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Jeff Bezos Named Time Person of the Year

CmdrTaco posted more than 14 years ago | from the what-a-ripoff dept.

News 213

doomy writes "A pretty stunning story hit Associated Press's wire today. Apparently Jeff "king of cybercommerce" Bezos of Amazon.com fame would be named the Time Magazines's person of the year. The same wire states that Amazon was loosing millions of dollars while this award was given." I've stopped shopping at Amazon personally. Until they drop their lame patent stuff, I figure they don't want my business.

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Re:actually, this is accurate (2)

jnazario (7609) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461555)

What did this person contribute to society, other than a place to buy books at fair prices conveniently over the internet?


i think you're missing the most important thing that's going on here. bezos is one of the most high profile members of the group of people that have fundamentally changed the economy and the dynamics of the flow of information.


the economy has changed on several key levels in the larger field that bezos is shaping (with others). first of all, we're moving towards a service oriented society, and the increasing IT/IS infrastructure is a combination of service and products. this is part of the larger shift in american economics from a production society to a service society. secondly, on the economic front, think about the amazing amount of wealth funneled into the hands of younger and younger people. FORE, Inc., was recently bought out, and secretaries could retire on the money from their resulting stock options. never before have we seen such a resulting shift of money so fast, and such vast amounts as well. bezos and amazon.com lie at the heart of this revolution.


in terms of the flow of information, it has done two major things. first of all, it has shifted the power from those that hold and dole out information to those that seek it. we've gone from a supply based system to a demand based one. this is about as fundamental a shift as the invention of the printing press. the dot coms also lie at the heart of this radical, sweeping change. the second thing is that it has liberated access to information. think about the stuff you now get to read each morning. i get to read everything from science journals that my university doesn't get to intelligence reports that woul normally be difficult to get. i'm sure you're in the same boat, having unparalleled access to information. again, the dot coms have helped to shape and provide this revolution.


frankly, i think it would have been better to have a person like dyson or someone else who played such a fundamental role in shaping the current internet if they wanted to honor that, but that's just me. but then again i think the century was shaped by far more important people on all levels.

Illiad said it best... (3)

Karma Sucks (127136) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461556)

click here [userfriendly.org]

Re:books section (1)

Quinn (4474) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461557)

Everyone with the power, keep on moderating this to the top. It's the first thought come into my mind when I read Taco's comment.

HYPOCRISY.

--

Bezos: Man of the Year (1)

hwestiii (11787) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461578)

The man of the year thing has never been a popularity contest exactly, Ayatollah Khomeni (sp??) was man of the year once (real bitchin Brad Holland cover too) as well as a number of other people you might not want to invite for dinner.

It isn't about popularity, it is about influence. Bezos is the single most visible proponent of e-commerce which virtually didn't exist three years ago, and is set to put a big dent in conventional retail this Christmas season.

Sure they are losing money, and they may well tank completely given time, but they(he) have set the paradigm for online business and captured the popular imagination with respect to technology to a greater extent than anyone since Apple, MS, or Netscape.

Man of the Year... (5)

Firinne (43280) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461579)

Man (or Woman, or Thing) of the Year is generally given to the most influential person of the past year, positive or negative. Now, Bezos may be a hyper freak, but he has built up Amazon from the ground up into the Internet's first real Super Store, and proved to most of the brick-and-mortar types that e-commerce could really work. E-commerce, and hence Amazon and Bezos, have really revolutionized the way people think of doing business.

And so what if he's losing money... So was AOHell all those years, and now they're raking in the money hand over fist. As Garry Trudeau once said, "If you're not losing a lot of money, you're not being aggressive enough."

On a personal note, I know it's not what a lot of people here want to hear, but I almost won't shop at any place but Amazon. I've had really bad experiences with Barnes & Noble in the past, and while I haven't given Borders.com much of a try yet, they don't have the selection and variety of Amazon. So far I've been completely satisfied with Amazon's prices and customer service.

Re:men of the years... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461580)

If I recall correctly, they named him the "Most Influential" person of the year, not "Man of the Year".

Re:books section (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461581)

Why am I not surprised at this?

This is a disgusting the 80s all over again (2)

FoulBeard (112622) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461582)

This is pretty disgusting. I think this makes a pretty obvious statement, that all you have to do to be "man of the year" in the eyes of the media is make loads of cash.

Seriously what did he really do to deserve this "honor". I wish Time would stop rewarding business skills and commercialism, and start honoring innovation and integrity.

It seems that they just wanted someone to capture the spirit of the digital revolution, and some clueless journalist just picked some ass out of the air, a name that people would recognize.

I know that I am going to get flamed for this but lets try to be fair and mature about it. Good ol Bill "the evil tycoon" Gates donated billions to charity this year. While I dont agree with some of M$'s business tactics, I respect Bill Gates for this.

I think Time should make that "I kiss you guy" guy man of the year, just out of spite.

P.S. Happy Holidays :)

They Got The Wrong Guy (3)

The Welcome Rain (31576) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461583)

Clearly, Time meant to give the nod to Larry Wall, without whose efforts Amazon would still be working on their first C++ prototype. Not that Amazon has given a thing back to the Perl community...

I have informed them of their accidental error; I'm sure they'll correct it shortly. :)

--

Re:men of the years-- wrong date... (1)

Wiktor Kochanowski (5740) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461584)

Factual correction: Auschwitz, the concentration camp in the Polish city of Oswiecim, was NOT formed in 1939. The first transport of Jews headed for Auschwitz was shipped from Tarnow on July 14, 1940.

This doesn't mean what you think (1)

Stargazer (4144) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461585)

TIME selects its person of the year by choosing who has made the most news in the past year. Good or bad makes no difference: what matters is how much news relates to said person. Hence, it is no wonder that Ken Starr and Bill Clinton were chosen for last year's award -- there was no doubt. All that news may not have been good, but they made a LOT of news.

