The Amazon Selling Machine

from The Atlantic

The e-commerce company has so much information about us that it’s become expert at shilling us things we didn’t even know we needed. No wonder its advertising business is booming.

What if there were a company that knew what you wanted to buy before you did? What if it made shopping recommendations that tapped into your deepest desires? Better yet, what if it then made buying completely seamless? Would you ever stop shopping?

Amazon shareholders may like the answers to those questions. The company that revolutionized the way we buy has now gotten serious about selling the ads that tell us what to buy in the first place. It is selling advertising on, encouraging brands to create Alexa “skills” so they can market to people when they’re at home, and putting targeted ads on the main screens of its Amazon Kindles, tablets, and televisions. And it’s attracting money that brands used to spend on Facebook and Google.

On Thursday, Amazon reported that the category of its business devoted to advertising and “sales related to our other service offerings” made nearly $2.5 billion in net sales in just the third quarter of 2018. In the third quarter of 2017, it made less than half that, $1.12 billion. A September report from eMarketer estimated that Amazon is now the No. 3 digital-ad seller in the country, behind Facebook and Google. Brands will spend $4.61 billion advertising on the Amazon platform this year, the report estimated. Mike Olson, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, anticipates that Amazon’s advertising revenue will reach $8 billion this year, a number that will double to $16 billion by 2020, and that will soon overtake in profitability Amazon’s big moneymaker, Amazon Web Services, which sells cloud-computing services.

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51 Responses to The Amazon Selling Machine

  1. Anthony L November 2, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

    We are heading towards an age of Amazonian hegemony in the retail world. Amazon’s control of the retail market is growing to near monopoly levels. They have done this by encouraging consumers to rely on Amazon alone for all their product needs. As of, “… the fall of 2016, the share of online shoppers bypassing search engines and heading straight to Amazon had grown to 55 percent,” This reliance is exacerbated by Amazon’s use of advertising. As described in the article, Amazon uses a user’s search and purchase history to constantly market new products to them. This superior integrated advertising draws many companies to offer their products on, “…thousands of Amazon’s competitors—from small independent retailers to major chains and manufacturing brands—have felt compelled to join its orbit,” This gives Amazon the power to control the prices that consumers pay for products and to control what products consumers see “As more third-party sellers have agreed to sign up for these services, Amazon has repeatedly raised its fees,” This level of control over the industry is dangerous. It consolidates power into the hands of one company by driving competitors who can’t compete with Amazons pricing and marketing out of business.
    Another aspect of this monopolistic behavior is that Amazon is not limited to the retail industry, “Amazon has its tentacles in various industries — retail, cloud services, grocery, content, ebooks, home assistants, and, most recently, pharmacy,” This allows Amazon to offer prices that its competitors can’t compete with. However, as more competitors leave the market, Amazon gains more control over the pricing of goods. This means that as the company grows larger, the more monopolistic practices it will be able to partake in, “[Amazon] is expected to be responsible for about 49 percent of all US e-commerce sales in 2018, though it’s still just 5 percent of all retail sales,” This demonstrates that even though Amazon does not control the retail industry yet, it still has a staggering amount of control over internet sales. At the moment, Amazon is not a true monopoly. It still has viable competitors in its various industries. However, it is poised to become a powerful monopoly. To use an analogy, every tree starts as a seed. Even though Amazon is not a monopoly yet consumers should still be concerned about how powerful Amazon will become in the future.

  2. Petar Micevski November 2, 2018 at 7:47 pm #

    Throughout this article, Alana Semuels explains that Amazon is starting to veer towards monopoly-worthy territory due to its overtake on the advertising industry. Because of its marketing strategies, Amazon is known as one of the big four for a reason: its ability to bring consumers what they desire. How do they find out this information? Through algorithms which track buying habits and clicking habits in order to recommend the next best thing for your needs. This is also bolstered by the success of speech-recognition devices such as Alexa which help you track your previous statements to her. This allows Amazon to have a sense of the type of person you are and is able to recommend a product proportional to your needs. While this does increase consumer satisfaction along with revenue, the important thing to remember is the boundaries user tracking has on the internet. On a level such as Amazon, the negatives of user tracking can’t be found because Amazon has already warned its consumers about what the fine print reads, specifically that Amazon “is not in the business of selling it to others.” In another company’s case such as Google, they tend to create some sort of tension between consumer relations due to their stress on privacy and security.
    However, Amazon still stresses security but doesn’t have consequences as devastating as Google. If Google were to be hacked, who knows who could have their identity incriminated. Amazon specifically focuses on the buying habits of people, and if those algorithms were to be released, that information would most likely be useful for other companies so they can fit the molds that their consumers customized subconsciously. While it does violate Amazon’s privacy and sense of security which makes the hacking immoral regardless, will the information leaked be of any use to the common person? I wouldn’t think so.
    On a personal level, I believe that the buying habits of Amazon should stay the way they are. While they should inform the consumer of their practices, it is also okay to collect information on a consumer if the tracking is used for beneficial purposes. As I’ve stated many times before, it is not the information that is the problem, it is the security that protects the information that is the key factor in user tracking activities. If buyers were to be aware of the problems that could arise from the leakage of their information, they could shut up and protect their digital identity completely, causing faults between business cycles for both major and minor companies. In another way, consumers could actually step up and educate themselves on the main problems of the digital era by learning how things on the internet work.
    Overall, cybersecurity is an important thing in the world, now more than ever. Without it, the internet wouldn’t be what it is today, and technology wouldn’t be nearly as efficient as it is today.

  3. Douglas Tkac November 2, 2018 at 8:32 pm #

    I’ve said this plenty of times before in person to plenty of my peers, but I will say it once again in this blog post to have it on record: Amazon will take over the world.

    By that, I don’t mean anything like something from the movie iRobot, where Amazon creates it’s own self-aware androids and we have to resort to Will Smith saving us once again, I’m referring to that Amazon will join the ranks alongside able to become one of the most powerful and well-known conglomerates history as ever seen.

    There are plenty of reasons as to why I think this will happen, starting off with something they somewhat touched on in the article: the amount of products and services amazon produces under their own branding, and they business partners that they have a reciprocated business relationship with. Amazon’s services that they coin themselves are too versatile to the point where it is bound to make any customer cave into something you may not need. For example, sure; you may not NEED to get your groceries shipped to you and delivered within 12 hours, but Amazon Fresh might tempt you to unnecessarily order groceries in your pajamas without getting dressed or wasting that precious gas money. If you combine that with the fact that amazon has a can’t-stop-won’t-stop approach with advertising, it’s easy to see why Amazon can (and will) only skyrocket.

    As the article states perfectly, Amazon is surprisingly still sneaky, and the way they do this is to establish two main components that are hard to find in today’s online shopping climate: convenience and reliability/trust factor. Amazon’s stuff that comes through Amazon Prime (think a premium version of Amazon) only takes two days to reach your doorstep, and it can literally range from something as small as headphones to spare tires (as I’ve bought both from there). Amazon Prime and amazon’s reliable payment structure and return system really draw oohs and ahhs from everyone no matter the age or background.

    Ask any consumer that goes online to shop, they’ll probably tell you that Amazon is their favorite story. Pretty soon, we may see the internet ruin yet again more in-person driven jobs (a la Blockbuster via Netflix).

  4. Joseph Capouch November 2, 2018 at 8:51 pm #

    When I think of the company Amazon, I generally think of things like the products they sell, the fast shipping, the video service they offer, and their book service. I usually don’t think of the efforts they put forth with advertising, although the article “The Amazon Selling Machine” may have changed my view in that way. From ads on their devices, played through Alexa, sent to customer E-mails, and being targeted due to purchase history and other information, Amazon certainly does put a lot of effort into their advertising.
    One of the things I found most interesting about this article was the statistics that they included about Amazon. An example of this is the estimated 4.61 billion dollars that companies will spend on advertising on Amazon this year. The sheer size of that dollar amount is impressive on its own, but the fact companies are willing to spend that amount, and surely expecting to make a profit off of that investment says a lot about the amount of money spent and made in sales through Amazon. Another interesting stat worth mentioning is that they have become the third largest digital ad seller in the country, behind Facebook and Google. The fact that Amazon is competitive with giants such as Facebook and Google in an area where they excel, while also competing against companies such as Apple in the sale of tech products, competing against grocers in sales of foods, and more. This truly speaks to Amazon’s size, and reach across multiple markets, with their advertising efforts aiding them in all of these areas.
    As I previously stated, this article had an effect on how I view Amazon’s advertising, and it also caused a bit of reflection. I began as an Amazon customer as a kid who loved to read, and wanted to try using an e-reader. I bought an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, and from there began viewing ads that would pop up on my screen, and buying e-books from Amazon to download to my Kindle. Once I was old enough to have my own debit card, I already had an Amazon account and was able to link my card, and buy things when I had the money. As I have gotten older I have only come to rely on Amazon more buying electronics, food, school supplies, and more. And all the time I have gotten suggested ads from Amazon in E-mails and otherwise, many of them being very accurate, and things that I do want to buy. This has made me realize that I am an example of the effectiveness of Amazon’s advertising efforts, something I hadn’t really paid attention to previously.

