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Has Amazon become a monopoly?

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MJ DeMarco

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IMO, the company is getting too big, too powerful, and too disruptive to whatever industry it enters. At this point, we don't even know what industry Amazon is within anymore as their interests are all over the place.

Just to give you an example, Audible (Amazon owned) recently changed their payment policy for their audiobook bounties. The cleverly worded the change in an email that actually made the change sound GOOD. But when you examined it closer, it was absolutely terrible and a total MONEY GRAB. This one simple change will cost me thousands of dollars per month -- and my say in the matter is NIL. Amazon has the exclusive on all my audiobooks. (Commandment of Control anyone?!?).

Anyhow, if Amazon's ruthlessness continues unchecked, there might come a day when 90% of your consumer goods, from food to healthcare to clothing to shoes -- is all bought at Amazon. And at prices that are punitive.

It's some scary shit and the chatter is starting to get louder. (I started sounding the "monopoly" alarm a few years ago)

Amazon 'terrifies me as a company,' says a valuation professor

upload_2018-7-26_23-10-59.png
What are you thoughts?
 

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rybanez

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What are you thoughts?
I agree that Amazon has become a disruption machine, and I do believe they are a monopoly that may one day best even Walmart. I think what Walmart did to mom and pop shops in the 80's and 90's is nothing compared to what Amazon is doing to nearly all retailers and many other industries.

You can see it every time they make an announcement. They just bought PillPack and on the news, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc, plunged. I also read they were trying to get in the business of supplying hospitals -- the mere mention of that news of "trying" to get into that business has helped to decimate Owens and Minor's stock price. Basically, any news announcement (or speculation) of them getting into a particular business, sends shares of competitors plunging.

Even local service businesses are affected now, with "Amazon Local Services." What's next, "Amazon Real Estate"?
 

MTEE1985

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A) Hopefully when I bought Unscripted (which I’m literally listening to now) on audible it was before the change.

B) more importantly and more related, the scary thing for me is that as MASSIVE as Amazon is (most people think they are 85-80% of e-commerce and 30-35% of retail.) Most recent numbers I saw were 49% of e-commerce and something like 4-5% of all retail.

The big question moving forward that I see is what happens when they are over half of all online retail? Can they then be legally challenged as a monopoly?

On the positive side, imagine how much opportunity still exists if 90% of all retail is outside of Amazon!
 

CROJosh

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Yes. But it seems new antitrust law would have to be created because they're immune to what exists - the new thing would probably have to regulate it as a utility or protect/offer compensation for competitor's information. So that leads to another question: would new laws ding Amazon without creating more problems? I wouldn't want to see gov promoting other companies for obvious reasons.

Google has always irritated me because it's aggressive without a plan (and it kills products I used daily arbitrarily); Amazon scares me because it's even more aggressive and they seem to have a plan. AMZ/Bezos has a hand in every pot (media, banking, retail, tech, etc.) and an ear in about 40 million homes, gathering data for...whatever they want I suppose.

Regardless, the first step should be lots of small corrections like rolling back by their USPS deal, reversing the ebook antitrust law against apple and the big publishers, treating 3rd party sellers like Amazon itself, etc.
 
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cwalto12

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What are you thoughts?
For people that are a lot smarter than me and more business savvy:

Even if we are buying 90% of our stuff from Amazon, it still wouldn't be a monopoly, right? I'm not even sure what they could really get a total monopoly on since they offer a huuuuuge variety of services and products. I think their business model is working because it is providing a better service than anyone else right now. I guess my question is, should they be stopped by the government at a certain point for being too successful of a business? For providing too many people with the best service?

Theoretically, their prices are going to keep going up as they keep expanding. Shouldn't there be another smaller company that can offer a lower price than Amazon?

I'm just thinking out loud. Am I way off here?
 

Fightrepreneur

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I recently read a book called Nomadland by Jessica Bruder.

It essentially is the story of a new era of "vandwellers," many of whom are retirees who, for reasons both within and without their control, cannot afford housing and cannot afford to retire on Social Security (duh). Most of the time it wasn't entirely their fault; they played the middle class game and worked their whole lives, only to see their savings/retirement decimated by a bad market (many in 2008), housing crisis, and other bad luck.