While I'm not absolutely certain of this nomination myself, I myself can't think of anyone who would particularly be more deserving of the award for this year, except possibly the Department of Justice. That's a whole group, though, rather than an individual, and most people don't hear as much news about the case as slashdotters do.

This is why TIME would consider naming Hitler for man of the century. World War II has had outstanding impact on the world since it begun, and moreover, continues to to this very day. I doubt anyone (rational) at TIME would say what Hitler did was a good thing. He sure as hell made a lot of news, however. Thus, don't go thinking that TIME is championing Bezos as the pioneer of e-commerce.

-- Stargazer

Re:Community.. (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461586)

Give Amazon enough time, and they'll probably try to patent this as well. I've never purchased anything from them, and because I disagree with this patent, I won't start.

Bezos claims that other sites should "innovate" and not "copy". What Amazon has done, however, is no different from all of the domain name speculators that have purchased (or reserved) untold thousands of domain names, and are attempting to re-sell them at rediculous prices. This isn't a question of innovation, it's *only* a question of "who got there first," and there's *nothing* innovative about it. I think Bezos would do well to learn the difference between innovation and opportunism.

You have to admit... (1)

jonr (1130) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461596)

...that amazon.com is quite a success. No other on-line store has gotten so much publicity and (in)fame. Shame about the idiotic patent, though...
J.
(first?) :

Re:You have to admit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461602)

I know this is a bit offtopic, but why is there so much concern over getting first post?

Amazon's Response (3)

ewoods (108845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461606)

I sent them a nice email telling them that I will not use Amazon until they give up this silly patent stuff. Here is their response.


Thank you for writing to Amazon.com.

The patent system is designed to encourage innovation, and we spent thousands of hours developing our 1-Click® shopping feature. This feature securely stores billing and shipping information so that returning customers need only click their mouse once, without re-entering or re-confirming that information, to purchase selected items conveniently.

In recognition of the innovative and unique nature of the 1-Click® technology, the U.S. Patent Office awarded Patent No. 5,960,411 to Amazon.com on September 28, 1999.

We're pleased that the court recognized the innovation underlying our 1-Click® feature by granting a preliminary injunction barring barnesandnoble.com from using it while our suit is pending.

I hope you'll understand that we are unable to discuss this case any further as we are currently in litigation. Thank you for taking the time to share your views with us.

Best regards,

Erik J. Macki
Happy Holidays from Amazon.com
Earth's Biggest Selection
http://www.amazon.com
==============================

Re:actually, this is accurate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461607)

BTW, I read somewhere that Amazon is going to post a profit this quarter. I don't remember which of the free trade rags said this. But, it wasn't a rumor. We'll see if this is correct from the Q4 posting.

Re:History (very off topic) (2)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461608)

KZ Auschwitz was (and is) in Poland so it was built later. KZ Dachau was in the village of the same name on the edge of Munich and had existed for years before 1939.

I suppose you could say that it was justified in the sense that he did have a huge influence on world affairs. How often did FDR (comparison: influence, nothing more) get it?

Re:Why this is a good idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461609)

Or they get removed altogether, just like ZDNET.

Peuuuuuh.

! (1)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461610)

I disagree. What would you do differently in their shoes? It's easy to criticize something, it's alot harder to come up with a better solution.

Accuracy (1)

Shabazz (29233) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461611)

This isn't really that accurate. Right now most net stocks are 50% off their 52 week highs. If it was last April when all the stocks were high flying, I would agree with you. Amazon, funny enoug, is only about 20% off its 52 week high.

Really, this is the year (smart) people realized net stocks were not a sound investment because the price of competition is low and will drive profit margins down.

This is more likely the year of hardware providers, the only people actually making money on the internet.

Re:books section (2)

Quinn (4474) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461612)

Way back when Taco started with the Amazon links, it was just so he could get free books and music, which was just fine considering he was a starving student. Of course, now we can safely assume he's RICH, with no fiscal reason whatsoever to keep the Amazon links, and he's had since RMS's announcement to remove them.

Personally, I don't blindly subscribe to whatever RMS yowls about. I don't appreciate Amazon's patent, but B&N and every other megacorp chain are further entrenched and WORSE than Amazon IMO.

What bothers me is the gross and blatant hypocrisy of Taco to make such a statement while he continues to lead people to Amazon through his own high-traffic site.

--

We were right (1)

warpeightbot (19472) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461613)

When Jeff went to expand into electronics and all that other stuff, some of us here on ./ wondered if he wasn't getting Bill Gates-itis. Here in the last few weeks those same people have been proven right with the Barnes and Noble fiasco.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Time Warner is an organization which is about the kind of power that Bill Gates wields, only more subtly and more pervasively.... the same kind of power that Jeff Bezos aspires to. Time Warner, if you remember, was the one who, seeing Ted Turner as a threat to their empire, simply bought him out.... and turned CNN from the best damn news outfit on the planet into just yet another media shill for Big Brother.

And now they promote Jeff Bezos, a man who turned out to be one of their own. No, I don't think he's on a par with Hitler; neither is Bill Gates, for that matter. I do think, however, that both men engage in some extremely slimy business practices, beyond illegal and into the just plain ethically wrong, and that both men's empires deserve to be brought low, if not by the courts, then by the power of the people voting with their feet.

There are alternatives, folks. Use'em.

Taco, put your money where your mouth is. Get rid of the Amazon box. (does the damn thing REALLY generate that much revenue?) And tell Jeff why. This madness has got to stop, here, now, and by our hands. If not now, when? If not us, who?

Delenda est Amazon.

Re:Give the guy a break. (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461614)

I think a lot of people will disagree with you that the '1-click' patent is a minor issue. I certainly do. It's idiotic to actually believe it's morally right to be able to patent software. Copyright, well that's argueable. Patent? Be serious. To actually sue another company for infringement is even more despicable.

Re:s/loosing/losing/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461625)

I still cannot believe how many people use loosing wrongly on slashdot. *sigh*.

