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Fortnite’s Android installer shipped with an Epic security flaw

Google has clapped back in tremendous fashion at Epic Games, which earlier this month decided to make the phenomenally popular Fortnite available for Android via its own website instead of Google’s Play Store. Unfortunately, the installer had a phenomenally dangerous security flaw in it that would allow a malicious actor to essentially install any software they wanted. Google wasted exactly zero time pointing out this egregious mistake.

By way of a short explanation why this was even happening, Epic explained when it announced its plan that it would be good to have “competition among software sources on Android,” and that the best would “succeed based on merit.” Everyone of course understood that what he meant was that Epic didn’t want to share the revenue from its cash cow with Google, which takes 30 percent of in-app purchases.

Many warned that this was a security risk for several reasons, for example that users would have to enable app installations from unknown sources — something most users have no reason to do. And the Play Store has other protections and features, visible and otherwise, that are useful for users.

Google, understandably, was not amused with Epic’s play, which no doubt played a part in the decision to scrutinize the download and installation process — though I’m sure the safety of its users was also a motivating factor. And wouldn’t you know it, they found a whopper right off the bat.

In a thread posted a week after the Fortnite downloader went live, a Google engineer by the name of Edward explained that the installer basically would allow an attacker to install anything they want using it.

The Fortnite installer basically downloads an APK (the package for Android apps), stores it locally, then launches it. But because it was stored on shared external storage, a bad guy could swap in a new file for it to launch, in what’s called a “man in the disk” attack.

And because the installer only checked that the name of the APK is right, as long as the attacker’s file is called “com.epicgames.fortnite,” it would be installed! Silently, and with lots of extra permissions too, if they want, because of how the unknown sources installation policies work. Not good!

Edward pointed out this could be fixed easily and in a magnificently low-key bit of shade-throwing helpfully linked to a page on the Android developer site outlining the basic feature Epic should have used.

To Epic’s credit, its engineers jumped on the problem immediately and had a fix in the works by that very afternoon and deployed by the next one. Epic InfoSec then requested Google to wait 90 days before publishing the information.

As you can see, Google was not feeling generous. One week later (that’s today) and the flaw has been published on the Google Issue Tracker site in all its… well, not glory exactly. Really, the opposite of glory. This seems to have been Google’s way of warning any would-be Play Store mutineers that they would not be given gentle handling.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney was likewise unamused. In a comment provided to Android Central — which, by the way, predicted that this exact thing would happen — he took the company to task for its “irresponsible” decision to “endanger users.”

Epic genuinely appreciated Google’s effort to perform an in-depth security audit of Fortnite immediately following our release on Android, and share the results with Epic so we could speedily issue an update to fix the flaw they discovered.

However, it was irresponsible of Google to publicly disclose the technical details of the flaw so quickly, while many installations had not yet been updated and were still vulnerable.

An Epic security engineer, at my urging, requested Google delay public disclosure for the typical 90 days to allow time for the update to be more widely installed. Google refused. You can read it all at https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/112630336

Google’s security analysis efforts are appreciated and benefit the Android platform, however a company as powerful as Google should practice more responsible disclosure timing than this, and not endanger users in the course of its counter-PR efforts against Epic’s distribution of Fortnite outside of Google Play.

Indeed, companies really should try not to endanger their users for selfish reasons.


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We looked through 1,000s of discounts to find today’s best Amazon Prime Day deals

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Amazon Prime Day 2018 overall best deals

Update 7/16/18 3:46 p.m. ET: We’re noticing some glitches on Amazon.com at the moment, so a few of these deals may not be showing up yet. We think things will sort themselves out soon — but in the meantime, happy shopping!

Update 7/16/18 9:35 p.m. ET: Most of the Amazon site appears to be working as normal.

Prime Day, now in its fourth year, is bigger and better than ever. 

This year, the sales event is live for a full 36 hours and is promising more than one million deals worldwide.

