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Dropping Profits Sends Amazon In Odd Directions 152

Posted by Zonk
from the do-you-like-my-song-and-dance dept.
tabdelgawad writes "The Washington Post has a story detailing how Amazon has purchased the rights to turn a recently published book into a feature-length movie. The article also outlines other 'strange directions' Amazon has taken in response to declining profits and a plummeting stock price, including moving into the grocery business and producing original live webcasts and streaming shows."
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Dropping Profits Sends Amazon In Odd Directions

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Friday July 28, 2006 @03:52PM (#15801445) Journal
    The book, which was published in May by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, a division of German media giant Bertelsmann AG, was slow to be reviewed by mainstream outlets. But Amazon sent galleys to 100 of the site's top customer reviewers, who lauded it. That helped propel the book to the top of Amazon's fiction list, much the way bloggers and other non-mainstream media outlets such as YouTube create groundswells of their own. Positive reviews followed, in The Washington Post, USA Today and elsewhere.
    Is it just me or does it seem like Amazon selected a book from an unknown author and made sure the public liked it. Most books are good--if they weren't, they wouldn't be published. The fact that it's sold only 30,000 copies and they're already seeking a movie deal tells you something. Hell, I've read Stanislaw Lem novels that have sold millions of copies world wide and only one has been made into a movie.

    They probably got him to sign over the rights for nothing and then started pushing the book to set up the movie:
    Amazon did not disclose how much it paid author Keith Donohue for the movie rights...
    Donohue would not disclose how much he was paid for the rights to his book, but offered, "I'm still here," meaning his day job.
    Poor guy. Sounds like another Anthony Burgess who sold the rights to make A Clockwork Orange into a movie to The Rolling Stones for around $5,000.

    This kind of reminds me of a media outlet gone wrong. Or American Idol informing people of what good music is. You really have to wonder if Amazon found this book and said "this is a really good book" or if they said "find me a book that will translate well to the big screen."

    You want to make money? Find an acceptable product or well known name and shove it down America's throat. Instant cash. Examples: Mission Impossible 2, corporate boy bands with music written by teams of people, any media that follows a standard high selling formula, etc. Next up? Amazon studios presents their new movie ... "A Revenue Stream We Hope to Tap."

    In TFA, they even admit it:
    No longer content to remain in the online retail market, Amazon.com is heading into the movie business...
    • I thought the same thing when reading the article. 30,000 copies is absurd compared to better selling books that never stand the chance of making it on the silver screen.
    • Most books are good--if they weren't, they wouldn't be published.

      Oooh my!

      Hell, I've read Stanislaw Lem novels that have sold millions of copies world wide and only one has been made into a movie.

      Bloody shame, because Ikarie XB 1 (Voyage to the End of the Universe) showed such promise.

      KFG

    • Is it just me or does it seem like Amazon selected a book from an unknown author and made sure the public liked it.

      No, it's not just you. That's exactly what they did. It's a morally shaky practice, but it's SOP in the publishing business to generated hype by any means possible and falsify sales numbers by overshipping, knowing that vast numbers of those books will be returned. But once they're shipped, they count. So, while I hate all this b*llsh!t and deception, it's not just Amazon, either. If the New

      • Here's the idea on groceries.

        1)Amazon sells only in bulk. So margins are higher. It isn't meant for impulse shopping, unless you want 10 boxes on impulse.
        2)Amazon Prime. Free 2 day delivery. With this, the grocery store becomes useful, you don't need to wait 2 week. If you absolutely do need it today, 3 or 4 bucks for overnight.
    • You want to make money? Find an acceptable product or well known name and shove it down America's throat

      Worked great for Starbucks with
      Akeelah and the Bee [forbes.com] didn't it?

      It's much easier to make something good and desired in the first place, unfortunatly doing that is very hard.

