MONEY

Ebola.com Purchased for $200K by Marijuana Company. And It Gets Stranger From There

Gloved hand holding marijuana leaf.
Alessandro Bianchi—Reuters

Earlier this month, we reported that Ebola.com’s owner, a disease-obsessed domain name vendor called Blue String Ventures, was hoping to sell the URL for at least $150,000. Now, according to a report from DomainInvesting.com, Ebola.com has been sold to a Russian company that is apparently focused on the marijuana business.

Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show Ebola.com was bought by Weed Growth Fund for $50,000 in cash and 19,192 shares of Cannabis Sativa, a Mesquite, Nevada-based recreational and medical marijuana company that trades on over-the-counter markets. Based on Cannabis Sativa’s current stock price, those shares are valued at roughly $164,000, making the overall transaction worth just over $200,000.

So to recap: Ebola.com was sold to a marijuana-related company based in Russia that paid mostly in the stock of another marijuana company.

But the story’s not over yet. As recently as September of this year, Weed Growth Fund was known as Ovation Research, which according to this BusinessWeek profile was in the business of distributing “stainless steel cookware products for retail and wholesale customers in North America.”

Then, on Sept. 19, the company filed with the Nevada Secretary of State changing its name to Weed Growth Fund. (We tried to contact Weed Growth Fund by phone and email to ask about the deal and name change, but got no answer.)

Why would a marijuana company want to own the URL Ebola.com? Elliot Silver, DomainInvesting.com’s publisher, asked Blue String Ventures founder Jon Schultz this very question. And while Schultz replied that he did not know why Weed Growth Fund wanted the domain, he did send Silver to this Marijuana.com article in which Cannabis Sativa CEO Gary Johnson (the former two-term New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate!) claims that marijuana can be used to treat Ebola. (You can see him do it in this Fox Business interview.) Cannabis Sativa also did not respond to requests for comment.

So there you have it. A newly renamed, Russian weed-related company bought Ebola.com using shares of a medical marijuana business run by a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate who thinks that pot should be used to treat Ebola. And no, you’re not high (as far as we know). This really happened.

MONEY apps

Don’t Want to Wait for An Inbox Invite? These Email Apps Give You Its Best Features Right Now

white glove waiter holding silver tray with place card
Gary Alvis—Getty Images

Google's new email app looks a lot like some other products that are available right now

On Wednesday, Google released Inbox, a virtual redesign of the company’s Gmail service meant to help users deal with the troves of email that floods their inboxes every day. The product looks slick: You can snooze emails for later, create reminders that will also appear in your inbox, and similar messages are grouped together to make everything easier to find.

Unfortunately, Inbox is invite only, meaning email junkies eager to get their hands on a new toy could be left refreshing their real inboxes for a while. The good news? Many of Inbox’s best features are available right now. That’s because Google’s new release isn’t quite the reinvention of email some sites are hailing it as. In reality, lesser-known companies have been putting out Inbox-like apps for a while, and they’re pretty darned good. Here are three of the best ones, all of which work on both Android and iOS.

Mailbox

Price: Free

swipesnoozes

I would certainly never call Google’s Inbox a borderline ripoff of Dropbox’s pre-existing Mailbox app, but I can’t stop other people from doing it. Mailbox was first one to bring things like email snoozing and swipeable interfaces to the mainstream. Want put off a conversation until tomorrow? Just swipe left and Mailbox will remind you the next day. The app also makes sorting and archiving mail a breeze. This one might not have the same bells and whistles as its successors, but its simplicity can be a feature in itself.

CloudMagic

Price: Free

one four

One problem with Google’s blocky app style is it feels out of place on iOS’s hyper-modern interface. CloudMagic’s award winning design doesn’t have that problem. This app offers all the email snoozing and easy swiping of Mailbox in an even better looking package. And it’s not all eye candy. CloudMagic integrates with services like Evernote, Todoist, Salesforce, Pocket, and more, through a clever card interface. That means power users get a lot functionality, like reminders and notes, while casual users don’t have to bother with extra complexity.