Now through July 17, you can shop an unprecedented number of deals, but you probably can’t dedicate your entire day to looking through pages and pages of deals. That’s why we’re doing it for you and handpicking the best ones that you should focus on today to save you both money and time.

Below you’ll find a master list of the very best Prime Day 2018 deals across all categories, including tech, home and kitchen, travel, and back-to-school products. There are so many deals to look through, so we took the time to find only the best ones. We’ll be updating this page throughout the day, so check back here frequently for the best and most up-to-date flash deals.

Just remember that you have to be a Prime member to take advantage of the deals, so don’t forget to sign up for a free 30-day trial membership here if you haven’t already. There are more perks if you want to stay a Prime member after your trial.  

This is our cheat sheet to the 24 best Prime Day deals of 2018. You can keep scrolling to check out our full list:

Amazon device: Echo, $69.99 (originally $99.99) [You save $30]
Amazon device: Kindle Paperwhite, $79.99 (originally $119.99) [You save $40]
Amazon Prime service: Get your first three months of Audible for $4.95 per month
Smartphone + smart home bundle: Samsung Galaxy S9 Bundle (includes SmartThings Home Monitoring Kit, Echo, and Echo Spot), $719.99 [You save $429.97]
Computer: ASUS FX503VM 15.6” 120Hz FHD Powerful Gaming Laptop, $899 (originally $999) [You save $100]
Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7-Inch, 32GB Tablet, $399.99 [You save $150]
TV: Toshiba 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TVs with Fire TV, $289.99 (originally $399.99) [You save $110]
Media streamer: Fire TV Stick, $19.99 (originally $39.99) [You save $20]
Smart home device: Eufy RoboVac 11, $159.99, (originally $249.99) [You save $90]
Smart home device: Ring Video Doorbell Pro, $174 (originally $249) [You save $75]
Speaker: KEF Q100 Bookshelf Loudspeakers, $249 (originally $549.99) [You save $300.99]
Wireless headphones: nuraphone Wireless Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones, $299 (originally $399) [You save $100]
Wired headphones: Bose QuietComfort 25, $124.99 (originally $198) [You save $74]
Game console: Nintendo New 3DS XL – Super NES Edition with Super Mario Kart Bundle, $149.99 (originally $199) [You save $50]
Wearable: Fitbit Alta HR, $89.95 (originally $149.95) [You save $60]
Small kitchen appliance: Instant Pot DUO60, 6 Quart, $58.99 (originally $99.95) [You save $40.96]
Small kitchen appliance: Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker and Milk Frother, $109.99 (originally $179.99) [You save $70] 
Small kitchen appliance: Vitamix 5200 Blender, 64-Ounce Container, $297.95 (originally $549.99) [You save $252.04] 
Mattress: Tuft & Needle Mattress, Queen, $459 (originally $575) [You save $116]
Vacuum: Dyson V8 Absolute Cordless Stick Vacuum, $364.99 (originally $499.99) [You save $135]
Robot vacuum: iRobot Roomba 671 Robot Vacuum (Wi-Fi connectivity, works with Alexa), $229.99 (originally $349.99) [You save $120]
Budget phone: Moto G6 64GB Prime Exclusive Phone, $259.99 (originally $299.99) [You save $40]
High-end phone: LG V35 ThinQ 64 GB Prime Exclusive Phone, $599.99 (originally $899.99) [You save $300]
High-end phone: Samsung Galaxy S8 Unlocked 64GB, $499.99 (originally $724.99) [You save $225]

Click to go to:  Amazon device and service deals | Laptop, tablet, and computer deals | Printer, computer monitor, and computer accessory deals | TV, projector, and media streamer deals | Speaker and soundbar deals | Game console, gaming PC, and video game deals | Smart home deals | Smartphone and phone accessories deals | Fitbit and smartwatch deals | Headphones deals | Car tech deals | Camera deals | Under-$100 tech deals | Under-$50 tech deals | Under-$25 tech deals | Kitchen and appliance deals | Mattress, sheets, and pillow deals | Vacuum deals | AC, air purifier, and fan deals | Furniture and lighting deals | Home improvement deals | Beauty, skin care, and oral care deals | Men’s, women’s, and kids fashion deals | Pet deals | Travel and luggage deals | Outdoors and camping deals | Baby deals | Back-to-school deals | Sports and fitness deals | Competing Prime Day deals at Best Buy, Nordstrom, eBay, and more storesThe best Amazon device and service deals
Amazon

