Disney+ Subs Get Early Access to Exclusive Holiday Shopping

The Walt Disney Company has begun mixing-in shopping opportunities among Disney+ streaming content. U.S. subscribers with Disney+ profiles verified as 18 and older will have first crack at new products from franchises including “Frozen,” “Star Wars” and “Black Panther.” Included among the items are a light saber ($250 to $400) and apparel ($27 to $100). After the limited Disney+ window closes on November 8 the goods will be made available to the general public for purchase. Disney is reportedly also considering an experiment with early access to new theme park rides. Continue reading Disney+ Subs Get Early Access to Exclusive Holiday Shopping

Amazon Promotes Device Updates at Its Fall Hardware Event

A Kindle that lets you annotate text, a “no-contact” sleep tracker and a refresh on the Fire TV Cube were among the new products Amazon showcased at its annual fall hardware event this week. Updates for Echo smart speakers, an expanded Ring camera inventory and updates to its Eero Wi-Fi extender line were also in the spotlight. Home devices that enable “a silent infrastructure of ambient intelligence to do just about anything” was the through line, according to Wired, with news ranging from pet detection for Astro the robot to a feature called Alexa Shop the Look. Continue reading Amazon Promotes Device Updates at Its Fall Hardware Event

YouTube Shorts to Enhance Ad Revenue Sharing for Creators

YouTube Shorts is preparing to unveil a new creator revenue-sharing plan designed to bury TikTok, according to recent reports. YouTube has rewarded creators with more than $30 billion in advertising revenue in the past three years. By contrast, TikTok pays creators not through a percentage of ad revenue, but through a Creator Fund, announced in 2020, that now stands at $2 billion worldwide. YouTube is said to considering for Shorts creators a 45-percent ad revenue share from their clip views in a program more aligned with the 55 percent payout for long-form video creators in its Partner Program. Continue reading YouTube Shorts to Enhance Ad Revenue Sharing for Creators

California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

California attorney general Rob Bonta has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the e-tailer has managed to bend competition and pricing to its will. Only about 25 million of Amazon’s 147 million U.S. customers are domiciled in California, but if the measure succeeds it could impact regulations across the country and across the globe. “For years, California consumers have paid more for their online purchases because of Amazon’s anticompetitive contracting practices,” Bonta said Wednesday. “Amazon’s market dominance, allowing the company to make increasingly untenable demands on its merchants,” resulted in “higher prices and more control.” Continue reading California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

Meta Expands Advantage Program with AI-Powered Ad Tools

Meta Platforms is expanding its Meta Advantage advertising automation program, an effort to mitigate fallout from Apple’s consumer privacy measures, which have substantially constrained its ability to target and personalize ads. Launched in March, Meta Advantage bundles AI and ad automation tools to simplify the process for advertisers. This week the company added Advantage+ Shopping, assisting in campaign creation, simultaneously offering up to 150 automated creative combinations. The update offers more options to e-commerce brands and is geared toward optimizing the presence of Facebook or Instagram storefronts. Continue reading Meta Expands Advantage Program with AI-Powered Ad Tools

Amazon Offers Concessions to Call Off EU’s Antitrust Probes

In the wake of the European Union’s strict new digital-competition laws, Amazon has proposed settlements in two EU antitrust cases. The U.S.-based e-commerce giant says it will stop using non-public data it obtains from the activities of independent sellers on its marketplace to inform its own business decisions in competition with those sellers. A separate investigation found Amazon to be self-dealing with regard to its Buy Box and Prime plans, resulting in a commitment to give third-party sellers equal treatment. The commitments would remain in force for five years, monitored by a trustee reporting to the European Commission. Continue reading Amazon Offers Concessions to Call Off EU’s Antitrust Probes

Replenished GPU Inventory Results in Return to MSRP Pricing

The graphics processor unit drought may be over as retailers report inventory is plentiful with prices returning to pre-scarcity norms. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti’s that were marked up to nearly double the MSRP on sites like eBay are now available for approximately their intended $2,300 price. “GPU prices continue to drop on a monthly basis,” reports Tom’s Hardware, attributing the favorable conditions in part to the cryptocurrency crash, which has “resulted in more mining firms shutting down,” selling off hardware and not competing for new units. The easing of COVID-19 supply chain bottlenecks is another mitigating factor. Continue reading Replenished GPU Inventory Results in Return to MSRP Pricing

Twitter Expands Its E-Commerce Efforts with ‘Product Drops’

