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#SocialSkim: Meet Facebook ‘Creator’; Google’s Best Social Feature Yet: 8 Stories This Week

This week’s ‘Skim: Facebook courts video creators away from YouTube with a dedicated app; Google’s new social search feature could win over small business from Facebook; Facebook tests total VR experiences within News Feeds; a handy guide to social selling on LinkedIn; where social video’s going in 2018; the convincing reason podcast listeners could be your next influencers; seven ways to maximize social media this holiday season; and much more…

Skim to step confidently into the holiday rush!

1. Facebook courts video creators with new app

As part of Facebook’s continued push into video, it’s launched a new initiative to convert YouTube creators into Facebook fans. The social network launched a standalone mobile app on iOS (Android’s soon to come) called Facebook Creator to help creators stream live video, update their Stories, message across Facebook’s different platforms, and dive into their videos’ performance.

Why not just stick with the main Facebook app? Creator lets producers create custom intros and outros for their Facebook Live streams; it has a feature to take and edit photos before posting them to Stories; and it boasts a unified inbox for comments on Facebook and Instagram and messages from Messenger so you don’t have to jump around your phone’s home screen to respond to everyone.

2. ‘Posts’ could be Google’s best attempt at social yet

Google sells Posts simply as a new way to share relevant, fresh content with the people who are searching for you, but with 82% of people turning to search engines to get local information, the Internet giant’s new social capability could make it more important to small businesses than Facebook.

Posts surface within Google Search and Maps results themselves, and businesses can include images, GIFs, videos, text, titles, start and end dates for events, and call-to-action buttons to serve timely, relevant content to users who are already invested in their search.

Whether for your promotions, specials, events, or product showcases, Google just opened a whole new world of search for local businesses. Will you take advantage?

3. Facebook tests VR experiences within users News Feeds

Your branded Facebook content just got a lot more exciting, and virtual reality really might be the next big thing for 2018. Facebook this week used the release of the upcoming Jumanji film to showcase its new VR 360 experience directly in News Feeds. Users are able to take part in a Jumanji-themed scavenger hunt and roam around the jungle—either with a VR headset or via 360 degree video.

The social network has opened up developer tools so brands can partake in building virtual worlds, and some have already done so—from a USA Today walkthrough of a Kentucky distillery to a tour of the British Museum. Check out how brands have engaged so far.

4. A guide to social selling on LinkedIn

It might be the most important social platform for B2B marketers out there, but taking a clumsy approach to social selling on LinkedIn by treating it like all other social marketing can cause more harm than good. Social selling requires fostering one-on-one relationships, and your success at assisting quality leads down the purchase funnel can be measured with LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index performance metric.

From taking your connections off LinkedIn and into the real world, to fully optimizing your profiles, to identifying active LinkedIn users to pitch and using plugins to automate activity where possible, mastering social selling on the platform can create up to 45% more selling opportunities and makes you 51% more likely to hit your quota. Why not take the advice offeredby the Forbes Coaches Council?

5. Everything you need to know about where social video is going for 2018

Video now accounts for 69% of all Internet traffic. And with next-generation 5G wireless networks hitting the market in 2019 and 2020, important trends are shaping up that will undoubtedly affect how your brand approaches social video.

VentureBeat takes an in-depth look at just what you can expect: more six-second ads that tell your story; more advertising on Netflix; more midroll ads, more reliable analytics; more personalization of video ad content; and more mobile video consumption, mobile VR, and more of more.

6. Why podcast listeners could be the next big influencers your brand needs

A new report indicates that podcast super listeners could be the most influential group of tastemakers your brand needs. With over 67 million people tuning into podcasts each month, and super listeners among those rating podcasts just behind national newspapers in terms of trustworthiness (social media came in last), could the listening format be a valuable tool for your business?

Choosing the right message and reaching your super listeners several times is key to courting these influencers, but once that’s done, 75% of them do end up taking action. Magnify the endorsements of those ambassadors on social channels, and podcasts could play an integral part in your influencer marketing arsenal.

7. Seven ways to maximize social media this holiday season

November and December mark a rush to the finish line for many businesses as they kick off end-of-year holiday promotions, and social media can be a marketer’s and advertiser’s best friend in helping achieve their goals.

From defining your wish list, to knowing the people on your nice list, to giving the gift of relevance, and more, a MarketingProfs article offers seven ways to help your brand conquer the holiday rush.

8. We’ll wrap with Twitter’s new role of policing users’ behavior off the social network

Apparently, giving a white supremacist a verified checkmark on Twitter can lead to a lot of headaches. After a row for granting, and then taking away after user backlash, Twitter’s blue verified checkmark to the man responsible for organizing the Charlottesville rally, the social network revised its verification guidelines. In having done so, it may cause a lot more backlash in the future.

Twitter’s new policy includes the company’s right to take away, without notification and at any time, verification based on behaviors on or off Twitter. That’s right, Twitter now has to monitor not only what verified accounts of doing on their platform, but also play police for any activities those users partake in offline. That’s a huge burden, and we’re not sure it’s ready for it.

Public Payroll Profile: City of Amarillo Marketing Manager/Public Communications and Community Engagement Jesse …

The Basics: 28 years old. One son. Amarillo native. Randall High School/West Texas AM School of Music alum. Has been in current position for less than a month.

Basic Job Responsibilities: “I create marketing materials such as brochures, signage, apparel, social content, video and photography. I also assist with media communications, social media, press conferences and City Council meetings.”

Favorite/Least Favorite Parts of the Job: “My favorite part so far is the fellow staff – they are all great and friendly. Also, just the amount of things that are changing and growing within my home city. To be a part of it is very exciting. I have no least favorite parts so far, and I hope it stays that way.”

Hobbies/Spare Time: “I sing opera, love painting and making handmade items, participating in the Amarillo Community Market, working out and running, spending time with my dogs and hiking in Palo Duro Canyon.”

Guilty pleasure: “Tex-mex food. I can’t get enough queso, tacos or fajitas from Rosas … and re-watching “Game of Thrones” ​while waiting on the new season to start.”

Dave Henry

Quentin Tarantino Explains Why He Thinks The Video Store Experience Was More Beneficial Than Netflix

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]]>Tarantino Explains Why The Video Store Was Better Than Netflix


Quentin Tarantino believes in the power of a good recommendation. And back-of-box marketing materials. He also believes in one’s sense of ownership and pride when it comes to the long-gone days of renting videos at a store. Thanks to Netflix and the general streaming video boom that’s left consumers with an overwhelming amount of content to explore, it’s far too easy to move on from a piece of entertainment that doesn’t engage you in the first 20 minutes as you’re possibly staring at your phone/doing the dishes/chasing the dog. People these days simply aren’t invested in their temporary entertainment, and QT knows why.

