Ex-SpaceX Employee Busted by FBI for Running a Silk Road Drug Market

Kevin Montgomery · 11/06/14 02:35PM

The FBI announced today that a startup founder and former SpaceX employee was arrested in San Francisco for allegedly operating Silk Road 2.0. According to the FBI, Blake Benthall's online drug bazaar was netting millions of dollars worth of bitcoin every month while he simultaneously worked at SpaceX.

Amazon Is Beta-Testing Uber to Deliver Packages

Kevin Montgomery · 11/06/14 01:20PM

Amazon is pushing hard to satisfy their customer's demand for same-day delivery. And thanks for Uber and Lyft's aggressive price war, on-demand taxi startups just might make it possible. According to a Valleywag source and the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is now testing out delivering packages with Uber and Flywheel.

LivingSocial CEO Says He's Laying Off 20 Percent of Staff [Update]

Nitasha Tiku · 11/05/14 04:24PM

Update: The CEO sent an email (below) confirming the layoffs Thursday morning. A source tells Valleywag that LivingSocial just announced 20 percent layoffs at the company. The "online marketplace" for local deals raised $934.7 million in venture capital. Earlier this year the company invested heavily in recruiting for its Los Angeles office, but the source says that office will be closed. I reached out to LivingSocial to confirm the layoffs and will update when I hear back.

Uber and Its Shady Partners Are Pushing Drivers into Subprime Loans

Nitasha Tiku · 11/04/14 12:35PM

The subprime lending market that plunged America into the Great Recession is back and as unscrupulous as ever. Instead of mortgages, this time a bubble has formed around auto loans, and reliably ruthless Uber is in the thick of it. Two "partners" in Uber's vehicle financing program are under federal investigation, but Uber hasn't slowed its aggressive marketing campaign to get drivers with bad credit to sign up for loans.

Kevin Montgomery · 11/03/14 04:30PM

Amazon has joined the chorus of companies releasing diversity statistics. Their report, released Halloween day, reveals that 63 percent of their workers are male and 40 percent are racial minorities. But Rainbow PUSH says Amazon was "intentionally deceptive," as they padded numbers with warehouse employees.

Facebook Is Turning Users Into Voter Data Experiments

Kevin Montgomery · 10/31/14 02:40PM

Facebook's team of mad data scientists caught flak this summer for experimenting on their users' emotions. But the company has a proud history of turning people into unwitting research subjects. For at least six years, the social network has been mining the political preferences of its users without their consent. The company will pull personal political data for the 2016 election as well, but this time Facebook will share its findings.

Kevin Montgomery · 10/31/14 11:55AM

Foursquare has rolled out an advertising campaign to bolster their struggling relaunch. "The new Foursquare learns what you like and leads you to places you'll love," the tagline reads. But we prefer this suggested copy instead: