, and even longer for writing a review for products they sell. So, I wrote a review few days ago, and noticed they are now posting people's real names (first name, last initial) for the reviews. Apparently, this is something new started this year. There are some fairly new discussions on the same topic in other computer forums (see links below). According to these discussions, this is not only for recently posted product reviews, but they might have de-anonymized older reviews that were using nicknames to real names. That means if you posted a review in Newegg some time ago using a nickname, given that the product link still exists, chances are your review, previously anonymous, is now showing your real name.

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=2370576
http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1236341
https: //community.newegg.com/eggxpert/community/f/135080/p/140805/933744.aspx

In newegg's review submission form, there's a field called "nickname", for the purpose if the reviewer wants to stay anonymous. The same field exists for their Testimonial submission form, see quote below. Apparently, Newegg can freely ignore that field and post the reviewer's real name without their consent!
Source: https: //secure.newegg.com/FeedBack/PostTestimonials.aspx
Click on the "Learn More" link to expand the agreements.

"When you submit a testimonial, you are agreeing to the following:
- Reprint or use of the Testimonial will be at our discretion and will occur without compensation.
- We may use the Testimonial with or without any pseudo (pen) name credit.
- Our right to use the Testimonial is perpetual and may be assigned by us..."


As indicated in newegg's own replies in the discussions linked above, you can opt to "Display as Anonymous" in the account settings. However, your real name is to be displayed by default, and the anonymous option is not available until you have made your first review. In addition, it will take time for their server to update the status.

Since an account is required for a product review and the person may have made purchase in Newegg already, chances are Newegg already know the reviewer's identity. So the question is, why is it still necessary to display the person's real name to the public? To me, no doubt this is a big turn off for customers, as well as potential jeopardy to their privacy by revealing their real names, comments and products they bought.


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john albrich Aug 03, 2014, 01:19pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities!
.
You value your privacy?

UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!

As per one of the published "indicators" we better get you on those watch lists ASAP.

Why...I bet you're even one of THOSE types...that believe before an agent of the government can search your phone, emails, and cloud storage, that a judge must individually authorize a search warrant (based on sworn testimony, probable cause, and specifying what exactly is being searched for)...even when they're in the Constitution-Free Zone. How...quaint.

Clearly you don't understand that the Founders didn't have advancing technology, computers, and mass media in mind when they wrote that "***-****** piece of paper".

Dr. Peaceful Aug 04, 2014, 12:07am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 04, 2014, 12:07am EDT

 
>> Re: Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities!
I am not sure if I get the point of your comment, John. Are you just being sarcastic?

john albrich Aug 04, 2014, 10:47am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 04, 2014, 10:50am EDT

 
>> Re: Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities!
.
I thought I was being quite over-the-top. Every cut or nibble that degrades a person's options re personal privacy is a concern.

It's astounding to me that much of the current generation apparently thinks "privacy" is irrelevant and/or old-fashioned. Younger people I know think handing over their computers/phones/etc for a warrantless search is normal...even the way it should be.

I think I've elsewhere indicated on HWA what a seriously bad situation it is that more and more websites are using facebook ID logins instead of creating and managing their own private login servers. As it continues, facebook becomes a defacto Real-ID.

Consider also, that with everyone using one ID, all an employer (or prospective employer) needs is that one ID and they will be able to track down everything you've ever said/posted online.

So if Newegg for example, were to start using your facebook ID...a company or person that didn't like your review(s) would have no trouble tracking you down, trolling your online presence, making your life hell, denying you a job, suing you, etc. And yes, companies have already started suing people for "bad reviews".

Legislators have even suggested facebook become "the" Real-ID.

There are also politicians that have tried to introduce legislation to criminalize providing ANY "false" information on ANY website as a Federal crime. So for example, under such a law...if you shaved a few years off your birth date either because you're vain, or to improve the security of the sign-on information and mislead hackers and employees who might be involved in identity theft, you could be charged and arrested with a federal crime.

Dr. Peaceful Aug 04, 2014, 11:08am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities!
I said in my first post: "In addition, it will take time for their server to update the status." Here I am giving you an idea of how long that is from my own experience.

1. After you submit your review, it will take at least 12 hours before it will show up in the Newegg website. That's normal, since they need to approve your comments before they put it up.