Yellow King Film Boy, aggregator of interesting filmmaker discussions, stumbled upon this fascinating little aside by Tarantino in which he breaks down Netflix killing off the video store and the knowledge that’s delivered in its hallowed aisles.

“It’s very sad to me. It’s very, very sad to me. And I’m a little surprised how quickly it happened, and I’m a little surprised at how the public has moved on, and no one’s looking back, and they don’t really care. And it’s not just out of the nostalgia. I’m not on Netflix so I can’t even tell you exactly how that works. Even if you just have all the movie channels in your [cable] package, and that’s something I do have, you hit the guide, and you go down the list and you…watch something or you tape something and maybe you never get around to watching it or you actually do watch it, and [you decide], ‘Nah, I’m not really into this. That’s kind of where we’ve fallen into.

However, there was a different quality to the video store. You looked around, you picked up boxes, you read the back of the boxes. You made a choice, and maybe you talked to the guy behind the counter, and maybe he pointed you toward something. And he didn’t just put something in your hand, he gave you a little bit of a sales pitch on it to some degree or another. And so the point being is, you were kind of invested, in a way that you’re not invested with electronic technology when it comes to the movies. Now, of course, we all rented three movies and didn’t get around to watching the third one, but there was more of a commitment to what you ended up getting. And maybe you went down to the store to get Top Gun, and that’s what you wanted, and you got “Top Gun,” but then you picked up something you never heard about before, just because you wanted something more than Top Gun. And maybe it’s something that caught your eye, you didn’t know anything about it, and you took a chance. But you rented it, so you actually wanted to try and watch it some degree or another. And that’s what’s really lost — in a weird way, what’s lost is commitment.”

Tarantino’s legendary knowledge of obscure films comes in part from his days working as a video store clerk before he made Reservoir Dogs. But, perhaps the future holds a reference-heavy filmmaker with a knack for dialogue and gore that will take the industry by storm and thank a streaming service’s “recommended for you” algorithm during an awards acceptance speech.

Until that day comes, there is a Blockbuster still operating in Alaska (and possibly Indiana), but it’s unknown if Tarantino has ever made the trip for further enlightenment.

(Via The Playlist/SlashFilm)


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    How can a guy who makes films with such a rich level of depth not get this?

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Gang Of Youths Is 2017’s Best Band That You Haven’t Heard Of Yet

Gang Of Youths Is 2017’s Best Band That You Haven’t Heard Of Yet


Big KRIT Rewrites His Legacy On A Comeback Double Album, ‘4eva Is A Mighty Long Time’

Big KRIT Rewrites His Legacy On A Comeback Double Album, ‘4eva Is A Mighty Long Time’


Lee Ann Womack’s ‘The Lonely, The Lonesome  The Gone’ Is A Country Legend At Her Finest

Lee Ann Womack’s ‘The Lonely, The Lonesome The Gone’ Is A Country Legend At Her Finest


St. Vincent’s ‘Masseduction’ Is A Trauma-Pop Triumph

St. Vincent’s ‘Masseduction’ Is A Trauma-Pop Triumph


DVSN Are Rekindling RB’s Love Affair With Melody With ‘The Morning After’

DVSN Are Rekindling RB’s Love Affair With Melody With ‘The Morning After’


Carly Pearce’s ‘Every Little Thing’ Is The Most Exciting Country Debut Of 2017

Carly Pearce’s ‘Every Little Thing’ Is The Most Exciting Country Debut Of 2017






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A look at Trump’s on-again-off-again love affair with Time magazine


Donald Trump, then the president-elect, is on Time’s cover as Person of the Year in December 2016. (Nadav Kander/AFP/Time Inc.)

Almost every year for the past several years, President Trump talks about Time magazine.

Toward the end of the year, like clockwork, he seems to get preoccupied with one topic that involves the magazine: its annual Person of the Year recognition.

On Friday the president said that he will “PROBABLY” be named Person of the Year, but he opted out because he didn’t want to participate in an interview and photography session — and that “probably is no good.” Time has disputed Trump’s claim, saying he was “incorrect” about how the magazine chooses who will be Person of the Year, and that it does not comment on its choice until publication.

Trump’s recent comments are the latest in his love-hate relationship with Time, which he has described both as “a very important magazine” that he grew up reading and as a “paper-thin” publication that will “soon be dead.” It also shows that Trump — as a private citizen living in Manhattan, as a presidential candidate and as president — has long had a fixation with how he’s portrayed in the media and how many times his face makes it on the cover of magazines, especially Time.

In a March interview with former Time Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer, Trump asked if he has set the record for most covers.

“I guess, right? Covers, nobody’s had more covers,” Trump asked.

Scherer, who joined The Washington Post in September, told Trump that Richard Nixon “still has you beat.” But he shouldn’t worry because Nixon was president for longer, Scherer told the then-newly inaugurated president, adding that he should give himself more time.

“Okay, good. I’m sure I’ll win,” Trump replied.

Some days, he relishes the recognition:

“On the cover of @TIME Magazine — a great honor!” he tweeted on Aug. 20, 2015.

“Time Magazine has me on the cover this week. Don Von Drehle has written one of the best stories I have ever had,” he said on Jan. 9, 2016.

“Remember, get TIME magazine! I am on the cover. Take it out in 4 years and read it again. Just watch…,” he tweeted the following day.

Last December, when Time named him Person of the Year, he told NBC News it “means a lot” and that he considers it “a very, very great honor.”

On other days, however, he was more critical, including when the cover features someone else: “I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany,” he tweeted on Dec. 9, 2015, when the magazine named German Chancellor Angela Merkel Person of the Year.

That was followed by a tweet later that day thanking then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly for a “wonderful editorial” on why Trump should’ve been picked. 

In December 2011, Trump criticized the magazine when it chose “The Protester” as its “Person of the Year” to highlight protests that had brought political and social change.

He was also highly critical of Time in May 2012, when it featured a mother breast-feeding her toddler, and again in July 2012, when Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. made the cover.

That same year, Trump said Time had lost all its credibility when it didn’t include him in its Top 100 most influential people.

Indeed, the president places high value on seeing his face on magazine covers — and he likes to show proof of it.

Case in point: Many of his clubs are decorated with these covers — including, until recently, a fake March 2009 Time cover that featured the real estate developer and proclaimed: “TRUMP IS HITTING ON ALL FRONTS . . . EVEN TV!”

During a September 2015 interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley in Trump’s Manhattan penthouse, Pelley took note of magazines stacked on Trump’s desk and pictures hanging on the walls of his office. All have his face on them.