Anyways, many of these people travel seasonally to Amazon warehouses to work as stockers, pickers, etc. As expected, they work massive hours for around 10.50 an hour, no benefits, etc. Completely exploited. They get horrible knee problems, back problems, wrist problems, etc, and are never compensated. The list goes on, but they are trapped. Most of them are cheery despite their positions.

I'm not here as an anti-capitalist obviously, but it really opened my eyes to the human cost of Amazon's fairly amazing ability to deliver anything to your door in less than 48 hours. And thats just in America.

Personally? I've stopped using Amazon the way I used to. I go to the library for books and if I absolutely need a book I'll try a local bookstore. I've cut down on online shopping among other things.

Granted, I still shop at Walmart occasionally, and I obviously use other services which I am certain have the same level of human exploitation, but it was definitely an eye opening read.

As MJ has pointed out in both books, convenience is a huge value skew, and Amazon has a pretty hard monopoly on convenience.
 

Pesh

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What sacres me the most is Bezos. Its the relentless greed by this guy which he masks with the “in the name of the customer” dogma.

The amount of influence, power, capital and smart people that he has access to combined with the speed at which he deploys stuff is horrific.

We are talking about a person that suddenly decides that you are making too much money and he starts destroying you, piece by piece, bit by bit. Its what hes been doing with every form of partner that Amazon had (since the very early days). And there is a reason the stock market reacts like this to every rumor that Amazon is entering a new industry. People that are following him and the history of Amazon know what I mean.

Amazon uses its sellers, affiliates, publishers to grow its brand then they go against them. Entering your niches, cutting your commissions, cutting royalties etc. Bezos doesnt care, in his eyes everyone else is making too much money when they shouldnt. Partners or not, you will suffer.

No other tech conglomerate has such a leader behind the wheel. Yes, most of the other tech giants actually have smarter people, with a vision, with some form of idea about the future that they are chasing. Bezos is a predator.. the only thing he is chasing is YOU.. and the money that you are making :)

When he plans to disrupt an industry its not because he wants to go to Mars (because ego) or help humanity embrace VR (because VR targeted ads will be the shit) or deliver free internet to Kenya (so people could click on ads from Kenya). When he plans to enter an industry its simply because he found a prey, and he will either buy you out or burn you to the ground. My personal opinion is that its not Amazon that has to be stopped but that mega successful relentless ever hungry lunatic that created this monster of a company :)
 

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I don't know if AMZN is a monopoly, but they sure are a problem. It does sadden me that such a brilliant idea and execution that was Amazon the world's biggest book retailer has become the monster that will cut your throat without thinking twice.

They are vulnerable and aren't totally impervious. They know this and are working to patch up their vulnerabilities. For instance, shipping is a problem for them, and now they're creating their own shipping company. Trump has mentioned revoking some of the sweetheart deals they get via the US taxpayer as far as USPS goes. Additionally, several states have successfully lobbied to attack AMZN's deliberate tax evasion.... Bezos could easily be facing massive civil fines and lengthy time behind bars for some of what they've done, but of course, the only thing worse than a bad acting company is the government - and so, nothing happens.

If Audible just became unprofitable for authors, in my mind that does create business potential. There may never be a realistic "rival" for Amazon, but then if high quality audiobooks are available somewhere else, I'd certainly consider it as a consumer.
 

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And therein lies the problem. Though there’s nothing illegal about it Amazon has the size to intimidate every potential newcomer or threat to their business, or just buy them out.

I’m as guilty as the other 60 million prime subscribers that would rather get my kids diapers shipped to me in two days for the same price I can buy them at Target, but it still scares me the kind of power they hold.

They will never reach monopoly status in a legal sense until they are selling trillions of dollars a year in goods thereby eliminating (most) competition and driving prices up instead of down. If I’m not mistaken this same conversation was being had about Wal-Mart maybe 15 years ago?
 

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Has become? It's been a monopoly for years. Amazon, Google, and Facebook have very clearly obvious monopolies in their respective niches (ecommerce, online search, social networking).

Something like 44 cents of every dollar spent online in the United States was spent on Amazon in 2017. That's a monopoly. No one is doing it better. Amazon has a monopoly on consumer trust online.