2. Once your comment is displayed, and if this is the first time you post comments within the last few years in newegg, the "display as anonymous" option won't be available to you until another 24 hours.

3. Once the "display as anonymous" option is available in your account settings, you can check the anonymous option, but it will take at least 12 hours for the change to take effect.

That means it will take 36 hours minimum after your review's displayed to change to anonymous status, if this your first review. Even if it's not the first, expect 12 hours for the status change to take effect.

It will take another 24 hours for the user review profile to be fully constructed, if this your first review. At this point you can view your review profile status in your account. Also now clicking on display name (even for anonymous) next to the comment will bring up the reviewer's profile, which lists all the reviews the reviewer ever posted, as well as stats such as date the reviewer joined newegg, number of reviews, first review date and last review date.

That means now there is an easier way to bring up all the reviews that belong to a reviewer. And even if the reviewer's anonymous, there are still some identifiable stats.

Dr. Peaceful Aug 04, 2014, 11:56am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 04, 2014, 12:30pm EDT

 
>> Re: Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities!
john albrich said:
...It's astounding to me that much of the current generation apparently thinks "privacy" is irrelevant and/or old-fashioned. Younger people I know think handing over their computers/phones/etc for a warrantless search is normal...even the way it should be.

I know, and how much they're depended on the electronic communications is astounding as well. The way we are communicating in the forum here with detail information and logical thinking, is now considered old fashion. At least for us the older tech geeks, we do realize sometimes low tech still rules.

There's another phenomenon that I observed out there is the trolling of forums and discussion boards. Most of these are from youngsters with nothing better to do, with extremely short attention span, with no respect and low morals. I think that was part of the reason driving the real ID trend, to attempt to scare off the anonymous trolls. But the thing to remember is just like speeders on the highway, they always get away! The ones to suffer are always the obedient / law abiding ones. Also, like you mentioned, to fend off identity theft and online bullying, sometimes is necessary for a person to be anonymous.

john albrich said:
...Consider also, that with everyone using one ID, all an employer (or prospective employer) needs is that one ID and they will be able to track down everything you've ever said/posted online.

That could be a very real situation for newegg. Let just say if I work for HP, but I have an affection for Dell. Suppose I reviewed everything I bought on newegg, including a lot of the Dell stuffs. Suppose I not only praise Dell in my reviews, but also talk down on HP! Now my name's exposed, and my boss happened to also shop newegg, and he sees my reviews, all of them... It could be a heart beat before he fires me!

And that's just a benign example, it could be a lot worst depending on the situation if we don't take privacy seriously.

john albrich Aug 04, 2014, 03:47pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities!
.
I'll make a wild and crazy guess that people who leave positive reviews don't get charged $500...

Hotel's Yelp rating plummets to ONE star after it's revealed they charge wedding couples $500 for any guest that leaves a NEGATIVE review...and then refunded once the (negative) review is removed
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715622/Hotel-Upstate-...leave.html



john albrich Aug 06, 2014, 02:21am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities!
.
Just a pointer to a thread involving personal privacy that I created on Facebook/Real-ID a few years ago. Contains details which are still in play in the U.S., U.K., and multiple other countries including some considered among the most oppressive in history.

http://www.hardwareanalysis.com/content/topic/77877/

Dr. Peaceful Aug 06, 2014, 04:15pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities!
john albrich said:
.I'll make a wild and crazy guess that people who leave positive reviews don't get charged $500...

What are they still using Mob Bosses for hotel managers? ;)


Dr. Peaceful Aug 07, 2014, 04:08pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Beware: Newegg has de-anonymized reviewers' identities!
Here's a direct prove of the de-anonymization, in addition to the discussions from other forums. Copy and paste the link below to a browser (HWA redirection doesn't work for Newegg for some reason). You will see a product page, I just picked this arbitrarily, now click on the Reviews tab. Pay close attention to the Manufacturer Responses inside some of the user reviews. Notice the difference between how the manufacturer address the customer, e.g. "Dear, XXX", and the reviewer's name (YYY, Y) next to the review. That proves at the time the manufacturer addressed the customer, the name displayed was different. You can find plenty of this kind of examples from other product pages in their website.

http: //www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16881102082


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