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Interview with Jeff Bezos of Amazon

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the hey-jeff-let-us-interview-you dept.

Businesses 116

slakdrgn writes "Wired has an interview with Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon.com) with some interesting information on how he approaches the market, why they stopped doing TV advertising three years ago and hints at what might be coming in the future."

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116 comments

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Frist psot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304016)

Gagné touisteur

Re:Frist psot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304022)

You fail it!

Is it just me.. (4, Interesting)

sjwt (161428) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304027)

Or dose that interview seem to be rather empty?

but its nice to see the adversisting budget went to free shiping, I think there right, if companys focused more on the product and less on the hype, we'd all be happyer.

Re:Is it just me.. (4, Interesting)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304086)

Yeah, it did seem a little short on content. Although it does show an important side of Bezos, in that he know what the customer wants and what will drive his (amazon's) sales. The free shipping on Amazon is one reason I keep coming back there to buy stuff. When I need to order a DVD or book, or even electronics occasionally I will check Amazon first. Sometimes they just don't have the best price, so I go somewhere else, but often times the free shipping makes the difference in where I order from.

What they need to do is get more competitive on certain products, such as video games or whatever. Right now, it seems to me that all of the video games are actually sold through third party stores. Like Toys R Us for example. And they don't offer free shipping on games because of that. So when I need a game, I go somewhere else. That's a huge loss in business if there are a few thousand people like me who do the same, and all because they aren't following the sales model that gets me in the door for everything else I buy there at Amazon.

Re:Is it just me.. (1)

DarienJax (610108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304742)

I believe they don't sell video games directly because of their contract with Toys R Us. I'm not sure what the current status is (what with lawsuits and all), but originally Toys R Us was the provider for toys (including video games) on Amazon. I don't know if they'll eventually get into selling video games directly, but it would be nice.

Re:Is it just me.. (2, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305103)

I hate those third party stores.

Amazon, at least for people in Washington State, usually ships with plain ol' US Mail. This is great for me because it means that I can recieve packages during the day when I'm at work and not able to sign-- US Mail doesn't require a signature and I've instructed my postal carrier on where to leave it.

Then one day I bought a video game from Amazon. I didn't realize it at the time, but I wasn't buying *from* Amazon, I was buying from J&B Computer Crap or some company like that I've never ever heard of before. Amazon did not provide sufficient warning that I wasn't buying a product from them. And when J&B shipped it, they shipped it FedEx. Great!

So I come home and instead of my game, there's a damned Post-It on my door that says that the game requires a signature. I can't sign for it, because I'm at work when it gets delivered, so I have to drive to the local FedEx office, about 25 miles away, wait in their crappy-ass waiting room for a half-hour until the truck on my route comes back, then finally sign and get my package. What a huge waste of my time!

I wrote Amazon a really angry letter after that. They seem to do a better job now of telling you when you're ordering from a company other than Amazon, but screw that... if I'm at Amazon.com, the product I buy should come from Amazon.com. And if they allow other companies, they should at LEAST make sure that the other companies use the same type of shipping. There wasn't (and still isn't, as far as I know) any warning whatsoever that the shipping was going to be from FedEx and not US Mail.

Amazon, when making this business decision, utterly ignored the fact that some people (myself, at least) choose who they order from by what type of shipping they use. If they use US Mail shipping, I'll order... if not, I'll just get in my car and drive somewhere because it's quicker than waiting to sign for FedEx or UPS. I hope they get rid of those non-Amazon stores and just sell their own products again.

Re:Is it just me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305132)

You know, if you actually read the little sticky note, you'd know that you can just sign it and leave it for the FedEx guy. He'll come by the next day and drop of your package at your door.

Re:Is it just me.. (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305581)

So I come home and instead of my game, there's a damned Post-It on my door that says that the game requires a signature. I can't sign for it, because I'm at work when it gets delivered,

Why couldn't you just sign the release form and leave it at your door? When FedEx attempts redelivery on the next day, they'll just take the note and leave the package.

Or you could do what I do, and track the package as it travels to you. On the day the package is supposed to arrive, leave a signed note on the door for the FedEx guy. He'll take the note and leave the package. It works every time for me.

Re:Is it just me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11306099)

Which is why FedEx is cooler than UPS. I talked to the UPS guy about leaving stuff in front of the door to my secluded upstairs apartment, and he said they generally would not leave stuff unsigned because any lost packages are deducted from their wages. So yes, FedEx is the way to go.

Re:Is it just me.. (1)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11306135)

I had a similar issue with both fedex and ups when I lived downtown. Now that I reside in the burbs they leave everything without any problems.

I think this guy was just bitching because he works for USPS or something. Reality is that amazon uses the cheapest shipping method, for small packages over short distances that is always the USPS. The farther away you get the slower and more expensive usps becomes. J & R is one of the third party retailers who sells through amazon. I have ordered from them many times, they actually have faster shipping than amazon in many cases. Better prices to boot.

Next time you order from a third party merchant (which has always been listed on the sale page, and your reciept during checkout) either check their "shipping rates & policies" or email them and ask.

Re:Is it just me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11306365)

UPS makes this rather difficult. I just learned, the hard way, what "OUT FOR DELIVERY" means on their tracking page. You'd think it meant that it was on a truck, out, for delivery. Nope. It means that it's at the final UPS distribution point and may, some day, be put onto a truck to be delivered. There's no way to track when that occurs. (Not to mention the UPS lies about them knocking on doors and getting no answers).