Twitter is expanding its online shopping initiatives with features including “Product Drops,” which allow e-commerce merchants to tease upcoming availabilities. “People come to Twitter to talk about products and product drops every day. And merchants have long been dropping products on Twitter without any native product support,” Twitter explained. Product Drops connects the two. Participating merchants can add a “Remind Me” button on upcoming product tweets. Users who tap it receive in-app notifications around the drop that connects to a “shop on website” button, while clicking the tweet itself opens a product page with pricing and details. Continue reading Twitter Expands Its E-Commerce Efforts with ‘Product Drops’

Amazon Plans to Continue Diversifying Despite Tough Times

Despite slowing e-commerce sales growth and signs of a global recession, Amazon plans to continue diversifying through investments like building a brick-and-mortar grocery chain, launching a satellite network for Internet delivery, expanding Alexa services, and developing self-driving cars — including through Zoox, an autonomous taxi subsidiary. That was the message from company CEO Andy Jassy at the Bloomberg Technology Summit in San Francisco. The remarks come after Amazon posted its first quarterly loss in seven years in Q1, which also marked the company’s slowest revenue growth since 2001. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Continue Diversifying Despite Tough Times

Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

Amazon is combatting inventory shortages with a new invite-based ordering protocol for high-demand products, starting with U.S. fulfillment of the Sony PlayStation 5 game console, followed by Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. The idea is to prevent hoarding by “scalpers” who program bots to buy in quantity then resell the items at significant markup. Participation does not require Prime membership, merely a request for the invitation. Amazon plans to roll the program out to more countries as it strives to ensure a positive shopping experience for individual customers and households. Continue reading Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

Amazon’s $3.8 Billon Quarterly Loss Is Its First in Seven Years

Electric vehicle maker Rivian, which produced almost $12 billion in profit for Amazon last year, cratered in the January through March period, prompting the retail giant to record a $7.6 billion loss on the investment. Overall, Amazon posted a $3.8 billion quarterly loss, its first in seven years and a contrast to profit of $8.1 billion during the same period in 2021. A 7 percent increase in quarterly revenue marked the tech giant’s most anemic performance in 20 years, as consumers adopted post-pandemic habits and resumed in-store shopping. Continue reading Amazon’s $3.8 Billon Quarterly Loss Is Its First in Seven Years

Some Disappointed by Facebook’s Waning Podcast Interest

After a year of experimentation, Facebook appears to be cooling on podcasting. Last April, the company launched podcasts for U.S. users in addition to Live Audio Rooms and the Soundbites short story feature. Now, Facebook seems to have shifted its priorities to online shopping and the metaverse, according to reports. The news has come as a disappointment to some in the podcasting industry, who valued the exposure and potential advertising revenue that came along with Facebook integration. During its brief focus, Facebook’s podcasting efforts were lauded by some content providers. Continue reading Some Disappointed by Facebook’s Waning Podcast Interest

Pinterest Posts Its First Full-Year Profit on Sales of $2 Billion

Pinterest stock spiked in extended trading Thursday after its 2021 earnings results stressed the company’s first full-year of profit, as well as the first year to tick above $2 billion in annual revenue. Pinterest stock rose 28 percent in extended trading on a better than expected Q4. “We took important steps in 2021 with the launch of our foundational technology to deliver a video-first publishing platform,” Pinterest co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said, emphasizing that the company would continue to focus on the new initiatives that helped revenue grow 20 percent for Q4 and 52 percent for the year. Continue reading Pinterest Posts Its First Full-Year Profit on Sales of $2 Billion

YouTube Exploring Commerce and NFTs, Says CEO Wojcicki

YouTube plans to test new monetization features for creators of its YouTube Shorts videos, which have passed more than 5 trillion views since debuting in September 2020, according to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, who also said the company is exploring adding NFTs to its toolkit for video creators. In addition, YouTube is testing new shopping features tied to its video content. The number of global creator channels making more than $10,000 a year “is up 40 percent year over year,” Wojcicki wrote as part of an annual letter to creators that outlined 2022 priorities focusing on helping creators generate income. Continue reading YouTube Exploring Commerce and NFTs, Says CEO Wojcicki

Adobe Analytics Reports a First Time Drop for Cyber Monday

Consumers spent $10.7 billion on Cyber Monday, representing a 1.4 percent decrease compared to last year. The sales drop marks the first time that Adobe Analytics reported a decrease in spending on a major shopping day (the firm has been tracking e-commerce since 2012). Adobe still anticipates record-breaking online shopping activity through the overall holiday season. According to the web analytics firm, U.S. consumers spent $109.8 billion online from November 1 through Cyber Monday, marking an 11.9 percent jump over 2020 for the same period. Continue reading Adobe Analytics Reports a First Time Drop for Cyber Monday