“What are we supposed to take from that?” Pelley asked.

Trump replied with a grandiose proclamation.

“You know, look, I’m on a lot of covers. I think maybe more than almost any supermodel. I think more than any supermodel. But in a way that is a sign of respect, people are respecting what you are doing,” he said.

But if history were any indication, a picture on a magazine’s coveted spot isn’t always tied to a positive story or “a sign of respect.” Time, for example, has frequently featured unflattering photo illustrations of Trump, both when he was a candidate and president.

One of the magazine’s covers in February is an illustration of the president sitting stoically behind his desk as a hurricane engulfs the Oval Office. Below the magazine’s name: “Nothing to see here.”

A cover from March features Trump typing on his phone while leaning on a crumbling Washington Monument. “Trump’s war on Washington,” the cover says.

More recently, earlier this month, a Time cover featured illustrations of the likeness of Trump’s face shaped as wrecking balls.

“The wrecking crew: How Trump’s Cabinet is dismantling government as we know it.”

Last year, in August and October, Time twice featured a likeness of Trump’s face melting like candle wax to portray the then-candidate’s tumultuous campaign. Each cover had the word “meltdown.”

In March 2016, one of the magazine’s covers was a black-and-white, zoomed-in face of Trump, with five check boxes across. The boxes for “bully,” “showman,” “party crasher” and “demagogue” were checked, while the box for “the 45th President of the United States” was left blank.

The title Person of the Year also is not defined solely by glowing coverage or positive recognition. The title is given to “the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year, for better or for worse,” former managing editor Walter Isaacson wrote in the 1998 issue.

The same nod has been given to Adolf Hitler in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1939 and 1943 and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

Trump was given the title last year for his unexpected victory against Hillary Clinton.

Jenna Johnson contributed to this story.

Read more:

Trump replies ‘MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!’ to tweet about his attacks on African Americans

Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton come to Malia Obama’s defense

‘Keep coming at me guys!!!’: Donald Trump Jr. meets Russia scrutiny with defiance

Alex Ovechkin is one of Putin’s biggest fans. The question is, why?


Alex Ovechkin says the PutinTeam movement he announced on Instagram this month was his idea. (Ria Novosti/Reuters)

For more than a dozen years, Alex Ovechkin has skated between two worlds: his country of birth and his professional home. He’s beloved, cheered and revered in both.

He regularly has tried to appease supporters in these disparate homes, making his living playing hockey in the United States’ capital while spending much of his offseason in Russia’s. And while the hockey star has never hidden his affection for Vladimir Putin, Ovechkin this month raised the stakes considerably, announcing on his Instagram account that he was organizing a movement to support the Russian president.

“Today, I want to announce a social movement in the name of PutinTeam,” Ovechkin wrote in the post, accompanied by a photo of Ovechkin being embraced by the Russian leader. “Be a part of this team — to me it’s a privilege, it’s like the feeling of when you put on the jersey of the Russian team, knowing that the whole country is rooting for you.” Ovechkin ended the post with the hashtag #putinteam.

Ovechkin now finds himself awkwardly in the middle of a geopolitical maelstrom — perhaps by his own doing — tugged in multiple directions, just as he has been for much of his extraordinary career.

He has given an unwavering endorsement to a man who U.S. intelligence agencies say sanctioned Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election and whose athletes have drawn the ire of the international Olympic community for a state-sponsored doping scheme. At the same time, Ovechkin insists his advocacy is free of politics.

“I’m not a politic,” Ovechkin said in a recent interview. “I don’t know what’s happening out there. I know it’s a hard situation, but it is what it is. You know, I play here, and this is my second home. I don’t want to fight between two countries, because it’s going to be a mess.”

Ovechkin says the PutinTeam movement was his idea, though there are signs that a Kremlin-backed public-relations firm might have played a role. Ovechkin’s decision to wave the Putin banner comes at an especially awkward time: Relations between the countries are frayed, and a special counsel is investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials ahead of the 2016 election. Seven in 10 Americans hold an unfavorable opinion of Russia, according to a recent Gallup poll.

The situation is certainly a thorny one for the Washington Capitals and the National Hockey League. Ted Leonsis, the Capitals team owner who signed Ovechkin to a 13-year, $124 million contract in 2008, declined to comment for this article, as did the league office. The Capitals prefer for Ovechkin to discuss the situation himself, keeping team brass at arm’s length from a sensitive topic that’s fraught with complications. Theirs is a business relationship in which Ovechkin is paid handsomely — he will earn $10 million this season — but team officials know that, even off the ice, one of the game’s most recognizable players must always represent Russia as well as Washington.


Ovechkin is one of the most prolific goal scorers in NHL history. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Ovechkin, 32, and his family have long enjoyed government support. His mother was a basketball star with the Soviet national team, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who later leaned on her political connections to help finance her Moscow-based club team. Her son arrived in Washington in 2005 and quickly blossomed into one of hockey’s best players, certainly the most prolific scorer Russia has sent to the NHL. Only Jaromir Jagr has more career goals among active players, and Ovechkin has led the league in goals six times and been named its most valuable player three times.

His fame and success have afforded him an unusually close relationship with the Kremlin. He has a personal phone number for Putin and received a wedding present from the Russian leader last year.

He says he is aware that vocally supporting Putin could rub some Americans the wrong way, but Capitals fans are still showing up to games, still wearing Ovechkin’s No. 8 jersey, still cheering his on-ice exploits, and there’s no sign his legacy or standing among Washington hockey fans has suffered.

“It’s been good reactions, and it’s been bad reactions,” said Ovechkin, who began learning English when he arrived in Washington. “People have own mind, own views.”


Ovechkin has been the face of the Capitals for more than a decade. (Mark Gail/Washington Post)

Though Ovechkin shared no details of his PutinTeam effort when he made his Instagram post Nov. 2, last week he announced the soft launch of a new Russian-language website — putinteam.ru — inviting people to sign up for the team, track related news, participate in contests and attend and organize events. “PutinTeam is an informal movement,” the site reads. “Everyone who shares our values can join the team.”

The domain was created Sept. 6, but it was not immediately clear who funded and created the site or who was running its associated pages on Facebook, Instagram and other social networks. The official line from the Kremlin is that Putin did not know in advance about Ovechkin’s plans, though the Russian president certainly welcomed the gesture.

“Indeed, Sasha is a very famous Russian and a very successful one, and we know how much he appreciates our president,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, referring to Ovechkin by his Russian nickname.

Ovechkin maintains the idea was his and says he felt it was the right thing to do for his country. “If somebody ask me to do something for my country, I will,” he said. “If there’s a world championship, I go. So it’s that kind of a situation.”