What's scary is that Amazon has multiple large monopolies in different places (ecommerce, data hosting, fulfillment). Google and Facebook have one main monopoly each, competing in various arenas so they can get away with being 'tech companies'.
 

fhs8

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They are soon to be a monopoly. Amazon is expected to soon have 50% of all online retail in the US. I only see that increasing as they implement autonomous vehicles. Wal-Mart, Target, and everyone else still don't offer one day/same day delivery even though they could. In the far future I see most things being delivered rather than people going to stores to buy things. It will actually be cheaper and more convenient to do this rather than to stock things at the store. Eventually Amazon should have 80% of marketshare just like how Google/Facebook have 80%+ marketshare in a lot of countries.

What really worries me is how aggressive Amazon has been expanding horizontally and how successful they've been. People were laughing at them when they got into the very competitive cloud computing market in 2006 which was late. Ten years later IBM, Microsoft, Google, and everyone else have been brought to their knees. AWS went from zero to almost 60% market share and they are very profitable.

Why do I use Amazon? Because everyone else wasn't listening to me. A few examples:
  • I went to CVS to get loratadine tablets (allergy medication). The best deal they had was 20 tablets for $12.49. Amazon has 300 tablets for $13.14 same day.
  • I went to Best Buy to buy an irobot vacuum. It was something like $380 on sale and Amazon had the exact same thing for about $40 cheaper so I left the store and bought on Amazon. The store associates also kept on bothering me.
  • I used to use Bigcommerce but they suddently upped the price a lot on me. They wouldn't listen to my complaints about bugs and price so I went to use Amazon Web Services and saved lots of money.
  • I bought an item from Pier1 and it took 2 weeks for it to get delivered. They had the same exact item in the store. Now I will never buy anything from the Pier1 website again.
There's countless other examples. Now I don't even bother going to Google to search for products. I now go straight to Amazon. What is happening now in my opinion is that most companies are short sighted. They are doing what's most profitable for them in the short term but don't realize their name is getting destroyed in the long term.

Amazon recently has been getting into banking and that could end up saving hundreds of millions in credit card processing fees. Where are the competitors doing that? They are also pushing Alexa very hard because it will buy products from Amazon. Now more consumers won't even go on google or retail to look for items. If you want a carpet cleaner you'll simply ask Alexa to make a carpet cleaner appointment.
 

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if bezoz didn't sell amazon stock he'd be the first trillionaire.

hell he might still be the first trillionaire if his space endeavors pay off in his lifetime.
 

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As a self-published author, I'm deeply grateful to Amazon. Amazon is the sole reason why now everybody can publish their book online and create a successful publishing business without having to deal with gatekeepers. A mere 12 years ago (KDP was launched in 2007) it wasn't possible.

If it wasn't for Amazon, my business probably wouldn't exist (thousands of people - including a lot of people on this forum - can say the same thing). At the same time, I'm mad at ACX (Amazon-owned audiobook distributor) for their recent change to the bounty program as it will probably slash my income by half.

Why We're to Blame, Too

Having said that, Amazon alone isn't responsible for the current state of things. We the vendors are also partly to blame. I'll limit myself to the author's perspective as I don't know how it works when selling products other than books.

Amazon has a program for authors called KDP Select. In exchange for selling your book exclusively on Amazon for 90 days, you get access to some promotional tools. Your book is also included in the Kindle Unlimited library which lets people borrow books and pays authors based on the number of pages people read. After 90 days you can renew, which most people do perpetually.

A lot of authors have been complaining A LOT about how the program works and how it rewards scammers (@ChickenHawk can explain it pretty well). Yet, most authors are still exclusive to Amazon, essentially giving them a silent nod to continue rewarding scammers and mistreating high-quality writers.

I myself withdrew from KDP Select the moment they switched from the previous model (paying for each borrow the same amount) to the new model (paying for pages read) and have been distributing my books on every single platform I can.

However, I'm still guilty of supporting Amazon's monopoly as I signed an exclusive agreement with ACX because they offered a much higher royalty (40% vs 25% when non-exclusive). I couldn't justify losing 15% in royalties for the freedom of non-exclusivity, particularly since ACX distributes to pretty much all major retailers. In hindsight, it might not have been the smartest business decision.

We're Lazy

The point I want to make is that a lot of authors (me included) are LAZY.