Re:Man of the Year... (1)

bubbasatan (99237) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461626)

You need to try buy.com. If it's books you're after, they've got that. Computer equip, home stereo, music, etc. I've had good luck dealing with them in the past, and have even found a couple of specials on their site that have really kicked ass. I think that buy.com is much better than amazon, as far as e-commerce goes. However, I'm still waiting for a massive e-commerce site that is powered solely by Linux & Apache. Even Netscrape's products are questionable these days. Especially since Netscrape can't seem to get that communicator 5.0 out.

b e-consistent (2)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461627)

I refuse to use the word e-commerce Amazon remains the gold standard for an e-commerce site 1999 certainly is the explosion of "e-commerce."
.oO0Oo.

Re:books section (2)

kramer (19951) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461628)

Actually, looking at the agreement in the books section, it appears to be nothing more than an amazon.com associates agreement. The amazon.com associates terms and conditions includes the following line in section 11:

Either you or we may terminate this Agreement at any time, with or without cause, by giving the other party written notice of termination.

So slashdot is under no obligation to continue to supplying links to amazon.com.

Idea (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461629)

Well, I see alot of negitive comments, not just about Time's choice for 'Man of the year', but about the whole 'Man of the year' proccess.

Why don't we have our own 'Man of the year' thread here on Slashdot? Set it up the same way interview questions are set up. And change the name to someting a bit more gender neutral while we're at it.

The only rule I can think of is the canidate must be currently alive. Oh, and lets also have 2nd and third place too!

This could be cool.

Later
Erik Z

Re:We were right (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461630)

Ohh, I'd support this -- the deletion of the Amazon slashbox and informing Amazon.com why it was done. Maybe we could have a poll on Slashdot whether this should be done?

Jeff's new venture! (1)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461631)

Well, if you havn't noticed.. jeff is working on a NEW VENTURE [brains4zombies.com] . They plan on re-inventing just-in-time inventory systems.

The competition, Brainsandneurons.com is heating up though.

Pan

Man of the Year for LOSING MILLIONS?? (1)

Electric Eye (5518) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461632)

I don't get it. Aren't there a lot of SUCCESSFUL e-commerce ventures? Last time I checked, Amazon was still deep in the red. How this was an easy decision, I don't know. Wait, yes I do. It's a bunch of half-assed "journalists" at TIME.

I no longer shop at Amazon because they are cowards. They gave in to pressure from the American Family Association (Read: right-wing extortionists) and pulled their advertising from the Howard Stern Show several months ago. They also apparently treat 90% of their employees like dirt. Must be nice making near-minimum wage for the "company of the year"......

Re:You have to admit... -- Patents (1)

mynameistim (127736) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461633)

Patents might be a free source of ideas, but you definitely can't use the ideas for your own benifit -- well, you can, but you'll likely have to pay a rather large sum of money to the patent holder. And if you happen to be a competitor of the patent holder, that sum of money might just be more than you can afford...

I notice your URL and email indicate Cuba, so you might not have to face the same reality that those of us in the US and Canada (I believe) do. Or does the US have an agreement of some sort with Cuba?

It's really a shame that the patent system is so messed up (abused?). I'm a CS student in Canada, and am just starting to realize how much potential there is for getting screwed by the big companies (who have the $$ to manipulate the system -- I'm getting by on student loans right now). I wish I knew more about this stuff, so I could avoid litigation later in life.

Re:Accuracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461634)

Actually, Amazon hit its 52 week high just the other day -- 113.

Re:men of the years... (3)

Savage Henry Matisse (94615) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461645)

When without loss of blood he reduced Czechoslovakia to a German puppet state, forced a drastic revision of Europe's defensive alliances, and won a free hand for himself in Eastern Europe by getting a "hands-off" promise from powerful Britain (and later France), Adolf Hitler without doubt became 1938's Man of the Year [pathfinder.com] .
-Time Magazine, Jan 2, 1939.

Re:actually, this is accurate (1)

mynameistim (127736) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461646)

Don't forget, he was on Oprah, too!! (the show, I mean)

Seriously -- what did he do that was so inovative/important/interesting? He runs a bookstore, people! Sure, he sells the books differently, and some other bookstores now do the same thing (B&N, Fatbrain, Chapters, the corner bookstore, ...). So he gets his lawyers to do some "marketplace manipulation". Sounds like the dream that is Amazon can't hack it...

My Economics prof told us a story the other day that was interesting. I'll probably mess up the numbers/terminology a bit, but the essence is the same:
For Amazon stocks to produce a rate of return that matches their value, the company would need to increase revenues by 30% per year for ten years.
Does anyone have info to support, refute or elaborate on this?
Thought that was interesting.

Re:men of the years... (1)

thetzar (30126) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461647)

Actually it was in 1939. Time's "Man of the Year" is NOT "Best Man of the Year". It's supposed to showcase the most influential person of that year. If you look back at 1939, it was most certainly Hitler's year.

GIVE ME A BREAK! (1)

Oversoul (103535) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461648)

Amazon.com sells books. So as long as they keep doing a good job, carrying a wide selection, and offering me arms and legs of retail price, I will continue to be a customer. To not support them because of a petty patent squabble is the real disgrace, in my eyes.

buy.com (2)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461649)

They definitely /are/ cheaper. They were charging $14 for the hardcover edition of The Power Broker by Robert Caro - while everyone else was at around $28-35.

On the other hand, I really love the amazon shopping ambiance, with the great customer reviews and so on. It's hard to duplicate that on another site.

Personally, I think the amazon.com one-click suit is (perhaps even somewhat justified) revenge against B&N's suit over "Earth's Biggest Bookstore" slogan. Because of that prior suit I frankly find it a bit hard to get upset at amazon.

D

----

Re:Community.. (1)

mynameistim (127736) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461650)

Give Amazon enough time, and they'll probably try to patent this as well

Not if someone beets him to the punch. /. uses moderation. hmmm....

