In this week’s digital news, the City of Paris sues Airbnb for improper ads, high demand forces Walmart to nix their home-delivery grocery service, publishers rally against the pay and terms of Apple’s new subscription service, and more.
Paris sues Airbnb for $14 million over illegal advertisements
The city of Paris sued Airbnb this week for illegally posting 1,000 rentals on their website. Under French law, home owners in Paris can rent out properties on short-term rental platforms for up to 120 days in a year. These advertisements, however, must include a registration number to help ensure properties are not rented out for longer. This requirement wasn’t met for roughly 1,000 ads, and Airbnb is paying the price. The law was put into place because of the city’s high number of tourists. As well, because of the competition that Airbnb has created in recent years.
After this scandal came to light, other cities have begun to speak out on what they see as unfair competition. They fear that Airbnb will transform their neighborhoods into major tourist destinations and disrupt the day-to-day lives of residents. Seeing that Paris is one of the most popular destinations for American travelers, their concerns are certainly valid.
Walmart ends online grocery partnership with Deliv
Due to incredibly high demand, Walmart’s grocery delivery service may not happen just yet. Amazon, of course, was the first to start this trend, but they soon found competition from other power players. Walmart announced their partnership with Lyft, Uber, and Deliv in 2016. However, recently parted ways with each of these companies over the past three years. Deliv leaving the fold is the final nail in the coffin. Apparently this decision was due to incredibly high demand, which seems like an odd cause and effect.
Customers were very excited about this new service, but employees were unable to process orders quick enough to get customers their orders in a timely manner. In sum, it looks like Walmart wants to keep prioritizing their in-store and curbside customers. The infrastructure to run a full-scale grocery delivery operation just simply isn’t in place. It’s also likely that neither is the budget.
Publishers outraged over terms for Apple’s new subscription service
Apple’s new magazine subscription service will finally debut this spring. Publishers are forewarning the public about the service, however, labeling it as a “rip off” to writers. The subscription will essentially work like Spotify, but with magazines instead of music. It’s an exciting prospect, especially for reading enthusiasts and news junkies. It’s come to light, however, that publishers will only receive 50% of the revenue for each transaction. So, when users pay $10 a month for a variety of magazine material, Apple will take 50% of that payment right off the top. Leaving publishers to split the rest based on the popularity of their articles.
That means that writers will likely have to split the remaining half of revenue, if they’re so lucky. Either way, it’s a blessing that publishers are giving the public an inside look into Apple’s business practices. Hopefully the increased attention to these dealings will lead Apple to consider restructuring their terms to save some face.
LEGO and Snapchat debut clothing store with no clothes in it
In a surprising move, LEGO has entered the fashion industry with a unique concept for a clothing store. The company has created a limited edition adult clothing line that they believe will bring in an entirely new fanbase to the brand. To debut the new line, LEGO partnered with Snapchat to create a completely virtual retail experience using Augmented Reality (AR) technology. Using AR, customers will enjoy the aesthetic of the company’s retail space, but also have access to it wherever and whenever they are. The clothing store is unlike any e-commerce shopping experience.
Customers will feel themselves walking through the store, examining the products, and making purchases at the counter. It’s also reported that customers will have their own virtual mannequin made from their social media posts. Although AR is already used in fashion now, LEGO and Snapchat are using their resources to create something bold and exciting.
Amazon cancels New York HQ2 plans
Amazon has officially cancelled plans to build an HQ2 in New York City. In the fall of last year, Amazon highly publicized their search for a location in North America to build a second headquarters. The opportunity came with a lot of perks, most importantly 50,000 job opportunities. In the fall, Amazon chose both Queens, New York and a suburb in Washington D.C. However, the backlash came in immediately. Instead of bringing jobs to less fortunate communities, the company decided to set up shop in two well-established metropolises.
As Amazon explained, the move was made in hopes of attracting more “big-tech talent.” After all, talented folks like to live in big cities. But it looks like their decision came back to bite them. Apparently the inevitable rise in housing costs in these cities, which are already expensive to live in, has made NYC a nonviable option. It seems that the salaries Amazon had in mind wouldn’t be enough for workers to reasonably support themselves. So far, Amazon has made no statement on plans to build in a different location. However, it’s rumored that the company still plans to provide a large number of jobs all over the U.S.Published on February 15, 2019