Wal-Mart Passes The Torch And Magnifying Glass To Amazon.com

Does Amazon deserve all of this negativity? Well, like every company that becomes a larger and larger force in the world, it absolutely deserves scrutiny.

Hi gang,

Simpsons-Angry-Mob

Remember way back like 3 years ago when Wal-Mart was the Evil Empire?  It seems you couldn’t turn a page or click on a website without hearing more news about how terrible Wal-Mart treated their vendors and employees.

Welcome to Press 2.0, where Amazon.com is the new punching bag.

There’s news this morning that Amazon is being sued over their Prime Third Party pricing. The suit makes the claim that third party FBA sellers inflate their prices to compensate for shipping (expert side opinion: um, duh! I have SOOO many stories, particularly from the mouths of eBay people, about free shipping. That’ll be another post) and so Amazon makes a higher fee on the commissions earned from the sale of an FBA item, which in turn contradicts the “free shipping” portion of their Prime program.

You can read the entire story over at Geekwire

That lawsuit comes on the heels of another story making the rounds about the treatment of Amazon workers in their distribution centers.  I can summarize it very briefly for you: it’s bad. TheGuardian.com has a good in depth story about it here .

A dew days ago Salon.com joined the fray by publishing a pretty scathing report titled “Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers” . Summary: Amazon treats its’ employees badly.

And of course, I would be remiss not to mention my own nightmare story about Amazon, their FBA program, and Warner Bros, which is the most widely read blog I’ve ever done and still generates several e-mails a week from petrified Amazon sellers.  My story remains at the top of the most active posts over at Startupnation.com and can be read here:

Third Party Sellers Need To Rethink The Amazon FBA Program

By the way, I am writing a new post which will update you on this story and answer some frequently asked questions about it.

Even the Wall Street Journal has jumped in, having independently investigated Amazon on several claims of counterfeit and fraudulent items being sold on their site. I was interviewed for that article as well and the reporter had a very good handle on the issues facing Amazon when it comes to policing their own site. You can read that article here

Does Amazon deserve all of this negativity? Well, like every company that becomes a larger and larger force in the world, it absolutely deserves scrutiny. I think it’s fair to question any company on their treatment of employees, customers, and vendors. Every large US company has been held up to the candlelight at one time or other – Microsoft, GE, Apple, Walls Fargo, etc – and Amazon should be no exception.

It baffles me, though, to read the reactions to these reports from people.  As any seller can tell you, FREE shipping does not mean free. Having the lowest price means the lowest margins.  There’s a cost to all of that, knuckleheads.  To excel in some areas, Amazon has to give in other areas. People. Compensation. Benefits. Third Party Seller Services. Etc. Yes, you can get that video game tomorrow or even today

Is Amazon a bad company? Based on what you know about my dealings with them, you’ll be surprised to hear that I don’t think so.  They are an amazingly innovative company with vision that rivals and even surpasses the Mount Olympus of Vision: Apple.

But, like Apple, don’t be surprised when a few cockroaches scurry for cover after you lift up the rug and look under it.

-Kevin

Come play with me at GodImSexy.com

 

Share

GodImSexy Greatest Hits: Amazon.com is 50 Shades Away From Owning Retail

Amazon wants to be your go-to retailer for anything and everything, and so they are moving in a block over and they are going to begin delivering your orders the same day that you order them

Hi gang,

50shades

I wrote this blog a year and a half ago for my good friends at Outright.com – it’s amazing how well I nailed it 😉  The predictions I made in this blog are downright eerie now:

“Amazon wants to be your go-to retailer for anything and everything, and so they are moving in a block over and they are going to begin delivering your orders the same day that you order them”

Also, so many of you enjoyed last night’s post about Amazon taking over the USPS that you can re-read it here

Anywhoo, pop over there and see for yourself:

http://outright.com/blog/amazon-com-is-50-shades-away-from-owning-retail/

-Kevin

Come play with me at GodImSexy.com

Share

Could Amazon.com Be Angling To Buy And Privatize The USPS?

Is it really that much of a stretch for Amazon to step in and take it over? If the USPS were privatized, would anyone really be upset at faster delivery times and cheaper postal rates?

Hi gang,

I know, I know – that sounds insane, right?

Right?

Look, Amazon has been in the business of insane for a long time.  It was insane to try to sell every book in the world all on one website.  It was insane to open up 20 gazillion distribution centers. It was insane to offer free 2-day shipping. It was insane to offer same day delivery. It will be insane to offer delivery by drone.