To get things started, and since this is Amazon Prime Day, here are the best Amazon devices and Prime services on sale. At $69.99, the Amazon Echo is available for its lowest price ever. At $79.99, the Kindle Paperwhite is also at its lowest price to date. 

The best overall deals

Echo, $69.99 (originally $99.99) [You save $30]
Echo Look, $99.99 (originally $199.99) [You save $100]
Echo Show, $129.99 (originally $229.99) [You save $100]
Fire TV Stick, $19.99 (originally $39.99) [You save $20]
Kindle Paperwhite, $79.99 (originally $119.99) [You save $40]
Amazon Cloud Cam, $59.99 (originally $119.99) [You save $60]

The best Amazon Prime service deals

Audible: Get your first three months for $4.95 per month
Kindle Unlimited: Get your first three months for $1
Twitch Prime: New and current members get free PC games and in-game loot
Amazon Music Unlimited: Get your first four months for $0.99
Prime Video: Rent popular movies for $1.99 and under or buy at up to 50% off
Prime Pantry: New subscribers get $10 off their first order of $40 or more with a 30-day free trial Pantry membership
Prime Now: New customers get $10 off their first order of Prime Now or Whole Foods Market, and $10 off their second order
AmazonFresh: New AmazonFresh customers can get $30 off their first AmazonFresh order of $100 or more with a 30-day free trial AmazonFresh membership
Dash Buttons, $0.99 (originally $4.99) [You save $4]

The best Echo deals

Echo Dot, $29.99 (originally $49.99) [You save $20]
Echo Dot Kids Edition, $29.99 (originally $49.99) [You save $20]
Echo, $69.99 (originally $99.99) [You save $30]
Echo Spot, $99.99 (originally $129.99) [You save $30]
Echo Plus, $99.99 (originally $149.99) [You save $50]
Echo Look, $99.99 (originally $199.99) [You save $100]
Echo Show, $129.99 (originally $229.99) [You save $100]

The best Kindle deals

Kindle, $49.99 (originally $79.99) [You save $30]
Kindle Paperwhite, $79.99 (originally $119.99) [You save $40]

The best Fire TV deals

Fire TV Stick, $19.99 (originally $39.99) [You save $20]
Fire TV, $34.99 (originally $69.99) [You save $35]
Fire TV Cube, $89.99 (originally $119.99) [You save $30]
Toshiba 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TVs with Fire TV, $289.99 (originally $399.99) [You save $110]

The best Fire tablet deals

Fire 7 Tablets, $29.99 (originally $49.99) [You save $20]
Fire HD 8 Tablet, $49.99 (originally $79.99) [You save $30]
Fire HD 10 Tablets, $99.99 (originally $149.99) [You save $50]
Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet, $69.99 (originally $99.99) [You save $30]
Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablets, $99.99 (originally $129.99) [You save $30]

The best Cloud Cam and Blink security camera deals

Amazon Cloud Cam, $59.99 (originally $119.99) [You save $60]
Blink XT 1, $75 (originally $124.99) [You save $54.99]
Blink Indoor Home Security Camera, $69 (originally $99) [You save $30]
Blink Indoor Home Security Camera (3 CAM), $149.99 (originally $229.99) [You save $80]

The best laptop, tablet, and computer deals
Google/Instagram

Computers, laptops, and tablets are a real investment, but when you get one on sale, it makes the decision easier. Here’s a list of all the best computers, laptops, and tablets on sale. 