  5. Dominique Pina November 2, 2018 at 8:59 pm #

    Honestly, this is not a bad thing. I think their advertising model is genius and is extremely effective. The only thing people have to complain about is that their information is being used to advertise things to them. But the genius in their advertising is that they actually show you things that you want to see. Unlike many other advertisements, the products that it shows you are things that you will be interested in based off data research of what you like and are interested in. Ads are everywhere in this day and age. As the article said many outlets of media survive off of advertisements. So we as a generation growing with all of these online forums are used to ignoring a lot of advertisements because most of it is things that we do not care about. But if we have to be forced to look at an ad either way, would it not be preferable to view an ad that actually peeks your interest? To me, I would rather see something that I like than something I will never want or need to buy. Amazon and Google have found the optimal way to advertise and it is effective. Many people will argue about the privacy of our information, but I personally enjoy the services that come from these platforms having my data. I think the solution rather lies in making their security of this information better, so that the information never lands in the wrong hands.

  6. Paul Lee November 2, 2018 at 9:02 pm #

    Amazon is a behemoth of a company that has generated billions of dollars and cater to many people. They have become a gigantic enterprise that everyone in the world, with access to the internet, depends on for a variety of products. It could be as simple as laundry detergent to buying a couch for one’s home. Amazon has become a staple in providing all sorts of goods for consumers. What makes them such a powerful e-commerce company is that they practically have Everything from the product on sale to delivery, Amazon controls it all and runs it very smoothly. I can attest that Amazon is one of the most reliable companies that truly want to help customers and their experience.
    I was very surprised to read from this article that Amazon owns Twitch, Audible, and IMDb. Very well-known sites and companies which were a very smart move for Amazon to buy as they are profiting in different areas than e-commerce. I was even more surprised to read that Amazon became the number three digital ad seller in the United States. To think that Amazon is only behind Facebook and Google is mind-blowing to me. Google is also a behemoth of a company that is behind the Google search engine and YouTube. I personally use YouTube, practically every day, and every viral to simple videos have Ads in the beginning. Many companies make money through youtube so Amazon doing such a thing is no surprise. I can see how Amazon can litter different ads onto their site. I can also see how Amazon can put ads into their own product lines such as Alexa or their kindle.
    I believe it to be genius that Amazon tailors the Ads to each customer based on what they search for, their gender, or age. They have a database that contains all their customer’s information to what they buy. Such tricky information can be sold to third parties or generally used for something other than the company stated. Yet, I thought it was very admirable that Amazon guarantees in their privacy notes to their customers that they will not sell this information to third parties or use it for anything other than what they intended. I believe many companies should follow Amazon because the customer or people’s sensitive information should be secured and never used for the wrong purposes. This is more apparent as the internet grows and human beings integrate what they do and who they are into it.
    However, I had no clue that Amazon was very Ad heavy with their own product lines such as a Kindle or fire tablet. I do not own a Kindle or a fire tablet so that the idea of a home screen constantly with an Ad is very bothersome. To read that Alan Semuels had this specific problem of constant Ads on his Fire Tablet and many others too. I do not think I can buy these Amazon product lines and be constantly troubled with Ads. I also believe it to be quite unsettling that Amazon tailors these Ads to me and are constantly watching or storing the data of what I am doing over the internet. I do not like the idea of someone or a company stalking me, I have the right to my own privacy. Amazon is monster of a company that is constantly growing; It was forecasted that Amazon will receive sixteen billion dollars in advertising revenue is mind-blowing. I am curious to see from now on what Amazon plans to do in the future of advertising and technology.

  7. John L. November 2, 2018 at 10:27 pm #

    Amazon is making a good move financially by taking every chance it can to turn a profit. The company is in a unique situation. It is one of the most valuable companies on the planet with millions of shoppers navigating its site each day. Realizing its massive traffic volumes, it is capitalizing on making advertisement revenue while also boosting potential sales on its website. The downside to this massive advertisement boom is the potential negative affect it will have on customers. Internet surfers hate unwanted pop-up ads that appear on their screen. Online shoppers that have in mind of what they want to buy also dislike the ads Amazon displays on their website when they are browsing. If they want just a bicycle helmet they might not want some knee pads or cycling gloves that is advertised. The advertisements become overburdening and will deter further customers from shopping on Amazon.
    The amount of data that Amazon has from its users is astounding. Amazon keeps records of different users purchase history, browsing history, and even their address information. The vast amount of information Amazon has allows it to precisely tailor ads to the different shoppers’ desires on the website. This is beneficial for Amazon and the companies that purchase ad space as these companies stand to make more profit at the expense of the user’s inconvenience. There should be ad space on Amazon however it should not be so constant and predatory on consumers that shop on Amazon’s website. If Amazon wants to keep loyal customers in the future, they need to treat their consumers with respect and decency.

  8. Jaden Tate November 4, 2018 at 4:49 pm #

    “Amazon is so convenient, so trusted, so everywhere” and it is eye opening how Amazon really is everywhere. Before this article, I thought that Amazon only owned Amazon Prime and Amazon Alexa, but they also own Whole Foods, Twitch, Zappos, Audible and IMDb. Amazon has really taken over the shopping industry. With Amazon growing I do fear that “the system will grow more and more adept at pushing our buttons, putting in front of us goods and services that are closer and closer to what we actually desire” and not exactly need. In doing this, I believe it will cause a problem for many people seeing as they will binge spend on what they want, not wasting their money, but spending it on items that they do not actually need. This only increases Amazon’s profit on certain things while taking money away from the people. One problem that I do see becoming very prominent to the Amazon customers is the fact that when you purchase something like the Fire tablet, which is much cheaper than a brand new iPad you will have to see all of the Amazon ads. In the article it said that “before you can access your home screen, you have to swipe out of a full-screen ad” which will get very annoying seeing as though you do not want to see the ad and be tempted to purchase something else but you would like to just open your tablet and read your book. Amazon is able to sell their products so cheap because they make money off of the ads put on their hardware products that the consumers cannot escape. Also in the article it spoke about how the ads are directly targeted to what is happening in the life around you, “I’ve received a steady stream of ads from Ben Bridge Jeweler and Allstate, which is a little unsettling because those ads seem spot-on for someone who recently got married, as I did”. Personally, I do not own anything Amazon other than their only shopping Amazon Prime account. The reason for this is Amazon is always listening whether it is Alexa or the Fire tablet they are looking. I do not want their devices to be peeping in on my conversations at all times of the day. Amazon is invading my privacy. By Amazon putting their ads on most of their devices, it is now turning most of their customers and others away from wanting to buy their products. This is as expected seeing as though no one wants to be bombarded with ads whenever they are using an everyday Amazon product.

  9. Warren November 5, 2018 at 12:49 am #

    Amazon does it again, the company that changed the way we shop just keeps improving and improving. With Amazon reporting for their third-quarter earnings that they profited nearly $2.5 dedicated to their advertisement is insane. The fact that Amazon owns the large swath of the internet’s advertising real estate is a big reason why they are earning these types of profits. For an online website such as Amazon, advertising on multiple different types of online sources can create a lot of revenue. Olson states that Amazon, “They’ll be able to increasingly use the data that we have on our search history and product purchase history to improve the return on investment for advertisers, as well as the experience for users.” It sends us ads for products we probably want when we’re already in a buying mood, allows us to click on those products, and, without even making us reenter our credit-card number or address, ships those products to our front door. Even though they have profited from all this advertisement there has been a lot of backlash from users. Facebook, for instance, lost some big advertisers after the company admitted that Cambridge Analytica accessed information about 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge. Amazon does things that no other company has ever done before and most of the time it turns out to be very successful. As the company makes more money on advertising, those profits could start to subsidize the expensive fulfillment-and-delivery network that the company has built. The irony is that as its advertising gets better and better, Amazon will likely get even more adept at persuading us to just keep buying things—and keep buying them from Amazon.

  10. Clement Bourret November 5, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

    Amazon is a company that launched its business based on e-commerce. We can see through that article that the company’s success is not completely related through the e-commerce activities. Amazon has been sold for a long time as the company (or the website) where you can find anything. However if we go more in details, we can explain Amazon’s success through few other factors. First, Amazon has emphasized the customer experience as the heart of its process. By proposing, free delivery, next-day delivery and now the very day delivery in less than an hour, Amazon has rapidly created a value that differentiates the company from competitors. Amazon was not only the website where you can find anything but also the website which would satisfy its customers through a delivery process unique and unequalled. Contrary to other brands and companies, Amazon started from the principle that to be market leader, the focus of the company would not have to be on the profitability but on creating customer loyalty through targeted marketing and a real customer relations instead. Amazon was able to invest money in pertinent websites as well. GoodReads, RottenTomatoes, IMdB, which are references in terms of website for cinema. Those websites are particularly useful because the audience is important but also because there are a lot of data users. Through these websites and the personal data, Amazon gets to know the customers and use targeted marketing to show ads related to what they like in order to push them to make purchases. So, as the article mentions, Amazon follows Google’s business model that is, making money through advertising. But Amazon is also a company that innovates. They have been successful with their Amazon kindles, with the smart vocal assistant “Amazon Echo”. They try to compete with Netflix with their streaming service Amazon Prime Video. Amazon has different projects still in the pipeline with the delivery by drones that could revolutionize the customer experience. They also think about a supermarket without cashier baptized Amazon Go where people could do their grocery shopping without having to worry about waiting in a line to pay. Innovation, advertising and a strategy based on the customer experiences are ones of the main factors that made Amazon such a successful company. According to Barclays, it could even be the first company to worth more than 1000 billion of dollars in the future.