Asked whether anyone enlisted him to launch the campaign on Putin’s behalf, Ovechkin quickly answered, “No,” and said he ran the idea by one friend before making his initial post.

People within the Capitals’ organization, however, are under the impression that Ovechkin was asked to create PutinTeam, and Russian media have begun connecting dots back to the Russian government. The financial newspaper Vedomosti, citing Kremlin sources, reported that the project was developed by a Moscow consulting agency called IMA-Consulting, which holds a reported $600,000 contract to promote the country’s presidential election in March.

While Putin hasn’t formally announced his intentions, he is expected to seek a new six-year term. He enjoys such a high favorability rating that a celebrity endorsement won’t win or lose the race, but Kremlin observers say it could help foster support among young voters.

A leading sports agent based in Moscow who represents athletes in hockey and other sports told The Washington Post that several of his clients had been approached to join PutinTeam by “political guys.” The agent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, declined to name them. A representative for IMA-Consulting told The Post that it had no connection to PutinTeam.

Thus far, PutinTeam has attracted only a handful of high-profile supporters, including hockey Hall of Famer Pavel Bure, former NHL player Ilya Kovalchuk, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin and chess grandmaster Sergey Karjakin.


Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin is the only active Russian in the NHL to join Ovechkin’s PutinTeam movement. (Codie Mclachlan/Getty Images)

Despite its intentions, the campaign has highlighted the dilemma facing Russian professional athletes living in the United States who support Putin. Several Russian hockey players, including those who have not publicly signed on to Ovechkin’s initiative, declined interview requests. Malkin waited five days after pledging his support on social media to answer questions about the campaign.

“I don’t know what’s going on here [in the United States]. They don’t like or like him,” Malkin said of Putin. “I’m not trying to read everything. I just want to support him.”

There are more than 30 Russians playing in the NHL. Only Malkin has followed Ovechkin’s lead and joined PutinTeam.

One U.S.-based hockey agent who represents Russian players in North America said of Ovechkin’s initiative: “All of my clients, everybody’s rolling their eyes, basically, saying, ‘What the [heck]?’ It’s like he’s lobbying for a job in politics.”

The first known encounter between Ovechkin and Putin came a decade ago. Ovechkin was 21 and had just wrapped up his second season with the Capitals. Ovechkin attended a meeting in May 2007 at the Kremlin near the end of Putin’s first presidential term; the meeting also included Russia’s national hockey coach at the time, Vyacheslav Bykov.

While Ovechkin doesn’t talk politics in the Capitals’ locker room, his pride in Russia has been evident from the day he arrived in Washington. “He didn’t really say anything,” said Bruce Boudreau, who coached the Capitals from 2007 to 2011. “He’s a very passionate man. As we’re passionate about our country, he is about his.”

The Putin-Ovechkin relationship seemed to grow in the buildup to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Putin’s biggest opportunity to showcase his country to the world. Ovechkin was the face of the Winter Games. He was given the honor of running the first leg of the Olympic torch’s journey from Greece to Moscow, and he carried the nation’s hopes into the highly anticipated men’s hockey tournament.


Ovechkin was selected to begin the Olympic torch relay from Greece to Moscow ahead of the Sochi Olympics. (Dimitri Messinis/Associated Press)

Putin had a front-row seat to Olympic disappointment as the Russian hockey team lost in a shootout against the United States, then failed to win a medal. Three months later, though, the Russians beat Finland to win the world championship in Belarus. Cameras captured Ovechkin helping Putin drink champagne from the trophy in the postgame locker room.

Putin reportedly rewarded every player with a Mercedes-Benz, and the team returned to Moscow for a special reception at the Kremlin. “You remember how in the locker room on Sunday you offered me champagne?” Putin told the team, according to Russian news reports. “Well, now it’s my turn.”

While Ovechkin rarely spoke publicly about Putin as a young player, he has become more open in recent years with sharing his admiration via social media. In September 2014, he posted a birthday message to Putin on Instagram. “You’re on the right track and we respect your actions and will support you in everything always because we also love our country!!!” Ovechkin wrote.

The Russian president has reciprocated the warm feelings. He gave Ovechkin an ornamental tea set as a wedding present last year and sent a telegram that was read aloud at the reception.

Ovechkin has mostly sidestepped political discussions and hasn’t delved deeply into some of Putin’s more controversial actions. In 2013, Putin signed a law punishing anyone who spread “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to minors, prompting criticism from all corners of the world in advance of the Sochi Games. “Our job is to play. I’d rather speak about that,” Ovechkin told Russian website sports.ru at the time.

A year later, Ovechkin uploaded a photo on his Instagram account in which the player was holding a sign that read #SaveChildrenFromFascism,” a hashtag used at the time by pro-Russian groups seeking support in Ukraine. It came months after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula and amid fears Moscow would further escalate the situation with an open invasion of Ukraine. Ovechkin downplayed the significance of his post, telling ESPN then, “I don’t try to make a statement.”

A person close to Ovechkin explained that he tries to navigate a delicate tightrope, supporting one country while trying not to offend the other, and that the PutinTeam initiative has underscored the innate difficulties he faces.

“If he played in Carolina, this probably wouldn’t be as interesting to some people as it probably is, just given where he lives and works and what he does,” said the Ovechkin associate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so he could talk more freely. “To say that Alex or anybody is following the daily nuances of really high-level, very complex geopolitical issues, they’re probably not doing that, right?”

Ovechkin says he mostly watches hockey news but occasionally takes in political reports. At the least, he knows how Putin is perceived by many in the United States.

“But again, it’s their view,” he said. “My view is my view. Your view is your view.”

The Capitals feature players from nine countries, including five Americans, three Russians and others from Canada, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Australia, Czech Republic and Germany.

If any teammate is at odds with the captain’s pro-Putin stance, he hasn’t said so publicly.

While the Capitals organization may not be eager to discuss Ovechkin’s relationship with Putin, team officials are aware that it could upset some fans. At the same time, they accept the demands being placed on him from Moscow and recognize the franchise has at times had to work around them, especially during the offseason.

When Washington hired Barry Trotz as coach in May 2014, one of his first acts was a phone call to Ovechkin, who was in Moscow. The two spoke only briefly, Trotz later explained, because the new coach caught the star player “at Mr. Putin’s house,” where they were celebrating Russia’s world championship.


Three months after its disappointing finish in Sochi, the Russian national team was feted by Putin at the Kremlin following its victory in the world championships. (Yuri Kadobnov/Associated Press)

To connect more closely with Ovechkin, Adam Oates, Trotz’s predecessor, boarded a plane after he was hired in 2012 and flew to Moscow to meet the Russian star. They watched video together and chatted about Ovechkin’s role on the team.

