Sunday, September 26, 2021

Bizarre story about an alleged “Potemkin village” of a website


This past winter, Goldman Sachs was closing in on a $40 million investment in Ozy, a digital media company founded in 2013, and there seemed to be a lot of reasons to do the deal. Ozy boasted of a large audience for its general interest website, its newsletters and its videos, and the company had a charismatic chief executive, Carlos Watson, a onetime cable news anchor who had worked at Goldman Sachs early in his career. And, crucially, Ozy said it had a great relationship with YouTube, where many of its videos attracted more than a million views.

That’s what the Zoom videoconference on Feb. 2 that Ozy arranged between the Goldman Sachs asset management division and YouTube was supposed to be about. The scheduled participants included ...the head of unscripted programming for YouTube Originals. 


After the meeting, someone on the Goldman Sachs side reached out to Mr. Piper, not through the Gmail address that [Ozy] had provided before the meeting, but through [the Google executive's] assistant at YouTube. That’s when things got weird.

[The confused Google executive] told the Goldman Sachs investor that he had never spoken with her before.