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#150 – Government crackdowns, Google brand safety, and Amazon scams

by | Dec 4, 2023 | Recent Newsletters

It's time for our annual e-commerce predictions report! 

Last year our 2023 Predictions were read by thousands of e-commerce professionals and even discussed on podcasts. This year's 2024 Predictions report will be even bigger.

What are your e-commerce predictions for 2024? 

Hit reply and let me know what major changes, trends, or milestones you see on the horizon. How about surprise mergers and acquisitions? Who are the sleeping giants that are about to awaken in 2024? What breakthrough technology is going mainstream next year?

All predictions are welcome! Have yours in by Dec 14th for inclusion in this year's report. You can keep them short and sweet or get as detailed as you'd like.

(If you've already published your predictions, feel free to send me a link to the post.)

Now let's stop thinking about the future and take a look at what happened in the past week. 

Today's edition covers: 

  • Google's Search Partner Network under fire for brand safety violations
  • An Amazon FBA scam that cost investors millions
  • What's next with the Apple / Goldman Sachs deal
  • The U.K.'s pledge to reduce online fraud
  • India's government banning dark patterns in e-commerce
  • Updated BFCM results
  • Temu's rise above Alibaba
  • Porch piracy in the U.S.
  • And more!

All this and more in this week's 150th Edition of Shopifreaks. Thanks for subscribing and sharing.

Stat of the Week 📈

112 startups on Carta that had raised at least $10M have gone out of business. That's up 2.38x from last year with still a month to go. — According to Carta

Share this week's stat on X & LinkedIn.

1. Google's Search Partner Network under fire for brand safety 

Adalytics Research published a report observing how brands who utilize Google's search Partner network run the risk of having their ads appearing alongside non-brand-safe content such as websites containing pirated content, explicit adult content, alt-right websites, and Iranian websites which may be under U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets sanctions. 

The study's findings showed hundreds of blue-chip brands on sanctioned Iranian or adult-themed websites and ads from alcohol brands served on websites targeted towards minors, like Kidzsearch, which included a Google-served ad for Abstrakt Vodka.

On several occasions, Adalytics observed the ads being delivered through Google's Performance Max channel, which uses AI to optimize ad campaigns across different formats and environments — a tool which many advertisers criticize for offering little insight into where their ads run.

Netherlands-based Member of the European Parliament, Paul Tang, said the findings are cause for government investigations into how the algorithms of Big Tech operate:

“It’s the first time in history we face the unsettling reality of AI committing crimes. Google’s advertising algorithms demand scrutiny.”

Google responded to the report and said that the examples given contained inaccurate, misrepresentative, and wildly exaggerated claims of its offering.

Dan Taylor, VP of global ads at Google, explained that the examples shared were from Google's Programmable Search Engine (ProSE), which is a free search tool offered to small websites so that they can present a search experience directly on their sites.

Taylor said, “Ads may appear based on the user’s specific search query; they are not targeted to, or based on, the website they appear on. Websites who merely implement ProSE do not get any ad revenue from those ads.”

Sorry Dan — that doesn't matter. If a vodka ad targeting an adult (based on their unique profile and search history) appears on a Kids Search website, that's a problem. Realistically is it the adult accessing that website or their child? Whether or not the website receives revenue from that ad being served is inconsequential to whether it should have appeared there in the first place. 

Get it together Google. And while we're at it, stop scraping content from my websites to serve up in your experimental generative AI search results! That doesn't bring visitors to my site. 

Adalytics Research has had it out for Google. In July, a report by Adalytics accused Google (story #4) of misleading advertisers and misallocating billions of digital ad dollars through its TrueView skippable in-stream video ads. 

And in August, Adalytics alleged (story #1) that Google and Youtube tracked children across the Internet, undercutting a federal privacy law called The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires services to obtain parental consent before collecting personal data from users under age 13 for purposes like ad targeting. 

It's important to note that the reports above were published by a company that sells ad authenticity services to marketers. So while they would legitimately be the ones to hold this type of data, they also have an agenda to publicize it. 

2. The Wealth Assistants Scam

A company called Wealth Assistants (red flag name already) offered to run Amazon stores for would-be entrepreneurs in exchange for an upfront investment of at least $35,000 and a share of the gross income.