      I have no idea why Amazon thinks they're uniquely positioned to do this, it sounds like panic and confusion to me. If it works and they make buckets of cash and/or beautiful art then they're geniuses and all is forgiven, but it right now
      • I have no idea why Amazon thinks they're uniquely positioned to do this, it sounds like panic and confusion to me.

        They're trying to leverage the expertise in their pool of customer reviewers, who gave enough positive feedback for Amazon to move forward with this. Really, this isn't a bad idea - circumventing traditional book critics and going right to a group of customers to try and get ahead of the "next big thing."

        I wouldn't overreact to this story, as it's prompted by a lousy 2nd quarter earnings report
    • Most books are good--if they weren't, they wouldn't be published.
      Sorry to burst your bubble. I used to sit next to the book buyer for a major online retailer. The movie buyer was on the other side of her. Publishers rely on "the long tail." Most books (and movies) are junk, you just may never see them all in a virtual store. Brick and mortars only stock things that will actually sell because space is a paramount.
    • Most books are good--if they weren't, they wouldn't be published.

      I disagree. Perhaps you've been unable to frequent a bookstore as of late. Find any book by L. Ron Hubbard, open it up to any page you wish, and gasp in horror. If you still remain unconvinced I implore you to inspect the contents of any celebrity written book, and hopefully you will find one that isn't ghost-written. Also, feel free to check out any of the ego massaging political books with titles such as "Lying Liberals and the Obease C

    • This kind of reminds me of a media outlet gone wrong. Or American Idol informing people of what good music is

      corporate boy bands with music written by teams of people

      Look at Motown. Anonymous songwriters, musicians to create music. Same formula as boy bands. Even if you look at musicians who are deemed real, their sound is so much affected by the studio and the producer of their music that it's impossible to see where the band starts and where the production team ends. The product isn't completely done

      • Just look at bands or artists that have fallen out of public favor because their music is outdated. Their quality seems to take a huge nose dive even though they are the same band.

        Perl Jam isn't nearly as popular as they were with Ten and Vs., yet their music is better than ever.

        Not all good bands or artists sell out.
    • You want to make money? Find an acceptable product or well known name and shove it down America's throat. Instant cash. Examples: Mission Impossible 2, corporate boy bands with music written by teams of people, any media that follows a standard high selling formula, etc. Next up? Amazon studios presents their new movie ... "A Revenue Stream We Hope to Tap."

      actually, most of those items (MI:2 aside, that's just another example of the sequel-fest we're used to seeing in movies and games) are examples of ta

    • Most books are good

      You obviously don't read much.
      Most books are mediocre.
    • Or American Idol informing people of what good music is. You really have to wonder if Amazon found this book and said "this is a really good book" or if they said "find me a book that will translate well to the big screen."

      sorry, american idol is popular because a lot of people enjoy it. how would you define "good" music, if it's not by popularity? is it perhaps defined by the opinions of you and your friends? if anything, "good music" is completely subjective and therefore an oxymoron if you try to app

      • how would you define "good" music, if it's not by popularity?

        Simple: you defer to a trusted panel of experts, not to mass opinion.

        If the quality of music were judged solely by mass opinion, Beethoven and Mozart would have been forgotten long ago. But most educated people know this to be "good" music, even if the American Idol-watching morons don't think so.

        Even today, we now have people called "critics" and "reviewers" who provide us their expert opinions on the quality of various art (music, movies, etc.)
        • Simple: you defer to a trusted panel of experts, not to mass opinion.

          two problems: "trusted" and "expert". both of those are completely subjective. or maybe you have the secret: a mathematical formula that allows one to objectively rate a person's musical judging abilities? neat.

          it boils down to the same thing. mass opinion is choosing what experts (aka critics) they consider worthy, and people generally choose an "expert" when it reinforces how they already feel about something.

          sorry.

          • Of course, there's a certain element of subjectiveness to it all. However, how do you explain why Mozart is still being listened to after all these years, when it's certainly not something "the masses" listen to or care about?

