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Bad Actor Coupon Blogs, TiffCoin is Real, and OV Launches Digital Loyalty

PLUS: The roles of the FTC and SEC
April 8, 2022

This week we’re diving into public policy by examining the role of the FTC and how consumer protections are more important now than ever before. Why? Well, just look around — the world, and its money, seem to be smoldering a bit at the moment. 

While the rest of the eCom trade want to sell you one weird trick, we’re giving you a deeper dive into the role of the SEC and the FTC, and how government and public policy have a direct impact on the price of the products that you buy. 

First up, we had Gaida Zirkelbach on the podcast this week, talking about the new public hearings and comment phase of a proposed rule to institute Scope 3 carbon emissions data into public company filings and publications. This rule, which would primarily affect the Fortune 500 and its ilk, will have downstream effects on the rest the rest of the eCommerce industry — and in particular, the software businesses that power them. Scope 3 emissions data would need to be quantified and reported, and that means that vendors, and vendors’ vendors, would need to quantify their own carbon footprint. This is what we call “a big deal”, and Gaida walks us through it. Take a listen on the podcast, or read the transcript to get caught up. 

Next, the role of the FTC is at times a bit opaque. The independent government agency acts as a form of consumer protection. Our latest essay on nefarious actors, namely affiliate coupon blogs, highlights the types of misleading information that is running rampant in our industry, and is having a dramatic effect on customer behavior. As of now, it is completely legal for coupon blogs to knowingly publish misleading content. We dive into the negative implications in our essay by looking at the problems it has created for Kuru Footwear, a direct to consumer shoe company. You can read more about the role of the FTC and how it can bring some sanity and guidance into the world of last-click affiliate scraping over on the blog

Lastly — we linked up with Ingrid from Infinite Shelf over at Shoptalk to talk about how PacSun shouldn’t be as invested in the metaverse as it is, when there’s neither a Pacific nor a Sun in the digital metaworld. Listen to our hijinx over on your favorite podcast player

— Phillip

Electric Trucks, Pardners. Tesla has opened its Gigafactory in Austin, TX, as part of plans to build the promised Cybertruck. Also, let’s just take a moment to notice Elon in a cowboy hat.

Kid-a-verse. Epic, the developer of Fortnite, and Lego are partnering up to build a metaverse for kids. The group says the new project will be “designed from the outset with the wellbeing of kids in mind.”

More Sights & Sounds. Discovery and WarnerMedia are merging this week. And Google is working with iFixit to produce a self-fix kit for Pixels, which should be available later this year. And Discovery and WarnerMedia are merging this week.

Luxury NFTs. Together with UNDX, Dolce&Gabbana is going NFT. Combine this with the apparently very real April Fool’s Day launch by Tiffany for their Tiffcoin, confirmed by Alexendre Arnault himself on Twitter, the luxury space seems to be heating up for digital loyalty.

Rewards launch. Outdoor Voices launched a rewards program where writing reviews, referring friends, and attending events all help members earn more points. The program rewards tiers start at $10 off for $250 in spend, plus incentivizing social media activity. 

Editor’s note: The talk of the town upon founder Ty Haney’s exit from OV in a pre-pandemic world was that they were burning (gasp) $2MM per month. While we had some fun poking at their penchant for Maison Louis Marie No. 4 candles, their burn rate has now been eclilpsed by the one-click payments hoodie company which shan’t be named. So, yes, we have been critical of Outdoor Voices’ strategy in the past, chiefly because community doesn’t just magically appear, regardless of how nice your athleisure wear is. But with founder Haney back in the driver’s seat, this particular launch feels like the OV of old, and hints at a longer-term viability of the business. 

Our thoughts on their particular approach to loyalty and community are best summed up in Insiders #028. It’s worth a read, as it is still relevant today.

Bad news in Cheddar Bay. Red Lobster’s latest CEO has resigned after only 8 months with the company. One analyst thinks it’s a sign of “severe stress and malfunction” and describes the quick departure as “very, very, very bad.”

More Palate news.  Kroger has launched its own restaurant supply business. Kit Kat is releasing a Blueberry Muffin flavored candy bar for a limited time. And now you can get some spicy Doritos Flamin' Hot Nacho flavored wings at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Pink Floyd for the Blue and Yellow. After 28 years, Pink Floyd reunited to record a new song to protest the war in Ukraine. The song, titled “Hey Hey, Rise Up!” features Andriy Khlyvnyuk, a Ukrainian singer from the band Boombox.

Cover Photo by Bram Van Oost on Unsplash

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