We're too lazy, afraid and/or uncreative to consider supporting other retailers and/or creating our own platform. It's much easier to stick to Amazon which has a huge audience trusting them with their wallets. And it makes sense. However...

Short-term, you can make a LOT more money being faithful to Amazon. In the long term, your business becomes extremely vulnerable because one simple change (for example, the recent ACX change) can dramatically affect your business.

It feels good to scale your business extremely quickly today, but it sucks when you wake up one day and realize that one decision has just ruined your business.

Of course, in some genres not being in KDP Select is a huge disadvantage. Many Kindle Unlimited subscribers don't buy - they only borrow. Why pay if you can get a book for free as a part of your monthly subscription? If they can't borrow, they'll simply move on to another book that is enrolled in the program.

Yet, I believe that if we committed to it, we could build much stronger and more resilient publishing businesses by daring to explore other opportunities and thinking more in the long term.

Withdrawing from KDP Select and going wide is one option of showing that you don't support the concentration of power.

I like to think of it as an extremely popular bestselling author would. Can you imagine Stephen King being exclusive to Amazon? Do you think it would help him grow his readership by limiting it just to Amazon and getting a minuscule pay for it (at the moment, Amazon is paying a laughable 0.0046 per page read)? Letting people borrow your books for free dramatically lowers their perceived value.

Secondly, you can wrestle back some control by building your own email list and selling directly to your readers. In the self-publishing world, if you don't have an email list, you essentially don't have a business as you don't have access to your customers.

(As a side note, while currently authors are allowed to promote their newsletters in their books, Amazon can always change the rules. If it happens, it will make authors even more dependent as they won't be even able to build their email lists effectively.)

Thirdly, even if you must be exclusive to Amazon because otherwise you can't make a living, you can always consider creating additional products and exploring other markets.

For example, translations are an option. In some countries Amazon doesn't have a big share and other platforms are preferred among readers - here's your opportunity to diversify.

Also, KDP Select applies to e-books only. You're free to sell your physical books wherever you want - and there are a lot of extremely lucrative opportunities here (wholesaling, getting your books sold at airports, etc.).

Immediate Income vs Sustainable Income

Developing other income sources isn't as easy as putting out another book on Amazon. However, in the long term, $1 from Amazon that can slash your income overnight might be worth much less than $1 coming from your own platform that you fully control.

Moreover, if everybody can publish their books on Amazon, the barrier of entry doesn't exist. Whenever the barrier of entry is higher (as it is with many non-Amazon income sources), the potential rewards are higher, too.
 

Danny Sullivan

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It's sounds cheesy, but: Anyone seen Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams - Autofac? Look it up on amazon. It's (ironically) free for prime users.

Here's the description of episode 2 - Autofac:
"Society has collapsed, but a massive, automatic product-manufacturing plant continues to operate according to the principles of consumerism. When a small band of humans decide to shut down the factory for good, they discover they may actually be the perfect consumers after all."

---

I was always a bit suspicious about amazon and the ability to sell on amazon. I mean it makes sense - let the pigs feast on the goods, look which ones becomes the fattest, then slaughter them one by one.

Meaning, when they see businesses that are easy to do and deliver a lot of profit - why not make it on your own? They got it all at hand.

Just what i think. I'm not into selling at amazon right now so i might be wrong here.

Mr. Damodaran also analyzed amazon 3 months ago for anyone who's interested:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdRsFU_ptyI
 

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Just wondering if anyone knows the answer to this.

When Bezos started Amazon in the 90s selling only books, did he actually planned for Amazon to grow and scale to its current size, or did he stumble upon the realization midway that he could scale Amazon to the current monstrosity that we see today? (from books > music > departmental products > servers, cloud and tech > payments > fashion....)

I think the only thing Bezos hasn't done yet is to run for President after Trump's term and take over the white house and re-name the country to Amarica, then set out on a global conquest....
 

S.Y.

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Just wondering if anyone knows the answer to this.

When Bezos started Amazon in the 90s selling only books, did he actually planned for Amazon to grow and scale to its current size, or did he stumble upon the realization midway that he could scale Amazon to the current monstrosity that we see today? (from books > music > departmental products > servers, cloud and tech > payments > fashion....)