The best laptop deals

Acer Chromebook 11, Celeron N3060, 11.6″ HD, 4GB DDR3L, 16GB Storage, $139.99 [You save $80]
Acer Chromebook 15 Pentium N4200, 15.6″ Full HD Touch, 4GB LPDDR4, 32GB Storage, $314.99 [You save $85]
Google Pixelbook (i5, 8 GB RAM, 128GB), $845 (originally $999) [You save $154]
ASUS Chromebook Flip 12.5-inch Touchscreen Convertible Chromebook, Intel Core m3, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash Storage, $399 [You save $100]
ASUS FX503VM 15.6” 120Hz FHD Powerful Gaming Laptop, $899 (originally $999) [You save $100]

The best tablet deals

Fire 7 Tablets, $29.99 (originally $49.99) [You save $20]
Fire HD 8 Tablet, $49.99 (originally $79.99) [You save $30]
Fire HD 10 Tablets, $99.99 (originally $149.99) [You save $50]
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7-Inch, 32GB Tablet, $399.99 [You save $150]

The best PC and all-in-one deals

Check back for the latest PC and all-in-one deals as we find them. 

The best gaming PC deals

CLX SET TGASETGXM8502WR VR-Ready Gaming PC – AMD Ryzen 5 2600 X 3.60Ghz 6-Core, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB, 240GB SSD+3TB HDD, $1,449 (originally $1,719.99) [You save $250]
CLX SET TGASETGXM8504WR VR-Ready Gaming PC – AMD Ryzen 7 2700 X 3.70GHz 8-Core, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, 240GB SSD+3TB HDD, $1,999.49 (originally $2,389) [You save $390.50]
OMEN by HP 17-inch Gaming Laptop w/ 144Hz Anti-Glare G-Sync Display, i7-8750H, GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB, 16GB 2666MHz RAM, 1TB HDD & 128 GB PCIE SSD, $1,299 (originally $1,399) [You save $100]
HP Pavilion Gaming 15-inch Laptop, Intel Core i5-8300H Processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4 GB, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive and 128 GB SSD, $829.99 (originally $909.99) [You save $80]

The best printer, computer monitor, and computer accessory deals
Amazon

Devices like printers and routers might not be the most exciting tech to shop for, but they’re necessary purchases nonetheless. Save on the best ones with these deals. 

The best printer deals

Brother HLL6200DW Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer with Large Paper Capacity, $169.99 (originally $199.99) [You save $30]
Brother WorkSmart MFC-J880DW Compact All-in-One Inkjet Printer, $109.99 (originally $249.99) [You save $140]

The best computer monitor deals

Planar PLN2770W 27″ LCD Monitor, $140 (originally $176.87) [You save $36.87]
BenQ GW2280 22-Inch 1080p LED Frameless Monitor, $89.99 (originally $111.48) [You save $21.49]
BenQ 27-inch 1080p HDR10 Monitor, $199.99 (originally $269) [You save $70]
BenQ EL2870U 28 inch 4K HDR10 Gaming Monitor, $399 (originally $499) [You save $100]

The best router deals

NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750 Dual Band Smart WiFi Router, $89.99 (originally $99.98) [You save $10]
NETGEAR Nighthawk WiFi Cable Modem Router+ Voice, $257.73 (originally $227.73) [You save $30]
NETGEAR Orbi Home Mesh WiFi System $259.33 (originally $289.33) [You save $30]
NETGEAR WiFi Range Extender, $59.98 (originally $69.98) [You save $10]
Google WiFi system, $99 (originally $129) [You save $30]

The best hard drive deals

WD My Passport SSD (512GB), $119.99 (originally $159.99) [You save $40]
WD My Passport for Mac Portable external Hard Drive (2TB), $63.99 (originally $99.99) [You save $36]
Samsung T5 Portable SSD (1TB), $270 (originally $379.99) [You save $109]