“We had a good time,” Oates told The Post then. But their visit was cut short, Oates said, because Ovechkin was called to attend a Kremlin-related function promoting the Sochi Olympics. “So we were a little unlucky with that,” Oates said.

Some of the complications in the Ovechkin-Putin relationship take place far away from the ice, in murky areas that team officials concede they probably don’t fully understand.

This was perhaps most prevalent in the past year, when Olympic officials tried to strike a deal with the NHL that would allow the league’s players to compete in the Winter Games in South Korea in February. The NHL did not want to send them, and some players initially threatened to walk away from their NHL teams to represent their countries. None was louder than Ovechkin. But when the NHL refused to budge, Ovechkin eventually resigned himself to missing out on playing in a fourth Olympics for his country.

“He wants to win the Stanley Cup. He wants to win with his teammates here,” Trotz told The Post in 2016 while the Olympics situation was still in flux. “That’s priority number one. When he goes to Russia, a lot of times there is a lot more pressure on him going than there are on Canadian or USA players in the world championships — different kinds of pressures.”

Trotz was asked whether he was referring to Putin.

“We’ll just say different kinds of pressures,” the coach replied. “He would love to stay, but he’s also proud for Russia, too, and he gets that. When those pressures are put on him, he’s got to go.”

While there is no shortage of photographs featuring the Russian leader and the hockey star, the extent of their relationship is up for debate. Clearly, Ovechkin is feted differently than other Russian athletes, and he represents many of the masculine qualities that Putin might want projected on himself, said Russian journalist Mikhail Zygar, author of the book “All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin.”

“It’s the idea Ovechkin symbolizes. He’s a strong man who’s an athlete, who wins,” Zygar said. “Putin plays hockey, Ovechkin plays hockey. It’s natural idea.”


Putin has taken up hockey, and the sport has flourished in Russia during his time in office. (Yuri Kochetkov/Associated Press)

Even among hockey players, Ovechkin is clearly treated differently. At a news conference last summer, Malkin was being honored as the best Russian player in the NHL when he was asked by a Russian reporter, “Have you ever received a phone call on your mobile phone from President Vladimir Putin?”

“No,” the Penguins forward said. “I am not Alexander Ovechkin, after all.”

Ovechkin has downplayed the depth of his friendship with Putin, saying in a recent interview that the two don’t have much in common. “We talk about hockey and all that stuff. That’s it,” he said.

While the high-profile relationship and increasingly vocal support might give some North American hockey fans pause, the Ovechkin family learned long ago the benefits of befriending powerful political leaders.

During the early 1990s, when Russia was navigating the difficult transition from communism to capitalism following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Yuri Luzhkov, the larger-than-life former Moscow mayor, invested heavily in the Dynamo women’s basketball club, which was coached by Ovechkin’s mother. In a 2008 interview with Moscow-based newspaper Sport Express, Tatyana Ovechkina said she consulted Luzhkov “in all questions concerning Sasha’s future in hockey.” When the Capitals drafted Ovechkin, she said, the first person she called was Luzhkov.


Ovechkin and his mother, Tatyana, before a Nets basketball game in 2011 (Julio Cortez/Associated Press)

Reached by telephone last week, Luzhkov said he had not spoken with Ovechkin about the PutinTeam project. He laughed off suggestions that Ovechkin was attempting to make political inroads in Moscow, saying the hockey star’s standing in Russia isn’t dependent on Kremlin support. Noting that Ovechkin operates in the same athletic pantheon as Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi, Luzhkov said: “Lionel Messi probably does not need any political support, and neither does Sasha.”

Kremlin observers explain that many Russian celebrities can face pressures both overt and indirect to take part in a Russian political campaign. For many, an endorsement might protect their families or help secure government funding for their projects. But most agree that Ovechkin probably is above such pressures — too rich, too high profile.

People in Moscow and Washington say Ovechkin’s efforts supporting Putin seem sincere and reflect only his love of Russia. For him, it’s the simplest part of an otherwise complex geopolitical equation: He embraces the attention and the expectations — promoting the Olympics or representing the Russian team in international competition — and he accepts any accompanying pressure as a natural byproduct of his unique place in Putin’s orbit.

Said one Ovechkin associate: “It’s remarkable that he is so carefree given the sort of two worlds that he lives in, which now obviously is being magnified because the two worlds that he lives in are maybe not as close as they used to be in recent times.”

While some suggest Ovechkin could be laying the groundwork for a government position when his playing days are over, Ovechkin says he is focused solely on his hockey career. Asked whether he thinks he will return to Russia when he retires, he said, “I don’t know. We just have to talk to family, my wife. Hopefully the kid’s going to come soon, and we’ll see what’s going to happen.

“But, again, I feel comfortable here, and I feel comfortable over there.”


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Who Will Be Running Consumer Agency on Monday? It’s Unclear

But the bureau has long been vilified by Republicans as an overreaching, aggressive arm of government.

Now, with President Trump’s support, they have intensified their efforts to curb its power. In a significant blow to the agency, Congress recently overturned a rule that would have allowed millions of Americans to band together in class-action lawsuits against financial institutions.

Installing Mr. Mulvaney, a fiscal hawk who previously called the agency a “sick, sad” joke, as the agency’s interim leader would immediately alter the consumer bureau’s focus.

Two White House officials, speaking to reporters in a briefing call on Saturday, cited guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel, part of the Justice Department, as legal grounds for Mr. Trump’s move.

Mr. Trump’s decision to name his own temporary director was a “typical, routine move,” said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The official later said, “We have gone out of our way to avoid any unnecessary legal battle with Mr. Cordray,” adding that “his actions clearly indicate he is trying to provoke one.”

The officials said the Federal Vacancies Reform Act gave Mr. Trump the authority to override the successor named by Mr. Cordray, who resigned about a week earlier than expected. If the White House’s plan proceeds, Mr. Mulvaney would run the agency until a permanent successor is confirmed by Congress.

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In an eight-page opinion released late Saturday, the Office of Legal Counsel said the president had the ability to choose a successor.

The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which established the bureau — and gave it unusual independence from Congress and the president — laid out a succession path in the case of the director’s “absence or unavailability,” the office acknowledged. The deputy director then steps in as the agency’s acting head, according to the act.

But that law “does not displace the president’s authority under the Vacancies Reform Act,” wrote Steven A. Engel, the assistant attorney general in charge of the office.

That is in line with two past opinions from the counsel office, addressing vacancies at the Justice Department and at the Office of Management and Budget. Those written opinions endorsed the president’s authority to use the vacancies act to override an agency’s designated succession path and appoint his own acting leaders instead.