I think the only thing Bezos hasn't done yet is to run for President after Trump's term and take over the white house and re-name the country to Amarica, then set out on a global conquest....
Was all planned. The overarching goal is for Amazon to be an everything store, both products and services. Quite literally. While pursuing that goal, he realized that scale gives him tremendous power. And in the process, AMZN became a scary terrific guerilla disruption machine.

Pick "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon" by Brad Stone. Quite informative.

The guy makes me think of John D Rockefeller and Standard Oil. John D was pretty much outthinking everyone, bullying competitors into submission and taking advantage of the lower costs scale + innovation was giving him. Standard Oil was controlling 90% of its industry. And Bezos is heading that way: controlling an extremely vast majority of the e-commerce industry.

You gotta respect the guy though. When it comes to long-term thinking & execution, he is unmatched. He is on a different level.
 
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I think ironically that the business model of Amazon depends on it being a monopoly. If it's not a monopoly, then it can't provide its goods and services at the prices we have come to expect.

After all isn't that why we all use it?
My own business is hosted on AWS and without that service I wouldn't have been able to scale to where I am today.

I think the main point is that network effects and economies of scale bring a lot of benefits, but they also carry some consequences with them. Everyone should carefully evaluate their own situation and if the consequences are too risky then they should consider an alternative.

Personally, I can't see a situation where I will buy my own servers and then hire people to maintain them. Not only will it cost way more, I still won't be able to provide anywhere near as much reliability and speed as I currently do with AWS.
 

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All great points above, however we are all admitting that Amazon is not a monopoly.

Do they have a massive market share? Yes.

Are they growing at an exponential rate? Yes.

Are they taking over entire markets and eliminating competition? Yes.

BUT....the reason we all give Amazon our business is that they are doing all of the above things while providing a better service at a lower cost.

A monopoly exists where competition does not and therefore a company charges whatever they want. Think “cancer corollary” in Unscripted. If a cancer cure existed then they could charge $1,000,000 a dose and people (who could afford it) would pay it.

That is an extreme example, but Amazon is doing the opposite..at least for now.
 

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Bezos is basically Thanos. :rofl:
Best damn analogy to Bezos I've heard so far. At his current form, he's basically Thanos with IG. Once he demolished most of the industries and take over the government, he'll be like Thanos with IG + Heart of the Universe.
 

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Best damn analogy to Bezos I've heard so far. At his current form, he's basically Thanos with IG. Once he demolished most of the industries and take over the government, he'll be like Thanos with IG + Heart of the Universe.
Exactly! Stay woke everyone!
 

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Read this on FB once. Bezos is the guy in front, the rest of the folks in the background are all his rivals and small time eCommerce owners.
 

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Nothing wrong with a monopoly as along as it's a true capitalistic monopoly and not a government bribed monopoly.

If they have the best products and service at the cheapest price then who cares if they're a monopoly? The problem with monopolies is when they raise prices because they have no competitors and can do whatever they want. This is clearly not the issue with Amazon. If they raise prices there are plenty of competitors that will step in to compete.

Just because they cut your income as a seller doesn't make it a monopoly. That would be like me saying my boss didn't give me a raise so he's a dictator.
 

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The company itself doesn't worry me as much as the trend it symptomizes. I don't see much point arguing about what the word "monopoly" means when there are tangible consequences to deal with now, and a trendline which does not look nice.

In fact monopoly is backward looking. What we are seeing now is something new, which might only have weak parallels with the Gilded Age rackets. Communication and information technologies open up leverage that JP Morgan and Carnegie couldn't have dreamed of, and this is still a space that is wide-open for innovation.

Consequences means more than just higher prices or bad service or whatever. That's all first-order effects. If your main worry is getting cheap stuff fast, or whether some business is doing these things, I'm not sure that's really gotten at the important issues.

When you have a system that grows out of equilibrium with its environment, you'll also see lots of unforeseen second-order effects that tend to change or destroy the first-order behaviors in unpredictable ways.

Imagine you show up to play checkers and halfway through the it turns it into Call of Duty. You haven't even lost the game. Something else has happened here which isn't just to do with winning or losing according to the rules you've accepted.

Examples in nature include malignant cancer, where second-order effects include "death", and invasive species, where second-order effects include "extinction".

Amazon is part of a change in the game we've been playing.
 