            Moreover, would you consider Tschaikovsky or Brahms to be "bad" because they're no longer popular (and never really were, except with the royalty and other elites that liked them at the time), and would you consider Britney Spears to be "good" because a lot of teenage girls have prope
            • are you really comparing an engineered, manufactured item like a car to music? the quality of a car can be measured. you can measure it's reliability, gas mileage, cost of ownership, etc. etc. like i said, come up with an objective method of measuring the quality of music, and then we can talk.

              and why would you not factor price into the "goodness" of a car? your failure to consider cost in evaluation of the car just shows that that is also completely subjective. the criteria for judging goodness is even
        • Simple: you defer to a trusted panel of experts, not to mass opinion.
          Who exactly are these trusted experts? And who defines an expert?

          After all, Mozart's music is still with us several hundred years later, as is Da Vinci's artwork.
          How many people can even naema Mozart tune?
    • Most books are good--if they weren't, they wouldn't be published.

      This is wrong. It violates the law that "95% of everything is crap".
  • by Burz (138833)
    ...for patent abusers.

    "Ha-ha!"
  • Well (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They could always sell their "one click" technology.
  • A new chapter (Score:1, Interesting)

    by eneville (745111)
    One of the most depressing things about the IT world is the number of books one must read for a subject, consider C, it takes many books for one to become a guru, but other more 'modern' languages are simplistic, and perhaps one or two books is all it takes to grasp java/c#/python etc etc.

    Could this be the result in the change of trends?

    Has wikipedia and it's subordinates taken the place of the dead tree library?
    • Try the other way. THe C language spec is about 100-200 pages. THe Java language spec fills a bookshelf, and you can buy multiple books on its odd little tricks (try reading Java Puzzlers) without understanding them all. Our Java guru wasn't able to figure out half those puzzles. C has no puzzlers, the language is amazingly simple and straight forward- it does exactly what you say.
      • That's misleading. The Java "spec" contains the language and an extensive standard library. The C language spec does not include the standard C library at all since it isn't part of the language itself.

        Syntactically Java adds very little to C. It is larger, but not by much. I would say they are both syntactically simple languages. Something like Pascal is much more complicated because they mashed all sorts of common functions right in to the language itself.

        If you want to compare the standard C library to t
    • Man, that's one of the depressing things about being a doctor too: having to read up on all of the latest data on current diseases and treatments. What'd I get myself into?
  • by boxlight (928484) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:04PM (#15801526)
    That's weird, my (uninformed) perception was that Amazon had solidified it's place as the king of of the hill and was doing exceedingly well.

    Funny how you don't really know who is really succeeding until you look at the bottom line.

    Is it possible that the big web 1.0 succeess like Amazon and Ebay might be toppled by some as yet unidentified jauggernaut the way Microsoft toppled WordPerfect and Lotus123 back in the day?

    boxlight
    • What the hell is web 2.0 exactly? If a website uses AJAX is it part of "Web 2.0"? Does a "Web 2.0" use an updated version of the hypertext transfer protocol? Do web browsers connect at port 160? What?!
    • by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:32PM (#15801742) Homepage
      2 possible paths:

      A. Make a big budget movie even though you are a retailer...
      B. ????

      -or-

      A. Get rid of the whole thing where someone spends half an hour shopping on your site, filling their cart, thinking that they are getting a good deal, but when they get to the checkout they find that each item was from a different seller and all the shipping and handling is separate, so it adds like $60 to the bill.... Yeah, get rid of that, and then B may be:
      B. Profit!!!!

    • Is it possible that the big web 1.0 succeess like Amazon and Ebay might be toppled by some as yet unidentified jauggernaut the way Microsoft toppled WordPerfect and Lotus123 back in the day?

      One of the primary axioms of business is that the best way to lose first place is to act like you're in first place. If you want to keep first place, you have to perpetually act like you're still in second place. Complacency kills.