And then, with both FedEx AND UPS, trying to pick up the package at their distribution center is nearly impossible, even with one of those stupid notes.

They're all cruddy. FedEx is admittedly better.

Re:Is it just me.. (4, Informative)

bulkmailforyou (847513) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304103)

It does seem to be an empty interview, but it is from Wired, so it seems to be part of the slashdot-wired subscription service. Amazon was great when they first started, you could get textbooks and other hard to find in regular bookstore books. From the interview, that appears to still be their strategy.

I do find it difficult to find out if an item is really in stock or may be in stock though. More than a few times I have ordered books that were "usually shipped in 24 hours" that were not going to be available for weeks. Technically it does not say in stock, but I assumed that it would be. Where I first used to order from amazon a hard to find book, since I may not get it for weeks now, I first try the local bookstores that may have it (SoftPro for software books). Stores like that also have great people working there who know a lot about the subjects in the store.

Re:Is it just me.. (1)

ragingtory (833483) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304118)

The interview is unbelievably empty... He touches several times on the personalized reccomendations that Amazon does - which really has been key to their business success. He raises an excellent point about the role of Amazon being to find the "right" 15,000 customers for a book - or whatever the magic number is. I can see further integration with their music and software sales for personalized reccomendations. It's the high tech equivalent of "would you like fries with that?"

empty adoration of those at the top (0, Troll)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304630)

Yeah, well, most humans don't really care what the content of whatever it is that the rich and powerful are saying--it's enough for them to just be able to bask in their glow...

stupid humans!

Re:empty adoration of those at the top (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305004)

Stupid humans! Hulk smash!

Re:Is it just me.. (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#11306210)

but its nice to see the adversisting budget went to free shiping, I think there right, if companys focused more on the product and less on the hype, we'd all be happyer.

Christ, think about what that means if Amazon is sufficiently confident that they no longer advertise. How many businesses, even dominant ones, can manage that feat? Their name and presence is ubiquitous, like the iPod. Amazon is online shopping.

20 million products (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304044)

The interview states that Amazon sells 20 million different articles. What I'd like to know, is this the number of articles in their catalogue or is this the number they really sell? Because when I search for something usually only the first two pages of results are available from Amazon while the bulk of results aren't available from them!

Re:20 million products (4, Insightful)

ikea5 (608732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304303)

Amazon's becoming too difficult for people like my grandma to buy things.

Want to buy this coffee maker? You can get it from Amazon directly for X amount plus free shipping if your total purchase is over Z amount with other qulified items(look for yellow truck symbol!!), otherwise the standard shipping is X for this one item plus X for each item from our kitchenware store. Or if you prefer, you can also purchase it from one of our associsated stores, the shipping is X if you buy it from A store(ships free for $100+ order!!), X from B store(different set of shipping price base on weight and some magical fomulas), or you can choose in-store pick up from C and D store(price may be higher or lower). Not confused enough? You can also buy it from one of our 100s Amazon sellers(New or Almost New or Used or Collectible!!), and no, the price does not count towards the free shipping, yes you can use a gift code, but only if it's not a promo code(count the digits!), oh and be sure to check out the seller's reputation, see all those stars? more is better!! and it's coverd under Amazon's A-Z warranty(link leds to a two page fine print)...

Re:20 million products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304735)

Ello sir, would sir like some cheese with his wine?

Amazon and othe stores (4, Informative)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304055)

He just tells about the advantages of online bookstores over conventional bookstores. He doesn't say much about what advantages Amazon can offer over other online bookstores. I guess there aren't many.

Re:Amazon and othe stores (1, Interesting)

keesh (202812) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304090)

Looks like he's trying to give the impression that Amazon *is* the only online bookstore. Rather smart PR move there...

Re:Amazon and othe stores (1)

Denyer (717613) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304494)

I read more than the majority of adults, am in the position of recommending book sources to students and to friends/family, etc. and Amazon is my main recommendation: reliability, good at dealing with (very occasional) mistakes, and an integrated marketplace feature.

I'm not suggesting there aren't other good outlets out there, especially in locations other than the UK, but Amazon may as well be the only online bookstore for many people and educational faculties. They have a popular brand over here and they deliver in the service stakes.

Re:Amazon and othe stores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305020)

"I read more than the majority of adults"

Er...how do you know?

Re:Amazon and othe stores (1)

phrasebook (740834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305738)

Well the majority of adults read nothing at all. So it isn't hard to know.

Re:Amazon and othe stores (2, Interesting)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#11306154)

Other than the free shipping for orders over $25, you're probably correct, IF you are insisting upon getting the book new and don't want to go shopping in the physical realm. A good used book store has a mountain of good books at low prices, including new best-sellers, and is staffed by enthusiasts who will bend over backwards to get you the title you want. This is still a potentially lucrative category of small business.

There are several good used book stores in my town, and I've had to cut myself off from visiting any until I've read through all the impulse buys of the last couple years. Needless to say, it will take a while. For all of online shopping's convenience, there is no substitute for a chance encounter with some obscure tome on a musty shelf.

now the really interesting story is.. (0, Flamebait)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304063)

.. how Slashdot carefully spoon-feeds the Wired articles to the public.