Boxer

Price: $5 for pro upgrade

 email app
Boxer

Boxer is the only paid download on this list, but for some people it will be worth the money. This app’s main selling point is its “actions” interface, which you can activate on one or more messages at once. Once the action panel comes up, snoozing a conversation, adding a to-do item, firing back a quick reply, or even “liking” an email is all one tap away. Even better, the action interface also integrates with other web services, meaning replying with a Dropbox attachment can also be done quickly.

MONEY mobile payments

These Are the Stores That Accept Apple Pay

a cash register terminal promotes usage of the new Apple Pay mobile payment system at a Whole Foods store in Cupertino, Calif.
Whole Foods is jumping on the Apple Pay train. Eric Risberg—AP

Apple Pay is going live today. Here's where you can use it.

On Monday, Apple fans everywhere will finally get their hands on Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payment solution that promises to turn your iPhone into a wallet. The product sounds great, but where can we actually try out this magic future technology?

The answer is probably, not at just any store. Apple Pay relies on near-field communication (NFC) technology to securely transmit your payment details, meaning businesses must have a special sensor installed at checkout for the system to work. Over time, more shops will likely upgrade their terminals, but as of now, only 220,000 locations are Apple Pay compatible. That’s about 2.4% of the roughly 7 million to 9 million merchants in the U.S. that accept credit cards.

But fear not, early adopter. iCEO Tim Cook has made sure those stores that do accept Apple Pay are probably the ones you use the most. Once you’ve set up Apple Pay to work on your device, head down to any of these chains and give it a whirl.

Clothes

  • Bloomingdales
  • Aéropostale
  • Champs
  • Macy’s

Footwear

  • Foot Locker
  • Kids Foot Locker
  • Lady Foot Locker
  • Footaction
  • Nike
  • House of Hoops
  • Run by Foot Locker

Sportswear

  • Champs
  • Sports Authority
  • Six:02

Technology

  • RadioShack
  • Apple Store

Pets

  • Petco
  • Unleashed

Pharmacy

  • Duane Reade
  • Walgreens

Gas

  • Chevron
  • Texaco

Food

  • McDonalds
  • Whole Foods
  • Panera Bread
  • Subway
  • Wegmans
  • ExtraMile

Office

  • Office Depot

Big Box

  • BJs

Kids

  • Toys R Us
  • Babies R Us

 

Apple
Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 10.12.05 AM
Apple

 

 

 

MONEY Federal Reserve

Janet Yellen Makes Less Than Over 100 Other Fed Staffers

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Dominick Reuter—Reuters

She's one of the most powerful people in the global economy, but doesn't pull down the top salary in her organization

As Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen is one of the most powerful economic figures in the world. But she’s not exactly paid like it. In fact, she’s not even the highest paid employee in her own organization.

According to Reuters, which obtained data on the Federal Reserve’s salary structure from a Freedom of Information Act request, Yellen is paid less than at least 113 other Federal Reserve employees. She earns $201,700 a year, compared to the Fed’s highest paid employee, Inspector General Mark Bialek, who makes $312,000. He is followed by the bank’s four regional directors, the general counsel, and chief operating officer, all of whom take home a base pay of $265,000.

Why is Yellen paid less than her underlings? Yellen’s salary is set by Congress, but not the Fed’s senior staff.

As Reuters reporter Michael Flaherty notes, the Fed’s high salaries aren’t costing taxpayers a penny since the organization is funded by returns on the securities it owns. (The Fed’s not a normal federal agency, but a kind of public/private hybrid that’s supposed to operate independently but “within” the government.) However, that hasn’t stopped calls for more transparency: This is the first time the Fed has revealed how much its top brass make, and the information provided to Reuters only included those with salaries of at least $225,000 a year despite the request asking for the names of all board members with wages above $130,810—the highest salary on the usual federal payscale. Some Republicans in Congress have called for legislation that would require the Fed to create a searchable database of all Federal Reserve employees who make more than that sum.

While Yellen is almost certainly underpaid considering her responsibilities, don’t feel too bad for the Fed chair. Fed officials must disclose their wealth in ranges, and according to public records, Yellen and her husband hold assets worth somewhere between $5.3 million and $14.1 million.