But the consumer bureau holds a different legal view.

Mr. Cordray cited the Dodd-Frank Act when he followed up his resignation announcement on Friday with a letter naming the agency’s chief of staff, Leandra English, as deputy director. Mr. Cordray said he expected Ms. English to take over from him.

Democrats, who fought for the bureau’s creation and championed its work as a valuable defense against predatory companies and abusive financial practices, are likely to push for a legal challenge to Mr. Trump’s move.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, who proposed the consumer bureau and helped set it up, said Mr. Trump’s move was legally impermissible.

“The Dodd-Frank Act is clear: If there is a C.F.P.B. director vacancy, the deputy director becomes acting director,” she wrote on Facebook. “President Trump can’t override that.”

Former Representative Barney Frank, a co-author of the act, said the consumer bureau is “different in every way” from other federal agencies and was intended to have more autonomy.

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“We gave a lot of attention to how to structure the C.F.P.B. and how to protect its independence, because its job is to go after some very powerful forces in the economy,” Mr. Frank, who wrote the law with Christopher Dodd, then a senator, said in an interview on CNN.

The agency’s director, who serves a five-year term, cannot be fired by the president except for cause — a provision that is currently under review by United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington. The court’s ruling is expected soon.

Mr. Trump’s decision to appoint Mr. Mulvaney is “unprecedented,” Mr. Frank told CNN. Asked how the move could be challenged, he answered, “I literally don’t know.”

Some legal experts say there is reason to question whether the Federal Vacancies Reform Act supersedes an individual agency’s designated line of succession.

The Office of Legal Counsel’s views are generally considered binding on the executive branch, but the judiciary is not constrained by them. Courts have, at times, disagreed with the office’s legal interpretations — and their rulings take precedence.

“Any Office of Legal Counsel, in any administration, would have given the same answer with respect to this issue,” said Aditya Bamzai, a law professor at the University of Virginia. “But if we see a legal challenge, the executive branch’s positions don’t always prevail in court.”

Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, said it was an “open question” which act — the vacancies law or Dodd-Frank — should take precedence, especially because Dodd-Frank was enacted more recently.

On a mailing list for administrative law professors, a debate broke out on Saturday over specifics of the two laws. Experts argued about the nuances of various bits of fine print, including how individual words like “shall” and “may” should be interpreted.

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On Twitter, one of the discussion’s participants, Marty Lederman, said that this “might well be the case to test” the Office of Legal Counsel’s long-held position about the president’s powers under the vacancies law.

Confirming a permanent director for the agency could take months. Mr. Cordray’s confirmation was delayed for two years by Republicans and the banking industry, two parties that objected to the agency’s creation and sought to limit the attempt at federal oversight.

If he takes office, Mr. Mulvaney will shoulder his new job as acting chief on top of his role as director of the Office of Management and Budget. It is unclear how he will manage both. Administration officials directed all questions about the mechanics of the situation to Mr. Mulvaney.

“We think he’ll show up Monday, go into the office and start working,” an administration official said of Mr. Mulvaney’s plans.

But it may not be that simple. The next move lies with Ms. English: She will need to decide whether to mount a legal challenge against Mr. Mulvaney for the bureau’s leadership, or to defer to him.

“It’s a very awkward legal scenario if they both show up literally at the same office,” said Andy Grewal, a law professor at the University of Iowa. “It seems like both sides are trying to engage in gamesmanship here.”


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YouTube Faces Advertiser Boycott Over Videos With Kids That Attracted Sexual Predators

Google’s YouTube is engulfed in a new brand-safety crisis: Several major advertisers froze spending on YouTube after an investigation revealed their spots were running against videos featuring kids in states of undress and other situations that had drawn comments from pedophiles.

Brands including Adidas, Deutsche Bank, Mars, HP, Diageo, Cadbury and Lidl pulled ads from YouTube over the issue, according to a report Friday by the Times of London. That came after the newspaper discovered the marketers’ ads had run in videos with young girls in underwear, doing the splits, and rolling around in bed — which included sexually inappropriate comments posted by viewers. According to the report, the videos themselves appeared to be uploaded by kids with no intent to appeal to sexual predators.

In response to the report, YouTube said in a statement, “There shouldn’t be any ads running on this content, and we are working urgently to fix this.”

The boycott is a replay of the global advertiser backlash in early 2017 after ads were discovered showing up in terrorism and hate speech videos in a previous investigation by the Times. YouTube has repeatedly vowed to do better, including implementing new screening processes to filter out offensive content from the site, hiring additional staff, and rolling out tools designed to give advertisers better controls and tracking of their ads.

“Until we have confidence that appropriate safeguards are in place, we will not advertise on YouTube and Google,” Mars said in a statement to media Friday.

Deutsche Bank said it suspended advertising on YouTube immediately after becoming aware of the problem. “As always, our digital marketing agency applied filters to prevent our advertising appearing alongside inappropriate content, and we are investigating how the situation arose,” the banking giant said in a statement.

YouTube in recent weeks has said it’s cracking down on content featuring themes and characters that appeal to children but include violent, sexual or otherwise inappropriate themes.

In a blog post Wednesday, YouTube VP of product management Johanna Wright outlined five steps the video platform is taking to “protect families on YouTube and YouTube Kids.” Those include better enforcement of policies, blocking comments on videos featuring minors, and removing ads from videos with kid-inappropriate content.

“Across the board we have scaled up resources to ensure that thousands of people are working around the clock to monitor, review and make the right decisions across our ads and content policies,” Wright wrote. “These latest enforcement changes will take shape over the weeks and months ahead as we work to tackle this evolving challenge. We’re wholly committed to addressing these issues and will continue to invest the engineering and human resources needed to get it right.”

In the past week, YouTube said, it has terminated more than 50 channels and have removed thousands of videos under these kid-safe guidelines. That included the shutdown of Toy Freaks, a popular channel with 8.5 million subscribers that included videos of a single dad and his two daughters in distressing situations. In a statement to Variety, Toy Freaks channel operator Greg Chism responded in part, “While it is disturbing to me that anyone would find inappropriate pleasure in our video skits, I deeply appreciate YouTube’s concerns for my family and I could not be happier with having had this remarkable experience.”

Google is set to meet next week with British marketing execs after the U.K.’s ISBA advertising trade group called for an emergency meeting to discuss the issue, the Times reported.

Dueling Appointments Lead to Clash at Consumer Protection Bureau

Mr. Mulvaney said he would assume the additional role until a permanent successor was found.