Come on guys every single more-than-one-page-long article from current issue of Wired was presented as "news" over the last few weeks.

Either Slashdot is (albeit slowly) jumping the shark or some kind of cross-marketing game is afoot.

Re:now the really interesting story is.. (1, Insightful)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304108)


I'll risk the bad karma in agreeing with the parent. Slashdot is very slanted in most of its news. Anything new from Apple, Wired, or any piece of hardware running Linux is big news. Oh, and any flaw in an MS product is big news.

It's not quite as bad as Fox News yet though, so I can't complain too much. When I start seeing Bush/Cheney ads instead of Thinkgeek ads at the top of my page, I'm outta here.

What the fuck? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304136)

If anything, they will serve ads for the Libertarian party. God those guys are ugly.

By the way, occasionally Slashdot gets pop-unders in the ad queue. Notice how practically all ads are now Flash? Soon we will have Flash ads with sound. Remember that Dell roll-over Flash ad? Soon we will have full-screen-takeover Flash ads. The future is glorious.

Re:now the really interesting story is.(and so...) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304231)

Welcome to the biased world of the web. Ofc /. is biased so is FOX news, but that gets pumped into the brains of the uneducated masses, without their consent and PRETENDING to be unbiased.

At least /. tries to have some objectivity and while it can't help having a liberal bent due to its audience, at least it doesn't try to hide the fact.

I'm happy to deal with the liberal bias cos at least I have a choice :)

Re:now the really interesting story is.. (2, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304240)

People come to Slashdot to get coverage of non-Microsoft platforms, with a special focus on open source.

Therefore, it should not be at all surprising that anti-Microsoft news is covered, nor that most of the stories are about, well, non-Microsoft platforms.

Wired happens to be a publication which reports on issues dear to Slashdot readers, including "your rights online" stuff and online business. Since these are subjects of interest to Slashdot readers, I'm not at all surprised or disappointed that these articles are posted.

Slashdot is, in my opinion, biased in the same way its readers are biased. I'm actually surprised at how balanced it is; positive Microsoft news, for example, is still covered. Even if we don't like Longhorn, we find out about it here.

There is too much technical news to not have some kind of bias or focus. If you really want pro-Microsoft news, well, read one of millions of sites devoted to Windows.

D

Re:now the really interesting story is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304363)

Annoyingly my comment replying to this:-

(quote): 'll risk the bad karma in agreeing with the parent. Slashdot is very slanted in most of its news. Anything new from Apple, Wired, or any piece of hardware running Linux is big news. Oh, and any flaw in an MS product is big news.

It's not quite as bad as Fox News yet though, so I can't complain too much. When I start seeing Bush/Cheney ads instead of Thinkgeek ads at the top of my page, I'm outta here. (/quote)

got shunted to this as the parent:-
(quote): If anything, they will serve ads for the Libertarian party. God those guys are ugly.

By the way, occasionally Slashdot gets pop-unders in the ad queue. Notice how practically all ads are now Flash? Soon we will have Flash ads with sound. Remember that Dell roll-over Flash ad? Soon we will have full-screen-takeover Flash ads. The future is glorious. (/quote)

When considering my comment was about bias meant my impact was somewhat diffused. am not a regular to /. so dont know exactly how the moderation and allocation of comments are worked outs, but felt that its gone slightly astray can you correct this please? my comment to the primary post was better suited in my opinion - I'll quote it again here for your clarification:-

(quote): Welcome to the biased world of the web. Ofc /. is biased so is FOX news, but that gets pumped into the brains of the uneducated masses, without their consent and PRETENDING to be unbiased.

At least /. tries to have some objectivity and while it can't help having a liberal bent due to its audience, at least it doesn't try to hide the fact.

I'm happy to deal with the liberal bias cos at least I have a choice :) (/qoute)

I have refreshed and tried to see how the moderation of your website could have made it a sub post of the origional post because of the time lapse etc but it seemed that my origional intent got slighlty waylayed by its placing.

As I am a noobie (confessed) I could be wrong but is there a way to if not alter the placing to reflect he meaning in the way I intended, or if not to delete it totally?

Ofc I could hve misunderstood the way your website works, but it seems to me that I have got my comment misplaced and if that is the case, then I would like it corrected if that is possible.

Like the site btw. This is not a complaint as such rather than a commnt on how things are displayed, comments even as banal as mine need to be put in the right context I feel: and If I've been a victim of poor timing I wont thing the worst of you but it is best I at least bring possible problems to your attention.

As this site is moderated I trust you NOT to just press the button and post this to the world :) please don't dissapoint me :D

Thankyou,

lefty (anonymous coward no 1234567890)

Re:now the really interesting story is.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305194)

Huh?

Re:now the really interesting story is.. (1)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304536)

I was suprised how quickly my original post was moderated to the ground - about 15 seconds. I bet an editor with unlimited mod points is watching the beginning of every discussion.

Yes of course we value Slashdot because of "coverage of non-Microsoft platforms". But in case of Wired, there is a definite pattern in how they post stories from there trying to cover the slow news days I guess. If it was truly news-discussing site we would see all 3,4,8 Wired stories at the same time after the issue is available and we would discuss it fresh.