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I've worked with a few large retailers and CPG companies recently and they are scared sh*tless of Amazon, even more so than Wal-Mart at this point.

If I had to guess though, end consumer retail is not really the end-game for AMZN. Their margins there are weak. Take a look at their earnings report. AWS and third party marketplace is where the profit is.
 

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It's crazy that I stumbled across this thread...

This is something I have thought a lot about lately.

I read the book ''Thinking in systems" and there was a concept that blew my mind.

The idea of "Reinforcing Feedback Loops." MJ goes into feedback loops a bit in his books, but something finally clicked in my brain.

How did Rockefeller build an oil empire that demolished any competitor in its path? Reinforcing feedback loops.

Something that Rockefeller and Bezos both relentlessly focused on was low prices and extreme customer satisfaction. (Bezos moreso on the latter.)

In fact, here's something that Bezos wrote on a napkin back in the early days of Amazon. This is the Amazon strategy. Bezos-Napkin-Sketch-1.jpg

A lot of times we talk about "value attributes" around here, and most of the time, we're just talking about the attributes of a product or a service.

But why don't we talk about the value attributes of the business itself?

Rockefeller, Bezos among other business magnates focus on their business' competitive value attributes - like creating advanced technologies that would give their business a greater edge and improve efficiency.

Other things include getting insider deals and doing joint ventures with other companies that the competition wouldn't have access to.

With these deals, they could continue slashing costs and running the competition out of business.

With every competitive advantage that they gained, they all kept their eye on the ultimate goal: making their business machine the most efficient value delivery mechanism ever.
 

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I'm not here as an anti-capitalist obviously, but it really opened my eyes to the human cost of Amazon's fairly amazing ability to deliver anything to your door in less than 48 hours. And thats just in America.
Amazon treats their customers great ... but from what I hear, everyone else is treated like garbage, 3rd party sellers, employees, etc. The latter is monopolistic behavior the likes of the old robber barons.

This is clearly not the issue with Amazon
Low prices could be merely the short game. The long-game, not so sure...

As they say, the road to evil (hell) is paved with good intentions.
 

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Amazon treats their customers great ... but from what I hear, everyone else is treated like garbage, 3rd party sellers, employees, etc. The latter is monopolistic behavior the likes of the old robber barons.

Low prices could be merely the short game. The long-game, not so sure...

As they say, the road to evil (hell) is paved with good intentions.
I don't think they are a monopoly. In my mind a monopoly is your cable company that charges $99 for internet. If you don't like it, you can go get DSL, worse quality for about the same price. A monopoly is when there are no alternatives to the product that you need/want. Or there are only 2-3 choices and they all suck.

Amazon is sort of the opposite now (from a consumer side). When I need something that is $30, I can always look for the new seller that is trying to rank for $9.99 and buy that instead. You are on Amaonz, but within Amazon you have a ton of choices for everything.

As for your original post in audio books, is there an alternative to audible besides buying CDs? In the old days, you could sell your own mp3s, but the interface would suck and people would just copy and send it to their friends.
 

SquatchMan

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Anyhow, if Amazon's ruthlessness continues unchecked, there might come a day when 90% of your consumer goods, from food to healthcare to clothing to shoes -- is all bought at Amazon. And at prices that are punitive.
This is the end goal.

HOWEVER, I don't think he'll jack up the price at that point. It will just lead to too many government problems, anti-trust stuff, consumer unrest (don't get in the way of consumers and cheap goods!), and competition (eventually). He's too smart to do that.

His end goal is complete and total power, not money. Look at his napkin drawing. There is no arrow for pulling out profits. He's using cheap consumer goods and convenience as the cheese for his power mousetrap.

We probably won't see any towel wringing directed at the consumers with that end goal in mind. The mice will just find another mousetrap (competition eventually appears when there is a traditional monopoly).

Instead we'll see the unpersoning of any dissidents to his plan and other methods to ensure he has long-term global (galactic?) control. Remember, he always thinks long-term and BIG.

"You don't have to use Amazon. We're a private company, not the government." Will be the defense they use as they unperson any dissident to Bezos power.

Imagine if someone were to be banned from the Amazon platform in 15 years or so. No access to banking, health insurance, web hosting, the biggest online retailer, groceries, product shipping, and a whole host of other industries that Amazon will enter.