“I believe Americans deserve a C.F.P.B. that seeks to protect them while ensuring free and fair markets for all consumers,” he said in a statement. “Financial services are the engine of American democratic capitalism, and we need to let it work.”

In a letter to the consumer protection agency’s staff, Mr. Cordray named Ms. English as deputy director. Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which established the regulatory agency, the deputy director is to serve as acting director in the absence of a permanent leader, Mr. Cordray said.

The conflicting appointments were a fitting development for an agency under constant attack from Republican leaders, and it leaves supporters wondering about the agency’s future with Mr. Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of both houses of Congress.

The bureau was proposed in 2007 by Elizabeth Warren, then a Harvard law professor, but she was passed over to lead the agency after Obama administration officials became concerned that she would not be able to overcome resistance from Republicans during the confirmation process.

Instead, President Barack Obama chose Mr. Cordray, a former attorney general of Ohio whom Ms. Warren had picked to be the agency’s enforcement director. But for two years, Republicans prevented the confirmation of a director to lead the agency. The agency’s creation was also largely opposed by the banking industry, which sought to prevent Mr. Cordray’s confirmation.

In July 2013, the Senate finally agreed to allow the confirmation of Mr. Cordray, cementing a new era of expansive federal oversight of companies that lend money to consumers.

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Richard Cordray, the agency’s departing leader.

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Andrew Mangum for The New York Times

The fight over the establishment of the protection bureau made Ms. Warren a political celebrity and helped her win a bid for Congress. Later, as a senator from Massachusetts, Ms. Warren has continued to champion the bureau, which has emerged as an aggressive consumer watchdog with broad power to combat financial abuses.

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On Friday, Ms. Warren defended Mr. Cordray’s decision on Facebook: “President Trump can’t override that. He can nominate the next CFPB Director — but until that nominee is confirmed by the Senate, Leandra English is the Acting Director under the Dodd-Frank Act.”

Consumer groups quickly praised Mr. Cordray, whose move appeared to be a final attempt to keep the bureau in hands that would preserve the legacy he helped create as its first director.

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“Fortunately, the statute creating the C.F.P.B. says that the agency’s deputy director serves as acting director until a new director has been nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate,” Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, said in a statement. “Mulvaney has said he is opposed to the very existence of the C.F.P.B., and as a member of Congress he voted in favor of Wall Street banks and predatory lenders — his largest donors — again and again.”

The appointment of Mr. Mulvaney, who as a Republican congressman from South Carolina was a co-sponsor of legislation to shut down the consumer bureau, had been widely anticipated. The White House said in a statement on Friday that President Trump looked forward to seeing Mr. Mulvaney take a “common sense approach” to leading the bureau’s staff.

The bureau, with its reputation as an active watchdog for the financial rights of consumers, has been a major obstacle to the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle regulations.

Mr. Trump would have been free to make major changes at the agency as he has done at other financial regulators — many of which are run by former executives — but Mr. Cordray’s surprise move may complicate those plans. And what happens next is not entirely clear.

Instead, the agency’s next director may potentially face at least some of the resistance Mr. Cordray experienced from Republicans after he was named director.

Mr. Mulvaney’s appointment was met with opposition by consumer groups.

“Naming Mick Mulvaney — someone who’s adamantly anti-consumer — rewards financial predators and fails to put consumers first,” Michael Calhoun, the president of the Center for Responsible Lending, said in a statement.

Ms. English is no stranger to the consumer protection bureau. She helped start the agency in 2011, working in several roles before leaving to join the Office of Management and Budget, according to the bureau’s website. She returned in January 2015 as deputy chief operating officer, left to work at the Office of Personnel Management and returned again in January 2017 as the bureau’s chief of staff.

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Ms. English has a bachelor’s degree from New York University and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

One of the names that had been floated for the bureau’s top post was Todd J. Zywicki, a conservative law professor at George Mason University.

But consumer advocates have not been enthusiastic about any of the candidates mentioned. “Most have harshly criticized the idea of the bureau or even called for its repeal,” Ed Mierzwinski, a consumer program director at the advocacy group U.S. PIRG, said in a statement. Some have questioned the idea of consumer protection itself.”


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Lewandowski: Trump is the right choice for Time Person of the Year

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Saturday that Time Magazine should recognize that President Trump is the only right choice for the magazine’s coveted « Person of the Year » distinction.

Lewandowski told Fox News that Time and other mainstream media outlets don’t give Trump « the credit he’s deserved. »

« The mainstream media has never wanted to give this president the credit that he’s deserved. I don’t know who else can be the Time Magazine Person of the Year other than our president, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpO’Malley tells Dems not to fear Trump Right way and wrong way Five things to know about the elephant trophies controversy MORE, » the former Trump aide said.

« As you know, the stock market is through the roof. People’s 401ks are doing better than they were a year ago, » he added. « Why should we be surprised? »

The former campaign manager’s statement comes after Trump tweeted Friday that the magazine told him he could possibly be « Person of the Year » for the second year in a row. Trump said he turned the magazine down.

« Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named “Man (Person) of the Year,” like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass, » Trump tweeted. « Thanks anyway! »

Time denied the claim from the president in a tweet.

« The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6, » tweeted the magazine in response.

Lewandowski, who was fired as Trump’s campaign manager before the end of the GOP primary last year, has been an active surrogate for the president since Trump took office in January.

Black Friday 2017: Seeking New TVs to Watch, and Sneakers to Resell

So the Gray Zebra Yeezy Boosts he was there to buy would never grace Mr. Lindsey’s feet. Instead, he had sold the pair in advance to a woman who had driven by earlier in a Mercedes, offering him $550 dollars for a pair that would cost him $320.

“She had her son on FaceTime,” Mr. Lindsey recalled. “She’s like, ‘His birthday is tomorrow, and he wants the shoes.’ They’re sold. Baby boy’s birthday. They’re sold.”

Though patrons would be limited to buying just one pair each — with some pairs marked down to just a dollar, only one of the first 15 people in line at Cool Kicks was planning on keeping his purchase. The rest — mostly teenagers, and all male but one — would be immediately relisting their new rare sneakers on the secondary market, where some pairs fetch more than $1,000. — LOUIS KEENE

Not a good day for ‘Our Website Is Down.’

Friday is expected to become one of the busiest days in history for online shopping in the United States, according to salesforce.com, an enterprise software maker, making it a spectacularly bad time for a retailer’s website to go on the fritz.

But as shoppers pour into e-commerce, pushing online revenue to what Adobe’s digital marketing research arm described as a record for Thanksgiving Day of $2.87 billion, many companies are struggling to accommodate the surge in traffic.

Many customers trying to access the online Black Friday deals offered by Lowe’s — up to 40 percent off certain appliances, half-priced power tools and more — instead encountered glitches that caused the site to fail mid-purchase or struggle to load at all.