Well, not just anything... (1)

beetle496 (677137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304314)

> Anything new from Apple

Well, not just anything. Slashdot passed on Dvorak's most recent bashing [pcmag.com] of Apple! Elsewhere, there is plenty of heat (but little light) elsewhere [internet-nexus.com] .

Re:now the really interesting story is.. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304740)

It's not quite as bad as Fox News yet though, so I can't complain too much. When I start seeing Bush/Cheney ads instead of Thinkgeek ads at the top of my page, I'm outta here.

And oddly enough, without including this in your description of Slashdot's bias at all, you exemplified it as a very strong part of Slashdot's bias.

Re:now the really interesting story is.. (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305355)

You have the audacity to whine about a commercial bias at /., when you have a "Free iPod link!" in your .sig? Wow. Mr Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

Nobody makes you read the articles. Nobody makes you post. You don't get "cooler" when you bitch about the quality of /.'s editing.

Re:now the really interesting story is.. (1)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305957)


I have no problem with commercial articles on Slashdot. In fact, I enjoy reading about Apple's new toay, and I enjoy reading about Microsoft's promise of new and exciting technology just as much. The problem is the disproportionate amount of CERTAIN types of these commercially biased articles. I think if you read my original post, I wasn't so much complaining about the fact that these articles advertise, it was a complaint against the bias.

If you really want to get me on being a hypocrite, point out that I have an Apple advertisement in my signature...and yes I am well aware of this bit of irony. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't really have a competing product that I like better.

Re:now the really interesting story is.. (2, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11306021)

Hmm...so an online media outlet has an editorial slant? WOW. Stop the presses.

It's silly to think you're going to get unbiased, evenhanded info from ANY single source.

BEZOS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304065)

Kneel before him!

Re:BEZOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304159)

it's benzos, not bezos. get yours, fast!

Why you should never by used books through Amazon (2, Informative)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304097)

Hopefully, everyone who buys used books as well as new ones should know about Bookfinder [bookfinder.com] , which searches tens of thousands of dealers on various listings sites (including, if you want, Amazon and Barnes & Noble). When you buy a used book through Amazon, what you're usually buying a book that's already listed through one the multiple listing sites that Amazon adds their own percetange (usually 100%) on top of.

And I know, because I sell science fiction first editions [rr.com] in my spare time.

Test does not support your claim (5, Interesting)

bstadil (7110) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304201)

I just tried 3 titles from my wish list at Amazon comparing prices found at Bookfinder.

Two were 50% more expensive for Used version and one about the same.

So why should I care about Amazon's share of the sales if it provides me a better overall price in addition to dealing with a known entity?

By the way having a long Wish List at Amazon and checking Usd Prices from time to time is an excellent way of getting good deals. New books drops to 1/3 or so often less than two mothn after release.

I've sold used books through Amazon... (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304594)

They take a cut which seems reasonable to me, and they give you some money for shipping.

The people selling used books set the price, which in my experience, is almost always lower unless it is rare. Read: supply and demand; you can't get it anywhere else except used anymore.

Re:Why you should never by used books through Amaz (2, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304642)


Bookfinder:

1) is slow
2) has a terrible ui
3) doesn't sort results well
4) doesn't find the best prices
5) has no seller ratings
6) has no reader reviews

All in all I'm not sure who would ever use this service. On every level it seems second rate.

Half.com [half.com] (owned by eBay) is a much, much better service and includes reader reviews, and seller ratings.

That's incorrect. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304925)

As someone who's sold a number of used books on Amazon, the commission they charge is pretty small. From the marketplace site:


4. The moment a buyer purchases your item, Amazon.com collects $0.99 plus a percentage of the sales price:

Computers = 6 percent

Camera & Photo, Cell Phones & Service, and Electronics items = 8 percent

Items in the Everything Else Store = 10 percent

All other product lines = 15 percent


I used to take my books to Half-Price Books but stopped once I sold a few on Amazon and made 6x what Half-Price Books would offer me. So, as a small time seller (I just sell personal stuff I no longer need, such as hiking books from a place I used to live or programming books which didn't pan out), selling on Amazon is awesome. I've made $100 in the last month selling things I had laying around on Amazon.

Similarly, I've bought a ton of used stuff on Amazon and have never had a problem.

Re:Why you should never by used books through Amaz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305182)

>Why you should never by used books through Amazon
First learn how to FUCKING spell, you idiot...

Re:Why you should never by used books through Amaz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11306172)

Please don't swear. I'm Mormon.

My experience (5, Informative)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304110)

I've used a few different online retailers for various products. The best two I have ever dealt with is amazon and newegg.

Not once has either screwed up my order: always on time, with the correct contents, and well packaged. Which is why I keep coming back. They both have ease of use, with reliability. Perhaps they don't offer any unique in and of themselves. Perhaps their prices are the same as elsewhere. But the fact is, if I know I can trust them to not send me the wrong damn fan, or that my dvd will arrive and they case won't be cracked, then I'll always go with them.

