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Amazon Asks Vendors for Equity to Sell on Platform

Business dealings with Amazon are purely transactional. However, the eCom giant is sweetening the deal for vendors and suppliers to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship for companies wanting to sell on their platform. 

As part of large contracts with the retailer, companies have to offer Amazon the right to buy their stock at a potentially discounted price.

Amazon introduced the concept of warrants in their vendor contracts, which are rights to buy stock in the future at a set price, around a decade ago. But more recently, the company has been making the unusual request more frequently. The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon’s last quarterly report said the company held $2.8 billion in warrants, up fivefold over the last three years. 

In fact, Amazon has recently made at least a dozen deals with publicly traded companies allowing the company a bit of stock, according to corporate filings and interviews with people involved with the deals. They’ve also done at least 75 of these lucrative deals with privately held companies over the past decade. 

Overall, Amazon’s potential stakes amount to billions of dollars (with a capital B) across companies that range everything from call-center services to natural gas, and in some cases position Amazon among the top shareholders in those businesses.

Amazon is careful in its contracts to stress that it isn’t necessarily a requirement to take out a warrant to be approved for the contract. The deals also tend to be with companies offering goods or services that help Amazon run its business, not so much vendors that would sell goods on the eCommerce site, although both exist. 

It’s clear that Amazon will do whatever it takes to boost its market share and clout, and business connections involving warrants will absolutely aid this effort.

Etsy Acquires Brazilian Rival

Etsy has acquired Elo7, a Brazilian online marketplace specializing in made-to-order products. The deal cost the shopping platform a cool $217 million cash transaction in a first of most likely a few moves to expand into Latin America.

Brazil is the face Latin America’s largest economy and J.P. Morgan research points to the fact that the country “has developed into a sizeable eCommerce market, consistently posting double-digit growth rates in the mid-teens between 2015 and 2017.” Brazil is notable for currently making the most rapidly successful shift into the juicy eCommerce market to date. It seems as though Etsy is making important strides as this market heats up. 

Of course, Amazon also had to get its own chunk of the Brazilian goldmine. Earlier this month, the eCommerce giant, which has first- and third-party operations in Brazil, opened its marketplace there to outside sellers. 

The relationship will most likely be symbiotic for Etsy and Elo7, since both companies connect buyers and sellers interested in homemade items like accessories, toys, and clothing. The company was founded back in 2008, has 56,000 active vendors selling to over 1.9 million buyers in Brazil.

The company also recently snatched up the mega-popular online thrift shop, Depop

Pinterest Bans Weight-Loss Advertising

Pinterest has moved to ban weight loss ads from its platform. It’s the first major platform to do so. This is a breath of fresh air compared to the diet culture that has plagued society in general, but it’s mostly insidious on social media platforms. 

The National Eating Disorders Association aided Pinterest in updating its policy as searches for healthy eating, healthy lifestyle and fitness tips grew within the past year. 

While most people consider Pinterest to be a feel-good, mostly pure corner of the internet, it used to have a problem with content that promoted potentially harmful eating and lifestyle habits. “Thinspiration,” “thinspo” or “pro-anorexia” culture was all over the app. Similarly to the corner of Tumblr that promotes and normalizes eating disorder culture and now TikTok’s pro-ED corner. 

Pinterest tried to ban this content in 2012, but pro ED content has been found on the platform in the years since.

Its new policy takes these rules a bit further by banning all ads with weight loss language and imagery, including testimonials regarding weight loss or weight loss products and references to Body Mass Index or similar indexes. However, advertisements promoting healthy lifestyles or fitness services will remain. The thing is that the definition of ‘healthy’ may differ across different demographics, but we shall see. 

Other companies have made slightly similar attempts. Both Instagram and Facebook cracked down on ads for “miracle” diets and weight-loss products in 2019, but Pinterest is the first to ban these ads completely.