Intelligence

Ad bots, and e-cigarettes, and regulation – oh my!


Congress probes e-cig social messaging bots: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and a special congressional committee are taking a closer look at e-cigarette companies’ social media chatbot marketing techniques. The pair are investigating whether companies like Juul and Reynolds American Inc. used deceptive or misleading social practices for targeted marketing and advertising, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“It fights regulators and it misleads kids about the products,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said of bot marketing.

Airbnb and Uber: apples to oranges: As Airbnb gears up for its IPO, The Economist makes an important distinction between the rental app and the ride-sharing app, which has experienced significant financial hardship since going public. The biggest distinctions? Going global and exclusivity. Because the nature of Airbnb relies on participants across the globe and its hosts/users aren’t using other services for the same purpose, its founder Brian Chesky says there’s no comparison and thus, more likely to succeed.

Brexit deal still out of reach: The UK and the EU are scrambling to come up with a last-minute deal before October 17 when a two-day EU summit is set to begin, according to CNBC. “If no deal is agreed by October 19, the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is legally bound to ask the EU for a delay to the departure date (October 31) although he is very reluctant to do so,” the publication said.

SoftBank seeks control of WeWork: SoftBank is gunning to take financial control of WeWork, which continues to spiral out of control and said it could run out of money by November. According to The Wall Street Journal, WeWork has also tapped JP Morgan to look at ways to raise billions in debt. The bank is meeting with investors about participating in a multibillion-dollar debt deal, the paper said. 


Home sweet home for the UK team: As our UK business continues to grow, so does our team — so much so that it’s outgrown its former home and moved into some fancy new digs. Check out their new home on the blog by UK CEO Elspeth Rothwell.