Re:My experience (1)

cfsmp3 (774544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304568)

My experience is quite different, at least lately. My last order was pretty large, and they split it in 3 different boxes. However, each box came with a content list of the entire order.
As a result, customs wanted to charge me three times as much taxes. This, combined with the fact that UPS pays for the taxes and then collects from the buyer, put me in a difficult position. It was impossible to fix the mess with customs, as the three boxes had already been cleared, UPS wouldn't return the boxes to Amazon until they paid for taxes...
Each time I emailed Amazon a guy with an Indian name replied two or three days later with some stupid precooked reply.
As of yet I don't know if Amazon has fixed this or they still can't put the actual contents of each box on it...what I know is that they didn't fix this for me.

Re:My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304806)

Each time I emailed Amazon a guy with an Indian name replied

So? "Amazon" is an Indian name.

Re:My experience (2, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304784)

I think you missed the real reason Amazon and Newegg are both so great - their customer service. In my experience, both of them will go out of their way to make you happy, whether it be Newegg making returns hassle-free or Amazon giving you a $20 credit because the price of an item has dropped since you bought it two weeks ago.

Re:My experience (1)

1lus10n (586635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11306157)

Agreed and I'll raise you one. I have been using newegg since it first opened a few years back. I have been using amazon for around 5 years. I have never had to call customer service. I currently place 2-3 orders a month on amazon (clif bars bulk, CD's etc) and about 1 every other month on newegg. I happen to have one in transit from both places as we speak.

Never had any issues at all with the orders, speed or quality of goods recieved from either place. That to me is the reason that 90% of my luxury shopping is done at those two stores.

Re:My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305370)

Im Jeff Bezos, and I aprove this message!

Re:My experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305825)

I've shopped Amazon some since 11/2000 (some because I'm not a big shopper period). Recently my order got all screwed up and the customer service just isn't there, and now I have to fool with backcharging the credit card and that hassle. They need to learn a bit more from Wal-Mart.

Why I prefer Amazon to E-bay... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11306249)

Dealing with a known entity is HUGE -- especially online.

One of the best and worst things about online retail is that the barriers to entry are pretty much zero. This is great because the diversity keeps the big stores honest in their pricing, but it's also trouble because the small store might be a scam.

Because so many sellers offer their stuff through Amazon, I'm pretty confident that I won't get hosed. After all, I'm paying Amazon, and Amazon in turn, pays the seller. If something goes wrong, I can always go to Amazon and get my money back -- they've got a physical address, they own huge warehouses throughout the country, they're not going to disappear if something happens.

With E-bay, it's a whole different story. Feedback is great and all, but ultimately you're giving your money directly to the seller. If you get screwed, it's essentially your word vs. the seller. And the seller could be some guy in an internet cafe in Pyongyang.

I know people like E-bay because they can sell crap out of their garage to other people; and because you can find Star Wars collector's glasses when you can't find them anywhere else. But I'm just not comfortable buying a laptop from ROTKfan32 just because he has 100+ positive feedbacks.

It shows (5, Interesting)

holiggan (522846) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304111)

I've been an Amazon (both .com and .co.uk) for a couple of years now and it shows that they really care about customer service, as Jeff mentions.

Just an example, I ordered an old PC game some time ago, and when I got it, I noticed that it was lacking a CD (it was one of those 4 CD games of old age). I write to Amazon, not knowing what to expect from them. But, to my surprise, they wrote back, saying that they would ship another package, no charge, and that I could keep the first one and do with it whatever I chose to! (they sugested giving it to charity)

It was really a surprise to me, I'm not used to this kind of service, not even on "live" stores, let alone on online ones!

Anyway, I'm prety happy with my relationship with Amazon and I'll continue to buy from them whenever I can.

Keep up the good work, guys!

Re:It shows (2, Funny)

fartmasterB (664800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304223)

And I'm sure the charity really appreciated the incomplete version of Hexen.

Re:It shows (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304992)

And I'm sure the charity really appreciated the incomplete version of Hexen.

Amen; what on *earth* were Amazon thinking when they suggested donating an incomplete game to a charity shop?! (*)

I've had stuff like a scanner, which I spent ages trying to get to work, couldn't even figure out if the hardware or drivers were faulty, and... someone might have got use out of it if they had infinite patience and intelligence. But I didn't want to risk some poor sod getting it in a charity shop and having as many headaches as I did with it; so the fscker got trashed.

(*) Unless it was playable without the missing disc (e.g. I have a version of The Sims which came with optional add-on packs on separate disks). But I doubt that...

Re:It shows (1)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11306122)

It could have been one of thos collections of several old games.

Re:It shows (1)

FlipmodePlaya (719010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304260)

I shop at Amazon frequently, because of their huge inventory. I've never needed to contact customer service, so I suppose I too am a happy Amazon customer.

Anyway, most people are not. Their ResellerRating [resellerratings.com] is not only below average, but their customer service rating is under 5. I understand that RR isn't perfectly accurate for a number of reasons, but those 540 reviewers' opinions should be counted.

Re:It shows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305158)

People have a lot of complaints about certain zShops. This isn't indicative of how Amazon handles its own business.

Re:It shows (1)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304543)

I had the same experience and it has made me a life-long Amazon.com customer.

I'm in the US Army, currently stationed in Korea. When I first got here, I didn't realize how long it sometimes takes for packages to be delivered to APO AP addresses; occasionally, it will take upwards of a month. So after waiting three weeks for a package to arrive, I wrote Amazon and asked if perhaps my shipment had been lost somewhere (you also can't use on-line tracking for items being sent to APO address).