  11. Mark M November 5, 2018 at 10:40 pm #

    Amazon is becoming a tech giant, and not just in the aspects that we would expect from the already uber-developed company. The company is becoming an advertising juggernaut, something no one would have predicted. They have become the 3rd largest advertiser behind the likes of Google and Facebook, and their advertising is continuing to grow. From just last year, the company has doubled its profits and are predicted to almost quadruple that by the third quarter of 2020.

    The reason that Amazon has had such success is their connection between their many different products. Amazon has the ability to advertise to you on many different platforms including the Kindle and Echo, as well as many different services that they own such as Twitch or IMDb. Not only that, but the other factor that leads to their success is the access they have to our information. They know where we live, what we buy, what we send, who we send it to, etc. Using this information, they have the ability to advertise products to us that we didn’t know we needed, but end up buying anyway.

    I believe that for Amazon and their shareholders, the growth is only going to benefit them. As Amazon continues to grow and develop more, their power over the advertising market will grow superior. They eventually will end up being monopolistic over the market, where they surpass Facebook and Google. For Amazon, the benefits will be plentiful. However, the rest of the market should be very cautious and prepared, because the inevitable market takeover by Amazon is coming, and when it does the future for Google and Facebook will have to go in a different direction.

  12. Shaunak Rajurkar November 6, 2018 at 1:49 pm #

    Amazon is a powerhouse in multiple industries, but it is the far out leader in global e-commerce and cloud computing services, in both business to business revenue as well as for individuals. The reason Amazon has quickly become such a target for advertisers is simple: Amazon is already a retailer, and thus there is little need for a middleman like Facebook or Google in the advertising space to sell physical products. According to the article, this going to allow Amazon’s ad revenue to grow from 2.5 billion to nearly 20 billion by 2020. Amazon already has the insight on consumers’ spending and shopping habits through their analysis of giant data mines.

    As a parent company, Amazon has branches and subsidiaries in nearly every industry aside from automotives and (arguably) social media. Amazon is a pioneer of Software as a Service (SaaS) through its multiple online subscription products, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Elastic Cloud 2. It now has a presence in groceries and fresh food delivery through its acquisition of Whole Foods. With a diversified line of Kindles, Amazon dominates the e-reader space and presents the Kindle as something more resemblant of a tablet. It now threatens to disrupt both the healthcare and health insurance industries as suggested by recent patents that allow Amazon to act as an online pharmacy. Additionally, investors speculate that over the next two years, Amazon could acquire both Lyft and Snapchat. This company is the third largest in the world, and is best described with one word: omnipresent. If Amazon continues to dominate every industry it enters, this omnipresence will become omnipotence.

    Congress needs to quickly draft legislation to regulate Amazon before it becomes a hyper-monopoly. Just this morning, it was revealed that Amazon will be placing its Crystal City, Virginia, and Queens, New York. Politicians in each prospective state were offering Amazon astounding incentives – New Jersey, for example, offered Amazon a 7 billion dollar tax break if it were to have placed its new headquarters in Newark. By splitting the headquarters in two locations, Amazon was able to capitalize on two separate incentive packages, essentially doubling their benefit. After staying in the shadows of Facebook, Apple, and Google over the last decade, Amazon has been able to effectively hide from regulators.

    Amazon collects vast amounts of personal user data through its website as well as through third party ads on other websites. They have offered innumerable advertising products for their own sales. After multiple data breaches over the last few years, consumers must ask themselves whether or not it is worth sacrificing privacy for convenience; this proves even more true in the hands of a company that is well on its way to becoming a hyper-monopoly if left unregulated.

  13. Chris Vena November 6, 2018 at 6:43 pm #

    The article, “The Amazon Selling Machine” by Alana Semuels, really focuses on how Amazon can eventually become a monopoly. The large amounts of revenue made by Amazon’s advertising and sales department is astonishing. As Semuels explains about nearly half of online shoppers begin their search at Amazon, and I believe that this may be an understatement. The whole discussion over data collection and privacy is definitely a prevailing theme in this article, despite how much praise Amazon receives. One point made by Semuels that jumped out at me was actually how Amazon collects data other than through their website. Semuels says, “It collects information about what we watch on Amazon Video, what we read on our Kindles, what we listen to on Audible, and what we ask our Echo speakers.”, and I never realized that these devices made by Amazon are also collecting data. This is of course along with information Amazon gathers from our search history, delivery addresses, and other information consumers put into their website. I could not believe how many different ways Amazon can collect data. This makes me curious about Amazon compared to Google, another large company that collects consumer data. Google has taken measures in order to protect its users and is continuing to try and achieve the goal of keeping sensitive information safe. Semuels makes a good point that Amazon is so trusted and that their data collection generally does not include any sensitive information, but with Amazon’s massive growth they should be considering their user’s privacy in their data collection methods.

  14. Olivia I. November 7, 2018 at 11:40 am #

    Amazon is a brand that has truly taken off thanks to their out of the box thinking and incredible marketing skills. While borderline invasive, the brand uses data on their customers to suggest additional products for them to buy. Additionally, all Amazon product users are bombarded with ads to continue to sell products to them. I think this idea of using data to market to customers is a novel approach to using a standard marketing strategy for all people for a product they may not be interested in. This is more efficient because the company is able to truly reach their customers interests and have a chance at them buying more products from them. I can see why some users can find this type of marketing as invasive, however I do not mind it.
    I feel that, like a lot of online platforms these days, we agree to a terms of service that allows companies access to our information. By agreeing to this, I feel that we are allowing them to have it and how they use it is up to them. If it truly bothers a person, then I feel that they shouldn’t agree or use these services.I find this feature from Amazon helpful, especially when I am looking to buy another item from Amazon and am able to access it quickly. In today’s day an age, I think that society has to be comfortable with the use of technology to find our needs, as this idea does not seem to be going anywhere soon.

  15. Jake Malek November 7, 2018 at 5:52 pm #

    This article presents us with another area in which Amazon can exploit to make billions of more dollars! As an avid Amazon user, I always look to Amazon first when online shopping. The article stated that 50% of online shoppers look to amazon first which is shocking! Amazon has such a large market share and dominance over their competitors that they have 50% of the market searching with them first.

    And this rapid increase of online traffic to Amazon brings us to the main part of the article which is advertising online. I think one of the most interesting points of the article was at the end when the customer’s tweets were shown. The tweets were filled with genuine frustration at the number of ads shown on the amazon devices and how they were still seeing ads after paying the 10 euros to avoid seeing ads. While Amazon has a great opportunity here to increase their net profit by increasing the ads ran, they must keep in mind the customers’ perspective. Yeah, Amazon can fill the page with relentless ads that just keep reappearing, but then there would be a decrease in traffic on the website. Customer would begin to be annoyed with how many ads they see and stop visiting Amazon. I think this is an interesting point which Amazon needs to focus on when looking to the frequency people see ads.

    Besides balancing the ads shown with people’s tolerance of the ads, there was an interesting point within the article about Amazon’s devices and their cut prices due to advertisement. Amazon is able to undercut the price of the substitute device, such as the amazon kindle, because they are able to run advertisements on them. Amazon could go as low as losing their profit on each sale of an Amazon Kindle, as long as they were able to run advertisements on them. Amazon is able to make profit off of each advertisement ran, and with an increased amount of amazon kindles out on the market, the profit per advertisement would increase because more people would be seeing it. I think this is an interesting concept because other companies may not be able to match a price of a substitute good to the amazon kindle because they do not make money from advertisements as Amazon does. I think this is leading to a slippery slope, and something that competitor companies need to look at before Amazon squeezes their products off the marketplace. I love to read articles about Amazon because of their immense business opportunities and areas of growth.