    • That's weird, my (uninformed) perception was that Amazon had solidified it's place as the king of of the hill and was doing exceedingly well.

      Funny how you don't really know who is really succeeding until you look at the bottom line.


      And they even farm out all their stuff to India now.

      You'll never catch me ordering another tech book from them again. They like the US market as consumers, but loathe them as employees. Nice.
    • by archen (447353)
      I used to order tons of stuff from Amazon. But over time I've noticed problems. Any electronics (yeah I used to get random electronics from Amazon) I can get cheaper and faster from newegg. And some things have a waiting time for a MONTH! What really pisses me off about Amazon is if you order 3 items, then you often end up with 3 shippers and thus 3 times the shipping cost. It's usually cheaper and faster to go to a store on the way home from work. To me amazon had everything right when they did it th
      • I actually have just the opposite experience. I see TONS of things on Amazon that are cheaper than anywhere else (proof [dealmein.net] [note, some are probably expired]) since they have low prices and a lot of exclusive promotions and rebates. I've rarely waited more than a few days for anything to be shipped, and once it had, I've gotten it quite quickly (then I got Prime, and now it's even more amazing). Incidentally, I *DO* only order things that come from Amazon themselves, so that may be where the difference lies.

        Thi
  • I prefer bn.com (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:04PM (#15801527)
    At this point I frankly prefer Barnes and Noble to Amazon. B&N has finally caught up with Amazon as far as I can tell in terms of hugeness of inventory for books and DVDs, and all that stuff Amazon sells that isn't books and DVDs... well, who cares? This zshops thing is just a crappy version of eBay, and there are better places to buy used books [abebooks.com].

    What I've really found that's interesting lately is that if you order from bn.com from inside of a barnes and noble brick and mortar store, they waive shipping. So if I want something, I can stop at a B&N on the way home from work; and if they have the book I want I can go home with it immediately, if they don't have the book I can just ask them to order it from the website and I get it in a few days without even having to pay for shipping. It's kind of the best of both worlds.

    Plus Amazon's switched to this MSN Live Search nonsense. What purpose does amazon.com serve at this point except as a repository for politically biased book reviews? As far as I'm concerned, screw 'em.
    • Re:I prefer bn.com (Score:3, Informative)

      by dR.fuZZo (187666)
      This is just my personal experience, of course, but, with the exception of some of my transactions with the 3rd party sellers on Amazon, I've always had excellent service and never had a problem with them. On the other hand, I placed only a handful of orders with Barnes & Noble, and they messed up three times. Personally, I'm fed up with B&N.
    • all that stuff Amazon sells that isn't books and DVDs... well, who cares?

      Yeah, it isn't like Amazon has watches, sporting goods, and just about anything that doesn't require special permits to sell.
      /works there

    • So if I want something, I can stop at a B&N on the way home from work; and if they have the book I want I can go home with it immediately, if they don't have the book I can just ask them to order it

      Ummm... Isn't this the way bookstores always worked?
  • 3rd party shippers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    i don't shop there anymore because your stuff dosen't come directly from them anymore. you now have to deal with shipping fees from 6 different companies to place one order. screw that!
  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:05PM (#15801540)
    "Come away, human author, take a venture capitalist by the hand/for the stock market's more full of bullshit than you can understand."
  • Inevitable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LaNMaN2000 (173615) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:07PM (#15801551) Homepage
    It is inevitable that Amazon would chase businesses that offer better ROCE than their core. They took on tremendous debt to build a distribution infrastructure and see single digit profit margins as a result. Meanwhile, "virtual" companies like eBay, Google, Yahoo, etc. are able to get better returns on their assets. In the past, Amazon tried to be an e-commerce platform and license their services to Toys R Us and other firms but ran into problems because they were essentially hosting sites for their direct competitors. Now, they are trying to branch into unrelated "virtual" companies like search, media, etc.
  • I'm a bit surprised by this as my spending at Amazon has only increased in the last 8 years. Amazon is my preferred supplier of books and games. I'd say more people are doing so.
    • I'm a bit surprised by this as my spending at Amazon has only increased in the last 8 years. Amazon is my preferred supplier of books and games. I'd say more people are doing so.

