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Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Amazon Not At All Desperate to Sell You a Fire Phone

kindle store

Today in Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? news, Amazon launched its first phone this summer to the great excitement of…

Exactly. In fact, the only thing we remember about the launch is disbelief over the price of the exclusively AT&T phone.

Now, in a move that amazingly coincides with Fire’s UK launch, Amazon is cutting that price by 90 percent. From the press release, which somehow found coverage on nearly every tech blog this morning:

Dynamic Perspective, Firefly, world-class customer support with Mayday, free unlimited cloud storage for photos, 32GB of storage—and, for a limited time, customers get 12 months of Prime membership with Fire phone, which includes unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes from Prime Instant Video, access to over a million songs to download or stream from Prime Music, over 500,000 books to borrow from Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and free two-day shipping on tens of millions of items.

We know nothing about the phone in question, but we do hope its voice search option has better grammar than that sentence.

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Mediabistro Job Fair

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Amazon Goes ‘Orwellian,’ Fails Literature 101

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In case you missed it, Amazon is currently going through something of a rough patch.

The company recently started very public fights with Hachette, Disney and some of the world’s most popular novelists in an attempt to drive down prices on books and DVDs — all while warning investors that it lost $126 million in the second quarter alone and that its total 2014 losses could be close to one billion dollars.

Its latest offense, however, is a classic in the annals of corporate messaging obfuscation.

In short, the company truly earned the grossly overused label “Orwellian” for misquoting (who else but) George Orwell himself.

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Stephen Colbert Gives Amazon a Piece of His Mind

Amazon has been receiving more than its share of bad publicity over its little war against publisher Hachette–and thanks to Stephen Colbert and author Sherman Alexie, the company got a bit more unflattering attention last night.

The interview is worth a watch. We particularly like Alexie’s point that pre-release publicity determines the sales numbers for a given book–a message that will be very relevant to anyone who does PR for the literary world.

We’re not big conspiracy theorists, but we do find it strange that the segment preceding that interview, in which Colbert expounds on the conflict, is currently unavailable–and that Amazon signed a streaming content deal with Comedy Central exactly one year ago.

At any rate, fret not: Powell’s and Alexie did indeed receive the famous “Colbert bump” last night.

Small victories.

Impulse Buying Reaches New Level: Now You Can Add Things to Your Amazon Cart from Twitter

#AmazonCart_ Add it Now. Buy it Later. Shop from within Twitter. - YouTube-1As if the “buy with one click” option wasn’t dangerous enough, now Amazon is allowing customers to add items to their shopping carts via Twitter by using hashtags.

“No more switching apps, typing passwords, or trying to remember items you saw on Twitter,” says a female voiceover in an ad explaining the new feature (after the jump), and it’s clear from her exasperated tone that such tasks have obviously been the most inconvenient, exhausting, intolelrable parts of consumers’ lives. Finally, our cries for relief have been heard!

Once you link your Amazon to your Twitter account, whenever you see an Amazon product link in a tweet, you can add it to your cart by replying to the tweet with hashtag #AmazonCart. It’s basically another virtual way to make impulse purchasing even easier than grabbing that candy bar at the Target checkout.

Aside from impulse purchases, though, this just seems to us like one of those “improvements” that might actually be less convenient than the traditional process. Read more

Amazon Gets All Nostradamus-Like With Its ‘Anticipatory’ Shipping

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When Amazon.com tells you it’ll be there before you know it, they ain’t screwing around!

Amazon’s latest move in the customer service one-upsmanship game comes right out of a George Orwell novel. According to Digital Trends, the company recently patented a new system called “anticipatory package shipping.” [Cue Close Encounters of the Third Kind music here.]

What does it mean? As Steve Jobs once said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them”—and Amazon knows exactly what you want. I know, right?!

Of course, Amazon’s patent doesn’t divulge how the company intends to freak the hell out of its online consumers, only that it plans to do so successfully.

We’ll tell you more after the jump, because we know what you want, too…

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Amazon Is America’s ‘Most Favored’ Brand

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We probably shouldn’t have been surprised by the findings of YouGov‘s 2013 Top Buzz ranking survey. Despite the negative news about labor struggles, the release of tell-all tome The Everything Store, the non-existent profit margins and the persistence of the “Massive, Faceless Retailer Shutters Mom and Pop Sellers” narrative, Amazon scored quite a few media wins this year. How could we forget:

In short, the survey is a micro-portrait of the retail world: Walmart is the old school and Amazon resembles the future, like it or not.

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Our 26 Biggest Stories of 2013, Part One

High fivin' sunbeams

High fiving sunbeams and eating dolphins, bro

They came. They saw. They made you click. They were our biggest stories of the year.

These posts were alternately embarrassing, inspiring, thought-provoking and barely comprehensible—but they attracted the most attention from our readers for reasons that we don’t always understand.

In fact, there were so many great ones in 2013 that we decided to double the original total of 13 to 26. What’s that, you ask? Of course we’re not splitting the list in half in order to get more posts up during the holiday season. What a ridiculous question!

On to the list, which we dedicate to our faithful readers. Let’s hope the news of stunts, mistakes and misdeeds gets a little brighter in 2014 (yeah, right).

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Groupon Goes Medieval on Amazon’s Drones

Proving Groupon still has some of the old magic, check out their response to Amazon’s buzzy announcement on the use of drones for rapid shipping.

“Groupon is about great deals, great service, and Medieval catapults,” said un-chyroned dude spokesperson. They may not win the game of thrones, but they play well.

(h/t Gennady Kolker’s Twitter feed. Kolker is senior press officer at The Guardian in New York)

Amazon Ordered a Sunday Night Drone Strike on the Retail World

Why do bald men always make the best evil geniuses?

You’re probably still scrolling through emails from clients upset that Amazon trumped whatever Cyber Monday promo stunt they had planned with last night’s drone delivery service “reveal.”

They’re not wrong, you know; if you were psychic, you would have been able to sense CEO Jeff Bezos thinking “Go ahead and beat this, I dare you” while smirking at the rest of the retail world in the 60 Minutes segment below. Show us the money, Charlie Rose:

One must admire the brass balls on display here, but we’re gonna have to burst your fragile bubble: of course it’s all just a big, brilliant stunt.

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Brad Stone Responds to MacKenzie Bezos: Can an Amazon Review Double as Damage Control?

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Today in Shoot That Messenger Dead news: nobody likes unflattering articles written about their companies—much less unflattering books. As many hacks and flacks now know, Jeff Bezos‘ wife MacKenzie wrote a long, scathing one-star review of Brad Stone‘s The Everything Store, which claims to be a tell-all about the Amazon CEO and (we assume) his various ethical offenses.

It’s been getting a lot of attention online, and the fact that it’s transparent helps as MacKenzie Bezos makes sure to remind readers who she is:

…I have firsthand knowledge of many of the events. I worked for Jeff at D. E. Shaw, I was there when he wrote the business plan…and [we] have been married for 20 years.

Some of the review and the comments of others read like Amazon fanfiction by focusing on all the grateful employees who Stone declined to mention—and so far most who have read the book praise it. But her basic point is that the author sells his product as a look inside Bezos’ mind despite the fact that the CEO himself played no part in its creation:

…readers should remember that Jeff was never interviewed for this book, and should also take note of how seldom these guesses about his feelings and motives are marked with a footnote indicating there is any other source to substantiate them…Hollywood often uses a more honest label: “a story based on true events.”

One undeniable fact: the review has inspired more coverage than the book itself. So was it a successful damage control effort?

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