Vox has one-upped Talking Points Memo by putting a big name, Matt Yglesias, in charge of writing advertorials. Read as Matt gushes in turgid prose over Uber:
Uber functions right now as, in effect, a taxi dispatch company though you also hear words like "ridesharing" tossed around. But they are about to dip their toes in the water of a different business — messenger services and deliveries....
Messenger services just in part of Manhattan is clearly a pretty small line of business. But it's an important sign about where the company is heading. They are known to the world as a car dispatch service, but they like to describe themselves as specializing in "urban logistics." Last December they staged this Christmas tree delivery marketing stunt [link removed - RA], that I said was likely a precursor to a broader move into delivery. And now you're seeing a version of that come to fruition with Uber Rush.
The ability to dispatch vehicles to arbitrary locations and efficiently route them through a city has a lot of potential applications beyond just taxis. Ultimately the company would like to make a much bigger push into the broader world of delivery and logistics, and this is the toe in those waters.You think I'm joking.
About the advertorial bit. (Not the turgid prose bit.)
Check out that li'l gray bar at the bottom of Matt's prose. The one with the tiny print in slightly darker gray. Which you probably ignored, even if you made it all the way past the giant promo photo and down to the bottom of the "story," because the "story" is identified as a "Top Story," and not as ad, on the homepage. Same here.
You'd think Uber would insist that its promoter not write like a summer intern for an Indiana congressman assigned to crank out the constituent newsletter. Or maybe that's part of the plan.
Vox wants to help people understand the news Just maybe not completely.
Update: It appears the l'il' gray "Advertisement" bar appears beneath all of the "Top Stories," even the ones without the uncredited publicity photos, press release headline and purely promotional tone. And none of those pages have clearly recognizable ads beneath the bar either. But if Yglesias' article is not meant as an ad, then what the hell is it? (Besides even more hilarious.)