Re:amazon.com intimidates feminist bookshop for na (1)

RayChuang (10181) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461651)

Unfortunately, stores like Stacey's are getting increasingly rare in the age of the online bookstore and the "book superstore" as exemplified by Barnes & Noble. Between Amazon.com, bn.com and Borders.com, they have pretty much wiped out the small independent bookseller in a large fraction of this country. I'm not even sure if Stacey's can even survive with the online plus "book superstore" onslaught of the last four years.

Find the Source, Luke (1)

pwagle (13408) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461652)

I don't like amazon because I like being able to see what I am buying before I pay for it. Any money I send Amazon's way is not going to locally owned bookstores, or at least to a chain bookstore that at least bothers to put up a showroom near to me. If we put the showrooms out of business, then I am in trouble.

On the other hand, amazon puts up a really interesting cross-reference service. Sure its full of hype, but its still useful to me.

I thought it kind of strange to whine about the one-click patent in the same breath as noting that amazon is still losing money. A patent for one-click was awarded to amazon, and amazon is trying to use that patent for exactly the purpose that patents were designed for, presumably in hopes of slowing down that leak, and maybe someday becoming profitable.

The idea that they got such a patent in the first place is the part that is seemingly absurd. Why do you guys want to swat wasps one at a time instead of going after the nest: the US legal and patent systems?

Re:What IS Amazon, really? (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461653)

Amazon is nothing more than a web interface to an inventory control system, that may be spread over numerous warehouses.

Well, that with a billing/shipping function, and a bit of marketing.

Defending amazon's patents... (1)

Jish (80046) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461654)

To play devil's advocate a bit about the patent situation...

Isn't it part of being in big business to do whatever you can to ensure your market share? I mean if the patent office is willing to give amazon a patent for one click shopping then more power to amazon for thinking of it! If you disagree with this being a patentable idea then blame the patent office not amazon...

Josh

Amazon loses money with every book they ship... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461655)

...therefore, if you dislike Amazon, the most damaging thing you could do is buy A LOT of books from them. In fact, RMS's call for a boycott really ends up saving amazon.com money.

Re:men of the year... (3)

Control Group (105494) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461656)

This is still off-topic, but I feel compelled to try and clear this up some...Hitler got MOTY because they thought he was a great leader, not just because he was influential. This sounds ridiculous, but consider the situation.

First off, one of the problems throughout the war was that virtually no one actually read his book, Mein Kampf--and you'd know why if you ever tried (I did back in HS German...entirely aside from the content, it's a terribly written book: dry, boring, and rambling). Second, he did have an (apparently) good effect on Germany. The trains ran on time, crime dropped to negligible amounts, the ludicrous amounts of inflation were throttled way back, etc.

Add to this the fact that people didn't want to believe anything different (remember appeasement?) because the world was very tired of war, and it's easy to see how a magazine could give the award to Hitler. Really, even after the Final Solution was in place, and the knowledge of the horrors of concentration camps was "public," people still didn't really believe it. It wasn't until very late in the war that photographs were leaked, and they literally stunned the world. AFAIK, most American GI's liberating the camps didn't believe what he was doing until they saw it.

Re:FUCK Amazon (1)

paled (22916) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461657)

Can someone put up a fsck Amazon counter on a page somewhere?

I'll bet that anyone reading this thread would click through to register a hit.

It would be interesting to see how many people share the same thought, without requiring actual text to be typed by those (dis)interested.

Paul

Re:Makes you wonder. (1)

rjreb (30733) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461658)

Bezos is an e-commerce symbol, nothing more nothing less.

and I'd say that's having a tiny impact on todays society.


Re:Man of the Year... (2)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461659)

Wow, a rational post on /. This must be a first. I agree, Amazon has great customer service, excellent selection, good prices, (and I don't have to pay and damn taxes on my transaction), what more could I want.

Some people get all caught up on these patent issues or whatever, but thankfully those people are in the minority. This is the way the game is played folks, and whining about it doesn't change things.

Good job Jeff. Keep up the good work.

Let's not be ludicrous here (1)

Paolo (87425) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461660)

First off, Time has name some real twerps as "Man of the Year", such as Newt Gingrich not so long ago. He served his wife divorce papers when she was dying in the hospital of ovarian cancer. Nice guy right?

As for CmdrTaco, I challenge thee in asking whether you have stopped banner ads on Slashdot because DoubleClick has tried to patent online advertisng. Boycotts of stores with sufficient reason are warranted, and although it is obviously a person decision, I haven't stopped buying from amazon just because their lawyers did something stupid.

Bezos is an innovator and a smart businessman. I'd agree that he might deserve the award this year, seeing as ecommerce sales have tripled this holiday season.

Lastly, the New York Times Sunday 12/19 edition (today) in the Business section has a very interesting piece on why ecommerce players like amazon and eToys lose money on every order.

Re:We were right (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461661)

Why is it that as soon as a company gets big, everyone takes up some sort of holy crusade (redundant, I know :P~~) against it? What has Bezos done to you? So he's engaged in a ludicrous patent lawsuit--big deal. Frankly, that's the court system's fault, and the lawmaker's fault, for providing a forum where that's a reasonable thing to do.

The business of business is business...if Amazon sees a way to protect something that makes them money, they're going to do it. If you think that's wrong, help change the law that provides the protection.

Fix the problem, not the symptom. Complaining about a company trying to profit from the way the system is set up is not only ineffective, it's juvenile and simply silly. The whole concept of corporation is to make a profit off the way the system is set up. You don't like it, change the system. Putting Amazon out of business is just going to lose a lot of people jobs, and make finding cheap books online harder. Someone else will just take up the same patent battle over some other "invention," and then everyone will want to put them out of business.

Taco, put your money where your mouth is. Get rid of the Amazon box. (does the damn thing REALLY generate that much revenue?) And tell Jeff why. This madness has got to stop, here, now, and by our hands. If not now, when? If not us, who?
Does this strike anyone else as ludicrously melodramatic?