A spokeswoman for the home improvement chain said the increase in site visits was “causing some intermittent outages” and said that the company was “working diligently” to restore full functionality.

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Last year, both Macy’s and Express had to soothe Black Friday customers enraged by technical difficulties with the brands’ websites.

The global reach of e-commerce has inspired many international companies to participate in the post-Thanksgiving shopping event. Several of them also experienced website crashes on Friday.

Takealot.com, a general goods e-commerce retailer based in South Africa, apologized to shoppers for site-wide problems, saying in a Twitter post that “ a fundamental service within our platform has failed.”

Hudson’s Bay, a Canadian department store chain, spent much of the morning on Twitter responding to customer complaints of website problems.

TIFFANY HSU

They’ve been shopping for a dog’s age.

Scooter the Puggle and Freckle the Bichon mix, their heads protected by red hats with ear flaps, waited patiently in a stroller across from Nathan’s at the Tanger outlets in Deer Park, N.Y. Manning the stroller was Leonard Heide, 63, of Merrick, who also sat patiently in wait.

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Leonard Heide of Merrick, N.Y., waits with Scooter, left, and Freckle as his wife and son shopped at Tanger outlets.

Credit
Roger Kisby for The New York Times

“My wife and son are shopping in the Christmas Tree shop,” Mr. Heide said. “And all around.”

They’re shopping for “anything and everything,” laughed Mr. Heide; and their store tour started early. The family stopped by Home Depot in Freeport at 8 a.m. before heading to the outlet center.

“We do it every year,” Mr. Heide said.

Mr. Heide’s wife and son shopped Thanksgiving night, too, from 8 until midnight.

“Me and the boys stayed home,” he said. — ARIELLE DOLLINGER

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Inspecting the store maps at Tanger outlets on Long Island.

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Roger Kisby for The New York Times

What crowds? Empty stretches in Dallas.

In a clear sign that online sales and Thanksgiving Day openings have taken a bite out of Black Friday, many Dallas stores had no morning crowds at all. Numerous retailers on the city’s busy Highway 75 opened early only to find 10, five or even just one customer waiting outside.

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Luiza Behs, 15, of Tulsa, Okla., went to the Apple Store an hour before it opened to beat the line, but there was no line. She, her mother, her friend and one other customer were the only people waiting.

“There’s no lines so that’s good for me,” Ms. Behs said with a smile.

Trina, a 46-year-old Dallas woman who did not want to give her last name, went to Target with her son before it opened and found no one there.

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“We laughed about it because we said, ‘We could just wait in the car,’” she said, waiting for the door to be unlocked.

Perhaps people were just sleeping later this year. Rather than rise hours before dawn, some Americans, on average, slept in longer on Friday than they did a week earlier, according to data from the Sleep Cycle snooze-tracking app. And when they eventually woke up, residents of most states were in a better mood than when they got out of bed last Friday.

Ryan Marlar, 26, of Garland, was the only person sitting outside Dick’s Sporting Goods waiting for the store to open at 5 a.m. With plans to buy ammunition on sale, Mr. Marlar sat on the tailgate of his truck and said he expected to see at least a few other people waiting to get in.

“It’s my favorite holiday of the year. You know exactly what you want,” he said. “I’m only saving like 10 bucks, but it’s the spirit of the thing. I always go and do it.” — PATRICK MCGEE

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Crowds were fenced in outside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., on Friday, waiting to spend.

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Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

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Checking out products at Walmart in Valley Stream, N.Y.

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Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The Wirecutter will help you navigate the day.

Our colleagues over at Wirecutter, a New York Times company that reviews products, have a running list of Black Friday deals on everything from trash cans to cameras to artificial Christmas trees.

The best part is you don’t have to get out of your chair to chase them down.

There are suggestions at every price point, so it’s a good resource if you’re buying for a gift exchange at work or a loved one. After all, somebody in your life must need a kayak.

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Wallace Cardoso wrangled a big new TV at B.J.’s Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass.

Credit
Josh Reynolds/Associated Press

What Brings You Out?

We asked shoppers around the country what drew them to stores over the long Thanksgiving weekend.

NAME: John Kaikis Jr.

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AGE: 58

LOCATION: Louisville, Ky.

WHY DO YOU COME TO A STORE INSTEAD OF SHOPPING ONLINE?

“We like to look at things and hold them in our hands. That way we know exactly what we’re buying.”

DO YOU COME FOR PRACTICAL REASONS, OR FOR THE EXPERIENCE?

“We just kind of do it to have fun. Because I was way hung over this morning, and I sure didn’t need to be up this early. But it’s fun. It’s a tradition we’ve been doing now for 14 years. And afterwards, we’ll go out for mimosas, so that’s a bonus.”

WHAT’S THE PRODUCT YOU’LL RUN TO FIRST?

TV and laptop.

SARAH KELLEY

NAME: Scott Miller

AGE: 44

LOCATION: Manchester, Iowa

WHY DO YOU COME TO A STORE INSTEAD OF SHOPPING ONLINE?

“I don’t have internet.”

DO YOU COME FOR PRACTICAL REASONS, OR FOR THE EXPERIENCE?

“For the deals.”

WHAT’S THE PRODUCT YOU’LL RUN TO FIRST?

43-inch Vizio Class 1080p TV for $198

CHRISTINA CAPECCHI

TVs here, bathroom there.

“Is this the line for TVs?”

“Do you have any more Toshibas?”

“Where’s the bathroom?”

Those are the three questions Austin Reed is prepared to answer hundreds of times on Friday. “I’m the TV guy and the bathroom guy,” joked Mr. Reed, 24, who is stationed in the home electronics section of a Best Buy in East Louisville, Ky. — right next to the restroom.

This is his third day on the job. “It’s been a little overwhelming,” he said. “Imagine like a siege of a castle. It’s like that.”

Mr. Reed was hired as part of Best Buy’s Geek Squad computer tech support team, but televisions are today’s hot sale item, hence his temporary post.

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Black Friday shoppers began lining up outside the store at 11:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Minutes before the store opened at 8 a.m., an employee distributed tickets to those planning to purchase the most promoted deal of the day: a Toshiba 55-inch LED television, on sale for $279.99 — $220 less than its usual list price.

A white-haired man wearing a flannel hunting cap with ear flaps approached Mr. Reed and asked where he could find a set as he pointed to an ad on a store circular. The sales associate broke the news that all the Toshibas had been claimed. “Well, I guess I’m a day late and a dollar short,” the man said.

On cue, Mr. Reed responded, “But we have lots more deals.” — SARAH KELLEY

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