  16. Gabrielle Bram November 9, 2018 at 10:30 am #

    I found this article to be very interesting and learned a lot about the how much revenue Amazon makes on advertising. The article mentions that Amazon will make eight billion dollars next year just for advertising. I can understand how there are positives and negatives on Amazon using search and browser history to create personal advertisements. I personally think the advertisements that are personalized for me, usually help me find what I’m looking for faster on Amazon. I think Amazon’s advertising helps customers choose a good product at a cheaper cost in less amounts of time. Even though I find the advertising to be helpful many people feel their privacy is being violated and there is too much advertising on Amazon. I also found it interesting the article mentioned how half of online shoppers start their search on Amazon.
    I recently read an article “A Simple Guide to Amazon’s Complicated Advertising Business” by Forbes, and the article explained the strategy of Amazon’s advertising. This article went more into depth about the types of advertising used for different products on Amazon. The other article also discussed the other companies that Amazon owns. I did not know Amazon owns a lot of other companies and that also gives them an advantage when advertising. Personally, as an Amazon user I like that advertisements that are personalized for me and I think it helps find products that I can use.

  17. Michael Martini November 9, 2018 at 11:11 am #

    With Amazon being able to find out what their customers want and need, they are able to expand their profits and create greater success in their company. This is actually beneficial to both the company and its users. Users are able to see what they want to see specifically, and will enjoy getting the certain new items that they want. When we are exposed to more ads, we do not need to see it as a bad thing. We can see it as a way to get the things we want and allow us to open up our minds more. If we see a suggested item to us on Amazon, it allows us the opportunity to benefit our lives whether the item tends to be for happiness or our own personal convenience. Both Amazon and its users will be happy in the end, because they both will be getting what they want. Now the only problem that this may have on users is that it may drain their wallets from seeing things that they want and buying them, however we should know our standards and limits and should take full responsibility in what we do online.

  18. Silky B. November 9, 2018 at 12:28 pm #

    Amazon is consistently broadening their scope of what their corporation is. It is getting more and more difficult to not consider Amazon a monopoly with all the markets that they are presently in. After further research, I discovered that Amazon has been recently put under antitrust scrutiny. Rightfully so in my opinion. This article talks about how Amazon is well on their way to becoming the top online advertising platform for businesses by 2020. That title was is currently held by Facebook and Google with Amazon trailing behind in the third place. While this is a positive thing for Amazon considering that the advertising business will generate them billions of dollars in gross profit. It is negative because we as consumers are already bombarded already with tons of ads while shopping. I personally do not know why businesses spend so much money on advertising because I am one of those people that have never clicked on an ad. I scroll right past it in annoyance. As I am sure millions of people do as well. Amazon could fill their pages with more ads to account for all the businesses that are reaching out to Amazon to be advertised. However, Amazon needs to think of the consequences of this. There could be fewer people visiting their site out of pure frustration with the number of ads.
    What might keep consumers around is that Amazon is able to offset the prices of Amazon products because they are getting the money from advertising. That is a point the article mentioned. For example, the Alexa speaker will be cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else because they can afford to discount the product since they make the money up with the revenue generated from ads. A competitor will not be able to compete with Amazon in selling this product because they can not afford to discount the product. This creates unfair competition.
    Amazon is using their platform to the fullest. They are diving into all these different markets that it is hard to distinguish what business Amazon is in. What I mean by this is that Amazon has ties to nearly every industry. I think it is safe to say that Amazon is the E-commerce giant.

  19. Dimitri Drosos November 9, 2018 at 12:33 pm #

    I found it surprising that Amazon generates that much revenue from advertising alone. I am aware that they are arguably the world’s largest online seller of various items, but the number they earn from the advertisements is crazy. Even after the company experienced a decline in stocks about two weeks ago, according to Independent, they are still a mogul in the business world. The most intriguing part of this article is that the company has the ability, through their technology, to present to its customers products that they want and need. At least, present products that are closely related to what they are looking for. It is definitely a unique way of targeting the customer.
    Reading about the one parent who bought Amazon devices for their kids, and then had to pay 10 English pounds to have those ads that pop up at the home screen disappear, was unbelievable. Even after doing that, the ads still popped up. Plainly put, it is not fair: the person paid to get rid of the ads, just for them to continue. However, even if this person did have them removed, Amazon would still receive an absurd amount of income in the form of advertising. All in all, Amazon has proven that they are dominant in the advertising game, relative to Google and Facebook, and it seems that they will still be on top in the years to come.

  20. Sabrina Torres November 9, 2018 at 1:09 pm #

    This article focuses on Amazon is marketing to these certain people and makes them want to buy a product. In the third quarter of 2017 when Amazon made only $1.12 billion, they decided to increase more of their advertising and market to people they know will be interested in buying things. Considering they are spending $4.6 billion in advertising, it is estimated they will make an incredible amount of $8 billion by the end of this year.
    Amazon being one of the top online retail stores, they have an advantage on creating a skill that they can market to people when they’re at home, and putting targeted ads on the main screens of its Amazon Kindles, tablets, and televisions. With more and more people purchasing online retail, Amazon can use this to their advantage by increasing their advertising. This is a good strategy that Amazon is using in order to increase their profits. Even though the advertisements of the company can be a good things overall, some people might get irritated by constantly seeing Amazon ads of things the person might be interested in.
    I personally enjoy the fact that Amazon can narrow down my searches to what I like to buy and the things I am interested in. I have seen this effect on many online sites whether its Facebook, Google, Instagram. When I have had a recent search history of lets say a dress through a store, More clothing ads similar to the dress will come up on my social medias etc. Like Alex Salkever stated, “It was very hard not to click. I definitely agree with him that if a person is in the mentality to shop, they will majority of the time click on those ads involving things that they like. Personally, being an online shopper, I thoroughly enjoy that Amazon want to continue to improve brining their customers new and more relevant purchase options. This makes it a lot easier and convenient for customers, if it only take 5 minutes to find a product and purchase it like you can already do on their site.

  21. Steven Gravlin November 9, 2018 at 1:13 pm #

    It is one thing to collect a massive amount of data; it is another thing to find a way to actually use it effectively. Amazon has found a way to use this data to increase their profits. On one hand, it is scary- the thought of Amazon tricking me into pouring my money out for products that their algorithms determined I would buy if they marketed it to me. On the other hand, it is convenient to have targeted advertising…I don’t want to see advertisements on Pepsi because I don’t drink soda. Personally, I find it fascinating that Amazon is able to determine what I want to buy before I do. I think it is a win-win. For example, if Amazon is able to determine that I have a dog at home, then they could advertise Pedigree’s newest food for 20% off to encourage me to buy Pedigree. Then, I need dog food so I cash in on this sale and we both win- they get money and I get dog food on sale. While this is a simple example, I think the principal still stands. Also, this technology is already here. There is little use in trying to complain and stop it when Amazon and others are already using data collected to gather a better target market for more effective sales figures. A recent example I experienced, not with Amazon though, is when I downloaded the Robinhood App from the App store. Robinhood is a stock trading App. Within a few days I saw advertisements on my laptop for day trading classes and books. This helps illustrate how much actual data companies actually have because they were able to connect my iPhone to my HP laptop and determine that they were both Steve Gravlin.

    In conclusion, some people find this data collection and targeted ads creepy. I however view it as beneficial for consumers and businesses. Until companies start selling my social security number to identity thieves, I will be fine with Amazon’s selling machine.

  22. Alexander Fialkowsky November 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm #

    I definitely feel that the growth of Amazon is something to be concerned of for the sake of other businesses, as well as consumers. The power that they have in regards to their vast array of products, convenience and connections to other big companies make it as close to a monopoly that is permissibly legal. The increase in money that Amazon is receiving for specific targeted advertisements by companies in comparison to Facebook and Google show that the companies purchasing these ads have found a better outlet that allows the consumer to purchase instantly from the source of the ad. Basically Amazon is getting paid to tell us what to buy, while also making the transaction for said purpose. If enough companies take this much interest in Amazon, we may soon be asking our Alexa’s to fill our prescriptions and the new currency of the United States will be Amazon Pay. Instead of backing Amazon, other companies should be trying to compete with them and create a fair market. Obviously this isn’t a perfect world, but companies may wish for that fate if they soon will have to depend on Amazon for their success.

  23. John Heintz November 9, 2018 at 3:07 pm #

    Amazon is well on its way to becoming a complete monopoly in the retail world. Slowly over the course of the last few years, the iconic brand names and superstores that have been namesakes in malls everywhere are closing their doors. Amazon Prime has rendered these in person locations obsolete, and now with Amazon’s venture into smart technology, there is hardly a facet of business that they do not have their fingerprints on.

    A lot of their business revolves around user preferences. Basing what people may purchase relative to prior or current purchases takes full advantage of so called “impulse buyers”, the Amazon machine has no signs of slowing down. Making multiple billions of net sales each quarter on a consistent basis allows Amazon to continue to tinker with its consumers however they wish to do so.

    Combining their sales success, ad success and aspirations to develop, Amazon will certainly find themselves competing with Google to become a monopoly across multiples business areas.