Re:Helping/Hurting Amazon (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461662)

I was kind of thinking about this. Because of Amazon's size/popularity, I was also attempting to compare Amazon to Microsoft. Though they both might be well-known and influential, there's one KEY difference - it's very difficult to simply stop using one operating system in favor of another. Because computers, AND the manner in which they are used are so ingrained into a company's protocol, a such a change would not be a minor undertaking.

On the other hand, Amazon doesn't have it anywhere near as well - it might be in the limelight now, but it's so easy to type "barnesandnoble.com" or "booksamillion.com" instead of "amazon.com". That in itself could represent a real threat, and as such, it would be in Amazon's best interest to be a good citizen. Amazon may have brand recognition, but because it's so easy to switch (and the products among booksellers are identical), I'm not sure it means as much as it once did. We'll see how much Amazon's patent is really worth once people figure out that clicking one or two more times to order something isn't that big a deal.

Re:actually, this is bunk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461663)

Amazon is losing money hand over fist. Why not nominate a company or founder who has done this, and done it successfully?

Oh, WW Grainger comes to mind. They're MRO (maintenance, repair, operations) and actually turn a healthy profit. P/E of 20, buy lots of stock, so I can sell mine for millions.

Or OfficeMax. Or even Quill Office Supply. Or WalMart. Anybody but Bezos, who has taken a winning strategy and turned it into a money pit.

Man, his company is never going to make money. He would have to capture 3 times the entire bookselling market to just break even. To even out his P/E 0f 1300, he'd have to capture 20 times the market.

Someone is on Prozac, and it ain't me. Bezos reminds me of the guy who sold Time and Newsweek on the Dale automobile. You don't remember that high flier, and 10 years from now, you won't remember Amazon.

Re:Amazon's Response (1)

WinTired (125929) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461664)

I got the same response, so I don't think anyone is actually reading this kind of email anyway...

Hitler is person of the century, easily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461675)

This isn't meant as a neo-nazi flame, or a silly prank, I'm serious.

One could easily claim that the most significant events in the twentieth century have revolved around German expansionism, and other nation's attempts to stop that expansionism.

Let's look at the most signficant events in the twentieth century and relate them to Germany:

  • The First World War. German connection is obvious.
  • The Russian Revolution. Lenin was funded and supported by Germans who thought that his meddling would take Russia out of the first world war.
  • International Depression in the 30's. The ramifications of the first world war economy are obvious, and so is the German connection.
  • The Second World War and the Holocaust. Once again, Germany.
  • The Cold War. Forged around the occupation of Germany, the cold war faced two sides off with Germany as the crucial pivot piece

Really, it seems quite obvious that Hitler should be considered the man of the century, for the shere influence Germany has had on this century, even if it was mostly a destructive and often evil influence.

Helping/Hurting Amazon (1)

Mateorabi (108522) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461676)

Everyone is upset with Amazon about the patent; and they feel like boycotting the company will send their message across. But with Amazon loosing money with each transaction, wouldn't it make more sense to try and buy as many of their best deal books as possible.

On the otherhand, greater losses seem to boost their stock price, so mabee this isn't such a great idea after all.

Re:s/loosing/losing/ (1)

Permutabo (84894) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461677)

I don't think it's just Slashdot. I think there's some kind of engineering gene that makes people incapable of spelling 'losing' without adding that second 'o'. The more technical a site is, the less likely you are to find a correct spelling of losing. I've been wondering when some recovering humanities major like myself would notice this tendency in Internet documents.

Re:men of the year... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461678)

AFAIK, most American GI's liberating the camps didn't believe what he was doing until they saw it.
Small nitpicking, being myself german, sad as it is, it wasn't him, there were many people doing helping him and perhaps making the situation for jews even worse than his orders were (not that I think he would have had anything against that, he just didn't do all "details" himself).

Re:! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461679)

Most of the manned flights have been redundant at best(including the moon shots). It isn't science, it's PR and politics.

What would I do? Get rid of that dead weight. On about 1/3 of the budget you could do some really good science (without coming up with a headline story in the next 10 years, so no good if that is what you want). If we had been doing that since the 60's instead of the stupidly wasting time on medicore life-support capabilities just think where we could be now.

yahoo shopping can point you to some low prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461680)

yeah the interface is still a little primitive, but yahoo does a pretty good job of getting a list of vendors who sell the book/cd/whatever you are looking for, and letting you pick the one you want to buy it from.

Re:books section (2)

dinkum (123473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461681)

The agreement that Slashdot has with Amazon is most likely the very non-binding Associates program. You put links to their wares from your site, and when people select those by clicking through from your site, they get a kickback on those items. You can end your association program by simply removing the links from your pages. I'm willing to give people a poke and a chance before using the "H" word. I know how easy it is to have twelve things going at once and simply FORGET one of them. May I suggest that those in command here choose the Associates program from Borders, or another company they don't have a beef with.

Re:books section (2)

jmvidal (21345) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461682)

Actually, I just checked in the book section and noticed that many of the books have links to fatbrain. I think they were originally amazon links. Nice.

Re:Hitler is person of the century, easily (1)

Savage Henry Matisse (94615) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461683)

"The Cold War. Forged around the occupation of Germany, the cold war faced two sides off with Germany as the crucial pivot piece"

The Cold War was more a piece of Nazi handiwork than is initially apparent. Check out Martin Lee's The Beast Reawakens: Lee makes a strong argument indicating that the Cold War was sown and cultivated by ex-Nazis who were folded into the KGB and CIA post-WWII.

Again, recognizing that this is thoroughly off-topic, it is nonetheless fascinating. Lee's book is a very good read: elucidating and wonderfully well written (Lee was a poet for years before he took up investigative journalism.) Go buy yourself a copy at Amazon.com [amazon.com] -- lord knows that the poor devils need the money.

