Wild.

 

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BIG TECH

There are some wild accusations about Google and Facebook

What’s this? Another lawsuit?

Actually, no. There’s not just one more lawsuit – there are two. The United States has been trigger-happy with the big tech lawsuits lately, and what better way to head into the new year than dropping some major accusations on Google and Facebook.

There’s a lot of noise and not much clarity out there about the bombshell lawsuits this week, so let’s break it down. Here’s what we know:

  • On Wednesday, Texas and 9 other states filed a lawsuit against Google. It alleges a lot of things: Advertising collusion with Facebook, the transfer of WhatsApp user messages from Facebook to Google, and much more. Jason Kint read the whole complaint and wrote a detailed Twitter thread, if you want to learn more.
  • Yesterday, 35 states sued Google (yes, this is a separate lawsuit) for anticompetitive search practices. This lawsuit mainly deals with Google’s featured snippets, search practices, and the minimizing of sites like Expedia and Yelp in favor of Google-owned products.

It’s a lot. And the main response, so far, has been in response to yesterday’s lawsuit. Google published a long-winded blog post claiming its practices in Search are designed to benefit users. (That’s pretty much the gist of it, in far fewer words.)

Like we normally caution when these types of lawsuits are announced: They take time, so don’t expect any rapid changes to your marketing. But, it’s a sign of changing times and the role of big tech will likely change over the coming year.

The Crew’s question: We’re taking a break after today… So will the U.S. take a break from gunning down big tech companies over the holidays? Well, it’s 2020, so that remains to be seen.


TWITTER

Audio spaces have arrived, kind of

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We’ve been buzzing about it like hyperactive bees in a Twitter-shaped hive for a while. The “it” in question here is called Spaces (sometimes referred to as Audio Space), and it’s been a rumored new feature for a few months.

Twitter’s known as the platform of snarky quote tweets and way-too-long word vomit threads, so the idea of an audio-focused feature piqued our interest.

And yesterday, it became official: Twitter is testing Spaces, an audio chat room feature that’s described as a “well hosted dinner party.”

This is what we know:

  • It’s an audio chat room that allows you to host, and invite, others. Right now, Spaces looks pretty simple. Matt Navarra shared some screenshots that’ll help you visualize it. You can create Spaces for people to join, host one, and start chatting.
  • The host has full control. Spaces hosts can decide who’s allowed to join, who’s allowed to speak, and more. We could see this being a useful feature for marketing panels, chats, and AMAs hosted by notable figures or brands in the industry.
  • There are a lot of problems, at least for now. Matt Navarra, among others, mentioned that Spaces is very buggy at the moment. But, that’s what testing is for!

We still don’t know exactly when Spaces will be launching to the public. But, the feature looks like it’ll offer some opportunities for discussions and mini-events in Twitter circles, and we’re excited to see what’s to come.


SPONSORED BY JUNI

Will you try the first-ever credit card tailored for media buyers?

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It’s platinum.

It’s the result of a collaboration between a fintech focused on online entrepreneurs and a global credit card giant.

Juni and VISA want to introduce you to Europe’s first VISA Platinum CC tailor-made for online advertisers:

  • Up to 0.75% cashback on online advertising spend: You get an instant ROI boost added straight into your Juni account.
  • Customizable spend limits: Most EU banks and fintech have low, unchangeable spending limits on their cards. With Juni you can set your own limits, or go unlimited.
  • Choice of currency: The Juni Platinum Credit Card is available in GBP, EUR, and USD. Stop paying for fees when you pay or get paid in different currencies.
  • Improve cash flow: Juni offers credit designed just for e-commerce stores and affiliate marketers. Waiting for payments from Stripe or PayPal will no longer hold companies back from scaling.
  • Unlimited virtual cards: Easily keep track of what different stores, ad accounts, or clients spend by creating dedicated virtual cards.

Do you like these features? Think about the times you couldn’t scale your campaigns because of an account limit. Or because you had to wait for PayPal to release your funds.

Juni just crumpled these problems and threw them in the bin of the past.

This credit card will be released in February 2021. Join the waitlist to be the first to access these benefits. Apply here.


BUSINESS

The marketing move that revolutionized a country’s digital market

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Let’s wrap up 2020 with a story about a marketing move that changed the internet landscape of an entire company.

The move we are talking about is one word: Free.

And it’s what caused Facebook and YouTube to indirectly gain hundreds of millions of users.

It’s the story of Jio, that Preethi Kasireddy recently shared on Twitter.

Jio is a telecom company that launched in India in 2016, and they entered the market with a radical offer:

Unlimited 4G Internet for free.

Naturally, that was quite an attractive deal. Just like what happens in the USA with Apple launches, Indians waited in long lines outside shops to get the Jio SIM card.

The Jio SIM card, combined with mobile phones that were becoming accessible at that time, created the ultimate combo: Millions of Indians gained access to the Internet for the first time. Even in rural areas.

Then, in 2017, Jio started to charge for data, but still at insanely low prices – like $3 a month for 50GB. The majority of the users were hooked by the internet, so they bought the plan. Not as complicated a marketing strategy as you’d expect, right?

In 2016, Jio had zero customers. Now, they have 400M subscribers. Indians went from consuming 700 MB of data per month to 11 GB. And the country has 700M Internet users, which is expected to grow to 974M users by 2025.

In addition, the free internet move had a domino effect on the digital economy, causing some positive bumps in Silicon Valley as well:

  • YouTube is the de facto streaming service for India. T-Series, an Indian music label, is the channel with the highest number of subscribers in the world (but not without a fight).
  • If you look at YouTube channels with over 10M subscribers ranked by country, India is number two.
  • The country with the most Facebook subscribers is India, with 251 million users. The USA is the second classified with 240M.
  • Jio also benefited Google: In 2016, Google reported that 300M new users adopted Android devices from countries like India and Brazil.
  • Google and Jio are now working together to develop an affordable smartphone.
  • It’s also been announced that Google will invest $10B in India to accelerate the adoption of digital services.

The Jio story is definitely an interesting one. And, to think that it all started from a basic marketing strategy makes it still more fascinating.

Jio just wanted to get some leads, and they ended up causing an internet revolution!


ROUNDING UP THE STACK

TWITTER: The verification process on Twitter is relaunching in 2021, and the company has just announced some official guidelines. Is there a blue checkmark in your future?

ADVERTISING: Maurice Rahmey put together a great Twitter thread about the iOS privacy tracking update, and just how big of an impact it might have on advertising.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Savannah Sanchez shared her top paid social lessons from 2021, as well as her thoughts for 2021. Go check them out!

GOOGLE: A new feature that leverages augmented reality will let users try cosmetics. Google will also start showing product recommendations from influencers in the Shopping and Discovery tabs.


BRAIN TEASER

How can you take 2 from 5 and still leave 4?

You can find the solution here.


POOLSIDE CHAT

Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things marketers like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

We’re having company

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Over the past year or so, The Mandalorian has single handedly revived the public’s interest in Star Wars.

From a marketing perspective, it’s remarkable how quickly fans were able to do a 180 on the franchise after the poorly-received sequel trilogy. So, props to the team at Disney (especially Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, who’ve masterminded the revival).

Part of The Mandalorian’s success has been due to a cute new character named Grogu. Or, as you probably know him, Baby Yoda.

And thanks to a new feature in Google Search, you can now drop the cute little bugger right into the center of your living room.

All you’ve got to do? Google “Baby Yoda”, select the option to view him in 3D in your home, and you’re done.

No matter what mess he’s got himself into in the Star Wars galaxy, at least he’ll be safe in your home.

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