      Are you sure everything you buy on amazon.com actually comes from amazon, though? I know a lot of the stuff I buy actually comes from other retailers that amazon hosts. I don't know if amazon recieves any percentage of the sales price from that or if they just get a flat fee, but in either case, it may not really be helping them m

  • wild amazonians purchase rights to stolen boy!
    movies of this exploit to be sold online, leaving authorities confused and aghast!

    stocks plummet.

    • "wild amazonians purchase rights to stolen boy!"

      I wonder what ever happened to them. They just weren't the same after the lead singer and the drummer left in 2003. I hope Amazon re-release their entire catalogue.
  • Prawns (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Pilferer (311795)
    I have a suggestion.

    Prawns.

    Sell streaming, high quality prawns.
  • Crappy business model.

    I used to work at a company that did the same thing. What they did, they did poorly, because management had a poor attitude toward employees, customers, and partners.

    Rather than fix these things, which would have soiled their resumes by admitting error, they desperately attempted to cut costs to ridiculous extremes and move into new market segments that didn't in any way leverage their strengths.

    Last I knew, they were still losing money (now that they can't cut any further) and compete
    • Up until the last line, I would've sworn blind you worked for a certain company from Redmond ;)
  • ..... Can we get back to posts about Google?
  • It's not as if Amazon has been making money for very long. If I'm to believe wikipedia, they weren't actually profitable until 2003.
  • by Harmonious Botch (921977) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:25PM (#15801682) Homepage Journal
    Revenue is up, traffic is up, but earnings are down. That is accountantcy jargon that translates as: "We are doing more but doing it less efficiently". And the stockholders noticed. They began selling.
    When Amazon management noticed that, they looked for some new way to use their cash and traffic to make return on their investment. Why movies? Probably because the movie business requires - among other things - up-front investments and lots of advertising. It makes sense.
    • Lessee; we're doing worse and worse in our core competency, which we've been at for over a decade, but haven't even come close to recouping our initial investment yet, so we'll solve the problem by gathering whatever cash we can find under the sofa and plunge it into a horrendously expensive business in which we have no experience and know nothing about.

      Well, yeah, sure, if you put it that way it makes perfect sense.

      KFG
      • A mere decade or so is short-term for a business that size. Sure, if you or I do something for that long and don't make a profit, then we should quit.
        But businesses that big exist on a different time scale than you and I. They can be judged successful if they have a trend that indicates that they will make money in another decade or two.
  • by vossman77 (300689) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:27PM (#15801691) Homepage
    Amazon used to be so organized, but now its categories are vitually worthless. I search for USB thumb drive, I get 10,000 thing unrelated to it even when I'm in the correct category I get non-thumb drives and there are several nice thumb drive not in the correct category. For computer stuff now I go to newegg.com, at actually organized.
  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:28PM (#15801700) Homepage Journal
    Or could it be the slowing economy causing Amazon's profits to drop? I mean, having to pay for your McMansion and to fill up your 10mpg SUV has to dip into your discretionary income...but yeah. I can't imagine Amazon making movies. *shrug*
  • A last hope (Score:3, Informative)

    by UCSCTek (806902) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:31PM (#15801730)
    Amazon should look into it's own Gold Box and hope it finds a discount on a corporate diversification plan.
  • by rmcd (53236) * on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:33PM (#15801749)
    It has seemed to me for a while that Amazon is slipping. Their web site, long a model of clarity and usability, has become confusing with the proliferation of non-Amazon sellers. For example I recently did a search for a book and the top listing in the search results was only for used copies, while if I clicked the second listing I got the usual Amazon page for the book. Since you can buy used copies from the main page for the book, I don't even understand why the separate page existed, let alone that it was the first search result.