Re:! (1)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461684)

Would you prefer we have just shot off a few astronauts without knowing whether they'd come back for sure? Who's conscience should that failure be on? Oh yeah, let's not forget Apollo 13... which nearly was a disaster. How about Challenger - politics killed those men. Should more testing have been done?

Speaking of stupid patents.... (1)

CausticPuppy (82139) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461685)

This came to mind.

Click here! [theonion.com]

thats what bill is trying to do - buy respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461686)

not that people aren't benefiting from it, but come on, this ploy has been used by indistrialists to curry favor with the general public for decades.

Re:What IS Amazon, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461687)

No, Amazon does no shipping. UPS and FedEx cover that. As for billing, Visa and Matercard handle that. Marketing of course, but they seem to do very little of that - they seem to (wisely) be going with word of mouth.

Re:Makes you wonder. (2)

Patman (32745) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461688)

and I'd say that's having a tiny impact on todays society.

As would I. In retrospect, I'm not terribly surprised that some e-commerce/Internet/Web guy got it. But, you're right - in the grand scheme of things, e-commerce hasn;t changed a whole lot of anything.

men of the years... (4)

Savage Henry Matisse (94615) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461695)

Bear in mind that Time named Adolf Hitler man of the year in the mid-30's-- post Mien Kampf (in which he lays out is "Final Solution" in detail.)

In other words, this nomination is a mixed blessing, at best.

actually, this is accurate (3)

jnazario (7609) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461696)

you have to admit, this is incredibly accurate of time. ok, so amazon has not made a single dollar since they were formed. so what? their stock is doing quite well, and that's the real story of the year economically -- stock doing exceptionally well in the tech and dot-com area with companies that have yet to turn a profit. look at redhat, akimai, VA Linux... none of them have done well yet, though their stocks are doing very, very well.

secondly, this whole absurdity in the lawsuit over the one-click-shopping patent is indeed also a milestone in american history. in a world where arbitrary patents can be given out (cf. the two guys who have a patent on using a laser pointer to amuse a cat), this is utterly symbolic of how absurd the whole mess has become. a small GIF formatted graphic using the word 'Go' in a sans serif font... what a load of horsepucky.

so, the next time you say, "oh, what a crock", think about what amazon is all about, and then take a look at the larger economic and tech world this past year, and you'll see that they are indeed leaders in that arena.

books section (4)

int (9392) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461698)

CmdrTaco has stopped shopping at Amazon personally, yet still promotes buying books there in the books section.. Hmmm :)

HYPE! (3)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461700)

Okay, prepare for a rant.

Time magazine selects a guy who creates a online business man of the year.. simply because it was "e-commerce"?! Tell me, if another company had gone IPO this year and been valued more than amazon.com would they have been a contender? No. Case in point: VA Research IPO. Of course, they're not the hip and trendy "e-commerce".. oh well then, right? Hrmph. I was so looking forward to finding out who man of the century would be... but maybe that anticipation was misplaced - Time magazine is just cashing in on the hype and popularity. Whoever's the most popular in the polls is gonna be the winner, which will be completely independent of who had the most influence on modern day living.

My vote for who should have been man of the year: The head of NASA. Trying to keep people interested in space exploration, trying to push the envelope by making more out of less. Dealing with politicians more concerned about tax breaks for their district than the exploration of the final frontier. God, it's enough to make me cry. Hell, the entire NASA team should have gotten an award - "company of the decade" or something.

Those beedy little eyes . . (1)

Money__ (87045) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461701)

The merc news has a really good story about Jeff. [mercurycenter.com] Also in the story are some quotes. [mercurycenter.com] . Including.
"The wake-up call was reading that
Web use was growing 2,300 percent a
year."
(People Weekly)

"I've always been at the
intersection of computers and
whatever they can revolutionize."
(Business Week)

"Our job is to make sure our
service, in every dimension, is better
than everybody else's."
(Nation's Business)

"Brand names are more important
online than they are in the physical
world."
(Inc.)

"We aren't interested in anyone's
trade secrets. But we are very
interested in hiring talented people."
(The San Francisco Chronicle)

(Editors note: this last one is laughable, considering the 'one click' pattent fiasco)

"Work hard, have fun, make
history."
(USA Today)



_____________________________________

Re:men of the years-- wrong date... (1)

Savage Henry Matisse (94615) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461704)

Time deemed Hitler Man of the Year in 1939-- after the formation of such resorts as Auschwitz and Dachau.

I'm not saying Time. was unaware of what Hitler was up to-- nor that the folks at Amazon are Nazis-- only that it's a dubious honor to be Time's Man of the Year.

Also, I'm clearly way off topic now. Very sorry.

Time? (1)

thehomeslice (123823) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461706)

C'mon now, who really reads this rag unless you're sitting on the pooper?

one-click. (1)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461708)

We have a patented one-click [userfriendly.org] technology too.

Re:You have to admit... (1)

billsf (34378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461710)

It is shameful that any government allows 'software patents' on the otherhand, it is a free source of ideas for the rest of the world to profit on. As long as i can use any software patent to benefit me, why not?

As to being first, those that see status in that are fortunately too stupid to write scripts that do that. :) This is very common in the 'wannabe world'. A check of IRC will reveal alot of similar offtrack people, where simple programmes would simply do better, if they actually learned their shell!

Money (2)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461715)

Choosing someone who made a lot of money is nicely symbolic, I think. In the first part of the century, our world was defined by war. As the 20th century comes to a close, it's defined by money.

I have to say, I think the latter is better, don't you?

D

----

Re:HYPE! (1)

dinkum (123473) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461716)

Gee, so all you have to do in order to be "Man of the Year" is operate a losing business?

Damn.

One more supporting point that the media's focus is on nothing but unsubstantial qualities such as flash.

Re:GIVE ME A BREAK! (1)

stergios (72697) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461717)

Amen! Amazon does a great great job. They have excellent customer service. They have a unique vision that was implace long before it became popular to emulate. The only reason I will switch to another service is when I perceive a better value proposition; and Amazon knows how consumers behave and they are not about to let that happen.

