Nine things to know – the boston globe

8604-none

Marketing Amazon sues more than 1,000 people over bogus reviews

NEW YORK — Amazon is stepping up its fight against bogus product reviews on its site, suing more than 1,000 people for allegedly offering to post glowing write-ups for as little as $5 apiece. A complaint filed in state court in Seattle takes aim at what is believed to be a burgeoning practice online. Some people try to make money


by writing five-star testimonials about products they have never tried. And some companies try to boost sales by commissioning such reviews. Other sites that depend on customer-generated reviews, including Yelp and TripAdvisor, use computer algorithms and teams of investigators to detect fraudulent write-ups. In April, Amazon sued several sites that offered to produce positive reviews. In the latest lawsuit, the it’s going after writers of the reviews who have accounts on the freelance marketplace Fiverr. com. The writers promise five-star reviews to companies that sell products on Amazon. com, according to the complaint. Amazon seeks unspecified damages and an order forcing the users to stop writing fake reviews. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Marketing Oprah Winfrey teams up with Weight Watchers

NEW YORK — Oprah Winfrey, who has struggled with her weight for decades, is going on a diet again. But this time she stands to gain a lot of money from her efforts. Weight Watchers has signed a five-year deal with the former talk show host. Winfrey, a co-owner of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, is paying about $43.2 million for a 10 percent stake in the weight loss company. The deal is already paying off: Weight Watchers shares doubled after the partnership was announced, earning Winfrey more than $40 million on paper. Winfrey will use the Weight Watchers mobile app and work with a personal coach. She has also agreed to let Weight Watchers use her name and likeness, and she will make appearances on the company’s behalf. The company has been hurt by the popularity of fitness trackers and other health apps. Its shares were down 73 percent for the year through Friday. Earnings have fallen every year since 2011. Shares of Weight Watchers International Inc. soared 105 percent to $13.92 on Monday. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Economy China’s growth slows to 6-year low

Advertisement

BEIJING — China’s economy decelerated in the latest quarter but stronger spending by consumers helped to avert a deeper downturn. The world’s second-largest economy grew 6.9 percent in the three months ended in September, the slowest since early 2009 and down from the previous quarter’s 7 percent growth. China’s slowdown has unnerved global markets and held down worldwide growth, especially in countries such as Brazil and Australia that export raw materials to China. Last month, the Federal Reserve cited China’s slowdown when it delayed a long-anticipated increase in short-term US interest rates. China has cut interest rates five times since November in an effort to shore up growth. Private sector forecasters have cut their outlook for China’s growth this year to between 6.5 and 7 percent. Among major countries, that still would be surpassed only by India, where the International Monetary Fund expects 7.5 percent. It would be more than double the 3.1 percent growth forecast by the IMF for the United States. The IMF expects China’s growth to slow to 6.3 percent next year and 6 percent in 2017. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Commodities Average Mass. gasoline price at $2.09

The average gasoline price in Massachusetts fell 2 cents a gallon last week to $2.09, according to AAA Northeast. The auto club said the current price of a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is 17 cents below the national average and $1.08 below levels a year ago. The lowest price found in AAA’s survey was $1.92. Gas prices are sharply below year-ago levels because of a glut of crude oil. Weak economic growth in Europe and China have led to lower demand for petroleum, whose price is the biggest determinant of gasoline prices. And a US production boom has been met by increased output from traditional oil exporters such as Saudi Arabia. — JACK NEWSHAM

Technology Google gives away software in battle against Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO — Google is escalating an attack on Microsoft’s lucrative Office software, an attempt to hit its longtime rival where it will hurt most. Google is targeting companies and government agencies that pay for Microsoft’s suite of word processing, e-mail, calendar, spreadsheet, and other programs. If they dump Microsoft, Google will give them free use of a software package that normally costs $5 or $10 per user each month. The price for the ‘‘Google for Work’’ software will be waived for the duration of the customers’ existing contracts with Microsoft or any other supplier. The offer is open for the next six months in the United States and will eventually be extended to other countries. Google is limiting the free usage to 3,000 people per defecting customer. Even with that restriction, Google will be forgoing $180,000 to $360,000 in annual revenue if a company with 3,000 people signs up. As an additional incentive, Google will pay up to $75,000 to each company switching to its software to cover the costs of making the change. Microsoft’s Office division generated $23.5 billion, or one-quarter of the software maker’s revenue during its last fiscal year. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Banking Hanover CFO David Greenfield dies at 53

NEW YORK — Hanover Insurance Group’s chief financial officer, David Greenfield, 53, died over the weekend, forcing CEO Fred Eppinger, who has led the Worcester, Mass.-based insurer since 2013, to take on a dual role ahead of his planned departure next year. Eppinger hired Greenfield in 2010 from Axis Capital Holdings, where he was CFO. He was promoted to finance chief in 2011, the year Hanover acquired Chaucer Holdings to expand property casualty coverage. Greenfield “made an indelible mark on our company,” Eppinger said. “He will be remembered as a professional with great passion and commitment, and as someone who made an important difference during his time with us.” Warren Barnes, vice president and corporate controller, will serve as acting principal accounting officer. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

Law Mistrial declared in Dewey & LeBoeuf case

NEW YORK — The trial of three former leaders of the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf was declared a mistrial Monday. The jury had acquitted Steven H. Davis, Stephen DiCarmine, and Joel Sanders of 58 charges of falsifying business records in two partial verdicts but could not agree on 93 other charges, including more serious offenses such as grand larceny and securities fraud. It had deliberated for 21 full days. The men were accused of manipulating the once-mighty law firm’s financial records. Monday’s decision was announced by Justice Robert Stolz of state Supreme Court. In a note Monday, jurors said they were “hopelessly deadlocked” and that further instructions from the judge would not help. The mistrial does not necessarily end the case; the judge must still rule on a defense motion to dismiss all charges. And the Manhattan district attorney could retry the men on the deadlocked charges. The case was one of the more significant white-collar prosecutions pursued by the prosecutor. — NEW YORK TIMES

Earnings Morgan Stanley’s earnings fall 42%

NEW YORK — Turbulence in global markets hit Morgan Stanley’s business particularly hard in the third quarter, sending its earnings down 42 percent. The investment bank and wealth advisory firm earned $939 million after payments to preferred shareholders, versus $1.63 billion a year earlier. Per share, the bank earned 48 cents, compared with 84 cents a year earlier. The institutional securities division, which includes Morgan Stanley’s investment banking and trading operations, had net income of $688 million, down by nearly half from $1.2 billion a year earlier. Most of that drop could be attributed to bond-trading operations. A place of stability was the wealth management business, which includes the Smith Barney franchise; it had net income of $824 million, versus $800 million a year earlier. Overall, Morgan Stanley’s revenue was $7.8 billion, down from $8.9 billion. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

BostonGlobe. com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe. com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe. com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.

BostonGlobe. com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe. com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe. com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.