In an almost too-perfect twist, the news about Yellen’s pay came on morning when she spoke at a conference about growing inequality.

MONEY sharing economy

New York Attorney General Says Airbnb Is Making Millions on Illegal Listings

Airbnb
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

A report from the state Attorney general claims Airbnb has made $40 million on illegal rentals, and that 70% of Airbnb's New York City listings violate the law.

If there’s one thing that divides New Yorkers, it’s Airbnb. As New York Magazine’s definitive feature on the do-it-yourself hotel service pointed out, the city is split between those who see Airbnb as an innocent way for New Yorkers to transform their overpriced housing assets into some extra scratch, and those who blame the company for turning their apartment buildings into unregulated crashpads for rag-tag out-of-towners.

On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman provided the anti-Airbnb camp with more fodder when he accused Airbnb of making $40 million on illegal listings over the past three and a half years. As The New York Post writes, that number is based on a new report from Schneiderman’s office that also estimates 70% of Airbnb’s New York City listings are illegal.

Under New York state law, renters are allowed to sublet their apartment on Airbnb (assuming their lease permits it), but must be physically present while subtenants are there. Conventional landlords, meanwhile, are barred from leasing an apartment for fewer than 30 days — precisely to prevent residential buildings from being turned into unregulated hotels. The Attorney General’s report, which looked at Airbnb bookings from the start of 2010 to June of this year, says the vast majority of the site’s listing are not private citizens monetizing a spare room, but lessors renting out multiple apartments at a time.

Specifically, the Attorney General’s office found more than 100 landlords who used Airbnb to rent out more than 10 apartments each. These owners alone accounted for 47,103 reservations and took in almost $60 million in revenue. One particularly ambitious landlord accounted for 272 unique listings and made $6.8 million off 3,024 reservations. Schneiderman also complained that Airbnb users rarely, if ever, pay the city’s 14.7% hotel occupancy tax and the site has not tried to collect that tax from any of the transactions reviewed by his office.

Concerns over illegal listings are not a new issue for Airbnb. In September, New York Magazine reported on the ongoing fight between the company and New York State Senator Liz Krueger over regulations for the nascent apartment sharing industry. While Airbnb argues that their service enables average folks to pay their rent, the Attorney General’s office has countered that the site’s average “power-user” is making $500,000 a year renting at least 10 different residencies. “[They're] hardly making ends meet,” a spokesman for the office told the magazine.

Airbnb responded to the report by urging regulators against overreaction. “We should not deny thousands of New Yorkers the chance to share their homes, pay their bills and stay in the city they love,” said the company in statement to the Post. “We need to work together on some sensible rules that stop bad actors and protect regular people who simply want to share the home in which they live.”

 

 

MONEY buying a home

Why Firemen Are More Likely to Own a Home than Economists

Firefighters
Many public service workers such as firemen own their homes. Michael Dwyer—Alamy

A new study shows which professions are most- and least- likely to be homeowners. The results may surprise you.

What do firemen, police officers, and farmers have in common? They’re all more likely to own homes today than economists, jewelers, and accountants.

These are the results from a newly released study, done by Ancestry.com, looking at the relationship between profession and home ownership today and over time. The website teamed up with the University of Minnesota Population Center to analyze Census data between 1900 and 2012, creating a century-spanning log to show how ownership changed over the decades.

Looking at the most recent 2012 data, the research found that 79% of policemen and detectives own a home, yet only 64% of economists do. Farmers (81%) and firemen (84%) are in the top ten professions most likely to own a house, ranked above jobs like accountants (76%), and far higher than members of the armed forces (33%). Nationwide, the data shows 64% of the population owns their home.

Another surprising finding: the stereotype of the starving artist isn’t necessarily reflected in the data—at least for some industries. It turns out 63% percent of artists and art teachers own homes, as well as 62% of musicians and music teachers, 63% of authors, and 57% of entertainers. It’s not all roses for the artistic class, though. Just 37% of actors and actresses own a house, and that number sinks to 23% for dancers and dance teachers.