Really, I just wanted to see if they could look into the situation, but instead they immediately sent out another shipment with everything I had ordered (over $100 in books and music). Eventually, I received both shipments and returned the replacement. But their willingness to go the extra mile for me made an impression.

Re:It shows (1)

eluusive (642298) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305708)

My sister recently got a book with pages 42 - 73 missing. Don't ask me how it happened, but Amazon immediately sent out another copy of the book. Hopefully it won't be missing those pages.

Re:It shows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305719)

I agree. I recently purchased some DVD's from them and a few weeks later noticed the same DVD's had dropped in price by 30%. I sent them a note asking if the difference in price could be credited to me since it was such a recent order, and I received a prompt and courteous reply granting my request without them making it feel as if they did me a favor!

Amazon has some great features, though I don't wander off to their third-party affiliations ever, I stick with the main site mostly for the free shipping and competitive prices.

One of the best features of Amazon, however, is they have never sold my email account and I've been a customer for years. My personal personal account has never been compromised by Amazon (and I registered back in the days before we realized we'd need "throwaway" accounts).

Kudos, now let's hope it doesn't change.

Re:It shows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305797)

...they would ship another package, no charge, and that I could keep the first one and do with it whatever I chose to!

The product cannot be repaired so the only reason to take it back would be fraud prevention. Having done some online sales, I can safely say that the average consumer knows next to nothing about shipping. The consquence is that, if the retailer says "ship it back on our dime", the consumer is as likely to FedEx it as anything else turning a $10 warranty claim into a $60 expense. There are other ways to do it but the same thing applies: how much time and money do you want to spend to reclaim a worthless item?

Bezos (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304142)

Bezos is hero of mine. After he won Time's Man of the Year a couple years ago, I read a book about Bezos' business strategy. It inspired me to go back to school and get my MBA!

If there is ONE thing all that I learned from Bezos and my MBA program, it is this - it's all about style and flash, baby.

The IT industry suffers from too many eggheads that don't know how to talk the language of business. NO BoD cares about technical details blah blah blah. It's got to sizzle, flash, POW - In your FACE!

I found this interview to be quintessential Bezos - the man can talk, and that makes ALL the difference.

For those who doubt this philosophy - I'm now VP of engineering in a medium-size corporation, and before long, I'll own that place.

-Mike

Re:Bezos (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304164)

your a fag

Re:Bezos (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304194)

"you're" a homo

Re:Bezos (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304208)

LOL

Re:Bezos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304230)

If you believe it's all about style and flash then you either went to a very bad MBA program or to Harvard.

That's easy... (4, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304209)

...hints at what might be coming in the future.

I can tell you that right now. More stupid strangle patents, like the infamous one click patent. [wired.com]

Bezos is a tool.

Re:That's easy... (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304332)

sorry, you can't criticize Amazon as they patented that.

Re:That's easy... (1)

kaedemichi255 (834073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305886)

Wow, get your finger out of your butt please. I think 95% of people of the more internet/technology saavy folks out there (ie. slashdot readers) are like you. They rail on great companies like Amazon for one or two instances of things that are a little controversial. The 1-click patent aside, you need to understand the importance of Amazon as a present-day e-commerce leader, and recognize the different ways that they leverage (free, open source) technology to innovate and improve customer experience. Along the way of doing those things, competition necessitates certain business decisions that are extremely strategic business decisions. Sure it might have been wrong. It might be "evil" in your eyes. But it is less a fault of the company than it is the forces of capitalism that drive such behavior from corporations. "We" all hated Microsoft for their monopoliy-ish actions in bundling their browser with the operating system back in the day; but you gotta admit it was a very strategic concept: to provide a single platform for the user and merge the power of the internet with the desktop PC. I know I am just asking for it by seemingly justifying Microsoft's credibility on slashdot, but my point here really is to be more open-minded and not think with your emotions. You might have strong opinions about something, but you can't let those opinions dictate something that should be objective; namely, the contributions that a company has made in advancing technology or inventing new ways to apply technology. Whether or not their business actions are silly is, in my opinion, a separate issue.

Profit? (3, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304365)

Has Amazon made a profit yet? I'm not talking about profitable quarters. Has Amazon made more in revenue over its lifetime than the money invested?

Re:Profit? (2, Funny)

LaCosaNostradamus (630659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305025)

Fiscal Luddite! Profit is so Old Economy. Your tired and dated irrationalities are very restricting for the new pursuit-of-wealth methodology (namely: make business plan, take it public, cash out, retire). Now go out and sink more of your retirement funds into www.GreenWhalesForSale.com and www.NicheServiceOffering.com ... and W*I*N B*I*G!

Re:Profit? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305237)

No
Infact their accumulated deficit is $2.7billion per the latest filing
http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1018724 /0001193 12504176356/d10q.htm

Re:Profit? (2, Interesting)

kaedemichi255 (834073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305905)

No, I do not belive they have. But on the same topic, why is that important? I guess it could be important to you, judging by your username ;). Here is a quote from a about Amazon.com's "undeserved kudos" for innovation: [marketwatch.com]

The author or co-author of 11 books about branding and marketing thinks the man behind Amazon.com does not deserve the kudos of Business Week magazine. Al Ries said Jeff Bezos should not be touted as one of the greatest innovators of the past 75 years because ... Amazon.com doesn't make money. Writing on AdAge.com, Ries says at the rate Amazon.com is going it will take the online retailer 85 years to break even from its accumulated $3 billion in losses. "Amazon.com pioneered a number of Internet innovations like one-click shopping," Ries concedes. But "Bezos went off the track" by adding dozens of other product categories to the business." Bezos should emulate Nintendo, Ries said. "If you want to make money, keep your brand focused. If you want to make the pages of Business Week, be our guest and get into everything."

