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In this week’s What’s Appening, we’re looking at subscription plans for TikTok Live. On the face of it, TikTok looks like it is trying to get a slice of the live streaming market dominated by Twitch. Elsewhere, we have a report on how Instacart is helping its shoppers fight back against “difficult” customers by changing its ratings system. Apple sets a deadline for app providers to make it easier for deleting accounts. Our Stat of the Week looks at the huge number of jobs created by the iOS ecosystem. And What’s dAppening has news of eBay’s sports-themed NFTs, which come with a little help from the great Wayne Gretzky.

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🎬 Takes

📽️ 💵 TikTok – Launch of Live Subscriptions Throws Down the Gauntlet to Twitch

TikTok has launched beta testing of a subscription program for its TikTok Live creators, offering a new means of monetization for those streaming on the platform and providing perks for those viewers supporting their favorite creators. In effect, the creators can turn their TikTok Live streams into a subscriber-only mode, which gives special benefits to those subscribers engaging with the content. Anyone can still watch the stream, but the subscribers get to access special features like custom-designed emotes, badges, subscriber-only chat and, interestingly, the ability to control camera angles. We looked at TikTok’s move into gaming in last week’s What’s Appening, and we can’t help but feel this is related. Live video continues to be the fastest-growing area of social media, and there is a continual battle among platforms to attract – and retain – the most popular creators. Monetization is an obvious way to do so. We have seen Instagram try something similar this year with its paid-for access to Instagram Live and Stories, and even Twitter is testing the model with Super Follows. Pricing for TikTok Live subscriptions, while not yet confirmed, is reportedly on a par with Twitch’s, which starts from $4.99 a month. After app store fees are deducted, the split is said to be around 50/50. #TikTokVsTwitch Read more here.

👎 ⭐ Instacart – Grocery Pick-Up App Allows Shoppers to Block Difficult Customers

Instacart has had an uneasy relationship with its shoppers (those who pick, pack, and deliver the groceries) over the last decade. The grocery pick-up service has faced a myriad of accusations, ranging from unfair payment policies to unsafe working conditions as demand for the service surged during the pandemic. But recently, Instacart has tried to show it has its shoppers’ backs, first by taking to steps to protect shoppers from tip-baiting (the practice of promising a tip to a shopper to pick up your groceries, then reversing it afterwards) and now with a function where the shopper can filter out reviews by difficult customers. It means the shopper can provide feedback on customers, giving their side of the story after a low rating or complaint. And Instacart will hide reviews when the customer is constantly providing negative feedback. They can also block the customer, ensuring they don’t have to serve them again. On the face of it, this seems like a niche story showing a small win for Instacart shoppers. But it’s an important issue in the fast-evolving grocery delivery market where unfair negative reviews can impact the livelihood of workers. The customer may have always been right in the mom & pop grocery stores of the past, but it’s not always the case with delivery apps today. #Instacartbacksshoppers Read more here.

🍏 ❌ Apple – Deadline Announced for In-App Account Deletion Mandate

Okay, here’s some news for all you developers and app business owners. Apple has announced that June 30th is the deadline for apps to allows users the ability to delete an account in-app. Any app submitted to the app store that supports account creation must “make the account deletion option easy to find in your app.”. This includes full deletion of account and all associated data. While this has been on the books already through government regulation and app store guidelines, Apple is now deciding they need to police this further, and are finally forcing developers to simplify the process. App providers are also being instructed to fully delete user records unless legally obliged to hold it. These are clear rules that are for the greater good. Nice work, Apple. #TapTapDelete Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week – 2.2M US Jobs Supported by iOS Apps

Speaking of Apple, it announced a very intriguing statistic this week: Over 2.2 million jobs are supported by the iOS app economy. It also found a 118% increase in small app developer earnings over the past two years. Apple commissioned two reports, all of which looked at the importance of iOS apps to the economy, both in the US and globally. Both reports waxed lyrical about the benefits of the iOS app ecosystem to the wider economy, with the consensus being that Apple is keen to extol the virtues of its App Store gatekeeping as the Open Markets Act, which contains legislation to tackle app stores, moves through Congress. Will it be enough to stop Congress hammering Apple (and Google) over their fee models in the app stores? Probably not. But it’s cool to see Apple quantify what iOS apps are doing for jobs and the wider economy. #JobsAppening Read more here

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

A dApp is a decentralized app. Here’s the latest in web3, nfts and blockchain apps.

🖼️ 🏒 eBay – NFTs Arrive on Platform with Some Help From “the Great One”

With millions of trading cards and sports collectibles sold on eBay every year, it seems like the natural habitat for selling sports-themed NFTs. And that’s exactly what’s happening, with eBay launching a series of digital collectibles in partnership with “green” NFT platform OneOf. The first batch was released last Monday, featuring legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky. The NFTs are based upon Gretzky’s appearance on the front cover of Sports Illustrated 40 years ago, and eBay plans to release more celebrating iconic athletes on SI’s front covers down the years. The partnership with OneOf is important as it connects eBay with an NFT platform putting its energy efficiency front and center of its marketing. OneOf has a goal of attracting 100 million non-crypto users to its platform, so tapping into eBay’s huge community of collectors is a win for them and those wanting to see wider adoption of NFTs. The announcement comes at a time when there are declining sales of (some, but not all) NFTs, and crypto, more generally, is under price pressure. Still, it’s our view that this period will be about the survival of the fittest, both in terms of the utility of the NFTs and artistic merit. And if someone can pay $3.25 million for a Wayne Gretzky trading card, there is certainly going to be a market for unique NFTs featuring hockey’s “Great One”. #GreatOneNFTs Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

We just spent the long weekend with our families and friends, and want to take a moment to observe Memorial Day here too. We reflect, respect and remember all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice – the men and women who have lost their lives to protect the United States.

With the horrific events of the last two weeks, we also want to express our sorrow and condolences to the communities of Uvalde TX, and Buffalo NY in particular. Mass shootings are a scourge on our country. No community, no citizen and no child should need to live in fear of their lives, while shopping for groceries, attending school or just living life. We must have more comprehensive gun control. This shouldn’t need to be said, but it does.