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You can buy vapes illegally on eBay — and these senators want the practice to end


A group of senators is expected to demand that eBay, Alibaba, and Craiglist explain how they plan to counter the illegal sale of vaping products on their platforms in letters they will send to the companies on Monday.

In June, The Verge reported that e-commerce platforms like eBay were littered with e-cigarette listings. Some of these listings appeared to be authentic, brand-name products like Juul pods, while others were counterfeit. These items violate eBay’s policies, and while the company uses a variety of tools to remove the listings, it’s still fairly easy to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes on the platform. In addition to violating platform rules, there’s no method to verify that the purchaser is of legal smoking age either.

“Juul items are not allowed to be sold on eBay,” an eBay spokesperson told The Verge back in June. “Over the past year, we have blocked or removed hundreds of thousands of listings for e-cigarettes.”

The group of senators, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), includes Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

“In allowing these products to secure a foothold on your marketplace, you are not only supporting these companies in their endeavor to increase youth demand and access, but also assisting profiteering counterfeiters seeking to cause teens further harm,” the senators wrote. “Regardless, all of these products – real or counterfeit – are dangerous and shouldn’t be available on your platform.”

Their questioning of these platforms comes less than a week after President Donald Trump announced that his administration would seek to ban all flavored e-cigarette products from the American market. Over the past few weeks, hundreds of people across the country have grown ill and others have died due to deadly lung illnesses that have been linked to e-cigarette use. It’s still not clear what exactly is causing these illnesses, but they have led lawmakers to consider blanket bans until more is known. Any ban affecting vaping products in brick-and-mortar stores is likely to push more people who use the devices toward black market sales.

“If eBay continues to operate as it has, providing unfettered access to legitimate and counterfeit e-cigarettes, this flavor restriction will be meaningless,” the senators said.

This isn’t the first time eBay has been criticized for hosting these listings either. In April 2018, the Food and Drug Administration notified the company that Juul products were being sold on its platform. But even after the FDA contacted them, eBay is still awash in vape products.

In their letters to eBay, Alibaba, and Craigslist, the senators probe the companies on their tobacco policies and how they plan to improve enforcement in order to keep vape products and e-cigarettes off their platforms. The companies have until October 1st to respond to the senators.

“More must be done to ensure that tobacco products, some of which could be adulterated, do not secure a foothold on your marketplace,” the senators wrote to the e-commerce companies. “You must also ensure that your marketplace does not contribute to the addiction of a new generation of tobacco users and the ongoing outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and lung injuries.”



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How to get people to open your emails – TechCrunch


We’ve aggregated the world’s best growth marketers into one community. Twice a month, we ask them to share their most effective growth tactics, and we compile them into this Growth Report.

This is how you’re going stay up-to-date on growth marketing tactics — with advice you can’t get elsewhere.

Our community consists of 600 startup founders paired with VP’s of growth from later-stage companies. We have 300 YC founders plus senior marketers from companies including Medium, Docker, Invision, Intuit, Pinterest, Discord, Webflow, Lambda School, Perfect Keto, Typeform, Modern Fertility, Segment, Udemy, Puma, Cameo, and Ritual .

You can participate in our community by joining Demand Curve’s marketing webinars, Slack group, or marketing training program. See past growth reports here and here.

Without further ado, onto the advice.


How can you send email campaigns that get opened by 100% of your mailing list?

Based on insights from Nick Selman, Fletcher Richman of Halp, and Wes Wagner.

  • First, a few obvious pieces of advice for avoiding low open rates:
    • Avoid spam filters by avoiding keywords commonly used in spam emails.
    • Consider using email subjects (1) that are clearly descriptive and (2) look like they were written by a friend. Then A/B your top choices.
    • Include the recipient’s name in your email body. This signals to spam filters that you do in fact know the recipient.
  • Now, for the real advice: Let’s say 60% of your audience opens your mailing, how can you get the remaining 40% to open and read it too?
    • First, wait 2 weeks to give everyone a chance to open the initial email.
    • Next, export a list of those who haven’t opened. Mailchimp lets you do this.
    • Important note: The reason many recipients don’t open your email is because it was sent to Spam, it was buried in Promotions, or it was insta-deleted because it looked like spam (but wasn’t). The goal here is to resuscitate these people. You have two options for doing so:
    • (1) Duplicate the initial email then selectively re-send it to non-openers. This time, use a new subject (try a new hook) and downgrade the email to plain text: remove images and link tracking. De-enriching the email in this way can help bypass spam filters and the Promotions tab.
    • (2) Alternatively, export your list of non-openers to a third-party email tool like Mailshake (or Mixmax).
      • First, connect Mailshake to a new Gmail account on your company domain.
      • Next, configure Mailshake to automatically dole out small batches of emails on a daily schedule. Let it churn through non-openers slowly so that Gmail doesn’t flag your account as a spammer.
      • Emails sent through Mailshake are more likely to get opened than emails sent through Mailchimp. Why? Mailshake sends emails through your Gmail account, and Gmail-to-Gmail emails have a greater chance of bypassing Spam and Promotions folders, particularly if the sender doesn’t have a history of its emails being marked as spam.





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