How Esurance Lost Its Mascot to the Internet

“There is,” as Crockett writes, “an age-old decree that exists on the Internet called Rule 34: ‘If it exists, there is porn of it.'” This is the story of Esurance’s cartoon mascot Erin, who was ultimately nixed by the company after her image became masturbation fodder for the internet masses.

Source: Priceonomics
Published: Dec 18, 2015
Length: 9 minutes (2,328 words)

The Bizarro Life of Cartoonist Dan Piraro

How a traditional cartoonist survives in the digital era.

Source: Priceonomics
Published: Jul 1, 2015
Length: 10 minutes (2,694 words)

Who Owns the Copyright to ‘Happy Birthday’?

The answer is more complicated than one might think.

Source: Priceonomics
Published: Apr 14, 2015
Length: 7 minutes (1,970 words)

The Time Everyone “Corrected” the World’s Smartest Woman

Marilyn vos Savant, a former child prodigy and the “world’s smartest woman,” according to the Guinness Book of World Records, had carved out a niche for herself as an advice columnist for Parade magazine. It was in the body of one of these columns that she politely answered a reader’s inquiry on a probability puzzle, and then all hell broke loose.

Source: Priceonomics
Published: Feb 19, 2015
Length: 9 minutes (2,278 words)

The Art Forger Who Became a National Hero

“This is the story of Han Van Meegeren, the most dramatic forger of the 20th century.”

Source: Priceonomics
Published: Sep 24, 2014
Length: 13 minutes (3,354 words)

How the Father of Claymation Lost His Company

The story of Will Vinton’s Vinton Studios, which found success in the 1980s with commercial hits like the California Raisins, then struggled to keep up with its massive growth before getting sold to Nike CEO Phil Knight:

In the course of two years, a severely mismanaged Vinton Studios blew through more than $7 million in funding, largely due to their unwillingness to scale back the team even more. There was only one hope to salvage the company, and it came with a swoosh.

Farnath, Vinton Studios’ new CEO, approached Phil Knight “with his tail between his legs,” and asked the businessman to put in more money – just a few years after Knight had put up $5 million. This time, Knight had leverage to be a controlling shareholder.

Source: Priceonomics
Published: May 10, 2014
Length: 20 minutes (5,113 words)