Monday Buzz: Cool Your Jets, an Amazon competitor that initially attempted to go all in on a membership model, sells to Walmart. Also: Check out this clever response to the Olympics' controversial "Rule 40."

Talk about a quick exit.

This time last year, the online retailer was just showing off its potential to the public, pinning its hopes for success on a membership model that promised big discounts in exchange for a yearly fee. That hook rapidly reeled in plenty of consumers—essential, considering the firm is a late arriver to the online-shopping space—but just as quickly, the company announced it was ditching the membership model and going the traditional route of allowing customers to shop for free.

Now it’s going more traditional yet. The company announced on Monday that it is being acquired by Walmart. At $3.3 billion, the price tag isn’t cheap, but it may seem a little low given the company’s bold intentions. The bargain retailer sees an opportunity to strengthen its own online business in short order, though it plans to keep Jet as a separate entity.

“ will grow faster, the seamless shopping experience we’re pursuing will happen quicker, and we’ll enable the Jet brand to be even more successful in a shorter period of time,” Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said, according to CNN Money.

Clearly, the for-profit membership model isn’t going anywhere—just take a look at Costco or Amazon Prime. But’s audacious push toward a members-only model, while it may not have lasted, was, at the very least, interesting.

Twitter Account of the Day

You may have heard about the incredibly tight branding restrictions being enforced this year by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) [PDF]. Known as Rule 40, these regulations are causing a headache for athletes and their sponsors alike—though they have been loosened, enabling some companies to cleverly work around them.

One brand that has taken advantage of the controversial advertising restrictions to do something truly clever is Brooks Running Gear, which is operating a website and social media feeds that are criticizing the IOC’s limitations. The strategy is clever because it takes a stance on the issue while turning the stance into a form of marketing.

MediaPost highlights how Brooks and other retailers are working around this branding roadblock.

Other Links of Note

Is it possible for a freemium tier to become so unpopular that it’s no longer needed? That’s the apparent argument Hulu is making as it replaces its free streaming service with paid monthly subscriptions.

Want your organization to work effectively? Don’t lead with an iron fist, suggests National Fluid Power Association CEO Eric Lanke. “Organizational alignment flows more easily from decentralized decision-making than command-and-control bureaucracy,” Lanke explains.

Looking to expand your follow lists on Twitter? Be sure to check out this list of must-follow nonprofit-tech accounts from digital agency Elevation.

(via Jet's Facebook page)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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