The ugly business logic behind Kanye West’s Parler acquisition

On Monday, Kanye West, now legally known as Ye, announced that he would buy Parler, an alternative social media platform, in a surprise move that sparked interest in the platform and concern about the billionaire rapper’s plans. But the move comes at a precarious time for Parler, which has seen months of stagnant use and at least one attempt to find a buyer for the platform before Ye.

According to a source familiar with the discussions, Parlement, Parler’s parent company, has been trying to offload its social media platform to potential buyers over the past few weeks. One potential buyer described Parlement’s asking price for the platform as greatly inflated, and said they were surprised by the site’s low number of daily active users.

Reached for comment on the official press line, Parlement declined to confirm or deny the incident but gave the following unsigned statement: “Parlement has always been exploring strategic opportunities for all of its brands and continues to do so.”

Parler was one of the first social media platforms to see itself as a censorship-free alternative to mainstream services like Facebook and Twitter.

Parler was one of the first social media platforms to bill itself as a censorship-free alternative to mainstream services like Facebook and Twitter, but it has struggled in the wake of the platform’s January 6 scrapping and the rise of rival networks like Gettr and Rumble. A familiar source for the service at the moment said it has about 50,000 daily active users the edgecompared to hundreds of millions of medium-sized networks like Twitter and Snapchat.

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While reporting on user numbers, the company appeared to be exploring a future for business completely outside of social media. In September, Parler bought cloud services company Dynascale and renamed it Parlement Technologies. Executives portrayed the move as a pivot to the “irreversible infrastructure,” though many saw it as a precursor to completely flooding the Parler social platform.

Over the past year, there have been immediate signs that the company has been striving for revenue. In March, the platform launched a marketplace for NFT called DeepRedSky, but it largely failed to gain momentum. The current premium set—a series of avatars by conservative commentator Brandon Tatum at $50 each—sold just three tokens.

Parler’s email list, one of the most instantly monetized assets, has been used for months to share a regular rhythm of chumbox-like sponsored messages. In October alone, users received emails with the headline “plastic surgeon reveals one way to restore aging skin” and “shocking report reveals what one diet soda does.”

From now on, the question is whether Ye’s remarkable acquisition and accompanying controversy will tempt users to return to the platform. Trump’s personality has struggled to attract enough followers for his recently launched real social platform. With Parler struggling to gain critical mass as a social network, the deal could easily turn into an escape hatch for Parlment investors and a costly statement of protest for Lee himself.

When examining the transaction from the outside, many experts are skeptical. “Trump kind of broke that model because a lot of people don’t use Truth Social,” Katie Harpath, CEO of Anchor Change and former director of public policy at Facebook, said in an interview Monday. “People get what they’re saying through other places, like seeing screenshots.”

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The news cemented Yi’s standing among conservatives as a champion of free speech

Even if the deal fails, the news has cemented Yi’s standing among conservatives as a champion of free speech, similar to Elon Musk’s erratic war to own Twitter. But the purchase also comes because Ye is involved in a number of cultural controversies, from Fighting with adidas To the release of a series of anti-Semitic comments over the past week that have been blocked by both Instagram and Twitter.

This ban appears to be the direct cause of the takeover. George Farmer, CEO of Parler Parler, Tell The Wall Street Journal This deplatforming made the Parler acquisition “a very attractive solution to censorship issues.”

But Ye’s personal relationships may also have played a role in the decision to buy the platform. In the same interview, Farmer said that his wife, conservative influencer Candice Owens, reached out to Yi about the Parler deal while attending YZY label’s show at Paris Fashion Week, both of whom wore “White Lives Matter” shirts, sparking a firestorm on social media, advance this month.

A potential buyer predicted whether Ye was planning to close the deal, citing the platform’s low participation. You had less than 100 followers before the ad and she has less than 16000 As of publication.

“In a world where conservative views are controversial, we have to make sure that we have the right to express ourselves freely,” Yi said. in the current situation on Monday.

Additional reporting by Richard Lawler.

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