Yet Amazon has done or will do all of that (by the way, the drone thing was the single most brilliant PR move in the history of PR. Drones are years and years and years away, yet the entire country was talking about it non stop the day after it was announced, which just so happened to be Cyber Monday. Just….freaking….brilliant)

Amazon has always had a very clear mission: make their customers happy at any cost.  To do that, Amazon must control the entire process end-to-end. Can you imagine being insanely driven to satisfy your customers and then handing off your precious cargo to the USPS for delivery? That’s like handing a bouquet of balloons to a car full of clowns holding needles.  Seriously, it must keep Mr. Bezos in cold sweats every night.

The USPS loses a Bazillion Kazillion dollars a year. It’s completely inefficient and technically archaic. USPS employees are forced to be apathetic – there’s so much red tape in that system that employees couldn’t improve it if they wanted to, and so they just zombie-out over time.

Is it really that much of a stretch for Amazon to step in and take it over? If the USPS were privatized, would anyone really be upset at faster delivery times and cheaper postal rates? Would the USPS drones be afraid of dogs?

What would that be…350 million US Prime Members?  That’s a lot of Downton Abbey streaming, folks 😉

usamazon

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.  Am I insane? I mean, more than normal?

-Kevin

Come play with me at GodImSexy.com

Share

Facebook Buys Whatsapp For $16 Billion. Entrepreneurs Worldwide Crap Their Pants

Best Buy is worth about $9 billion and has roughly 150,000 employees. Facebook just paid a 5 year old company with 55 employees twice the market cap of BEST BUY.

Hi gang,

ex

Well, you’ve heard that Facebook bought Whatsapp – which frankly, not many people stateside have ever heard of until today – for $16 billion. Let’s do math.

To put this in perspective, Whatsapp has 55 employees.  Facebook just paid about $291 MILLION per employee. Whatsapp is less than 5 years old.

Best Buy is worth about $9 billion and has roughly 150,000 employees. Facebook just paid a 5 year old company with 55 employees twice the market cap of BEST BUY.

Exqueeze me? Baking powder?

We can debate the merits of such a play or whether or not this was a good deal, etc, but here’s what I really want to say:

Entrepreneurs everywhere – sit down, shut up, and get to work.

Your dreams can come true.  Your hard work can pay off. You can change the world. And maybe, just maybe, you can get hit by a Thor thunderbolt of lightening made of liquid gold.

Seriously, get to work.

-Kevin

Come play with me at GodImSexy.com

Share

What Drives Me Nuts? The New eBay 30% Rule

Hi gang,

As a long time e-commerce seller, there are certain things going on in e-comm land that just leave me scratching my head.

Take, for instance, the new(er) rule on eBay that if you list an Auction with a Buy It Now (so the buyer can either bid on it or just buy the darn thing already), the Buy It Now must be 30% or more higher than the open bid.

Exqueeze me? Baking powder?

In the old days, we large sellers used to have a pretty common strategy of listing an item as an auction, but if a buyer wanted it right away, we would also put a Buy It Now on the auction that was slightly higher than the open bid.  I was a media seller, and so our model would be, for example, a 5 day auction with an $8.99 starting bid and a $9.99 buy it now for the people who wanted to just snag their copy of Pretty Baby.  Of course, eBay used to and still does charge an extra fee for using Buy It Now – I think it used to be .10, so us large sellers really took a bath offering Buy It Now, but we believed that the customer didn’t want to go through the bidding process to get their item.

Back then, eBay was something like 90% auction. The auction model made eBay a totally unique marketplace and a very successful one.

Today, however, the eBay model has completely flipped to 70% Fixed Price items. Gee, what a shock that people want their goods right away (rolls eyes).

So the new eBay 30% rule just baffles me, because it seems to encourage bidding behavior again vs. Buy It Now.

Why?

Let’s say you are selling a brand name coat and you want to give buyers either the option of bidding or Buy It Now.   Before the rule, you could start a bid at $33.99 and offer a Buy It Now of, say, $35.99.  The odds of a buyer taking the Buy It Now would be quite high because that was a very reasonable price to pay.

But now?  Now your open bid is $33.99 and your Buy It Now is….let’s see…carry the one…divide by the mass of the sun….$44.19?

Am I crazy or would a buyer not hit that Buy It Now? The price difference is so much that they’ll probably risk it and bid.  It encourages bidding.

It just doesn’t make sense. Here’s a company that has completely changed its’ business model to fixed price to compete with the Amazon‘s of the world, and yet they have introduced a rule that encourages bidding.

It’s a little confusing.

youdontsay

-Kevin

P.S. Come play with me at GodImSexy.com

 

 

Share

Starting an Amazon and eBay Business in 2014

Hi gang,

Just wanted to bring your attention to a recent blog post of mine that is generating a lot of interest over on Startupnation.com.

If you’re thinking of getting into the eBay and Amazon business, please read this first!

eBay and Amazon in 2014

Best,

Kevin

 

Share