The best computer accessory deals

SanDisk 64GB Cruzer Force Flash Drive, $13.49 (originally $17.99) [You save $4.50]
HooToo USB C Hub, $11.76 (originally $19.99) [You save $8.23]
Belkin F4U095tt Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD with 3.3-Foot Thunderbolt 3 Cable, $222.10, (originally $277.63), [You save $55.53]
AmazonBasics USB 3.1 Type-C VGA Multiport Adapter, $24.49 (originally $34.99)[You save $10.50]

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

See Also:

5 overlooked deals you really don’t want to miss out on during Prime Day — but probably have in previous years25 cool new products only Prime members can get their hands on before Amazon Prime DayThis early Prime Day deal lets you try 3 months of Kindle Unlimited for $1

SEE ALSO: Prime Day vs Black Friday: We compared sale prices for all of Amazon’s devices, and Prime Day is clearly the better time to buy


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Fortnite’s Summer Skirmish kicks off today, with $8 million prize pool

Fortnite Battle Royale has swept the gaming world. Alongside its 125 million users and record-breaking Twitch streams, the game has also drawn many competitive players away from their usual titles to try their hand at Battle Royale.

Today, that competitive play reaches at inflection point. At 4pm ET, Fortnite Battle Royale’s Summer Skirmish will kick off, with $8 million going to tournament winners over the course of the competition, with a whopping $250K going to the winners of today’s tournament.

This isn’t the first competitive Fortnite tournament we’ve seen. Celebrity Twitch streamer Ninja held a charity tournament in April, and Epic held a ProAm tournament combining competitive players and celebs who play Fortnite in June. Plus, sites like UMG and CMG have been holding smaller tournaments since Fortnite first rose to popularity. And then there are $20K Fortnite Friday tournaments for streamers held by UMG.

But today, the ante has most certainly been upped. This will be one of the highest paying Fortnite tournaments to date, and is yet just a small fraction of Epic Games’ promised $100 million prize pool for competitive play this year.

For some context, Dota 2 (previously the biggest competitive esports title out there) had a $25 million payout for the International Championship tournament in 2017, with the winners taking home $10.8 million. Call of Duty, one of the most popular titles over the last decade, is only paying out $1.5 million for its own Champs tournament this summer.

In other words, Fortnite is catching up quickly to the competitive gaming scene, not only in terms of talent but money. Epic Games’ Fortnite pulled in a record-breaking $318 million in June alone. In fact, Battle Royale is generating so much revenue for Epic that the company is now only taking a 12 percent share of earnings from its Unreal Marketplace.

But with that growth comes increased scrutiny. Though the company is passing along its fortunes to developers on the Unreal Engine and competitive players, some have noticed situations in which Epic might have been a bit stingy.

Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them

— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018

The stream for Fortnite Summer Skirmish begins at 4pm ET and is embedded below:

Watch live video from Fortnite on www.twitch.tv


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Overwatch ‘Pink Mercy’ sale raises $12M for breast cancer research

It can be hard sometimes to grok the scale of the gaming community, but the occasional charity event not only demonstrates the hugeness of the industry but also its diversity and willingness to shell out for a good cause. Today Blizzard announced that an Overwatch charity campaign raised an impressive $12.7 million for breast cancer research in just two weeks.

Overwatch is an extremely popular team-based shooter game that has made an impression not just with its solid gameplay, but its striking and inclusive character design. This sensitivity to the ever-widening demographics of gaming led them to conceive of this charity campaign back in May.

Players could for a limited time purchase a special “skin,” or 3D model, for the character Mercy — she’s the most powerful healer in the lineup, so the choice makes sense, even though the statuesque blonde isn’t exactly their most interesting character work. (A Pink Genji would probably look cool, but it would probably just make more people play him — a regrettable outcome.)

Special skins are highly sought-after, and while many can be obtained through in-game loot boxes, they can also be purchased. In this case, the price was set at $15, rather high for a skin but clearly that didn’t deter players, who shelled out by the thousands for both it and related t-shirts.