How does making money and being profitable have anything to do with being innovative? His argument is blatantly weak, and highlights some ideologies that I personally find troublesome. Namely, the idea that innovation goes hand-in-hand with money. Granted, a fundamental principle of capitalism and the free market is that competition will spur innovation, and lead to new, cutting-edge ideas that will improve the quality of life and generate massive revenue. But to me, it seems counter-intuitive for a company to stop expansion into unconquered frontiers simply because the actions may not necessarily result in profits. In the article, Ries claims that Amazon.com should emulate Nintendo and maintain a focused approach. But how has Nintendo been doing? I'm not a big console gaming fan, but it seems like their grip on the market has been slipping to Sony and Microsoft. It wasn't until the recent release of the revolutionary, innovative (gasp) Nintendo DS system that they have seemingly regained some momentum. So why play it safe and stray from exploring new ideas and concepts just to make money? Then again, it is also possible to have the best of both worlds, and make money while coming up with new ideas. This is something Microsoft is quite good at, and I admire its business model and its ability to utilize such a business approach. Being a gigantic corporation with deep, deep pockets, Microsoft is able to take challenges on multiple fronts and try to come up with the next big thing in various sectors of technology. In contrast, companies like Electronic Arts take advantage of their big share of their respective markets and seem to be just slowly milking their successful products (ie. the endless lines of sports titles that are released every year with little improvement), hoping to make big money with quick, uninspired, non-creative tweaks to existing "brand name" products. But Microsoft is different. Just because they have money (and lots of it) and are consistently profitable and extremely stable, the company is still willing to innovate. I think such a mentality is extremely important for both the corporation and the individual. Atleast, this is the stance I personally take. Whenever I hear someone making a comment about a company's inability to "break even" or "make a profit," I cringe and chuckle at the same time. Why should that be the criteria for judgement? Personally, I would much rather work on something that has the potential to drastically change the way we live our lives than work on something that is guaranteed to make money, but is tried-and-done and mundane. It's just way more fun being creative, coming up with wild, crazy ideas, and having the opportunity to manifest these thoughts and transform them into real, practical goods and services. After all that, money is just an added bonus.

Netflix (4, Informative)

Stephen (20676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304371)

On the Netflix question, what he didn't say was that amazon.co.uk is already offering that service. I didn't realise that the US branch wasn't, actually. I'm sure they will do it in the US soon.

He's probably right that Amazon wouldn't need to market it, and in the UK, it's much cheaper than the competing services (£7.99 per month for up to four rentals, two at a time; or £9.99/six/three).

Interview with Bill Gates of Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304402)

Interview with Steve Jobs of Apple. Interview with Scott McNealy of Sun. Interview with Andy Grove of Intel. Interview with Seymour Cray of Cray Computer.

C'mon. Show some respect for even a modicum of intelligence in your readership, Taco. We know who Jeff Bezos is.

Amazon's growth... (5, Interesting)

Lord_Scrumptious (552119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304412)

Do physical bookstores have anything to offer that Amazon doesn't?

Actually, one thing I find easier (and more enjoyable) in a physical bookstore is actually browsing for different titles along a shelf (or shelves). You might be looking for a particular title, but it's always interesting to see what other titles are stacked up next to it. Yes, you can "browse" online, but it feels more cumbersome to me and doesn't match the pleasure of browsing in a real bookstore (or library). What's more, Amazon's website has quite a cluttered feel to it. There are so many bits of information on a single page (including adverts from other vendors), it sometimes feels as if you're being bombarded with the hard sell.

I've ordered many times from Amazon and have no complaints about their customer service. However, they've grown so large (and continue to grow), I do worry about their influence and how they might exert it over other vendors, publishers, writers etc.

And speaking of the hard sell, is the recent "Amazon Theater" a foretaste of things to come? Product-placement taken to a new level i.e. films designed primarily to sell products. Not something to look forward to. How long before we see weblinks on a DVD that take you direct to an Amazon page where you can buy product X as featured in the movie you just watched?

What about videos? Netflix says it believes you're going to enter their rental-by-mail business.

Amazon UK have already started a DVD rental service. Perhaps it's a way for Amazon to test the waters before launching the service in the US?

Re:Amazon's growth... (3, Insightful)

paulbd (118132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304501)

I was the 2nd programmer at amazon.com, back before it was even called amazon.com. When we started, I desperately wanted to offer a browsing technique that would model "dialing down" a search in a huge library - being able to browse the "gardening" section, then realize you were interested in "flower gardening", then "flower gardening, pacific northwest" and then focusing on "history of flower gardening, pacific northwest".

I was therefore very upset to find that there was no way to do this. The Library of Congress could not or would not provide us with their complete category lists, and the company that distributes Books in Print provides the LoC classification data in a format that has been garbaged to the point that you can longer reconstruct heirarchies.