  24. Justin Heath November 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm #

    Amazon is a giant when it comes to selling things to us. My first thought whenever I begin any sort of purchasing process is to check on Amazon first. Not only am I usually able to find what I want from the site, but I am always prompted with several related products that I never even knew I needed until that moment. Of course, this can get a little dangerous for my wallet especially when I find myself just shopping there out of boredom. With this type of consumer mindset, it is almost a given that the site and all of its services are a favorite of advertisers.
    It’s interesting to see that this post shows the future predictions from Amazons advertising net sale revenue. I think that with the speed that Amazon is moving and how it is constantly making disruptive innovations in the world of advertising, there is nowhere to go but up. I’ve recently read about how they have begun new technology to sense changes in our voices through Alexa to market medicine to us and while I do think that this technology is invasive, it’s just another way Amazon is paving a new road for their business.

  25. Sandra C November 9, 2018 at 3:18 pm #

    Amazon is a power company, and they are often competing with lower priced companies like Walmart and Target. However, recently Amazon initiated its grocery service, and high end product sales. Now Amazon caters to almost every buyer. This makes Amazon a force to be reckoned with. A helpful device that makes Amazon so powerful is the use of Alexa. With Alexa, a consumer can say things like “Alexa, put a pair of headphones in my cart.” This makes shopping easy and fun. The use of Alexa also merges internet and actual shopping together. While the consumer is still shopping online, they are interacting with Alexa in order to do so. In today’s world, consumers want easy shopping. By having recommendations and a constant “personal shopper” Alexa is providing that.
    Because amazon is so convenient and powerful, it would make sense that it is one of the leading ad sellers. Many consumers would type a product into amazon, or use the scanner on their app, to see if they can find that product. Once it is found, the consumer is almost guaranteed to find it on Amazon, full of pictures and reviews about that specific product. With this data, Amazon is able to send targeted ads to customers. Although this seems a bit of an invasion of privacy, Amazon does not have nearly the amount of security breaches as Facebook does. It seems like consumers know they can trust Amazon. Because a customer knows that they are already going to shop on, having ads targeted to a specific person can making the shopping experience better.

  26. Michael Robins November 9, 2018 at 4:42 pm #

    I have always wondered how Amazon has become so powerful so fast probably more than any other company has before. Alana Semuels paints a vivid picture of how Amazon came to be. Other than having a simple and easy buying process, Amazon knows their customers better than anyone else does. This is what gives them an advantage unlike any other. Amazon takes customers to their aisle, selects a product, walks them to checkout, assists with the purchase, and then takes the product to their home in a timely manner better than anyone else. They know that customer before they walk into the store. It is really amazing how they collect information and use it for better or worse. As Semuels mentioned, Amazon now owns Whole Foods, Twitch, Zappos, and more. This only broadens their network of information. They have an expanding field of customers that they strive to learn about the second they make a search on their website. Amazon truly embodies the “customers first” saying. However, as Semuels writes about, Amazon can go too far in their pursuit of customer knowledge.
    Too much advertising can clearly take away from customer experience and drive away the same customers that Amazon is learning about. If Amazon doesn’t learn that customers do not like excessive advertising, regardless of view, they will lose customers or gain dissatisfied customers that will not be as inclined to but from Amazon. Similarly to YouTube and Facebook, intrusive advertising can be harmful to a business. Amazon knows their customers better than anyone, but this should not come at the expense of their customers. The example of the English man who bought a tablet for his child is a perfect example of taking it too far. The tablet became more of an advertising device and eventually drove away the man from buying Amazon products in the future. Amazon should learn from YouTube and Facebook in their approach to ads and getting to know their customers better. The company is extremely successful and has the potential to be one of the largest ever. If Amazon can put their customers first, like they always have, and limit invasive advertising, the company can benefit themselves and their customers.

  27. DF November 9, 2018 at 5:33 pm #

    The glory of technology these days means scrolling through your internet searches while being hoarded with numerous ads of previous searches. It always happens no matter what website you click on, you could be watching a YouTube video and on the side of the screen is a pair of shoes you looked at a week ago on another website. Amazon however, seems to be a completely different monster. The company sells lots of products from thousands of companies, but their best trait is selling their own products that are designed to keep you buying more products off of their website. Imagine buying an iPhone and constantly seeing ads pop onto your screen while trying to respond to mails or text messages. People would be irritated with Apple so quickly and would demand a change. Somehow not many complaints have been made about Amazon using this strategy, instead they buy more products. As the article stated, more companies are starting to pair up with Amazon to have “Alexa” compatible products and those can be seen in many stores, even the store I work in advertises Alexa related products. Although they said the echo device could use ads to help with things such as shopping lists for special deals, any further use of ads could start to irratate customers much more. Amazon needs to be cautious, successful ad ideas in the past won’t necessarily mean a happy customer base with even more ads on products they didn’t expect. Any further annoyances will definitely cause customers to try and find new alternatives to their devices, especially in a world fueled by convenience

  28. Tess Coorens November 9, 2018 at 5:39 pm #

    Amazon is without doubt considered as one of the biggest and most influential companies from this century. It is known as a company that has everything you are looking for. It offers anything you want and people often start looking for products on amazon. But not only this, the company has access to our search history and can recommend products before you even know that you want to buy them. It uses a smart advertisement to make consumers buy more. And on top of this it also makes it easier for consumer to order as the website can remember addresses and credit card numbers without having to reenter your information. This version of advertisement can be looked at as more positive as the brand can advertise instead of trying to push the advertisement on the consumer. It makes it less forced for consumers to buy the good and thus they are more likely to click on the link. I think what amazon does really well, is trying to get to know their consumer. This is a positive effect as the company is so well know and trusted amongst the consumers. But is also helps sales increase as consumers are satisfied and keep coming back, to buy more than what.

    Amazon is known for its e-commerce and according to the article has made $2.5 billion in the third quarter of 2018 from sales of advertising ad service offerings. And this amount can keep growing, to an annual revenue of $20 billion in 2018.
    Some tactics amazon uses are not that different from other companies, however they develop this high amount of revenue. I think this is due the fact that amazon takes it a step further and allows companies to work their stores on the website. Amazon sells products from all different sorts of brands. These brands all advertise their products on amazon as they sell them off of amazon. Apart from this, once you buy something amazon will keep sending you email with new or other products. This form of advertisement is based of what other people who purchased your product, purchased as well.
    All these different knowledges about advertisement and the different types, helps Amazon to grow a lot as a company while remaining its credibility towards it customers. And a lot of companies can take Amazon as an example.

  29. Jack P November 9, 2018 at 6:08 pm #

    Amazon is taking over the world. They control so much of the online shopping market it is insane. Now with Amazon Prime, I find myself spending money on stupid items that I do not need. Amazon even has a new feature that includes 1 click purchasing. This means while viewing the item you may purchase, you can click a button under add to cart to have an order placed immediately. This is dangerous when combined with Prime because it makes the purchasing process so simple and easy.

    Amazon has made around $2.5 billion in the third quarter of 2018 from sales from sales advertising service offerings. In the third quarter of 2017, it made less than half that, $1.12 billion. This means that with so many people buying into what Amazon is trying to do. I do not know what is next for Amazon, but I do know the sky is the limit. So far, Amazon has achieved a lot, but they are no where near done yet.

  30. Zach Towlen November 9, 2018 at 6:13 pm #

    Amazon’s marketing strategies are some of the best in the industry. They finally took advantage of their full marketing capability. Instead of going out and advertising themselves on other platforms, they advertise for themselves and allow others to pay Amazon to advertise on their own huge platform. Amazon is almost turning into a form of social media. In the past, companies have used social media platforms to purchase advertisements for millions to see. Well, now that everyone knows how many people really shop on Amazon’s website, it is turning into an international advertising hub for all types of products that are being sold on the website.

    My personal favorite piece of their relatively newer advertising strategies is the “suggested products” or the “you might like this” section. One of the products listed under these will be something from Amazon. It is guaranteed, they are placing products that they make and sell under these categories because it is their website and they have the power to. Also, they can take advertising money from other companies and list their products under these categories. Another marketing strategy revolving around products that I think is brilliant is how if you look anything basic up in their search bar, such as paper towels, the Amazon brand paper towels will come up as a “suggested” product as the first product listed. After it lists the Amazon brands, it will go on down with listing Downy and whoever else sells paper towels. They may make $8 billion a year from advertising revenues, but they will always still put their products and advertisements ahead of the other competitor’s.

    As this article progresses, it goes into detail on the hardware products that Amazon sells, such as the fire stick and the kindle. It is very interesting to note that these products are half the price of other products that do the same thing as them. This is not because the specs of the products are worse than say, Apple’s, but they receive so much advertising revenue from companies who place advertisements that people see while using these products. They can open up the kindle and see ads, the same with smart televisions, and it is all because they are receiving large amounts of money to show these ads. It is important to understand how many different ways Amazon can sell something, it is not just from products on the website.

  31. Vincent A November 9, 2018 at 6:13 pm #

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that whenever I go on amazon I end up ordering something from them. I witness their selling technique first hand. Every time I go on I always find myself browsing through items that are “recommended for me”. I can’t help but to think that using Amazon as an advertising seller for other companies is the smartest thing another company can do. The amount of people that view Amazon’s home page on a daily basis is probably ridiculously high, so why not pay Amazon to show your ad on their website?
    This is also a brilliant move by Amazon themselves. They know how well known and well visited their website is, so they took that and created a different category of business which is “sales related to our other service offerings”. And this category made over 2 billion dollars in just on quarter. I do not see a end in site for this e-commerce company. Business is literally booming for them.

