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Recode Daily: Black Friday is the busiest time of year for professional line-sitters


Recode Daily will take a publishing holiday on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday, Nov. 23. We’ll be back in your email inbox first thing Monday morning. Happy Thanksgiving to all our U.S. readers and their loved ones.


Black Friday is the busiest time of the year for professional line sitters, who make up to $45 an hour. It’s one of the nation’s newest side hustles: People hire pros to wait in line for them — for Broadway tickets, iPhone drops, hard-to-score restaurant reservations and high-profile Supreme Court cases — and then switch spots once the sitter reaches the front. There are actual companies — like Washington, D.C.’s Skip the Line and New York City’s Same Ole Line Dudes — and even apps, like Nebraska-based InLine4U. [Julia Glum / Money]

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Could Discord get bought? That’s the question in Silicon Valley as several giant tech companies have kicked the tires on the hot gaming chat company that investors valued earlier this year at $1.6 billion. Discord has hired Qatalyst Partners, the boutique investment bank known for selling tech companies, to help manage conversations. But at this fraught political moment for Big Tech, buying an asset like Discord could put the owner’s brand in jeopardy. Discord has been used by the kind of alt-right internet groups most platforms are working to banish. [Theodore Schleifer and Kurt Wagner / Recode]

Snap is readying a pricier, updated version of its Spectacles glasses with two cameras capable of producing augmented-reality effects in videos. At $350, the new glasses — due by the end of the year — will be more than double the cost of the first iteration of Spectacles, which debuted in 2016. Snap initially captivated the tech industry with the surprise release of Spectacles and its rebranding as a “camera company.” But early buzz led Snap to widely overestimate demand, leading to a charge of roughly $40 million in unsold inventory after the company ordered roughly 800,000 units from its Chinese supplier. Meanwhile, Samsung is planning a major upgrade for its 10th anniversary flagship phones next year, including 5G network speeds, bigger screens and six cameras. [Alex Heath / Cheddar]

Amazon is bidding to acquire the 22 regional sports networks that Disney acquired from 21st Century Fox, including the New York-based YES Network. The Blackstone Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tegna also made first-round bids for the full slate of networks; Fox, which owns the YES Network with the New York Yankees, did not submit a bid in the first round for the networks, although there’s potential that it will join in the second round.[David Faber / CNBC]

The FCC has a potentially controversial plan to fight robocalls and spam texts that could give phone carriers more power over messaging. The agency wants to formally classify text messaging as an information service, claiming that it would allow carriers to continue to use blocking technology to stop spam messages from reaching phones. But some consumer advocates have pushed to have messaging classified as a telecommunications service — otherwise, phone companies might discriminate against messages, deciding when and how to deliver texts in ways they say could harm consumers and free speech. The FCC also said it will move to create a database of reassigned phone numbers. [Colin Lecher / The Verge]

Some thoughts for the long holiday weekend: Vox’s editor at large Ezra Klein makes the case for slowing everything down a bit — maybe we need more friction and less distraction and instant gratification in our lives, digital and analog. Also: After years of fearing carbs, Silicon Valley is in love with bread — and, of course, tech bros are disrupting the 6,000-year-old craft of making dough. And after all the holier-than-though hype, it turns out that standing desks are overrated as a way to improve health. Standing is not exercise — and as we learned in today’s lead item, sometimes sitting pays. [Ezra Klein / Vox]

Top stories from Recode

So many people are downloading their Facebook data that it’s causing delays.

Why do so many people need their Facebook data? [Kurt Wagner]

Don’t be the jerk who brings up bitcoin this Thanksgiving.

Cryptocurrency has no place at the table. [Rani Molla]

After 20,000 workers walked out, Google said it got the message. The workers disagree.On the latest Recode Decode, Kara Swisher talks with six of the organizers of the Nov. 1 protests, who say the company’s response has been deeply inadequate. [Kara Swisher]

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