Amazon is licking its chops

August 2, 2019

Today, Woodstock 50 gets the boot, and phone farming sounds like a real hoot, but first… The Hustle Daily Email

Wish raised $300m — and gave Amazon a Grade A anti-monopoly argument

Wish, the San Francisco-based e-tail up-and-comer that beat out Amazon as the most-downloaded e-commerce app last year, just raised $300m

It’s a win for Wish that values the company at $11.2B. But, as Axios notes, Wish’s massive funding round is also good news for Amazon. 

Why? Because it helps Amazon deny that it’s a monopoly

With Amazon under increased scrutiny from antitrust regulators, Big Bad Bezos and his boys are going to great lengths to argue their business is not a monopoly.

Last month, Amazon’s associate general counsel of competition, Nate Sutton, insisted in testimony to Congress that Amazon’s share of retail, just 4% in the US, was appropriately small. 

Now, Wish’s continued growth helps support Amazon’s claim.

Other Big Tech companies will also need to call out ‘competitors’

Facebook, Google, and Apple are also angsty about their increased antitrust scrutiny. So, like Amazon, they have a vested interest in the survival of some competitors — even if they’re small and unthreatening.

All 4 of these companies are so sprawling that it’s hard to pin their businesses down to single industries.

But still, these tech giants will need to be specific about which markets they operate in — and what competitors they’re up against — to escape monopoly mania unscathed…

And here are some industry ‘competitors’ they’ll likely lean on:

  • Amazon (e-commerce): Wish, eBay, Alibaba, 3rd party sellers
  • Facebook (social, messaging): TikTok, YouTube, Telegram
  • Google (search, ads): Bing, DuckDuckGo, Amazon search, FB ads
  • Apple (app store): Google Play, Amazon

But it’s a tangled web of “competition.” As you probably noticed, many of these massive tech giants’ only real competitors are… other tech giants that are also under antitrust review.

A headscratcher for regulators
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Americans are setting up hobby ‘phone farms’… but elsewhere, it’s big business

A number of American “phone farmers” are rigging up groups of 20 or even 100 phones in order to generate fake engagement with ads and make a few easy bucks, reports Vice.

The scheme works because people buy and sell ‘incentivized traffic’

Since it’s legal to pay someone for their attention, some apps — like Perk — pay viewers for watching videos — sometimes at a rate of about 1/1000 of a cent per video watched.

It works like this: A farmer buys as many cheap phones as possible and then arranges them to constantly play videos. 

The payouts are consistent, but tiny: A seasoned farmer with 20 phones reported earning between $50 and $100 per month.

Ad fraud is a bigger deal for some ‘farmers’ than others

It’s worth noting — nearly all of these phone farms violate the terms of service of the apps they use to earn money (although the apps seem reluctant to crack down on the low-grade fraud).

Some advanced farmers, however, set up software that simulates clicks and finger movements, enabling them to earn more money.

But the really fruitful farms operate outside of the US. In China, where 90% of views on some video sites are believed to be fake, some click farms with thousands of phones have been exposed by local outlets.

» Clickity split

Hustle Con Archives

Q: Who was the most notable speaker you’ve had at Hustle Con?

A: Casey Neistat, the YouTube vlogger and co-founder of Beme, spoke at Hustle Con in 2017. He then flew our video team to L.A. — it’s a long story.

Watch his full presentation →

Holloway raises money to rewrite publishing for today’s digital future

Most of today’s practical advice on “how to” is scattered across a litany of blogs, podcasts and books… and in today’s fast-forward society, that quickly becomes outdated.

But yesterday a startup called Holloway launched its ambitious attempt at a solution: A library of book-length online guides about entrepreneurship called “Raising Venture Capital,” written, and to be regularly updated, by teams of writers and industry experts.

And Holloway has some big-time backers

Holloway nabbed $4.6m in seed funding — not exactly a boatload in the VC world, but an amount that could be worth its weight in gold given the clout of its investors.

Many top tech investors from Comcast Ventures to New Enterprise Associates to the friggin’ New York Times are all bankrolling Holloway’s plan to expand to an even wider variety of work-related topics.

Why start up with startups?

According to TechCrunch, the company’s wagering on the startup market being large enough to create strong demand for the initial guides, in the same way that many of today’s successful tech companies started out serving companies exactly like Holloway.

Mega-publishers are also edging toward a “digital-first” focus, which could create opportunities for Holloway and industry giants — and give old-guard textbook auteurs a chance to turn the page for a new generation of learners (and maybe even earn pensions in the process).

» Not easy being a hardback

Woodstock 50 is dead after its promoters tried to move the event to Maryland

Put away your Indian headdresses and reattach the legs of those newly cut-off mom jeans: After months of fighting, the 50-year anniversary of Woodstock was canceled

Michael Lang, a promoter of the OG fest and a partner behind Woodstock 50, said: “[Woodstock] just ran out of time.” 

Plus, many of the festival’s performers — like Jay-Z and Santana — dropped out after the location was moved to Maryland.

Shouldn’t it be in, uh… Woodstock?

Well… kinda. The original Woodstock was actually held in Bethel, NY.

Nearby Watkins Glen, NY, was originally tapped for this year’s Woodstock stage — but organizers struck out on the permit. Then, they tried for Vernon, NY — also to no avail. 

With 2 weeks to spare, Lang made a last-ditch deal in Maryland. But capacity shrank from 150k to 30k, and, soon, high-priced performers started backing out.

Is it the Fyre Fest Effect?

Festivals are dropping like flies this year, leaving many concert-goers up sh*t-stage without a Fender. 

NYC’s OZY Fest got canceled (music to local ears) for extreme heat, Belgium’s VestiVille was dubbed “Fyre Fest 2.0” after a late cancellation, and others took the dirt, too. 

But, according to Lang, all ticket buyers for Woostock 50 will be reimbursed. Boy, are we smellin’ some sensitivity in the festival air…

   @ Me Anything
Wes Schlagenhauf, News Writer at The Hustle

Nobody’s trying to get torched like Fyre. But is fear eating the soul of the grassy knoll-style concert weekend? Or has the festival circuit long-needed to clean up its act?
Show this thread
» No rock at the ‘stock
If you’re looking for TV so good you’ll postpone plans for it, look no further:
Aziz image

shower thoughts
  1. We’ve reached an oddly secure place as a species when we’re rooting for the number of tigers and lions in nature to increase.
  2. Cooking products are sold by saying they can help you cook “restaurant quality” meals, but restaurants get you to come in by saying they have “Homestyle” cooking.
  3. On a clock, the minute hand and hour hand never overlap during the 11th hour.
  4. The term, “No offense” has a 0% success rate.
  5. It must be hard for stock photo models to find a date using Tinder, as everyone thinks they’re catfishing.
  6. via Reddit

🦈BONUS SHARK WEEK SHOWER THOUGHT🦈: Shark week advertisements spend most of their time trying to scare you into watching shark week, while actual shark week spends the whole the whole time trying to convince you that sharks are indeed not as dangerous as they advertised.

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