  32. David S November 9, 2018 at 6:20 pm #

    Amazon’s strategic and precise advertising is definitely a result of the unique advantage it has over all of their other competitive market. Utilizing their secret weapon “Alexa” and getting other companies to become compatible with the technology makes Amazon even more powerful in being able to influence consumers in choosing what they purchase. Being able to target consumers with specific information that is personal to them helps Amazon make more of a profit than they would without it. While some consumers may be pleased with an ad that conveniently caters to their needs, others may very well be understandably unhappy. Amazon is able to be so precise in forecasting consumer needs and knowing which ads to target certain consumers with by using each customer’s data from their search and purchasing history.
    The main concern regarding Amazon’s ability to utilize consumers’ information is if there is any type of violation in how Amazon is using this information without consumer consent. It is truly a question of whether or not Amazon owns that information which should honestly looked into by consumers who are frustrated with Amazon’s ad targeting approach to advertising.

  33. Brendan C. November 9, 2018 at 6:46 pm #

    Amazon has been at the forefront of technological innovation, and has become one of the largest corporations in the United States in just a relatively short time span. The concern of data privacy becomes increasingly prevalent as the cost of collecting massive data becomes cheaper. Alana Semuels’ article from The Atlantic raises an important issue related to data integrity. One of the most unfortunate drawbacks of the internet is the ability to easily collect data. This circumstance is dangerous because it opens up the opportunity for companies and websites to exploit data. I think there is a major issue concerning the manner in which data is collected and used, however, I do not agree with the arguments presented in this article.

    The concept of companies collecting data related to consumers addresses, families, and financials is nothing new. Retail stores, bank institutions, and government agencies have been collecting and using information on consumers for quite some time. In some cases, collecting is required, and in others, it is done for revenue purposes. Before technology become effective in collecting data, retail stores utilized store discount membership cards as a tool for gathering consumer information that could be used for decision making. The article raises an argument about Amazon knowing “where we live… when we write reviews and what we think of those products” like this circumstance is something dangerous and new. In order for any company to ship a product, it must gather information on our address. In fact, I sure hope Amazon is taking my address when I purchase merchandise off its website. Furthermore, utilizing customer review data is a valuable for both a business and a consumer. This data informs the business on areas that need improvement, new recommendations, as well as aspects the company performs well in. While extensive use of targeted advertisements might feel invasive and creepy at times, I think this circumstance is the cost of having services such as two-day shipping and social media. If companies like Amazon and Facebook were not allowed to collect data and advertise the way they do today, then I do not think there would be any incentive to provide the services we enjoy from these companies. Reduced to its core, the purpose behind advertising is to persuade somebody to buy a product or service, which is essential for capitalism to thrive.

    I think the more important issue that our Federal Government needs to address is implementing a process for ensuring websites hosts abide to a code of ethics in collecting and using data. The only type of plausible regulation I see in the near future is to hold internet platforms responsible for their process in using and collecting user data, which would prevent situations like Cambridge Analytica from occurring. However, I think regulating the internet is a difficult task and the government should be very careful, as well as reactive, when regulating the internet.

  34. Sydney Woodcock November 9, 2018 at 6:59 pm #

    I recently watched a video on Marketing that showed a funnel structure of selling a product. The wide top opening represented the advertisement, and the people who were targeted to purchase this product or service. The part that is getting smaller represented the number of people that actually engaged in the product by clicking on it, putting it into their cart, or something along those lines. The final, small hole at the end is the actual amount of customers who completed a purchase of the product or service. With a funnel type structure like this, the video explained that it’s incredibly important to constantly analyze the way you’re doing business, and use the information you gather in order to improve how you do your job. Amazon seems to have the analyzation process down to a t. They have such a large collection of data on a person: what the browse, where they live, what they buy as gifts, etc. that they’ve got the chance to analyze a persons wants even better than the person themselves at times. The funnel structure of Amazon probably has much less variance between the size of the top of the funnel and the size of the bottom than many other companies. Since Amazon has so many services, their reach seems to go much farther than even that of Facebook. Although Facebook can tell your friends, yours political views, likes and dislikes, Amazon has much more power because they can tell (sometimes more than you can) what you’ll spend your money on. That information gives Amazon the perfect opportunity to market the products you want, and gives them the highest chance of making a large amount of money. Having this much information on consumers is a little bit scary, because there’s not much consumers can do to stop the sharing of their information. We either have to accept that this is what will happen when we use these services, or decide not to use them at all.

  35. Amy Rheel November 9, 2018 at 7:27 pm #

    Amazon has completely changed the game for the way consumers shop today. Amazon learns a consumers buying habits from what they have previously bought, and taking that information by being able to advertise something that the consumer would want to buy next. The way Amazon advertise is so in a consumers face that it would make sense to cave in after repeatedly seeing the same images over and over. Another way the company advertises so heavily against competitors is through the products they sell as the article mentions. The writer expresses, “The devices I bought from Amazon, on Amazon, are filled with ads Amazon also makes money from—ads that are targeted with the remarkable precision of a company that has quietly come to own a staggering proportion of my purchasing decisions”. This is just yet another way Amazon differentiates themselves from competitors by taking it a step further to therefore advertise on the products that consumers buy from the entity. With all of this advertisement that Amazon is broadcasting, this is an essential heaven for companies that are looking to advertise. Companies that are looking to broadcast to the world their new products or have created a new ad have a central hub they want to be able to advertise on, which is Amazon. This also completely changes the way that our buying market functions, that companies looking to advertise are hoping to be able to score with Amazon to advertise their products on. Knowing that if their ads end up on Amazon they basically are hitting most of the market of consumers. All of this just clears to show that Amazon is truly taking over.

  36. michelle Vekshteyn November 9, 2018 at 7:36 pm #

    Just like google, and our TID where unilateral contracts were discussed, it is really scary to see how Amazon has so much information on us where it almost feels uncomfortable. Like an invasion of privacy. Amazon knows the types of products people order, the types of movies we watch, the types of music we listen to, the books we read, etc etc the list goes on. Due to this knowledge, they can suggest products to people that people did not even thing that they needed. I think that this is pretty cool that algorithms in this companys servers can figure out so much about ever customer, but at the same time I do not like the idea that so much about me can be known by a company. As the article says, “It’s both eerie and comforting. We can be marketed to throughout our day—when we’re reading, watching TV, cooking dinner, browsing the internet—and we might not even mind it, because the ads we’re seeing are for things we actually want.” If cute clothes are popping up in my advertisements then I would not be mad at all and I have actually spontaneously ordered things from Instagram ads etc and I end up loving it. If I get an advertisement for something I was speaking to my friends about the day before or searching on the internet then I will feel an invasion of privacy. Not only is this affecting customers, but also other companies such as Facebook. The article states that, “There are other reasons Amazon’s ubiquitous advertising may face consumer backlash. Facebook, for instance, lost some big advertisers after the company admitted that Cambridge Analytica accessed information about 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge. Amazon’s privacy notice assures customers that though it collects data about them, it “is not in the business of selling it to others.” But it does say that it targets users with specific ads, based on information Amazon has collected—and it collects lots and lots of information. Sometimes, Amazon says, it receives information from third parties about what other sites customers have visited and what ads they’ve seen.” The idea of companies selling my interests and information to each other for business is definitely discomforting, and Amazon as a whole is definitely taking over everything, which is why the name of this article is perfect.

  37. Henry Steck November 9, 2018 at 8:04 pm #

    It is pretty amazing to see the photos of Bezos’ business in the 1990s and compare it to the goliath Amazon is today. My favorite part of the photos is probably the text “” crudely spray painted onto a board behind Bezos’ cheap desk. Amazon has gotten to where it is today by what this article is describing. This is, utilizing targeted ads to encourage customer so buy crap they don’t always need.

    One great example that the article skipped is Prime Day. One day per year Amazon puts together some deep discounts on a short-list of items. “I got it on Prime Day” is a quote I have actually heard a lot from friends with a random mobile speaker, special mug or other uncommon product. What do all of these have in common? They were purchased on a whim. My friends, navigating to the website without specific wants, found these by scrolling through Amazon on Prime Day. No targeted ads required in this case, just the hopes of deep discounts the Amazon name brings. It is a part of our culture.

    On a similar note, last month I visited the Amazon four-star store in NYC. The store in NYC is one of a few in the globe with an interesting twist: Everything on the shelves in the store has a 4 star or higher rating on They had everything from Harry Potter Lego sets to candles. Similar to Prime Day, I walked in without any specific wants and walked out with an umbrella. As a prime member, I scored a 60% discount on the umbrella in store. Fully knowing that Amazon was still making a profit on the item, I was happy to make an impulse buy.

