HN Gopher Feed (2017-10-28) - page 1 of 10
Amazon now has a billion-dollar ad business
107 points by eloranthttps://digiday.com/marketing/amazon-now-1-billion-ad-business/
iiiggglll - 1 hours ago
I refuse to believe a single number about the online ad business
while things like this are going on:http://fortune.com/2016/12/20
oh-kumudo - 2 hours ago
As always, adblocker is your friend.I don't really see that Amazon
can go so bold to block customers that come to the websites with
adblockers on, unlike other business like Youtube/Facebook. After
all it is a retail website, ads is just easy money they collect on
wpietri - 3 hours ago
One of the things I liked about Amazon early on is that they were
on my side. They were very customer focused. For a while, though,
they've been shifting to make me the product. Their site has become
filled with sponsored products and ads. It's definitely reducing my
trust in them.
dabei - 3 hours ago
How much to offer to and gain from their customers is a balance
that every company has to strike. They choose the balance not out
of the goodness of heart, but as a way to optimize their long
term reward, given the regulation and competitive landscape. What
we get from Amazon is about as much as what we can reasonably
expect in the current environment. It will probably stay this way
until new competition comes.
wpietri - 3 hours ago
What I'm concerned about is a conflict of interest.When they
just sold things, they had a very clear way to gain from me:
setting prices so that they were profitable. I'm told their
margins have definitely crept up from the early days, but I'm
fine with that.But that's different than them selling me as a
product to other people. I can pretty easily evaluate prices
and shop somewhere else if I think Amazon's are too high. If,
though, they are selling the ability to manipulate me, that's
intentionally hard for me to notice and price.Once they're
selling the power to shape my behavior, suddenly they're not on
my side anymore. I can't trust them as much, because for any
given interaction, it's not clear whether they aim to serve me
or aim to serve me to somebody else.
SomeStupidPoint - 3 hours ago
Is that just a general feeling, or are there specific issues you
have with Amazon?Ex: Maybe a particular page has too many ads/has
ads at all/etc. Or maybe a particular service doesn't really do
what you would like.Disclosure: Work at Amazon, not on anything
QAPereo - 8 minutes ago
Honestly, I hate ads, and on a visceral level I dislike them on
Amazon. HOWEVER... I haven't noticed them doing any harm to the
experience, they're easy to identify, and therefore to avoid. I
wish they weren't there, and worry about future conflicts of
interest, but for the time being the behavior is acceptable.If
Amazon doesn't compromise the UX, including privacy, with ads,
then I think most of us will live with it.
Havoc - 3 hours ago
Trusting big companies is a folly anyway. They make decisions
based on dollars and stats.The only companies one can "trust" are
the smaller ones - where the owner still has enough control to
stamp his own sense of ethics onto the place.
wpietri - 3 hours ago
Sure, but with their previous business model I didn't have to
trust their ethics, just their long-term self interest. Amazon
got big because they were good at serving their customers well.
But if they've decided to make money from selling access to
manipulating their customers, suddenly my trust in their sense
of self-interest isn't enough.
majormajor - 3 hours ago
I think you're missing a level of trust that it sounds like
you implicitly had.Selling you products you wanted at a good
price never precluded them from doing shady with the data
that resulted from those transactions. Their incentive is to
maximize income, so they could've always done all sorts of
shady behind-the-scenes things with the data as long as they
felt the risk of getting exposed and losing a lot of business
as a result was sufficiently low.
jorvi - 3 hours ago
As long as their customer service blows everyone else?s out of
the water, they will have me buying there. Replacements, refunds,
returns, even icky stuff like ads suddenly turning on on my
Kindle were all fixed within a 5 minute live chat, no wait. You
have such customer focus practically nowhere else, unless you?re
a someone who brings in major dough. It works so well that I
happily pay the ?Amazon premium? (around 10%) to be sure of that
certainty of service. I realize this sounds shilly, but it is how
it is for me.
thosakwe - 3 hours ago
I find the technology industry to be a cluster of massive
companies, with no real concept of consumer trust. Privacy is a
thing of the past
JumpCrisscross - 3 hours ago
> Privacy is a thing of the pastApple swings decisively against
this trend. Alignment of interests is a powerful social device.