Toddy Godfrey, a senior executive at Ancestry.com, points out that there are both high and lower income professions on the most-likely-to own list, suggesting there isn’t a direct relationship between high wages and ownership. Typically lucrative professions like optometry tend to own, but so do lower-paid trade and public service workers.

“You look at some of the jobs on the top of the list, and they’re clientele based, or teachers, or others who are community rooted,” says Godfrey. He speculates that professions most likely to own “have a long-term connection to the community they live in.” That reasoning may also explain why tradesmen tend to buy instead of rent. Godfrey guesses many of these workers are tied to regional manufacturing, and therefore are more likely to set down roots.

Another trend the data suggests is that temporary and highly mobile workers tend to avoid homeownership. That could explain why so few military service members own houses, as they can be redeployed elsewhere and may choose to move once their service ends.

Finally, Godfrey highlights the fact that while ownership took a hit in the bust, the majority of Americans own their home. That’s up from 32% in 1900, though most of the growth happened pre-1960. “Maybe it’s come down a point in the last few years, but it’s held pretty steady at two thirds,” says Godfrey.That trend has been pretty constant.”

Top 10 Professions for Home Ownership in 2012

1. Optometrists: 90%

2. Toolmakers and Die Makers/Setters: 88%

3. Dentists: 87%

4. Power Station Operators: 87%

5. Forgemen and Hammermen: 84%

6. Inspectors: 84%

7. Firemen: 84%

8. Locomotive Engineers: 84%

9. Airplane Pilots and Navigators: 83%

10. Farmers: 81%

Bottom 10 Professions for Home Ownership in 2012

1. Dancers and Dance Teachers: 23%

2. Motion Picture Projectionists: 27%

3. Waiters and Waitresses: 27%

4. Counter and Fountain Workers: 28%

5. Members of the Armed Forces: 33%

6. Service Workers (except private households): 34%

7. Bartenders: 35%

8. Housekeepers and Cleaners: 35%

9. Cashiers: 36%

10. Cooks (except private households): 36%

MONEY job hunting

The 7 Social Media Mistakes Most Likely to Cost You a Job

magnifying glass over twitter logo
Dado Ruvic—Reuters

Jobvite's latest social recruiting poll shows exactly what hiring managers are looking for when they check your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts.

Your Facebook postings might win over your friends—but they could also cost you a job, a new study finds.

Recruiting platform Jobvite has released the 2014 edition of its annual Social Recruiting Survey, and the results might be disconcerting to those who tweet first and ask questions later. The data shows 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.

And that review matters: 55% have reconsidered a candidate based on what they find, with most (61%) of those double-takes being negative.

According to respondents, the worst thing you can do is make any kind of references to illegal drugs. That should probably be common sense—but in case it’s not, know that 83% of recruiters say doing so is a strong turn off. (Perhaps more interesting: 2% of hiring managers think it’s a positive.) Also on the “obviously don’t do this” list are “sexual posts,” which 70% of recruiters say will count against you (only 1% are fans). Two thirds told Jobvite that posts including profanity reflected poorly; over half didn’t like posts on guns, and 44% saw posts about alcohol as concerning.

“Okay,” you say, “but I keep my nose—and my posts—clean, and I wouldn’t think of making any of the 10 stupidest social media blunders MONEY recently wrote about. So what have I got to worry about?”

Well, you might want to take another read of what you’ve written: 66% of hiring managers said they would hold poor spelling and grammar against candidates.

You might also want to consider keeping your political affiliation to yourself, since slightly over 1 in 6 recruiters said that was a potential negative.

And hey, while you’re revising your LinkedIn profile, polish your halo a little: Jobvite’s survey said that information about volunteering or donations to charity left 65% of recruiters walking away with a positive impression.

The survey also showed what other positive qualities recruiters are seeking on social—although the results aren’t that surprising. Respondents said they try to determine things like professional experience, mutual connections, examples of previous work, and cultural fit.

The study also lends some insight into how recruiters use different social networks. LinkedIn is clearly the king of the hill—79% of respondents say they have hired through the network, vs. 26% through Facebook and 14% through Twitter. Nearly all hiring managers will use LinkedIn for every step of the recruitment process, including searching for candidates, getting in contact, and vetting them pre-interview.