    I did know one thing walking into the store: I was probably going to make a purchase. This goes back to the legendary status Amazon deals have in US culture. Plus, I trusted that the umbrella would work well, since it had a four-star review on the website. Amazon’s status as a household name and the widespread use of the website give it credibility that few other retailers in the world can tout.

  38. Tyler Peteraf November 9, 2018 at 8:27 pm #

    Amazon seems to be virtually taking over the entire consumer market. More and more people simply don’t want to leave their home to shop when they can just go on amazon and find what they need. With people looking towards amazon in order to make their purchases, it would make sense that advertisers would look too the company for sales. Something that I found fascinating when reading the article was how amazon would be able to understand what your interests are and then show you ads that line up with what you buy. As opposed to seeing ads that someone could care less about, Amazon is able to look at your browsing history and your purchases to line up the ads you will see. So while Amazon is doing just fine with it’s own regular business, it is slowly becoming a juggernaut in advertising sales as well. Another interesting part of this whole scenario is the fact that Amazon owns other companies that are major players in advertising which only increases their revenue and ad sales. It really is astounding how many people when they first start shopping will go to amazon right away, so it is clear why many companies would want to be advertised on amazon. If Amazon continues what they have been doing and keep up with their advertising sales, you will see an already successful company become even more of a powerhouse over the years.

  39. Michael Zera November 9, 2018 at 8:39 pm #

    Amazon is now one of the top electronic American commerce companies in the United States. Because of my dad always talking and praising Amazon, I am very familiar with their CEO, Jeff Bezos, who is a mastermind and genius in this industry. Jeff Bezos made a complex idea so simple that millions of Americans use Amazon daily in the year 2018. A company that allows consumers to buy new or used products by also allowing the ability to have 2-day “prime” shipping by paying around $150 a year. Amazon is growing by the day, and Amazon’s advertising revenue is “reaching 8 billion.” That 8 billion number is going to double to 16 million by the year 2020. It is unbelievable to me how these companies spend so much money on advertising and are so good at selling their products that they still make profit. Amazon is also “creating Alexa skills” to advertise while Alexa is being used. Now, this might be a good idea but again, the privacy situation with these issues are suspect as Alexa already hears everything that is being said to the user. However, Amazon has done an excellent job so far in stressing security as compared to Google. If Google ever got hacked, who knows what would happen as Google is an online search engine but also advertises their products. Amazon on the other hand has never had an issue with being hacked, and like I have said before, the information is not the problem as the privacy of the consumer is the problem. However, companies use ads so more customers know about their product and tell the consumer their purpose. Amazon focuses heavily on convenience and trust as many companies do not this trust that Amazon has. Personally, I have never had a problem from ordering from Amazon as they rarely send a late package or something worth getting upset about. Amazon is competitive with giants such as Facebook and Google in an area where they excel, while also competing against companies such as Apple in the sale of tech products, competing against grocers in sales of foods, and more. What Jeff Bezos has done with Amazon as a company is life changing, altering the world for online consumer goods for the future. Amazon has set such a high precedent for those companies that will soon follow.

  40. Julia Ausborn November 9, 2018 at 8:51 pm #

    It doesn’t surprise me that Amazon became the third largest digital ad-seller in the country behind Google and Facebook. As stated in the article, most individuals start their online search on Amazon. I can certainly relate to that, as I do the same. It doesn’t matter what I’m looking for online, Amazon is the first company that pops up on my web search. They have the best prices, fastest shipping, good packaging, and they do an amazing job for us consumers.

    That’s the reason why so many brands spend as much as $4.61 billion advertising on the Amazon platform just this year. Amazon has the ability to oversee consumer behavior on the internet. They know what we read, watch, cook, listen to and our overall browsing activity. No wonder that so many companies want to do business with them.

    Amazon provides to consumer what many companies can’t, safety and convenience. It’s comforting for consumers to not have to provide their billing information on several different websites. Even then, you never know what to expect. How is the product packaged, when will it get here, and how easy is it to return a product? These are questions you try to avoid, and the solution to this leads to Amazon. I have to admit, I’m excited to find out what Amazon will do next.

  41. Yash Wagle November 9, 2018 at 9:01 pm #

    As Amazon continues to expand is stronghold in e-commerce, it seems like every other thing the company does is to sell more products. To me it is no surprise to hear the tactics that company takes to sell even more of its product through sponsored advertisement. Amazon’s ads have actually become a huge part of their business strategy as many of their devices like the kindle fire, fire tv, and Amazon Alexa run ads to sell more products. The ability to advertise on Amazon has even caused many companies to stop running ads through Google, which is actually the biggest ad company. If you think about it this makes perfect sense, as Amazon being an e-commerce company has more consumers searching for products than does Google, which is not nearly as much an e-commerce company. I believe it is truly to be admired the convenience these ads can sell you things that we need. As Amazon created a patent that lets Alexa find out if your ill, through your voice they still find a way to conveniently sell product without even the user asking for them. As I recall, one of the examples in which Amazon explains why this patent is useful was to help by a sick user cough drops. This is just another example of how Amazon is able to use its services to be convenient to the user.

  42. Adam C. November 9, 2018 at 9:08 pm #

    This article discusses the increased amount of advertising that Amazon has been doing. It discusses how integrated Amazon is with our daily lives and how they are able to market to us based on what we are most likely to spend our money on.

    Amazon’s impressive work with marketing in multiple different fields is all contributing to a more Amazon based world. From what I’ve seen, Amazon wants to be the one stop place for all our consumer needs. A world where we will live in an Amazon house, eat Amazon food, drive an Amazon car, have our questions answered by Amazon Alexa, and get all of our media from Amazon. All of this will further add to Amazon’s global and in home presence.

    While I have not had a bad experience with Amazon, I am concerned with what Amazon can do with all this global and personal control. They have the ability to market products to us that we may not necessarily need, but we will end up buying simply because Amazon knows that we would buy it. For the future, I would not be surprised to see Amazon get into the social media market. This would allow them access to our friends, our opinions, and our personal politics. This would ultimately increase their presence in every aspect of our lives.

    On the other hand, I am also surprised to see that the government hasn’t stepped in on some of Amazon’s acquisitions in order to ensure a fair market. It is becoming increasingly difficult to compete with Amazon and I don’t think that any business is safe from their grasp. This increased difficulty to compete means that Amazon could control an overwhelming amount of our daily consumption and destroy the free market.

  43. Marco V November 9, 2018 at 10:02 pm #

    Amazon has grown into a tremendous monster that runs through multiple businesses. They not only sell products and are able to target specific ads to customers, but have access to a ton of information we have willingly provided them. They are able to continue to make money off of every single one of us by selling us ads. It was interesting to see how some ads have been shaping the way they were once constructed in order to be more effective. This quote, by Helen Lin, stood out to me the most,“It allows a brand to be part of a solution, as opposed to pushing an ad message.” In the future, we will start shifting our concept of ads from “annoying” and pointless to actually being part of a solution to a problem. As Amazon continues to integrate their new acquisitions into their fast distribution system, they will help customers get products quick. Amazon has tested delivery in under an hour in some cities. Another key element Amazon exceeds in is having a “people also purchased this along with your item” suggestion section. I, myself, have bought from the suggested section since it went along with the product I was purchasing in the first place. It’s exactly what was stated in the article, Amazon knows what we want before we even realize it ourselves.

  44. John Skalski November 30, 2018 at 2:18 pm #

    I no longer get surprised anytime I hear that Amazon has done something to make themselves even better then what they are currently at. Amazon has taken all the advancements with technology and completely used it to their advantage. They realized that a lot of people no longer want to leave the comforts of their home and do most of their shopping there because they simply do not have to move. A few months ago I bought headphones that I was thinking about buying for a while and I said that I should probably go to BestBuy to figure out if I should get them or not. I thought about it more and said that I should probably check amazon first and sure enough they were there and at the same exact price, that BestBuy was selling them at. I ultimately decided to order it from Amazon because I did not have to leave my house at all and could stay in my pajamas. Not only was I able to not leave my house but the headphones literally came the same day, I ordered them in the morning and they came at night. I got them the same day because I had an amazon prime account. Amazon figured out that they best way to get to people in today’s day and age is to let them shop for anything that they could want and not have them leave the house. Anybody that has ever been on Amazon knows that they can literally shop for anything because they have everything that you could possibly think of. One of the best parts about Amazon is the fact that their return policy is very customer friendly and you can return purchases if you do not like them. I have used this policy a lot with Amazon especially when I bought headphones. The one time the headphones stopped working and I contacted Amazon and they sent me replacements ones, and all I had to do was send the broken ones back. Amazon really is an amazing company and I continue to expect them to grow and continue to shut down a lot of stores because Amazon is taking business from just about everybody. As long as people keep using the internet then amazon will continue to be utilized.