The company promised to do the back-end work for its clients including sourcing products from China, handling customer-service requests, and storing, packing, and shipping orders using FBA. 

The company also guaranteed that if clients didn't break even in the first year, they would get their money back.

Enticed by the flashy lifestyle promoted by the company's CEO and founder, Ryan Carroll, some folks invested their life savings at the possibility of making money with little effort.

You know what they say about offers that sound too good to be true…

In October, the business came crashing down. Carroll e-mailed all of his clients saying that the company had undergone a restructuring and blamed “unprecedented supply chain disruption and store deactivations in an economy likely already in recession.”

And just like that, quoting South Park — “and it's gone.

Ten days later the company laid off its roughly 75 employees and planned to shut down by Dec 1st.

It would not be honoring any buyback guarantees and instead offered a list of alternative companies clients could work with to manage their stores if they promised not to sue Wealth Assistants.

Even during the “good times”, things didn't go well for most sellers: 

  • One seller sent the company $55k in Sep 2022, taking out a second mortgage on his home to finance the investment, but after several months, his store only made about $15k in sales, and products that sold well weren't being restocked.
  • Another client said the company took more than two months after receiving his startup payment to invoice him for inventory, and two months after that, it still hadn't stocked his store.
  • One client received a cease-and-desist letter from a supplier because his store sold livestock medicine without proper authorization.
  • Yet another client said she had nothing to show for her $55k payment except for an empty store.

Now former clients aren't sure what to do next. Some can't log in to their seller accounts, while others are being stuck paying long term storage and warehousing fees to Amazon who's holding their inventory that's not selling.

Dozens of former clients have now connected on a Discord channel to plan their next steps (which I hope includes a class action lawsuit and FTC investigation). 

3. The Apple and Goldman Sachs deal is coming to an end

Apple and Goldman Sachs began a banking relationship with one another in 2019 that is now about to come to an end. Here's a brief history of what's transpired: 

  • 2019 – The two companies collaboratively launched the Apple Card. It's grown to over 6.7M cardholders in the U.S., with 60% using it as their primary credit card.
  • 2022 – Apple and Goldman Sachs announced a high yield savings account, which officially launched to the public in April 2023 offering a 4.15% APY.
  • All the while, Goldman Sachs has been reportedly winding down its consumer banking division, yet simultaneously still moved forward with Apple on a credit card and savings account.
  • As far back as July 2023, I reported that Goldman Sachs was in discussions with American Express to take over its deals with Apple, but it wasn't confirmed at the time whether Goldman Sachs was actually going to back out of the deal (which would require Apple's approval). 
  • Now it's become more apparent that it's planning on ending its deal with Apple, and that Apple has to find a new banking partner. 

ZDNet took a look at the technology, which banks may step up, and the different acquisition scenarios, which I'll recap below.

How Apple's credit card tech was different: 

  • It offered a unique user interface on the iPhone that allowed users to categorize and track their spending, locate specific purchases, and make payments directly from their devices.
  • The card offered financial incentives like the ability to finance Apple products over 24 months at 0% interest and 3% cashback rewards.
  • Apple's Secure Element chip emulated a payment card using NFC technology, which was more secure than a traditional plastic card.
  • Goldman Sachs developed a unique tokenization system for the Apple Card, which replaced traditional credit card numbers with unique one-time-use tokens for each transaction that looked and functioned like credit card numbers, but made them useless to criminals and reduced the risk of skimming.

Goldman Sachs' current consumer business:

  • $100B in Marcus consumer banking deposits.
  • $4.5B in personal loans.
  • $4.5B in credit card partnerships including with Apple and GM.
  • GreenSky, a $2.2B merchant lending platform.

Potential acquisition scenarios: 

  • A complete portfolio acquisition from a bank like Chase or Bank of America.
  • Piecemeal acquisition where various players absorb parts of the deal.
  • An integration or replication of Goldman Sachs' tokenization technology, which is a critical aspect of the Apple Card deal.

Potential acquisition partners: 

  • JPMorgan Chase – already offers advanced tokenization tech.
  • American Express – known as the premium provider of credit cards, but lacks the volume of merchants that Mastercard offers (which currently powers Apple Card)
  • Citi – big into digital banking and offers a strong global presence
  • Capital One – highly digital credit card offerings, but integrating the entire scope of Goldman Sachs' consumer business would be a challenge.
  • Bank of America – could handle the entire consumer business, but would require a lot of planning.
  • Synchrony Financial – the largest issuer of store credit cards in the U.S., who initially vied against Goldman Sachs but lost the bid.