I asked for a breakdown, but a little napkin math gives a basic idea of the volume. The press release announcing the $12.7 million number says “thousands” of t-shirts were sold at $30 apiece; usually if it’s 10,000 or more they say so, so we’ll just use 10K as our estimate. That makes $300K from shirts, so the remaining $12.4 million means somewhere north of 820,000 people paid for the Pink Mercy skin.

Think about that! In two weeks more than three quarters of a million people paid $15 each for a virtual item. Pretty great. It’s all going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, by the way. They got a big novelty check:

And this is by no means the only big gaming charity event. Games Done Quick regularly raises millions, and Penny Arcade’s Child’s Play got so big that it had to be spun off as its own thing. It just recently announced a round of grants funding pediatric hospital equipment and staff, by the way.

This event went well enough that we can probably expect more in the future for other causes — I’ve asked Blizzard for any details on that front and will update if I hear back.


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These video game speedrunners raised $2 million for charity

summer games done quick

Games Done Quick, the video game speedrunning charity event, has raised more than $2 million for Doctors Without Borders through their yearly summer event.

Overall, 153 games were speedrun, including a mix of old-school titles like Ghost N’ Goblins or Super Mario Bros. and newer games like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Mario Kart 8. Speedrunners attempt to finish a game as fast as possible, either through incredible levels of gameplay expertise or knowledge of in-game shortcuts and bugs. Viewers donate as much money as they like to reward players for their antics. The livestream started on June 24 at 4pm and ended around July 1 at 2:30am. Most of the speedruns were performed by their individual record holders.

Doctors Without Borders is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides aid to more than 70 countries impacted by poverty, armed conflict, epidemics, and more. In 1999, the organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here’s a sampling of everything that was accomplished by the speedrunners. (And you don’t need much time out of your day to watch them all.)

And for the masochists out there, here’s Getting Over It with Bennet Foddy being speedrun by MONTYvstheWORLD. Getting Over It, if you don’t recall, is the game that drove streamers like Markiplier absolutely bonkers thanks to its absurd controls and difficult climbing challenges. Monty manages to finish Getting Over It in just 2 minutes, 43 seconds, which is no small feat. Then, the crowd challenges him to do it again.

You can find every other SGDQ speedrun on its index page. The next Games Done Quick event will be Games Done Quick Express at TwitchCon on October 26-28 in San Jose, California supporting TwitchCon Charity Plaza.

Speedrunning can also be useful for movies. If you’re really hankering to rewatch Star Wars but don’t have the two hours necessary, you can now watch a condensed version of the film in one minute.

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Gravy’s new mobile game show is ‘Price is Right’ mixed with QVC

Following the success of the live mobile game show HQ Trivia, a team of serial entrepreneurs have begun testing the market to see if another game show concept can work, too. Their new game show-inspired app, Gravy, is meant to be a riff on the “Price is Right” combined with a QVC-style shopping experience. That is, the “contestants” compete for discounts of 30 to 70 percent off the products advertised, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. In addition, through a side game, users can guess when the product – whose quantities are unknown – will sell out and at what price. Those who guess closest win a cash prize.

The startup was created by Mark McGuire, Brian Wiegand, and Craig Andler – the founding team behind Jellyfish.com, an older social shopping network that was acquired by Microsoft back in 2007, to help create Bing Shopping. They’ve also paired up on other projects, including NameProtect (before Jellyfish), printable coupons resource Hopster, social network Nextt, and e-commerce subscription retail site, Alice.com. These have either exited or shut down or both.

The team’s efforts imply a clear passion for working with brands, but getting consumers to connect with brands in new ways is far more difficult, as their track record shows.

That’s why they’re now trying Gravy.

The hope is that the excitement around seeing the product unveiled nightly – and knowing you’ll get a big discount if you buy – will become an entirely new ad unit of sorts, while keeping players engaged in a game-show like experience.