  45. Deen Malik November 30, 2018 at 8:56 pm #

    This article was a great read because of the main topic spoke about in this article. The main topic was the corporation Amazon. Amazon has been a powerhouse corporation in America and globally for a while now even though they started off as a tiny business they expanded very quickly and took off and never cam down. They offer a variety of consumerism, whether its under cutting prices of products that are sold at a higher price elsewhere, or having an amazon prime membership which includes free shipping on all products. The CEO Jeff Bezos is a business tycoon always looking to expand his enterprise and he his always almost successful in doing so. By offering us recomended products while purchasing a product, as well as creating a network of memberships called amazon prime. Also another great business idea amzon had was to enhance their delivery systems to get consumers their products faster. These ideas all lead to consumer satisfaction which in hindsight increase sales and business. If you want to start a business and become a very successfull corporation look up and take notes on how amazon came to be such a powerhouse.

  46. Wilnir Louis December 1, 2018 at 10:01 pm #

    Amazon has been one of the biggest companies in recent years, making Jeff Bezos the richest person in the world passing Bill Gates. This article just shows another reason why it’s been so revolutionary.
    Back in the days, newspapers and yellow pages were the big players in the world. Advertisements in those were a big thing, but the problem was that you could not tailor the ads to specific readers. Fast forward to today, and nearly every advertisement that you see on the internet is tailored to the specific user. With the increase in the usage of the internet and the amount of data, this is recorded on the internet, it makes it easy for companies to collect and analyze the data.
    The reason the Amazon is so successful now is the optimism of data analytics. With Amazon selling almost anything on the earth, it makes it easy to recommend something to a consumer. But being able to suggest something specifically based on their searches is an art that has to be mastered. The net sales of Amazon in that category show that there are mastering it well.
    It does concern me a little bit, because who knows how far will Amazon take this information. Yes, it’s cool to have items that are specifically tailored to your wants, but It’s a double edge sword. It could possibly hurt because of all the information is just floating around. We have to be careful with the information that we provide on these sites.

  47. David Torres January 25, 2019 at 5:04 pm #

    This article displays that Amazon is on the rise towards true domination of the shopping industry. Amazon, a booming company is beginning to sell advertising, and make detailed targeted ads on the screens of people that are most likely to buy that specific product. This method is one that is rising because it is collecting money of famous companies that already invest in advertisements with Facebook and Google. Meaning, Facebook and Google now have a big name competitor when it comes to advertisements.
    In comparison of net sales in Quarter 3 of 2017, to Quarter 3 of 2018, there was a huge difference. There was over a $1 billion difference. Amazon has also reached a new title when it comes to who’s the biggest digital-ad seller in the country. They have now reached an impressive rank of the 3rd biggest digital-ad seller in the entire country, trailing behind Facebook and Google. Amazon’s growth is predicted to not enter any type of consolidation period, but rather have exponential growth over the coming years. Many experts predict that “Amazon’s advertising revenue will reach $8 billion this year, a number that will double to $16 billion by 2020.”
    Amazon is now able to sell almost anything you can find at the mall. In addition to the useful tool of data analytics, there is no stopping the advertisement goals of Amazon. Collecting and selling Data to specifically target which consumer will actually buy the product is what will make companies like Amazon flourish in today’s competitive market.

  48. Cameron Kharazmi January 25, 2019 at 8:39 pm #

    The growth of Amazon from an online book-selling platform to the world’s largest online marketplace has been unprecedented and has become one of the most important phenomena over the 21st century. It holds tremendous power in the global economy and the economy of the United States alone, and has changed the way consumers shop for various goods, based partly in an aggressive and lucrative advertising campaign run by the company. One of the most fascinating trends I have noticed in my lifetime is how quickly consumer activities and trends change based on new technological advancements. In the digital era, we have drastically changed how we communicate with people, how we value our time, and most importantly, how we shop. My father made a living selling advertisements to the people of Los Angeles in his Persian magazine that marketed goods and services to the large Iranian community. However, our attention has been focused on digital media, with different websites offering the same services my father did at a much higher level of convenience, and even companies such as Amazon showing us advertisements that may interest us at times when we are not shopping. It is tough to see his business falter as a result of such advancements. But like Amazon, he has largely shifted his attention to a website that offers much of the same service, and although the revenue has been considerably less than years past, has kept his business afloat. What captivates me about Amazon is its ability to adapt and think ahead of its consumers and its competition in its attempt to garner more profit. It has already begun utilizing its artificial intelligence device “Alexa” to run advertisements for different companies, and utilizes our shopping information to make certain recommendations for what we “should” be purchasing. Amazon has laid out the blueprint for how to thrive in the digital era, making me question what internet-based service will change the way we do things in the future? No average individual in the 20th century or even early 21st century could have anticipated what ideas and businesses have changed the present day. My guess for what will change the future? Artificial Intelligence. Amazon has put forth a light demonstration of how powerful artificial intelligence can be, and with the advancement of such a product, the possibilities for how it will change consumers interests are endless. Artificial intelligence has already allowed for people to order groceries by simply speaking to a device, or even change the lighting and weather conditioning of their own home. There is no telling what new company will usurp Amazon’s power in the global marketplace, but my guess would definitely be some utilization of artificial intelligence that will change the world sooner, rather than later.

  49. Josh Shupper January 31, 2019 at 3:44 pm #

    When it comes to the retail world, I firmly believe Amazon is what I like to call the big bad bully. They are the powerhouse of the retail industry. A lot of it comes from the brands that they own, such as Whole Foods, Twitch, IMDb, etc. Just to see what they are able to do to the retail industry is incredible.
    Amazon had a plan to change how they ran their ads. The company wanted to focus on the consumers’ wants and needs, and I felt like that they have done a great job with that. If you ask me to name a company that is on the same level as Amazon right now, I probably could not come up with one. They have taken the world by storm and the world is changing around us because of the effects that Amazon has on us.
    Why on earth are they are so successful? It is because of the amount of data that Amazon has. The company has tons of data due to the fact that so many consumers purchase products affiliated with Amazon. Because of this, Amazon is able to adjust their advertising to each individual customer, no matter where they are located. I find this to be a very smart idea. Since everyone has their own individual wants and needs, Amazon has the data to figure out how to adjust their ads for all of their customers. It is everywhere around us and seems to be that this will the norm for years to come.
    As for the customers and stockholders, they are getting dividends based off of Amazon’s success. People are making tons of money based on the astonishing success that Amazon has had, and to me this does not seem that anything will stop the company from changing the retail world. Amazon’s sales on advertising for example increased from 1.12 billion dollars to 2.5 billion in a year. The projections are only getting higher over the next couple of years. Goods and services are being produced at a super high rate. Based on the article, it does not look like that Amazon will be slowing down anytime soon.
    It’s not surprising to me that Amazon is at this sort of level with how much they own, the amount of data, and a lot of other products and services that they can sell. Amazon is not going to fade off the map anytime soon, so we should get used to this.

  50. Deep Patel February 7, 2019 at 12:18 pm #

    When Amazon started they were only known for selling books and nothing else. Their book selling was very successful as it was selling not only to the all the states but internationally as well. Since, then the retail giant of Amazon has now become the largest e-commerce company in the world. Amazon completely runs the retail market and is growing to new levels every year. A reason they have been so successful is because they are adapting and moving with the ever changing society. Amazon offers its customers any product the customer needs and has it shipped right to their front door. Amazon use of advertising is no match. The way Amazon advertises is that they use a user’s search and purchase history to promote new products to that user. The user will see what Amazon has to offer for their use. I was looking for a phone case recently on Amazon, but could not find a good one on my first search. Then as soon I came back I saw a list of cases that Amazon suggested to me. Eventually, I brought one of the cases that Amazon suggested and it worked for Amazon and me. Not only does this generate profits for the retail giant but it also makes other companies aware that selling their products on Amazon will ensure profits for them so that gives Amazon control of the entire retail market. Since Amazon has ultimate control of the retail industry it is hurting retail stores and small/local business around the internet.

    Amazon recently added the kindle, fire TV, and fire tablets. This allows Amazon to compete with companies such as Apple and Samsung. The Amazon Fire Tablets cost half as much as the Apple IPads. Therefore, Amazon is using the strategy of attracting customers who want smart devices for a significantly cheaper price. They are saying that our products can do the same thing as and IPad or Apple TV but we sell it at a cheaper price that is affordable for everyone. Amazon always tried to get into every market weather it is technology, books, retail, and medical. Technology wise Amazon has created a device called the “Alexa” the Alexa is a home device where it is like google but lets you ask question and will give you an answer right away. I have an Alexa and what got me to get one was that it allows me to play music instantly and if I want to know a fact I can ask Alexa and it will tell me right away. Therefore, I believe as more and more people buy products on the internet Amazon will only continue to rise above everyone else.

    Amazon is a “selling machine”, they have every product you can think and it can brought with few clicks. I personally do not have anything negative to say Amazon they are the present and the future. Amazon advertising team is very smart in marketing products that the user has recently searched or brought. They send out emails to the person along with suggestions when the user is looking to buy a product. Therefore, Amazon will continue to sell its products and will still be at the top of the retail industry for the foreseeable future.

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