In contrast, Facebook is primarily used for showcasing the employer’s brand and getting employees to refer their friends. About two-thirds of recruiters also use the network to vet candidates before or after an interview. Twitter appears to be the platform least used by hiring managers, and is used similarly to Facebook, but with less of an emphasis on candidate vetting.

No matter what the platform, however, the takeaway for workers is clear: Best be vigilant not to post anything you wouldn’t mind an employer or potential employer seeing. Make sure to check your Facebook privacy settings, but don’t depend on them because they’re known to change frequently.

And remember, just because your social media postings haven’t hurt you yet, doesn’t mean they won’t. When MONEY’s Susie Poppick talked to Alison Green, founder of AskAManager.org, she had a simple message to those unconcerned about their online presence: “To people who don’t lock down their accounts because ‘it’s never been a problem,’ I say, you don’t know whether that’s true.”

Read next: 10 Job Skills You’ll Need in 2020

MONEY Careers

Study Shows Americans Slightly Prefer to Work for Male Bosses. But the News is Better Than You Think

Fifty years ago, the majority of people polled by Gallup would have chosen a male manager to a female, but today most people have no preference, and the numbers who'd choose a female are growing.

A new survey finds Americans would rather have a man as a boss over a women, but the results also showed attitudes are slowly changing for the better.

The data comes from Gallup’s annual work and education poll, which took place this August. Gallup asked respondents “If you were taking a new job and had your choice of a boss, would you prefer to work for a man or a woman?” to which 33% favored a male boss, 20% preferred a female boss, and 46% said that they had no preference.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.15.08 PM

The fact that so many preferred a male boss to a female (or that there was any gender preference at all) will likely focus attention on the need for increased equality in the workplace. But these results actually offer some good news, since this most recent survey also shows that attitudes have evolved considerably over time. This year’s results represent a modest change from last year, when 35% said they preferred a man, 23% wanted a woman, and 41% told the surveyor it made no difference. And when you look back to when the question was posed for the first time in 1953, you see a serious shift: 66% of respondents at that time favored a male boss, compared to 5% who preferred a woman and 25% who said it made no difference.

So while gender mattered to most in 1953, today nearly half of people do not consider it an important factor. And meanwhile, the percentage of people who’d prefer a female boss has quadrupled.

Back to this year’s survey, women were more likely to prefer a female boss than men: A quarter of women surveyed said they would choose a female boss over a male vs. only 14% of men. However, women were also more likely to prefer having a man as a boss than men. Female respondents favored a male boss to a female, 39% to 25%, compared to male respondents preferred a male boss by a margin of 26% to 14%. Men were also more likely to say their bosses gender made no difference.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.46.33 PM

Members of different age groups and political parties also produce slightly different results from the general population. Past studies have shown young people are somewhat more likely to want a female boss. This year’s survey found Republicans more likely to prefer a male boss to a female boss (42% to 16%, a slightly wider margin than last year) and Democrats more split on the issue (29% preferred a man, 25% preferred a woman).

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.48.01 PM
Data from 2013 survey

 

Finally, Gallup notes, employees who currently have a female boss are more likely than those with a male boss to prefer a female boss in the future. “This could mean that as more women enter management, preference for female bosses could continue to rise,” the release speculates.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.49.02 PM

 

 

MONEY

The Owner of Ebola.com Is Trying to Cash In

141014_EM_Ebola_1
Alamy

Jon Schultz bought Ebola.com in 2008. Now he wants at least $150,000 for it.

What would you do if you owned a domain name that was suddenly all over the news? If you’re the owner of Ebola.com, the answer is sell, sell, sell.

CNBC reports that Jon Schultz, who purchased Ebola.com in 2008 for an undisclosed price, is putting the domain back on the market. And with the awareness of the disease at an all-time high, he’s looking for a six-figure payout.

“We’re already doing 5,000 page views per day just by people typing in Ebola.com to see what’s there,” Schultz told the Washington Post. “We’re getting inquiries every day about the sale of it. I have a lot of experience in this sort of domain business, and my sense is that $150,000 is reasonable.”

