Amazon, Facebook and the Modern Trust [the ET Zeitgeist]

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Every morning, we run the Narrative Machine on the past 24 hours worth of financial media to find the most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected and central) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles or articles we think are most interesting … often far from it.

But for whatever reason these are articles that are representative of some sort of chord that has been struck in Narrative-world.


Amazon.com’s Ad Prices Could Soar Next Year [Fox Business]

There’s even an opportunity for Amazon to develop its own ad optimization tools like Facebook or Google.

As advertisers see improved return on investment from their optimization efforts, they’ll be willing to spend more per impression or click.

This is a story that I’ve heard Howard Lindzon (@howardlindzon) tell a dozen times …

Back in the olden days, and by that I mean 2012 or thereabouts, Facebook didn’t charge nearly enough for its ad inventory. With a pretty modest budget, a start-up company with a mass-appeal product or service (LifeLock, for example) could get a stellar reach into a crazy number of households.

Those days are long gone. Today you can still get a good reach into whatever number of households you want by advertising on Facebook, but there are no more bargains to be had. Want a crazy number of households? Then it’s going to cost you a crazy amount of money.

From a narrative perspective, what I find interesting is how Facebook’s price increases were implemented under the narrative of “optimization”, as if Facebook were doing you a favor by raising their prices so much.

Sure, the ads today are more targeted and (maybe) more effective, but the price increases and supply decreases are FAR GREATER than the (maybe) improved efficacy. That’s what it means to have pricing power, and that’s what it means – in the modern sense of the word – to have narrative power.

To date, Facebook has been really good at understanding narrative power from the perspective of intellectual property.

But also to date, Facebook has been really terrible at understanding narrative power from the perspective of government and the regulatory State.

Now Amazon is following in Facebook’s footsteps, both in its utilization of the narrative power of “optimization” and in its utilization of the raw pricing power of a monopoly.

Both Facebook and Amazon are smiley-face monopolists, claiming a narrative of efficiency and competition when nothing could be further from the truth. The only difference is that I suspect Amazon will be really good at the regulatory-compliant narrative, too.

No matter.

Time to break up the trusts. Again.


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Peter
Member
Peter

It helps to own WaPo to help with (design?) the narrative
Start by forcing Amazon to divest a propaganda tool geared to influence legislators in DC

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John
Member
John

Way too much Fiat News influence here.. Bezos owns WaPo not Amazon. Debate the merits of both entities, but way too wide of brush to just lump them as a single company with a singular focus. In fact, I don’t think it’s too far of reach to say that many (left leaning) reporters at WaPo don’t like everything about Amazon’s business or their affects it’s had on Mom & Pop stores

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Peter
Member
Peter

My prediction for articles critical of Amazon by WaPo over the next 5 years is -0-

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The Daily Zeitgeist

Frauds and Traitors

By Ben Hunt | August 16, 2019 | 2 Comments

Throwing words like “Fraud!” and “Traitor!” around so casually … it doesn’t reveal the true frauds and the true traitors.

It makes it easier for them to hide.

Read more

When Potato Salad Goes Bad

By Ben Hunt | August 15, 2019 | 4 Comments

On Tuesday, the Macy’s narrative was “I think they can make their comps.”

On Wednesday, the Macy’s narrative was “I think they can cover their dividend.”

This is what it means for a narrative to go bad. This is what it means for a story to break.

And when a story breaks, so does the stock. Not just for a little while, but for a loooong time.

Just ask GE.

Read more

A Cartoon in Three Parts

By Rusty Guinn | August 8, 2019 | 2 Comments

Cartoons are not evil. And yet they are the engine behind the Long Now, and very much at the center of our financial Zeitgeist. What is a clear eyed, full-hearted investor and citizen to do?

Read more

The Last Chance

By Rusty Guinn | August 7, 2019 | 6 Comments

You want scarcity? Access to the upper echelons of high society? Well, say no more. It’s your very last chance to buy this most special, most fantastical, most legendary, most unattainable of whiskies.

Read more

Are You Sweet Talking Me?

By Ben Hunt | August 6, 2019 | 4 Comments

It’s my favorite part of any Batman movie … that scene where the henchman pays a visit to the crazed supervillain – the Joker is the gold standard here – and you just know that the meeting is about to go terribly, terribly awry for the thug.

It’s a funny scene in a movie.

It’s a crappy way to run a country.

Read more

The Donkey of Guizhou

By Ben Hunt | August 5, 2019 | 7 Comments

My point in relating the fable of the Donkey of Guizhou is not that I believe China is the tiger and the United States is the donkey in our current trade-war-going-to-currency-war.

My point in relating the fable of the Donkey of Guizhou is not that I believe the current United States president is a braying donkey in his “easy to win” trade-war-going-to-currency-war.

I mean … I do, but that’s not my point.

My point is that Chinese political leadership believes that they are the tiger and the current United States president is a braying donkey.

Read more

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