Apple could technically try to force Goldman Sachs to honor the deal, which lasts for 5 years, but it wouldn't necessarily be good for its users to continue working with a partner that was no longer committed to the project, which is why Apple recently offered Goldman Sachs a deal to get out early. If Goldman Sachs accepts the offer, it'll likely take over a year to wind down and make the transition to a new bank. 

Simultaneously it's been reported that Apple is working internally on “Project Breakout” to develop its own payment processing technology and infrastructure, aiming for greater financial independence.

4. The U.K. cracks down on fraud via pledges with Big Tech

The British government launched an Online Fraud Charter with 12 major tech companies in a “world first” initiative to combat online scams, fake advertisements, and romance fraud.

Home Secretary James Cleverly hosted representatives from tech companies including Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Amazon, eBay, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, Match Group, Microsoft, and X to sign a pledge to tackle Internet fraud last Thursday morning. 

The companies collectively asked, “So we just have to sign this pledge that says we'll work harder on it, but no-one's actually going to be checking our work, and no laws will be put in place that require us to follow through on our word?”

The Charter calls on the firms to introduce a number of measures to better protect users, including verifying new advertisers and promptly removing fraudulent content, a well as increasing levels of verification on peer-to-peer marketplaces and people using online dating services.

Cleverly said the Charter was of “mutual benefit” to firms and the Government because “we are seeking to achieve what they want, which is a reduction of fraud on their platforms; and what we want, which is a reduction of fraud against British people.”

The 12 companies pledged to implement the measures which apply to their services within six months including: 

  • Working closely with law enforcement including to create direct routes to report suspicious activity.
  • Enabling better and more consistent cooperation between the private sector, government and law enforcement.
  • Scam ad protection measures such as two click reporting and advertise / website verification.

Paul Davis, director of fraud prevention, TSB, said, “It’s down to all signatories to match their commitment with meaningful concerted action – putting the right protections in place to reduce fraud and take responsibility to protect millions of consumers on their platforms.”

Will these 12 tech companies come through on their promises in the next 6 months? I'll hold my breath. 

5. India bans dark patterns in e-commerce

Now let's switch gears and talk about a government that's doing more than asking for pledges and pinky promises from Big Tech — a government that's actually making rules!

India's CCPA on Thursday defined and banned certain wrongful practices known as “dark patterns” under consumer protection law, to prevent deceptive behavior of e-commerce companies.

“No person, including any platform, shall engage in any dark pattern practice,” the guidelines said.

India defines dark patterns as practices intended to trick users to take unintended actions such as making purchase decisions. A few examples include: 

  • Trick Questions like “Are you sure you don't want to maintain membership?”
  • Basket Sneaking, where a store makes it too easy to miss an opt-out button or a combo deal which adds unwanted products to your cart.
  • Roach Motel, a situation that is easy to get into and hard to get out, such as a one-click subscription that requires a phone call to cancel.
  • Hidden Costs where your product becomes more expensive at checkout due to a last-minute addition of erroneous charges.
  • Confirmshaming such as “No thanks, I prefer full price” to guilt or panic you into agreeing to a subscription or prevent you from canceling a service.

See Edition #114 (story #4) for more examples of dark patterns, as well as a few examples of when American e-commerce companies have been put on blast for employing them. 

The guidelines also said the automatic addition of paid services via a pre-ticked box will be considered “basket-sneaking”. India wants consumers to “opt-in” not “opt-out” of upsells. 

The CCPA published “Guidelines for prevention and regulation of dark patterns” on November 30th, which is now applicable to all platforms offering goods and services in India, including advertisers, sellers, and marketplaces.

6. Updated BFCM Results

Last week I reported Black Friday results (story #2), but at the time of publishing the edition last Monday, Cyber Monday and complete BFCM Week results hadn't been published yet. (Cyber Monday was still happening.)

So this week I'll share some publicly available stats from Cyber Monday and the entire week. 

