Amazon’s Smash-And-Grab Year; Who Consolidates The Consolidators?

Comic: New Verse Same As The First?

Smash-And-Grab Ecommerce

Retailers are petitioning Congress and attorneys general to strengthen laws targeting online marketplaces that sell stolen goods. CVS CEO Karen Lynch told CNBC that a spree of smash-and-grab robberies in the US has been fueled by such marketplaces, because it’s so easy to anonymously resell products without repercussions. 

Sellers would still keep their anonymized account names, but the accounts themselves would have to be verified by contact and banking information.

This isn’t the first time retailers across categories have pushed for tougher rules governing anonymous third-party sellers on online marketplaces.

But there’s a silver lining of sorts this time. The retail set probably doesn’t hate the fact that state or national laws focused on anonymous online sales would be a thorn in the side of Amazon, which isn’t named in any of the formal complaints but is clearly the online marketplace we’re all talking about here.

“They’re criminals, and it is impacting our stores,” Lynch said. “They’re taking our products off the shelf and they’re putting them online and we need to go after that.”

Amazonegration

The ecommerce aggregation investment market is exploding. It’s the latest development in the global ascendance of platform consolidation.

On Thursday, Mexican unicorn Merama netted a $1.2 billion valuation after a $60 million investment, TechCrunch reports. Merama specializes in acquiring and launching digital brands based in Latin America. “Several multi-billion-dollar brands will be created in LatAm over the next five years,” said Co-Founder and CEO Sujay Tyle. 

This latest investment round follows Merama’s $225 million round in September. Not bad for a company that was only incorporated 12 months ago.

The Merama news comes one day after another Mexico-based ecommerce aggregator, Quinio, raised $20 million in seed funding. Quinio plans to spend its new capital to acquire 30 online retail brands.

And that’s not all. In November, Miami-based OpenStore raised $75 million at a $750 million valuation. OpenStore was founded in March 2021, and its rapid growth is yet another example of how appealing ecommerce aggregators have become to investors.

Another Amazon brand consolidater, Heyday, raised $555 million last month.

Guess Amazon isn’t the only game in town.

Meta Oversight

Senators are considering a bill that would force social media platforms (ahem … Meta) to let outside researchers in on their data. This is being spurred on by increasing concern that Instagram is harmful to its young users, reports The Wall Street Journal.  

The Journal disclosed internal documents that show Meta has been researching Instagram’s effects on its users for several years – and the findings are harrowing.

Teen girls blame worsening body image issues on the photo-sharing app, and Senators from both sides of the aisle brought forward examples of their offices creating fake underage accounts that were channeled to content promoting “body dysmorphia” and “sexualization of women,” the Journal reported earlier this week.

The legislation would force platforms to share specific information with the FTC, including data on ad targeting. Social networks and platforms would also hand over anonymized data to any researchers whose proposals are approved by the National Science Foundation. 

Advocates say exposing social media to public and government scrutiny will guide parental decisions and create safety standards for regulating age verification and age-appropriate content. Here’s hoping.

But Wait, There’s More!   

TV networks back OpenAP tech to measure audiences across screens. [Variety]

Cybersecurity for Democracy: Samples of ads misclassified by Facebook. [report]

Horizon Media sells minority stake to two investment firms, with an eye on digital growth. [Digiday]

Streaming can be a way for brands to reach viewers they missed on linear TV. [Ad Age]

Kevel, formerly Adzerk, raised $10 million. [Venture Capita​​l Journal]

You’re Hired!

UM elevates Stacey Stewart to US chief marketplace officer. [Media Village]

Former Visa exec Jason Tsai joins Captify as CMO. [release]

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