“One of the challenges with millennials is their short attention spans, and they don’t respond well to interruptive advertising,” explains Wiegand, of why the team wanted to build this startup. “I don’t think anyone’s really mastered how to monetize live video. So we came up with this opportunity to create this new ad unit where brands could tell their story, and – for seven or eight or nine minutes – create a live shopping event where millennials can tune in and hear that story but in a fun, gamified kind of manner,” he says.

Here’s how Gravy works. Every night, at 8:30 PM ET in the Gravy iOS app, a live host will unveil the product users can buy. Currently, there’s a rotating selection of hosts who work on a per-show contract basis, usually local comedians – not brand reps.

Players are not told how many items are available, but it’s typically anywhere from two to twenty.

Then the price starts to drop. If you buy early, you’ll have a chance to snag it at a slight discount. But the longer you wait, the higher the percentage off will become. However, you don’t know who else could snatch it up first and when. If you wait too long, the product will sell out.

Meanwhile, if you’re not interested in the product itself, you can guess when you expect it to sell out (meaning, at which price.) Those ten or so closest will receive a small cash prize – a split of maybe $200 or $300, with first place receiving the largest chunk.

At least 20 percent of sales are given away to charity – a nod, I suppose, to millennials’ interest in do-gooder style companies. But ultimately, that decision that has more to do with the fact that Gravy doesn’t aim to be a retailer – it’s not another deal-of-the-day destination like Woot!, despite the similarities around generating product excitement.

Instead, it expects brands to donate products and pay a fee for the “advertising opportunity” Gravy offers.

Brands will like Gravy because they get millennials’ attention for seven minutes or more, Wiegand says. “They love the engagement. It’s a highly engaged audience…I have a chance to buy the products, so I’m heavily engaged in thinking about that product. The recall, memorability, and all of the subsequent buzz – tweeting and all the social media that gets created because of that – is great,” he adds.

However, none of this is proven out yet – Gravy is just a couple of weeks old.

So far, around 50 percent of the products it has featured have actually been donated by brands, including 23andMe, 3D Doodler, Tapplock, and others. The rest have been subsidized by Gravy, including the bigger draws – like a DJI drone, for example.

It’s not yet charging for the ad opportunity, either, as it’s hoping to grow the audience first.

The company says that’s already underway. After alerting friends and family to the app’s launch, the games are seeing 600+ players nightly, Wiegand claims, and is growing its audience 15 percent week-over-week. Around half of those who signed up to play are returning to watch around three shows per week, he says.

While the early numbers are promising if true, and it’s clear the team likes to work in the general space of connecting brands with consumers, Gravy still feels – like much of what the founders have created before – designed primarily with the needs of brands in mind, before that of consumers.

A “Price is Right”-style app would be a lot of fun, but this isn’t it – it’s, at the end of the day, an invitation to watch an ad and shop at a discount. That’s not something consumers may want to do every day, long-term – even if you try to woo them with a small cash prize won through a guessing game.

And like Trivia HQ , which has dropped from a top 20 app to the 140’s (by App Store overall rank, the shine may eventually wear off for Gravy, too. Especially because it’s not primarily a game – and millennials, as fickle and short attention-spanned as they may be (really? the generation that binges entire TV seasons in a few days?), will know it.

Wiegand isn’t concerned, though.

He says he gets bored with trivia apps in a few weeks, but Gravy is different.

“I always shop and I always like a deal. The deal industry and the shopping industry are so much larger than the trivia space,” Wiegand insists. “And the thrill of seeing a product that you like going down into the sixties and seventies percent off is unbelievably thrilling,” he enthuses. “We are able to feature things that have the best price on the planet of first-run products…it creates this heart-pounding, exhilarating and experience like, ‘Should I buy? Oh my God, look at this price. I can’t turn it down,’” he says.

The company raised $2.1 million in seed funding from a range of investors, including the founders at the turn of the year. Around eighty percent was outside capital, led by New Capital. The under-20 person team is based in both Madison and Minneapolis.

Gravy is on the App Store here.


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