  • 48% of U.S. consumers made Black Friday purchases online, with 28% shopping exclusively online.
  • 37% of U.S. consumers shopped in physical stores on Black Friday, with 16% shopping exclusively in-store.
  • 30% of consumers acknowledged social media as a factor in their Black Friday buying decisions.
  • Shopify merchants reached a record of $9.3B in sales over BFCM weekend — a 24% increase YoY.
  • Shopify merchants reached a peak sales per minute of $4.2M on Friday.
  • Adobe reported that consumers spent $12.4B on Cyber Monday, a 9.6% increase YoY.
  • Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 27, shoppers spent $109.3B online, up 7.3% YoY.
  • Of those sales, 60% were driven by just five categories: electronics, apparel, furniture, groceries, and toys.
  • Between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, online sales rose 7.8% from last year to $38B.
  • From Nov. 1 to Nov. 27, BNPL sales online saw a 17% jump from 2022 to $8.3B.
  • Smartphones accounted for 51.8% of online sales, up from 49.9% a year ago.
  • Klarna observed a 30% increase in orders placed by U.S. shoppers on Black Friday.

Business Insider predicts that the increased use of BNPL could lead to bigger problems in the spring when these bills start coming due.

CEO Michael Landsberg of Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management said, “The lower-end consumer, they are really tapped out, and 40 to 50% of the folks in the country are having problems making ends meet. That doesn't mean they are not going to spend for Christmas, but I think January, February, March, you are going to see a real slowdown in the retail space.”

Sources: PYMNTS, Shopify, Retail Dive, Business Insider

7. Pinduoduo / Temu overtakes Alibaba in market value

For years Alibaba has held its position as one of the most valuable retail companies in China by market cap, but now Pinduoduo, the company behind Temu, has taken its spot.

The news of Alibaba's market cap sliding under Pinduoduo's made headlines all over China last week. The event itself marked a historic shift in China's e-commerce space, where for years no competitor could touch Alibaba's dominance.

Here's what caused the shakeup: Pinduoduo saw its market value surge over $188B after reporting a doubling in revenue YoY (which still isn't its all-time high recorded in 2021), while simultaneously, Alibaba has seen a gradual descent in market value from its height in recent years.

Alibaba's trouble began in late 2020 after its founder Jack Ma publicly criticized Chinese regulations, resulting in the suspension of the IPO of Ant Group, a fintech giant he created, and Beijing kicking off a series of crackdowns on the Internet sector to rein in powerful players like Alibaba.

At one point, Jack Ma even disappeared for a while, sparking speculation he had gone missing, but it turned out he was just laying low in Europe (or so we were told). Eventually Ma returned to China not as an entrepreneur, but as a teacher, taking an honorary professorship at Hong Kong University. 

In the meantime ,Temu has taken off in 40 markets, generating $21.8B in revenue during the first three quarters of this year. For the last 90 days, the app has sat at the top of the shopping category in the U.S. App Store and Google Play Store.

Alibaba’s Taobao, on the other hand, hasn't made any waves (or even a splash) in the U.S. market.

8. Top 10 Metro Areas for Porch Piracy

A Safewise report revealed the top 10 metro areas in the U.S. for porch piracy which are:

  1. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
  2. Memphis, MS-TN-AR
  3. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA
  4. Birmingham-Hoover, AL
  5. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
  6. Richmond, VA
  7. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX
  8. Greenville-Anderson, SC
  9. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI
  10. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

Did your city make it onto the list? If so, congrats! Your prize is a stolen package. 

The report also shared that: 

  • Three out of four people surveyed said they lost a package to pirates in the past year, which could mean over 119M stolen packages (which then probably get sent back to Amazon FBA under a different seller).
  • 40% had more than one package stolen in the past 12 months.
  • 2022 saw an estimated 113M packages stolen, making the 2023 estimate just over 5% higher.
  • 71% of all packages stolen were valued at $100 or less—but if you pick $50 as an average loss, becomes an estimated $6B in losses.
  • Over half of all stolen packages were delivered by Amazon (which makes sense purely by delivery volume given their market share).
  • 65% of Americans are more worried about package theft than they were a year ago.
  • After having a package stolen, 35% reached out to neighbors, 35% started to make arrangements for delivery people to leave packages in a discreet location, and 23% added a security system or camera.
  • Only 9% made an insurance claim.

