Amazon's new store in New York City opens today. And it has an advantage that's unique to Amazon.
One of the company's under-appreciated secrets to success is how it convinced millions to write reviews of almost every product on its site. That trove of user-generated content, all of it freely acquired, is an asset that could be worth many millions on its own.
That makes Amazon 4-star very intriguing. Everything for sale is either rated above four stars on Amazon.com or otherwise designated as new and trending. The card game Codenames, for example. Or a mini cast iron skillet.
This isn't Amazon Go, the no-cashier store that started nine months ago in Seattle and spread to Chicago last week. It's more of a traditional brick-and-mortar retail outlet, with cashiers and everything. It features Prime prices for Prime members and (higher) list prices for everyone else--much like Amazon Books, the bookstore that now has locations in nine states and Washington D.C.
No word yet on whether Amazon 4-star will sell Christmas trees, which the company will feature online come November.
Here's what else is worth reading today:
The single hour that cost Brian Acton $850 million
Here's a fascinating detail from a profile of WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton. When Acton met with Mark Zuckerberg to negotiate an exit from Facebook, Zuckerberg brought a lawyer. Acton didn't, and ultimately took Facebook's offer out of an odd sense of moral responsibility.
The decision cost him $850 million in equity that he didn't vest under the terms of his departure. --Parmy Olson, Forbes
"A whole new standard of low-class"
David Marcus, Facebook's head of blockchain initiatives, typed a long, personal Facebook post rebutting the Forbes profile and criticizing Acton.
"Call me old fashioned," he wrote. "But I find attacking the people and company that made you a billionaire...a whole new standard of low-class." This is a fascinating, unguarded look at how Facebook's executives really interact and get along. --Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz (plus Marcus's Facebook post is here)
When asking for forgiveness rather than permission is illegal
An OpenTable employee was just arrested for making 300 fake restaurant reservations via a competing company's app, or, as the feds called it, "wire fraud."
Between this and the guy who went to jail in Italy for writing fake reviews on TripAdvisor, it might just be possible that not everyone on the internet is telling the truth. --Soo Youn, ABC News, and Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.com
Treasure those airline rewards cards while you still can
Target, Home Depot, Amazon, and others are fighting the "honor all cards" rule, which is how Visa and Mastercard ensure that if you accept one type of their cards, you have to accept all of their cards.
Retailers would love to pick and choose--refusing the ones with the best rewards for consumers, since they charge higher fees. Win or lose, this effort could reshape the credit card industry. --AnnaMaria Andriotis, The Wall Street Journal
Want to work for Elon Musk--for free?
Last week, someone suggested to Musk on Twitter (where else?) that he and other Tesla owners would be "DELIGHTED" to help new owners get acclimated to their new vehicles. For free.
Musk, of course, quickly agreed--and extended the offer to all current Tesla owners. --Guadalupe Gonzalez, Inc.com