Let's see how strongly ANDN, (/.) feels about the patent issue... I propose that ANDN donate all book related referal revenue back to GNU.

What IS Amazon, really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461718)

Amazon is nothing more than a web interface to an inventory control system, that may be spread over numerous warehouses.

There are many other competent inventory managers out there as well, with many more warehouses distributed closer to you than Amazon. Wal-mart and K-Mart are but two examples.

People need to remember that the most cost-intensive aspect of Amazon's operations have nothing to do with the website, but instead relate to the very difficult problem of maintaining a inventory management system and a system of warehouses. How much product do you keep on hand? How do you deal with demand spikes? How do you distribute materials to local warehouses in a way that anticipates consumer demand?

You have to ask yourself if in the long term Amazon is the best player in the inventory control space, as soon each inventory manager will have a competent website.

amazon.com intimidates feminist bookshop for name (1)

marxmarv (30295) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461719)

I'm spending my money offline this year. This isn't just because of the ridiculous 1-Click(R) shopping patent, not just because amazon.com is yet another bloodsucking corporation with the delusion of birthright to all things Amazon, but because of the sexual intimidation visited by Amazon legal department against an independent feminist bookstore in Minnesota. If you can get hold of the ABC owners' deposition, read it -- there's content in there that makes me nauseous.

If you live in Silly Valley, you have no excuse to not shop at an independent local bookstore -- Stacey's [staceys.com] has treated me right since I've been here. Their San Francisco store delivers downtown, too.

(Aside: Funny how startups look more and more like Ponzi schemes as time goes on, innit?)

-jhp

Re:Helping/Hurting Amazon (1)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461720)

I suggest that everyone buy a dictionary from Amazon, and look up the word loose.

By the way, the stock price does not go up because of their losses. The stock price is going up because they would be quite profitiable if they were not expanding so rapidly. They have chosen to lose money now in order to grow big and make a lot of money in the future, rather than making a small profit right away.

But you have to admit Amazon.com's influence (1)

RayChuang (10181) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461721)

Rob,

You might have concerns about Amazon.com's "one click checkout" patent, but personally, what Amazon.com has done is essentially validate the concept of electronic retailing over the Internet.

They have pretty close to the largest new book selection of any retailer in the world; the only "mortar and brick" bookstore that can even compete against Amazon.com's selection of new books is Powell's Books in Portland, OR. Mind you, this has a big downside--it has essentially killed off the small independent general bookseller and forced remaining bookstores to either become niche resellers in nature (e.g., Future Fantasy in Palo Alto, CA) or become superstores (Barnes & Noble, Borders, and a few others). Here in "Silicon Valley," stores like Printers Inc. are down to one store, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place for Books is gone, and so is Books, Inc.

TIME chose Jeff Bezos as its "Person of the Year" because he is the most visible personality in a sector of the economy that has become very important indeed. Amazon.com's pioneering efforts will have massive repercussions in many parts of the economy for many years to come.

And M$ Gates is God ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461724)

Tell me that this is a bad joke! If Jeff Bezos is man of the year, then M$ Gates is God.

Re:We were right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461726)

I agree. Let's have a poll on this! Get rid of the slashbox and tell Bezos why.

losing money intentionally. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461727)

Losing money isn't a bad thing if you're an internet company. Here's why. If you start with the assumption of competent leadership, then that money isn't being thrown away-- it's being spent on getting more customers. Now, they have a formula that says the average customer will spend, say, $100 at Amazon over the next 20 years (just a made up figure). So if they spend $10 to get a customer now, they will lose money in the short term, but make money in the long term.

Investors believe this, and while it's unproven, it may be true. Bezos is certainly a pioneer in the area. It is his job to make sure that the company remains unprofitable until the opportune moment. Why?

There's the real paradox in internet stocks. Once you become profitable, you can never go back. They expect you to always be profitable; if you cross back over, your stock plummets. So you better get all your big expenditures out of the way while you still can, and ramp up that customer curve.

Quite Absurd (4)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461735)

While I generally don't hold "Time Magazine" in very high regard (being barely a step up from the tabloid), this sort of award reinforces my distaste for pop-news, particularly when it has anything to do with technology.

Now, of course Time magazine's strategy is to capitalize from this tech hype, so Bezos is an easy choice. Enough people will buy the magazine just because they envy the new computer-billionaires.

Let us consider Bezos' accomplishments:

1) Generating a huge, moneylosing web site to sell various products over the internet.

2) Convincing thousands of investors to hand over billions of dollars to support it.

3) Generating more baseless 'net-hype than anyone before him.

4) Deciding to do battle against competitors with stupid and obvious patents, rather than with thoughtful, innovative business strategies and by providing more value to their customers.

He's never created any value whatsoever for his stockholders, but he's certainly gotten them to convince others to invest - sounds like a big ponzi scheme to me.

When it's all said and done, it looks like their best engineered, most innovatively created, and best marketed product is..... their stock.

For this, I would suggest bestowing the first "Huckster of the year" award upon Bezos.

Community.. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461736)

I generally don't buy at Amazon simply because I can find lower prices elsewhere. But Amazon does offer one thing... the most comprehensive collection of customer reviews on the net. This is where Amazon really did it right. Sure you can get reviews on deja, but Amazon now has moderation of the reviews, and gives you an average score as well. You can't get that from deja.

Moderate this up! (0)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461737)

If I had mod points you'd be +5'd right now. Nothing like being able to poke fun at "the man of the year" for another 366 days.....

Re:actually, this is accurate (1)

reptilian (75755) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461738)

Ah, but the question I have is:

Why, the (debatable) last year of the millenium, is the man of the year someone who made lots of money? Why is that so important? What did this person contribute to society, other than a place to buy books at fair prices conveniently over the internet? I'd like to see exactly the reasoning behind their selection.