NicoJuicy - 3 hours ago
Because they failed with it, everyone forgets iAd ( ads in
the Apple way)
JumpCrisscross - 1 hours ago
That might have been an attempt to corrupt their alignment
of interests with their customers. It is not an example of
a conflict of interest producing, well, conflicted
outcomes. I'm skeptical even about the former claim given
how locked down the iAd market was, which could be a
product of said alignment forcing privacy-friendly
tinfoil2017 - 3 hours ago
I have a half-baked theory about advertising in customer-centric
marketplaces (e.g. Amazon and App Store):What if advertising is
just like drug use? Most hate it and blame the suppliers, but
there will always be demand for it. So, what if the marketplaces
have a choice: Provide a "legal" way to advertise that is "safe"
or outlaw advertising and push the behavior towards a "dangerous"
black market.Before App Store ads, app makers definitely used
"black markets" to drive downloads... and now with the App Store
ads I've heard rumors the app ecosystem is overall more safe.What
if it's the same for Amazon? By giving sellers a "legal" way to
advertise, Amazon makes customers and the marketplace net safer.
bluntfang - 1 hours ago
If "black market" ads are more potent (more click throughs,
buys, ect) then they will always exist, regardless if there's a
"legal" way to do it.
eighthnate - 27 minutes ago
The most disappointing part for me are the prices on amazon. They
used to have the best prices. Now their products are overpriced.
I noticed this starting in 2013 and bought a sizable stake in
amzn ( the 60 minutes report on the amzn drone also helped ). So
the appreciation of the amazon's stock price more than made up
for their overpriced goods.
jasode - 3 hours ago
As an Amazon customer since 1996, I'm ok with their "sponsored"
placements on search pages. I'm not necessarily happy that
pixels are taken up by sponsored spots but I'd rather Amazon show
advertisers' influence transparently with the obvious "Sponsored"
label.This is unlike grocery stores where there are invisible
"slotting fees". The particular items at the highly desirable
"eye level" shelves are paid for. The colorful end caps at
the ends of aisle are there because the vendors paid extra for
those spots. Same with the books at Barnes & Noble that are
prominently placed "face out" instead of "spine out" or stacked
on the featured tables near the doors as you walk in. None of
those retail manipulations have a sign saying "sponsored
placement" on them.If advertisers are going to influence the
product display on the shelfs -- physical or virtual -- I prefer
the way Bezos did it. https://www.google.com/search?q=aisle+en
sgc - 2 hours ago
Some of those are paid for some of the time. As someone who has
sold niche items to a number of different larger chains
regionally, usually it is just the manager / dept manager who
puts what they think will sell in the best spots. They have to
perform like everyone else.
sampl - 2 hours ago
> I'd rather Amazon show advertisers' influence transparently
with the obvious "Sponsored" label.This is basically how Google
works too, right? Do people distrust them for the same reason?
QAPereo - 29 minutes ago
YES. Other reasons too, such as the relentless spying, but
fullshark - 1 hours ago
Me too, but I still shop there and expect to shop there until I
click170 - 3 hours ago
Maybe they can reinvest some of that money and figure out how to
not spam me for things I've already pre-ordered from Amazon.Case in
point, Super Mario Odyssey. Preordered from Amazon, and they've
been sending me nonstop emails to try and sell me additional copies
ever since.At least their marketing emails tend to come from a
different source from tracking notification emails so you can
filter them with ease.
antoncohen - 2 hours ago
Just unsubscribe from marketing emails. I receive zero marketing
emails from Amazon, and I'm a prime member that orders fairly
frequently. I do receive AWS product announcements, but I want
smelendez - 12 minutes ago
I've bought multiple copies of the same item from Amazon.
Sometimes it's been groceries but not always.I've bought books
for myself then bought them again as gifts for someone else. I
bet a lot of people who bought Switch games for themselves will
buy more copies as holiday presents.
Entangled - 3 hours ago
Competition is good, even for heavens and hells.
umeshunni - 4 hours ago
If the business generated $1B last quarter, isn't that a $4B
dang - 3 hours ago
We've taken taken the hard number out of the title above to side-
step the possible inaccuracy.
wpietri - 3 hours ago
Excellent point. The article was kinda hazy, but the original
Amazon press release is here, and it confirms your take:
aslkdjaslkdj - 2 hours ago
That is only part of Amazon's advertising business. If you read
their 10-k:"Vendor Agreements We have agreements with our vendors
to receive funds for advertising services, cooperative marketing
efforts, promotions, and volume rebates. We generally consider
amounts received from vendors to be a reduction of the prices we
pay for their goods, including property and equipment, or services,
and therefore record those amounts as a reduction of the cost of
inventory, cost of services, or cost of property and
shostack - 2 hours ago
What's the insight here? How they handle the accounting of it?
julianpye - 3 hours ago
The online business has really migrated from a long-tail
exploration business to one where people just go with the masses
and buy the 'No. 1 in Category' product. Now giving companies the
chance to take such a top spot and proving the value of that
positioning by being able to verify that the purchase was completed
is an amazing asset to have. That shot at being the first trillion
dollar company is getting better and better.