Sep 252013


Amazons first trick was selling a tablet so cheap, it was hard not to buy it, despite the shortcomings. Amazons next trick was to build a second, larger tablet, to show it could compete if not necessarily win in the big leagues. Amazons third trick — revealed Wednesday — is to blow past Apple and the Android rivals with flatter, faster tablets that are nonetheless priced insanely low. Weve long known CEO Jeff Bezos was content to sell devices at cost — but we didnt know his company would actually go out and pay for such nice tablets. Here comes Kindle Fire HDX.

Wilson Rothman / NBC NewsThe Origami cover, available in various colors and materials for both the 7-inch and 8.9-inch models.”We make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices,” Bezos told NBC News Monday during an in-person product briefing where he showed off the two new tablets.

Major upgrades from last years models, the 7-inch and 8.9-inch HDX models have the highest-resolution screens currently on the market, and the fastest chips ever put in tablets. But specs arent the only step up here: new features let you send video to a smart TV or game console, enter low-power mode while reading books, download subscription movies for offline viewing — and even call for help from a live human technician if you run into trouble.

MORE:  Amazons Kindle Fire HDX tablets pose real threat to iPad dominance – NBC




Sep 192013


Staples Inc. SPLS and RadioShack Corp. RSH have removed Inc. AMZN lockers from their stores about a year after starting the program as competition stiffens with the online retailer.

The chains began testing a system last year in which Amazon shoppers could have a Web order delivered to a store and then pick it up for no extra cost. This allowed customers, especially urban apartment dwellers, to avoid being home to receive a package or risking a delivery being stolen because it had to be dropped off on a doorstep or in a lobby.

The decision to enter a partnership that made life easier for Amazon’s customers came at a time when the online retailing giant was already a major competitor to both chains.

“That was a little bit odd, but what they were hoping for was that when customers would come in to pick up stuff from the locker, they would pick up additional items,” said Brian Yarbrough, a retail analyst with Edward Jones & Co. in St. Louis. If they pulled the lockers, that means they probably “weren’t seeing the incremental sales out of the deal.”

Staples ended the test with Amazon after it “didn’t meet the criteria we set up together,” Demos Parneros, president of North American stores and online for Staples, said in an e-mail. The company declined to comment further on why it ended the partnership or how many lockers it had in place.

MORE:  Staples, RadioShack Yank Amazon Lockers From Stores – Bloomberg.




Jul 232012

While search engine marketing and optimization are critical elements of marketers’ branding efforts through Google, other sites, such as Google+ and Twitter, offer additional branding opportunities. In particular, Facebook provides the best example of the benefits of building brand identity within a destination site.

The outreaching brand

On Facebook, marketers were quick to launch branded pages linking to their own websites. The traffic to their Facebook pages quickly took off. However, consumers don’t always want to leave the Facebook site to click out to individual business websites — in many cases, they are happier to interact with the brand in the Facebook environment. The key was to bring the brand to the consumer.

Today, successful brands go where consumers congregate rather than wait for consumers to come to them. This requires building up an extensive brand presence within consolidated sites — in essence, syndicating the brand experience on digital properties outside of their business’s own domain. Brands such as Coca-Cola, Disney, and Starbucks have been successful in creating powerful brand destinations within Facebook, with ever-growing fan bases of more than 20 million each.

MORE:  How to avoid being lost in the digital crowd


May 302012

Amazon has received intense and well-deserved criticism for working conditions in its warehouses, where temperatures can reportedly rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The people working inside them are underpaid, overworked, subject to firing without cause and deprived of employee benefits. Amazon gets away with this because it uses a variety of legal tricks, like demanding that its employees call themselves “independent contractors.”

Amazon has also taken heat for its membership in ALEC—the American Legislative Executive Council—a corporate-funded group that backs right-wing politicians. ALEC also drafts and promotes laws like those that effectively disenfranchised large numbers of minority voters, the “Stand Your Ground” legislation that has resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin and a number of other people, and the anti-union laws brought to national attention by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

If nothing else, Bezos offered symbolic gestures of conciliation today. He announced that Amazon would spend $52 million to install air conditioning in its warehouses and that it was leaving ALEC “because of positions they’ve taken not related to our business.”

In an even more telling sign of the impact of the protests, the normally loquacious Bezos left without taking questions from reporters.

Bezos did not announce that employees in Amazon’s warehouses would receive the benefits they’re due under state and national law, or that Amazon would stop forcing them to declare themselves independent contractors.

And Amazon was behind the curve in withdrawing from ALEC, lagging well behind companies such as KFC, Taco Bell, Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Intuit, McDonald’s, PepsiCo and Kraft Foods. Most of these companies left ALEC more than a month ago, when revelations about its role in “Stand Your Ground” gave renewed momentum to demands that corporations leave it.

SOURCE Protesters Confront Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos | The Nation.