This is getting absurd. You're only important nowadays if you've made millions upon millions of dollars in some way the stock market seems to like. I don't know who I would have picked, but believe me, it would have had nothing to do with
how much money they have.

It's gone way beyond a simple fascination now: this country is completely obsessed with money, so much that nothing else matters a penny.


Man's unique agony as a species consists in his perpetual conflict between the desire to stand out and the need to blend in.

Amazon and Expansion (1)

spaceorb (125782) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461739)

The only way Amazon can survive is to continue to grow. As Bezos said in the article, he wants to start selling electronics and software. But the problem with selling electronics over the internet is that most people aren't sure of exactly what they want before they buy it. I want to walk into a store, compare several models, and then decide what to purchase. Also, I've saved hundreds of dollars making deals with salesman, not something I would be able to do with a web page. I think books are a perfect product to sell over the internet, because you can read the description of a book literally. But unfortunately with most products, you have to take everything said about it with a grain of salt, and you can only rely on your own judgement based on actually seeing it in action.

Re:Time? (1)

billsf (34378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461740)

I think Unix manuals are better toilet matterial. Haven't tried, but the glossy paper does not seem well fit in he case of an emergency.

NASA is the embodiment of hype. (1)

winterstorm (13189) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461741)

The people who choose the "manned space truck" over more effecient useful space craft shouldn't be given an award. Space exploration has been held back by NASA's "dog and pony show" mentality. The accomplishments of NASA are many, but lets face it they don't do the best job they can. The organization doesn't avoid compromise; it is compromised.

I think Amazon.com and the men who brought it to IPO glory is old news. Unfortunately the success of the VA Linux IPO is too new to decide if it is new like Amazon.com.

In the end Time's man of the year is exactly that... they will pick a man that appeals to the kind of people that read Time. Do you? I don't. I doubt what Time has to say matters.

Re:men of the years-- wrong date... (2)

bubbasatan (99237) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461742)

Insert history geek commentary: Hitler did not exactly detail the "Final Solution" until considerably later in the game, when he and some of his boys got together at a conference held for that purpose. "Final Solution" was not really part of Mein Kampf; that book was just about afixing blame on someone other than Franz Josef for Germany's blunders and subsequent punishment in WWI. Now, back on topic. A&E picked Alan Greenspan as their Biography of the Year. I also recall Yasir Arafat getting Time's Man O' the Year. And sharing a Nobel Peace Prize. Hey, the goons in the mainstream media have to laud someone. They really think they control what goes on. But an award is so arbitrary and unimpressive, that most people end up exactly where they started: not giving a rat's ass! I'm really surprised that this little news blurb made it on /. anyway. I'm sure that someone will say "Oh, it's the first time a .com businessman (or insert technojargon phrase here) has won such a prestigious award." Yeah, so what? The real award that Bezos has gotten can be seen in his bank account. Time Magazine? PFEH!!!

s/loosing/losing/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1461763)

I keep losing loose change in the couch.

King Jeff (1)

weston (16146) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461764)

Well, I suppose this shows us what is currently admired in mainstream America.

But now that he's crowned, perhaps we could compare King Jeff to King George. King Jeff has lately shown he's tempted to use his power for tyranny. By pursuing Amazon's frivolous intellectual property claim, online business outfits will be required pay licensing fees for using cookies to recall customer information (if they'll allow competitors to use it at all). This will essentially tax any online buyer... because, naturally, the businesses in question would have to pass along the cost of doing business. Taxation w/o representation, anyone?

OK, it's a big stretch. :) It's not the government levying the tax. But the point is, this frivolous and undeserved claim will likely be a losing proposition for consumers. As such, I'm not interested in being one of King Jeff's subjects.

& kudos to you, Rob, for taking your book buying elsewhere and speaking out about it.

(& if this post shows up twice, my apologies...
it didn't seem to take the first time).

Makes you wonder. (2)

Patman (32745) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461765)

OK, So Bezos gets POTY(Person of the Year) while his company, never having made a profit, is 300 million dollars in the hole for this year. Can I just spend all of my salaray next year and be Person of the Year?

Of course, there is also the fact that POTY has always been about influence, not "likeability". Yeah, Hitler was POTY in the 30's, but the man did have an influence, no doubt about it. Probably were better choices, but I bet Bezos was picked becasue Amazon is famous. It's not like they are gonna pick Redhat's CEO. Most people don't recognize the name. Bezos is an e-commerce symbol, nothing more nothing less.

Give the guy a break. (3)

InfiniterX (12749) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461766)

I read an article about Bezos a few months ago, in I think the New York Times Magazine.

This man managed to turn a little website sitting on a SPARCstation 5 into a multi-national empire in just a matter of 2 or 3 years. Amazon.com was the pioneer for online merchandising (I refuse to use the word e-commerce), and despite for a couple of minor issues (i.e. the '1-click' patent issue, but we won't go down that path here) Amazon remains the gold standard for an e-commerce site.

Amazon.com showed the unwashed masses that they won't get burned by buying things online. In addition, their prices are slightly better than the national book mega-store chains (Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc).

Frankly, I say he deserves the title of "Man of the Year" since 1999 certainly is the explosion of "e-commerce." Sure, there have been minor hiccups in the system (like the whole patent issue). However, things like the automobile, phones, and computers (gasp!) had issues when they were first emerging, and today we take them for granted.

Re:books section (1)

weston (16146) | more than 14 years ago | (#1461767)

This is only a guess, and I think some comment from Rob or other Slashdot editors would be in order. But I suspect that Slashdot may have entered into an agreement with Amazon to do this. As such, I'm not sure what penalties they would pay for withdrwaing their links/blurbs in the books section. Additionally, they may feel reluctant to back out on what they agreed to do, just because it's good to have that kind of integrity sometimes.

Again, I don't know what's really going on, and it may be more ethical to cut ties with an organization whose ethics you don't agree with. But it's often good to keep your promises too.

Rob? Anyone? Comments....
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