Scary stuff.*

On the bright side, you will be able to get consumer goods delivered to your door in 15 minutes for a great price, so it's all OK.

*It's already happening, on a very narrow scale (banned social media, PayPal, domain hosting, domain registering, advertising channels), to people on the extreme far-right of the political spectrum. It won't stop there.
 
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rybanez

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On the bright side, you will be able to get consumer goods delivered to your door in 15 minutes for a great price, so it's all OK.
The consumer might not have a choice, eventually. And most won't care so long as they get low prices and convenience.

But at that point, small businesses won't have a choice either. Amazon's monopoly might not be based on price after all, but rather the control which they possess over the marketplace (i.e. if a business doesn't advertise and sell exclusively on Amazon, they will be at a severe disadvantage).
 

MJ DeMarco

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Imagine if someone were to be banned from the Amazon platform in 15 years or so. No access to banking, health insurance, web hosting, the biggest online retailer, groceries, product shipping, and a whole host of other industries that Amazon will enter.
And this is what I mean.

Not only that, but they could destroy your livelihood if you're dependent on an Amazon business, which many people are.

It's like a few years removed from a bad Black Mirror episode.

You've been banned from Amazon and poof, your income is gone AND your ability to purchase the necessities of life. Sounds ridiculous? It's a few years away. And having one organization with that kind of power is very "Black-Mirrorish".
 

cy-

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As a European I rarely read much about Amazon aside from what I dig up myself for specific purposes..

But one thing I come to notice, which for some reason haven't crossed my mind before, is that most of Amazon's businesses is all marketplaces.

Amazon.com (Sellers and buyers)
Amazon pay (Merchants, acquirers, customers)
Amazon Kindle (Sellers and buyers)
Amazon Audibles (Sellers and buyers)

Maybe AWS is not I suppose, but I still find it somewhat of a weird thing they have in common.

And we see all the companies that really take off in a very short time frame usually supports this kind of model.

E.g. Google, Facebook, Uber etc.

It makes me think, maybe they are just so extremely good at making the framework for both the buyers & sellers so everybody goes with them.

Because when I think about a marketplace-like service of any kind, the challenge that appears to me is always how you go about pleasing both parties, as you can almost always make it better for one or the other.

They are an interesting company, I'm not sure how to feel about Amazon.
 

Eisenstein

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Well, there is a reason he wanted to name his company "Relentless" :rofl:
No blaming! I'm deeply impressed and he's my role model.
I'm not afraid about this monopoly thing. I also know companies who refuse to sell on AMZ, and they thrive anyway. So what? :smile2:
 

Dark Knight

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Is it good to open a business on the Amazon? Something that everyone is doing right now (entry barrier is bad) The store on your own website seems better when it comes to CENTS ?
 

rogue synthetic

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It makes me think, maybe they are just so extremely good at making the framework for both the buyers & sellers so everybody goes with them.
If you think of economic behavior in the abstract, this is really all any transaction is: efficiently bringing together buyers and sellers.

If you've got the technology to make that efficient, and somebody like Bezos with the vision and the determination to pull it off, then you'll out-compete anything that doesn't have those advantages, at least in the short term.

There are lessons here from the ecological model. One lesson I already mentioned. If the invasive organism completely upsets the native environment, then you get total collapse of the original ecosystem. In practical terms, that means you wind up with the corporate mono-culture that @SquatchMan and @MJ DeMarco are (rightly) worried about.

But it doesn't have to be complete devastation. One of the upsides here is that it becomes much harder to predict the future. Amazon came from nothing and it could just as easily be nothing in 10-20 years time. The price of playing with power-laws is the Black Swan.

It could be another competitor. It could be complete collapse of the system. It could be political intervention. It could be a revolt (soft or hard) from people sick of it all. It could even be Neal Stephenson's prophecy of cryptocurrencies bowling over anything recognizable as a state or corporation. Taken to its fundamentals, cryptocurrency is the essence of economic transaction in code -- if we're extrapolating trend-lines, Amazon or the beast that succeeds it will have to tame this or be eaten itself.

Anyway. I try not to be doom-and-gloom. As @MTF pointed out, there is a lot of opportunity opening up here as well. It really is a gigantic question mark right now, which is what is so anxiety-inducing.
 

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