I struggled on with the idea for a while, but we just had to give up. Its been a long term regret of mine.

Re:Amazon's growth... (2, Informative)

great om (18682) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304529)

go to oclc http://www.oclc.org/ (they have all the library class classification you need)

they sell their data. This is where librarians actually get the data we use for public access catalogs

- a librarian

Re:Amazon's growth... (1)

paulbd (118132) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304581)

i haven't worked for amazon in about 8 years. i don't believe OCLC existed in its present form in 1994, and they certainly didn't have electronic versions of the data, because we were told by most librarians that the LoC was the only possible source. the LoC had an FTP-based version, but it was subject to random updates and was very unreliable in terms of connectivity. it may be all much better now, in which case it is a shame that amazon doesn't do this.

Re:Amazon's growth... (1)

kaedemichi255 (834073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11306619)

What made you leave the company? Was this a decision that you regretted?

Re:Amazon's growth... (2, Informative)

Lord_Scrumptious (552119) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304851)

When we started, I desperately wanted to offer a browsing technique that would model "dialing down" a search in a huge library

Barnes and Noble offer a "Book Browser" feature at their website [barnesandnoble.com] - they even have a flash demo that demonstrates how to use the feature. It's not a perfect browsing tool, but it does offer you the option of drilling down to a more granular level as you mention. Browsing for books at the Barnes and Noble website is certainly easier than browsing at Amazon.

Re:Amazon's growth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305144)

I've ordered stuff from Amazon in the past, but they have become my last choice now. Reason - I go to their site for the express purpose of buying something, and I'm bombarded with ads. Enough already.

The smaller specialty operations typically don't do this. If they do, I find a different one.

Re:Amazon's growth... (1)

TrentL (761772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305896)

I've found Listmania to be a good way to browse books. For example, if you're looking at a Chess book, you'll see a Listmania link. If you click on it, you'll see some user's list of recommended chess books. It's a very useful feature.

The most interesting thing about Amazon is that whenever you are searching for books on a particular topic, you can easily find the cream-of-the-crop within minutes. Reviews for books inevitably talk about other good books in the field, and it doesn't take long before you find out what's the most popular.

Theres less choice on amazon now (3, Interesting)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304452)

Its all recent 'popular' stuff now on offer, and less and less old rare or cult items.
For instance a year or two ago they had a good selection of chinese and japanese action films. Hell, from every country. Now its just a couple of 'popular' ones that made it so US cinemas alredy.

And where the hell is Von Triers The Kingdom series 2 Amazon? You have the woefully bad Stephen Kings abortion, yet dont have the second part of the original.

Re:Theres less choice on amazon now (1)

Luthair (847766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304575)

It could be at the time studios were trying to push everything out onto DVD making the movies more readily available.

Re:Theres less choice on amazon now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11305351)

If you want asian movies you want to use yesasia.com anyways not crappy ass amazon.

Re:Theres less choice on amazon now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11306245)

no comment needed [xmission.com]

search-inside-the-book (3, Informative)

Mordibity (16804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304481)

What I thought was most interesting was his comment about search-inside-the book. When that feature debuted, I remember reading a highly-rated comment here on /. by someone who's spouse was in the book biz who thought that it would be death for cookbooks and reference works since people could get the info piecemeal instead of buying the book. And yet Bezos says they were worried a little about that, too, but relative sales in those categories increased the most!

RIAA, are you listening? (5, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304754)

We wondered about things like cookbooks and reference titles - would people just take the snippet they need and not buy the book? In fact, by letting people search inside, sales of these types of books have gone up more than average.

Re:RIAA, are you listening? (1)

sv0f (197289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11304844)

Key quote in the article.

Re:RIAA, are you listening? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11306247)

What this indicates is that people don't like to file reference material printed off the web for home activities like cooking. They'd rather have a cookbook. That doesn't necessarily carry over to p2p music files which can be burned onto a CD. The usage patterns are different.

Re:RIAA, are you listening? (1)

kz45 (175825) | more than 9 years ago | (#11306361)

We wondered about things like cookbooks and reference titles - would people just take the snippet they need and not buy the book? In fact, by letting people search inside, sales of these types of books have gone up more than average

you can't read the entire book. Only a few pages from it. The only way this would be like the music situation on the internet, would be if every book had a free e-book equivalent, allowing anyone to test the book out before purchasing.

i hate amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11304914)

They fucked up my order at christmas and when i returned the item they sent me incorrectly they sent me back the same exact WRONG item!

Jeff Bezos at Web 2.0 (2, Informative)

Grassferry49 (458582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11305128)

If you're interested in Jeff Bezos and the interview has left you wondering more still, check out the conversation with him posted at ITConversations from the Web 2.0 Conference. Jeff talks about Amazon and entertains questions from the audience.

IT Conversations - Jeff Bezos [itconversations.com]

Amazon References (1)

clohman (592703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11306023)

I am surprised he didn't mention Amazon's new references feature. It notes which other books reference the one you're browsing in their footnotes or bibliography. This feature was introduced quietly but has made a world of difference in my search for technical & academic works.

I'd imagine they've seen a slight rise in purchases by self-study students and researchers as a result.

Testing, 1, 2, 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11306077)

Testing, 1, 2, 3
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