9. Other e-commerce news of interest

Amazon signed a contract with SpaceX for three launches of Project Kuiper satellites on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. In April last year, Amazon secured up to 83 launches for more than 3,000 satellites from Arianespace, Blue Origin (Bezos owned), and United Launch Alliance, excluding SpaceX, which led to a lawsuit alleging that SpaceX was excluded because of Jeff Bezos' rivalry with Elon Musk.

TikTok is in the process of obtaining an e-commerce permit from Indonesia's government, according to state news agency Antara, citing the deputy trade minister. Last week I reported that TikTok was going to partner with GoTo, a local firm, to revive its e-commerce business in the country, but if they are able to obtain their own license, that partnership might not be necessary. 

USPS carriers in rural areas are being overrun with e-commerce packages from Amazon, causing carriers to quit or stage strikes. Carriers who have previously delivered dozens of small parcels a day plus paper mail are suddenly receiving between 300 and 500 boxes a day, many of which had previously been handled by UPS, but postal workers aren't making more money despite the increase in delivery load. 

The Australian government delayed its BNPL laws until 2024, which were supposed to be drafted by the end of 2023, due to resourcing pressures on the federal government's legislative drafting teams. The government says its still aiming to bring BNPL under credit laws and restrictions, as well as introduce responsible lending obligations on the short-term loans, but next year now.

They should hurry though because BNPL usage is up in Australia, especially among individuals aged 18 to 39 years old. 40% of this age group took out short-term BNPL loans in the past year, above the national average by more than 10 points. 

After a recent loss in court, Meta is now suing the FTC, arguing that the agency doesn't have the constitutional authority to change a 2020 $5B settlement over the company's alleged lack of privacy protections for kids. The complaint calls out chairperson Lina Khan and other commissioners for exceeding the inherent powers of their agency.

Walmart confirmed that it is not advertising on X, however the company says its decision to pull ads from the platform is not a direct result of Musk's actions and that Walmart is constantly optimizing its marketing efforts. Two years ago, Walmart was the first retailer to test Twitter's new livestream shopping platform. I don't imagine that I'll be reading headlines like that anymore post-Musk era. 

Meanwhile despite the advertising chaos Musk is creating at the company, X's CEO Linda Yaccarino is praising his actions. Shortly after Musk told X's advertisers to “go $%&# themselves” onstage at the New York Times' DealBook Summit last week, a leaked memo revealed that Yaccarino told staffers that Musk was both “candid” and “profound” with his off-the-cusp statements. 

Speaking of social advertising, Meta said its new generative AI ad tools cannot be used to power political campaigns anywhere globally, or for ads for housing, employment, credit, social issues, health, pharmaceuticals, or financial services. So pretty much it's just for two-day old Shopify stores selling cheap dropshipping products from China.

Political ads are welcome at X though, which lifted the previous leadership's ban on serving political ads in early 2023. Data revealed that despite Democrats' disdain for how Musk is leading the company, they've invested the most in political advertising on the platform during his rein. 

Rokt appointed Doug Rozen as Chief Marketing Officer, who will oversee all global marketing efforts including brand, performance, employee, product and sales marketing. Rozen brings three decades of senior leadership experience at companies including Dentsu, Omnicom, Meredith, and WPP.

Google appointed three managing directors of tech, media, and telecoms in the U.K. including former chief business officer of Condé Nast Britain, Vanessa Kingori, Sophie Neary, and Dyana Najdi. The trio will focus on helping U.K.-based businesses drive growth through AI-powered technology and advertising solutions.

Shopify prevailed over a shopper's claims that the company violated California privacy laws by collecting residents' personal information. In a ruling issued Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the courts in California lacked jurisdiction over the privacy claims against Shopify, which is headquartered in Canada, or the company's two U.S. divisions, which are based in Delaware, upholding a decision issued by a U.S. District Court Judge who dismissed the claims in May 2022.

The sale of secondhand goods are on the rise! Amazon said it has seen a 15% increase in sales of secondhand goods in the first nine months of the year, with sales across the U.K. and Europe hitting £1B a year. In the U.K., eBay said there had been a 20% YoY rise in secondhand fashion listings, and a 140% rise in sales of secondhand furniture.

Watchdogs in Europe are issuing complaints about Meta over its decision to charge Facebook and Instagram users for ad-free access to its apps. The European Consumer Organization said that Meta uses “unfair, deceptive and aggressive practices” when informing consumers about the new ad-free plans, and that if Meta is successful in defending this approach, it could set off a domino effect of other companies doing the same.