    I have also had several bad experiences with free shipping. In one case, I ordered Christmas gifts well in advance. After a week or so, they moved the expected shipping date past Christmas due to the item supposedly being out of stock. I complained by e-mail (why were they only telling me this after the original shipping date had arrived) and they apologized and shipped it immediately. Umm, was it in stock or not? It could have been a supplier issue, but I also wondered if they were just trying to see how I would react.

    I have returned to buy.com after ignoring them for several years. Rotten-looking web site with very poor information about items. But I have found them faster and often less expensive than Amazon.

    I expect that Amazon will survive for a very long time and do lots of business, but I don't see how they're ever going to be highly profitable.
    • I have returned to buy.com after ignoring them for several years. Rotten-looking web site with very poor information about items. But I have found them faster and often less expensive than Amazon.

      Just wait until you have a problem with a buy.com order. Their customer service department has become an absolute joke...the reps are completely powerless; either unwilling or unable to solve problems. After getting a terrible runaround on missing items on one order and a double billing on another order last year
      • I believe you and appreciate the warning, although so far I've had a very good experience with them. I do have to laugh when you say "what they once were". Years ago when Buy.com was a newcomer, they shipped me the wrong item (I think it was a book or a computer item). I exchanged it following their procedures, and then they proceeded to ship me TWELVE copies of Foolish [buy.com] and Belly [buy.com] -- at that time it was a VHS two-pack.

        My colleagues started to look at me strangely!
        • Good point...I think that as long as nothing goes wrong with your order, buy.com is probably ok. But woe unto you if anything does go wrong. And maybe that was always true, and I had just gotten lucky up until last year.
    • It has seemed to me for a while that Amazon is slipping. Their web site, long a model of clarity and usability, has become confusing with the proliferation of non-Amazon sellers. For example I recently did a search for a book and the top listing in the search results was only for used copies, while if I clicked the second listing I got the usual Amazon page for the book. Since you can buy used copies from the main page for the book, I don't even understand why the separate page existed, let alone that it w

      • I may not have been clear. I agree with you about the advantages of having 3rd party sellers, in principle. I just think they've implemented it in a confusing way. It's almost as if they've lost control of their web site. It seems to me that if Amazon's website is not impeccably consistent, clear, and usable, first-rate in every way, then they've lost a huge edge.

    • A great understatement. I've ordered books that are listed "usually ships next business day" with next day shipping, only to have the book ship 2 months later. Trying to cancel this order was impossible since it "was already being processed".

      Amazon used to have highly responsive customer service representatives, who had wide discretion. When they tried to organize they were fired and phone responses were outsourced to Belfast and e-mail responses to New Delhi. I assume that the webpage management has been s
  • The article says 'profit projections disappoint ' - this means amazon cannot match the growth they had the last 5-8 years anymore. I think its normal for a company of the size of Amazon.

    But I am curious how 'filmy business' will increase the profit of Amazon? If you make 5-8 films one might become a hit and rest (if you are lucky) will breakeven. If you make a really good film, over several years it will give you a profit - but that is not going to reflect on your quarterly statements/projections.

    I th
    • It's not a bad idea exactly. Most movie studios sell their DVDs for say $10, the retailer will sell them for $15.

      Amazon can sell their DVDs for $15, which makes it much more profitable. They also can plug it for "free" and know a lot about their customers, which can really affect sales.
  • Will the studios ever come up with something new, instead of churning out just another movie remake [imdb.com]?
  • by robklaus (661537) on Friday July 28, 2006 @04:51PM (#15801888)
    I think they've gone terribly wrong in the level of integration they have with these 3rd party merchants.

