amazon’s evil plan

XenaMy wife was looking through Permission Marketing today, a c.1999 peek at “the future” (i.e., “now”). In it, the author brilliantly* extrapolated, then announced what’s real plan must be. Made sense, at the time, as they’d not yet turned a profit, (nor become the Vendors Of Everything), and, well, cash flow can only go the wrong way for so long. Wanna know what it is? It’s a plan that only a Harvard MBA would think of (and print). Here it is:

Amazon is/was acquiring a “permission base” of users. Stay with me. See, Amazon shoppers (myself happily included) willingly allow their preferences to be tracked in return for… Whatever it is we get back. Suggestions? Anyway, this ever-building list of tracked and measured shoppers is only marginally useful, until Amazon pulls their coo-day-grah: They Become A Publisher! Here’s how that works: How many colons can I use in one post? Let’s see:

Say Amazon tracks a million shoppers who love Mystery novels. They cut an exclusive deal with a top Mystery writer, then direct-market to (you know, spam) those million shoppers. Say only 1/3 of them actually buy (gotta love that “only” — 33% is a hell of a low-ball, eh?)… Anyway, without the warehousing/print overruns/etc., etc. expenses, and with every middle man going hungry, each sale is almost entirely profit! Amazon can offer the writer an unheard-of fee, and pocket an unheard-of percentage!

Problem is, when “unheard-of” is a part of a $ prediction, there’s usually a reason you haven’t heard it. And lo, to this day, *we have yet to hear of Amazon’s dubious plan to go toe-to-toe with all publishers, everywhere. Hmm, wonder what that would’ve done to supplier relations? Oh, predictions. How fun you can be, looking back at you.