When you click on a funny cat video, but it's actually a Saudi hack
The restorers of a 15th century masterpiece may have spent a little too much time scrolling Instagram. This Holy Lamb looks like it's had some serious work done.
Markets kept put Thursday as world leaders wrapped up their rendez-vous in Davos.
Earth's richest man and the Saudi Crown Prince... walk into a WhatsApp chat. The personal phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was allegedly hacked by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). Not a headline you see every day. Let's rewind:
Why so hacky?... Jeff Bezos has owned the Washington Post since 2013. Jamal Khashoggi was a WaPo reporter — and Saudi dissident — who MBS reportedly hated. In October 2018, Khashoggi was killed and dismembered at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. The hack could've been an attempt to obtain embarrassing Bezos material for blackmailing purposes — using the leverage to influence the WaPo's reporting on Saudi Arabia.
When you dip your feet in politics... the politics rain down on you. Bezos' business is tech. But owning a news outlet also makes politics his business, dragging him into geopolitical disputes that aren't related to his main biz (and that are possible risks for Amazon shareholders). Now, Saudi media is attacking Amazon (#boycottamazonproducts was trending there), and US/Saudi tensions over Khashoggi's murder are resurfacing.
If you thought your ads had disappeared... look again. Google just made ads harder to distinguish from organic search results. These "camouflaged ads" subtly launched last week, blurring the line between what you were actually looking for, and what companies are paying to show you.
Slow burn... Over the years, Google has slowly but surely made its ads harder to spot. After all, Google is an ads biz — 85% of its $40B in revenue last quarter came from ad sales. Here's Google's visual ad evolution:
Another pros before cos scenario... That's "profits before customers." Users are less likely to avoid clicking on paid ad results if they can't tell it's an ad. Advertisers get more clicks, Google gets more $$$, and users get less clarity on valuable/desirable search results. Google's motto used to be "don't be evil" (now it's "do the right thing"). Making money from hard-to-spot ads isn't evil, but it's way less transparent.
Local sports coverage almost died as newspapers failed to adapt to the internet age. Then The Athletic happened — and it just hit a $500M valuation.
We break down the digital sports news startup's podcast-driven expansion strategy — it's "territorial," like Facebook, Barstool Sports, and Uber.
More in today's 15 minute Snacks Daily podcast