Indeed, Schultz has quite a bit of experience selling health-related dot-coms. He and his partner Chris Hood own Blue String Ventures, a Nevada-based company that buys generic domain names and resells them for profit. Both men seem particularly attracted to disaster-related topics. In addition to GreenCoffeeExtract.com and AfricanMango.com, Blue String is also selling Fukushima.com, BirdFlu.com, and PotassiumIodide.com.

“If you’re looking for a great name for your company, there’s an excellent chance we can help,” reads a note on the company’s website, set against a background of peaceful clouds.

As CNBC points out, it’s not unheard of for a drug company to buy a disease domain name to help market their products. Cancer.com and Obesity.com are owned by Johnson & Johnson, and Arthritis.com was bought by Pfizer. But unlike those conditions, Ebola has no treatment available to the general public, and it is unclear what business would want to be associated with a virus that has already killed thousands.

That said, Schultz has some ideas on who might be interested. “Ebola.com would be a great domain for a pharmaceutical company working on a vaccine or cure, a company selling pandemic or disaster-preparedness supplies, or a medical company wishing to provide information and advertise services,” he told CNBC in an email.

Those worried Ebola.com is a cynical attempt to make money off a health catastrophe may be comforted to know the website directs users to the donation page of Doctors Without Borders. Below that link is a selection of Amazon products about Ebola (“if people click on that link and buy a book or DVD, we get a commission on the sale,” Schultz acknowledges), followed by an advertisement for a company called Flu Armour. And of course, just below a copyright notice, is a small bit of text noting “Ebola.com Is For Sale.”

MONEY Warren Buffett

Why Warren Buffett Wants to Sell Houses, Cars and a Whole Lot More

Warren Buffett has one of the most respected names in business. Now he's trying to turn that respect into cash.

Even those with only a passing interest in business affairs are familiar with the grandfatherly visage and folksy wisdom of investing sage Warren Buffett. And his long-time investing vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway, is almost a household name as well. Yet, for the most part, the Berkshire brand has remained behind the scenes.

But as new report from the Financial Times highlights, that may be changing. A range of Berkshire subsidiaries and acquisitions are rebranding to emphasize their affiliation with Buffett and his golden reputation. Soon, consumers will be increasingly likely to think of the Oracle of Omaha when they shop for homes, cars, and even when they look at their electric bill.

Earlier this month, Berkshire announced it was buying Van Tuyl Group, the nation’s fifth-largest auto retailer, and renaming it Berkshire Hathaway Automotive. The new business will include 78 locations in 10 states. And that number is set to grow: Buffett says he plans to buy even more dealerships in the future, adding them to the Berkshire fold.

Prudential Real Estate, meanwhile, has already placed more than a thousand real estate agencies under the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand after striking a franchising deal with the conglomerate in 2011. That number is still expanding, both in the United States and internationally. The company plans to pursue further licensing deals in Europe and Asia, in addition to other American markets.

Depending on where you live, Berkshire’s trademark could even be coming inside your house. MidAmerican Energy and PacifiCorp, two utility companies serving Western and Midwestern markets, were recently renamed Berkshire Hathaway Energy and now share a logo.

Why the sudden marketing push for the Berkshire name? Analysts say his celebrity holds value, and could bring in additional business if successfully monetized. “Like Virgin reflects Sir Richard Branson’s rebelliousness and Apple reflects the genius of Steve Jobs, Berkshire Hathaway has brand equity around trust, stability and integrity,” Oscar Yuan, a partner at consultancy Millward Brown Vermeer, explained to CNBC.

The irony of Buffett’s new branding effort is that virtually all consumers already have a deep attachment to Birkshire’s brands. It is, after all, the corporate parent of Heinz ketchup, Benjamin Moore paints, Fruit of the Loom underwear, Brooks running shoes, Spalding basketballs, and the Geico gecko, to name a few. The company’s catalogue even extends to military uniforms (Fechheimer), sweets (See’s Candy) and engagement rings (Ben Bridge Jewelers).

In one way or another, we’re all Buffett customers. Now, it seems, he just wants us to know it.

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