    There is no way to limit searches for items to be stricly from Amazon. I've had mixed experiences with the 3rd party folks, and really I would prefer to buy directly from Amazon, but hunting through hundreds of search results to find what Amazon ACTUALLY sells is incredibly difficult and a major PIA. This has sent me to others for recent purchases.
    • by hxnwix (652290)
      Hear hear. Why did Amazon massively invest in distribution & warehousing infrustructure when they clearly hope to become nothing more than a gigantic Ebay Stores ripoff?

      They are ignoring their profitable core competancy to provide services that their customers neither desire nor expect from them. It used to be that I went to Ebay for used books & such and Amazon for new books, DVDs and popular consumer electronics. Now I buy new books from B&N, continue to purchase used items from Ebay and I
  • "Send", dammit! What's so hard to get about subject-verb agreement?
    • Ahh, but what if "dropping" is being used in the transitive sends? Perhaps Amazon has dropped some profits by the side of the road, and the act of dropping the profits sends them in odd directions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 28, 2006 @05:41PM (#15802295)
    I am definitely happy with my decision to not accept a job offer with Amazon.com. I was recently flown to Seattle to interview with Amazon.com for an accounts position, specifically dealing with their new toy division.

    During the interview, I stayed in the conference room where 4 Amazonians interviewed me, one after another. I was annoyed that the interviewers were asking the same questions. They pretty much were reading off a script; however, the third interviewer at least was different enough to keep away from the script and go to the whiteboard for a quick logic session.

    THE SHOCK. The offer that Amazon made me was laughable. When I was informed of the offer I asked if this was for real, and how this compared to other wages for the position. I was told that the offer that they gave me was on the high end.

    I was utterly disgusted at the offer, and couldn't understand why they even bothered to fly me up to interview. After all, for the wage they gave me, Amazon could simply have recruited from the Seattle region.

    Only after talking to those who were experienced with Amazon.com I realized that Amazon had horrible working conditions. Their benefits are lousy, and they pay many University level positions by wages. Yes Wages.

    In the end I quickly realized they don't conduct what we business folks regard as a "balanced score card." That is balancing the needs of ALL Stakeholders. Stakeholders obviously include employees, investors, etc... From my point of view Amazon was way too focused on employee cost cutting. From my observation, they placed very little of that into human capital, and instead hope their brand name and aging business model will carry them forward into....well I don't know what.
  • They are patenting the idea of taking a published book and turning it into a movie.
  • Tired of Amazon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PizzaFace (593587) on Friday July 28, 2006 @06:16PM (#15802540)
    Sure, the inventory's huge, but Amazon is cumbersome to browse. More and more of their listings are obsolete and no longer stocked, and too many are just listings for 3rd-party sellers. Amazon's prices aren't that great, and the customer feedback is actually more limited than what some other sites offer. Customer support is bureaucratic too.

    In the brick and mortar world, a big department store can beat small specialty stores because one-stop shopping really saves time. But it doesn't take long to hop from one website to another. If Amazon's corporate goal is still growth through diversification, it could become a dinosaur and lose business to more-narrowly focused competitors, which often sell at lower prices (e.g. Bookpool [bookpool.com]) and are easier to shop (e.g. Newegg [newegg.com]).
  • I recall Starbucks doing something somewhat similar not too long ago. Taking an independant movie that was sure to flop and promoting the heck out of it at its stores.

    It's not uncommon for a business to throw some cash at other ventures. Afterall, any smart business person knows that one day their time will come. If they put all of their eggs into one basket, they're doomed. Companies that have died were the ones that could not see this.
  • When any company tries to diversify into an area that is to far from their core business it causes trouble, and quite often collapse. Best current example: AOL-Time-Warner, What does anyone at AOL know about publishing (Time) or movies/music/TV networks (Warner Bros.)? What does anyone at Time truly know about the core business of the other two? Why is this company in trouble? Worldcom took a very good long distance telephone company (MCI) and tried to turn it into something else, splat! If Amazon would con

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