But that criticism isn't stopping Meta from bringing its Threads app to the EU. To address the region's strict regulations around online services and data privacy, when Threads launches in the EU, users will have the option to access the app without creating a profile, enabling them to consume content on the platform without adding their own. (That doesn't necessarily mean that Meta isn't collecting their data though. Meta knows your browser.)

Wix, which is based on Tel Aviv, Israel, created a website to spread anti-Hamas propaganda during the war in Gaza, while the Palestinian militia's actual website is currently offline. In bold letters, visitors are greeted with a message to “support the liberation of Palestine.” 

Some Etsy and eBay sellers are feeling left out of holiday marketing, which comes from the fees they pay for selling on the site. Etsy sellers who sell vintage products, for example, who surpass $10k in sales are required to pay Etsy offsite advertising fees, however, Etsy does not advertise vintage products, so their fees are only helping other sellers. The same is happening for eBay sellers who fall outside the platform's “focus categories” and are not benefiting from the fees they are paying. 

Almost 40% of Millennials heavily depend on retail subscriptions for their day-to-day shopping needs, compared to Gen Z (31%), Gen X (24%) and Baby Boomers (17%), according to a recent PYMNTS Intelligence study. A reliance on digital retail subscriptions is leading to fewer visits to physical stores.

22% of consumers say they would switch to a competitor that offers BNPL, according to a study by PYMNTS and Splitit, which examined how consumers use installment plans for retail products versus credit cards. 2 out of 3 consumers want merchants to showcase split-pay plans during the purchasing process, including on the product page, versus waiting to showcase BNPL plans at checkout.

Amazon debuted its Titan Image Generator at its AWS re:Invent 2023 conference last week, which is now available in preview for AWS customers on Bedrock. The tool can create new images after being given text descriptions or customize existing images, such as swapping out backgrounds to create lifestyle images.

10. Seed rounds, IPOs, & acquisitions

Zubale, a Mexico-based startup providing tools to retailers to scale their digital channels in Latin America, raised $25M in a Series A extension round led by QED Investors, bringing its total amount raised to $73M. The company will use the funds to grow its existing products, develop new offerings, and consolidate its presence in Mexico and Brazil.

Huboo, a U.K.-based warehousing and shipping platform, raised £29M from Ada Ventures and Maersk, bringing its total amount raised to £122M. The company now has 10 warehouses across Europe and integrates with TikTok, Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and other platforms, covering the U.K., the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Germany.

NomuPay, a Dublin-based end-to-end payments platform built for cross-border e-commerce growth, acquired Total Processing, a Manchester-based merchant services and payment processing provider for an undisclosed amount. The deal comes just months after NomuPay's Series A round announcement and will enable the company to accelerate their expansion efforts in SEA, Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East.

RepeatMD, a startup that leverages inbound revenue to increase sales for aesthetic and wellness practices, raised $50M in a Series A round co-led by Centana Growth Partners and Full In Partners, including a $10M debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank (LOL). The company currently offers software solutions to over 2,500 medical and wellness practices and will use the funds to grow its network of partners, grow its product suite, and integrate AI into its shopping experience. 

Fr8Labs, a Singapore and Indonesia-based firm that offers a cloud-based operating system for freight forwarders and aims to be the “Shopify of logistics”, raised $1.5M in a round led by East Ventures, FEBE Ventures, and Ventura. Using its system, a forwarder can upload a PDF of a shipping order and the system automatically creates the shipment booking and other required workflows, helping to reduce human error which can cause lengthy delays in the world of shipping. 

The European Commission informed Amazon that its preliminary view is that the acquisition may restrict competition in the market for robot vacuum cleaners. Last I reported, the U.K. approved the deal in October, but the European Commission launched an investigation right afterwards, and the U.S. FTC may launch its own inquiry on the deal.

Adore Beauty, a UK-based beauty retailer, refused a proposal to take over its business from THG for $1.25-$1.30 per share, stating that the offer undervalued the company. Following the refusal of the offer, the company’s shares surged 20.9% to $1.13.

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See you next Monday,


Paul E. Drecksler
[email protected]
LinkedIn | Reddit

PS: Why did the french fry cross the road? To get to the other sides.