How accessible is the internet?

August 21, 2019

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Today, Department store dinosaurs begin to thrift and the price to produce television shows is about to shift, but first…

The Hustle Daily Email

Domino’s is at the center of an ‘internet accessibility’ fight, and the oven’s heating up

According to Domino’s website, the pizza giant sells more than 1m pizzas every day, and offers at least 15 digital ways to order one. But, in 2016, Guillermo Robles, a blind man, discovered that a system for people with disabilities to order fresh ‘za wasn’t one of them — so he sued.

The federal courts sided with Robles that same year. And last month, Domino’s petitioned to take this battle to the Supreme Court. 

Should the Supreme Court accept the case, its outcome could forever alter internet regulation — and determine the future of internet accessibility for nearly 61m disabled Americans.

It’s a near-sighted nightmare

To make their websites accessible to disabled consumers, businesses will sometimes update their code to integrate with software makes websites easier to navigate for those with disabilities. 

But, because the American Disabilities Act (ADA) was written in 1990, the stance over whether businesses are legally obligated to update their software was never specified, causing a regulatory gray area that has led to years of varying court rulings.

Let the battle begin

The pizza giant argues that compliance with the ADA would prove costly and superfluous since the bill doesn’t include internet provisions.

But leaders in the disabled community believe that online coverage has always been implied — even in the internet’s nascency. 

“When we wrote the bill and it passed almost 30 years ago, obviously, the internet was not up and alive,” said the former California Representative, and author of the ADA, Tony Coelho. “But when we say the bill covers all public accommodations, we believe that applies today to the internet.”

Now, Domino’s, which is backed by the US Chamber of Commerce and some of the nation’s largest retailers, wants the Supreme Court to step in and take a side.

Really, Domino’s?

With an embarrassment of studies that show how consumers are much less likely to support a product if they disagree with its maker’s social philosophies these days, many agree that this is a lose-lose move for the pizza giant.

“I find it hard to believe they would spend millions to fight something like this instead of spending a fraction of that money to fix their site and make it accessible,” said Mark Shapiro, president of the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, Inc.

The Supreme Court will decide whether it will take the case on or not. Once it’s back from its summer recess, that is…

   @ Me Anything
Wes Schlagenhauf, News Writer at The Hustle

Domino’s once rose from the ashes by publicly bashing their own sh*tty pizza. Maybe they’ll take the same approach when everyone stops buying from the corporation that bullies people with disabilities.
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Department stores hope used clothes will revitalize sales

Last week, J.C. Penney and Macy’s announced a deal with the fashion resale site thredUP to devote sections in their stores to second-hand clothing in hopes of increasing sales of new merchandise.

Used clothes are big business

Starting in the Great Recession, cash-strapped fashion aficionados started turning to eBay to get their fixes. Then, as consumers became increasingly aware of the ethical and environmental costs of fast fashion, resale really took off. 

Now, sites like thredUP, Poshmark, and The RealReal emerged as a means for shoppers to offload their closets’ excesses and pick up new-to-them pieces. The resale market is expected to grow from $24B last year to $51B by 2023. 

And it’s not just Macy’s… even high-end players want in

In April, Neiman Marcus bought a minority stake in the fashion resale site Fashionphile. This fall, some stores will launch spaces for customers to sell — but not purchase — pre-worn designer duds. NM hopes these customers will then spend their cash on new merchandise.  

That smell? Some say it’s a bad deal

While some analysts applaud the second-hand strategy, others worry the practice could strain stores’ relationships with suppliers, who have increasingly paid more of retailers’ marketing expenses and shouldered the costs of price markdowns.

» Clothes call
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As lawsuits continue, Juul takes another huge hit of funding to expand abroad

On Monday, the controversial e-cig giant was smacked with a fresh round of lawsuits for using deceptive advertising. 

Then, on Tuesday, Juul raised another funding round of $325m. 

Juul blew a lot of smoke in the US

This latest lawsuit, sparked on Monday by a 19 year old e-smoker who claims Juul ads misled him (and other kids), is one of several ongoing US Juul-suits.

Unlike cigarettes, which are strictly controlled, Juuls are regulated by inconsistent rules. The Surgeon General declared vaping among teens an “epidemic,” but Juul ads — unlike cigarette ads — are still allowed on TV.

Juul rose to popularity in the US thanks to its aggressive, social media-based advertising strategy…

And now Juul is taking its much-maligned marketing strategy global

Juul removed its ads from social media in response to critics — but not before hitting a valuation of $38B (and potentially causing 94 cases of severe lung disease).

Now, as it fights its US lawsuits, Juul is increasing its marketing efforts in Europe. It also recently launched its products in South Korea, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

» Holy Smokes

Apple’s pricey content push will produce the world’s most expensive TV shows

Earlier this week, the Financial Times reported that Apple’s budget for its upcoming streaming service, Apple+, will be more than $6B — waaay higher than previous estimates of $1B. 

So, how did production get so pricey?

Apple is paying plush premiums for super-celebrities

Apple’s new series, The Morning Show — which is not, in fact, an actual morning show but instead a show about a morning show — will feature Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, and Jennifer Aniston in an effort to draw in new viewers.

Each of those big names will make $1.25m per episode — well more than 2x as much as the stars of Game of Thrones, the next most expensive show in history.

According to the Financial Times, every single episode of Apple’s The Morning Show will cost more than Game of Thrones’ no-expense-spared $15m finale.

For tech giants in media, original content is king…

And bigger is better.

Apple’s $6B budget follows the financial footsteps of media outsiders like Amazon and Netflix, who have respectively set aside $7B and $15B this year to produce original content.

These tech companies are focused on poaching viewers from other media, so they’re betting big bucks that big stars will bring big numbers of fans over to their new platforms.

» Apple antes up

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Hustle Con Archives

Q: If you’re rejected 27 times for funding, how do you convince #28 to say yes?

A: Keep it simple. Learn how James Reinhart weathered 27 rejections before finally getting a yes for his startup thredUP.

Read our latest speaker profile →

P.S.The Hustle Con Pre Sale ends Friday 8/23. This is your last chance to save $125 off a full-price ticket. Get tix here.

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