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Big Revolution - The changing feel of Amazon

Welcome to Wednesday's Big Revolution. Let's dive straight in... – Martin
September 12 · Issue #199 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Wednesday’s Big Revolution. Let’s dive straight in…

Big things you need to know today
  • Whether you’re an Apple fan or the peanut gallery, today’s the day. Apple will announce new iPhones and (probably) more, at 6pm BST / 7pm CEST / 10.30pm IST / 1pm EDT / 10am PDT. The event will be streamed live on Twitter for the first time, so you can watch the without having to go to using Safari on an Apple device.
  • Controversial news site Gawker is set to return under its new owner, Bryan Goldberg. According to a leaked memo, “we won’t recreate Gawker exactly as it was, but we will build upon Gawker’s legacy and triumphs — and learn from its missteps… In so doing, we aim to create something new, vibrant, highly relevant, and worth visiting daily.”
The big thought
Searching for 'USB memory stick' gave me three rows of sponsored listings
The changing feel of Amazon
I’d never really thought of Amazon as a ‘Google for products,’ until yesterday. That’s because it’s not really, but the way it’s increasingly filling out its search results 'sponsored’ listings is definitely reminiscent of Google’s approach to business.
Yes, you may have noticed 'Sponsored’ products showing up in your search results more lately. As Recode reports:
“Amazon-sponsored product ads have been around since 2012. But lately, as the company has invested in growing its advertising business, they’ve become more aggressive…
"Nearly 8 percent of views on Amazon product pages came from sponsored links in May, more than double what it was a year earlier, according to data from analytics firm Jumpshot, which collects URL data from a panel of 100 million people.”
I recently bought a USB memory stick from a 'sponsored’ link. I didn’t really think about it – delivery was covered by Prime, and it was the kind of product what I wanted, so the 'Sponsored’ label didn’t bother me. But there’s no denying that by ramping up its ads business, Amazon is changing its relationship with customers.
Amazon is famed for its relentless focus on the customer – for aligning its interests with ours. From one-click purchases, to Prime’s next-day delivery, to Prime Now’s same-day delivery, Amazon has made sure that whatever makes it more money also makes us happier as customers. But with sponsored listings, Amazon’s interests get the upper hand.
If Amazon’s search rankings once balanced factors like price, popularity, and Prime delivery to offer customers what they wanted, the new rankings prioritise something different – which companies can pay the right price to get top billing.
In Recode’s tests on the US version of Amazon, some sponsored results went way 'below the fold’ on the page. Searches for detergent and phone chargers brought up three rows of sponsored products ahead of the 'natural’ results. I got similar results in the UK today when searching for 'phone charger’ and 'USB memory stick.’
Amazon claims its commitment to the consumer is going nowhere, telling Recode it is “focused on creating value for customers by helping them discover new brands and products.” But there’s no doubt that these ads create a different feel on the site.
Many different companies are now using our searches to compete for our attention where once there was only Amazon’s choice. Will we be happy with that in the long term?
One big read
Amazon delivery drivers reveal claims of disturbing work conditions Amazon delivery drivers reveal claims of disturbing work conditions
Not had enough Amazon above? Read this look at the tough working conditions endured by its delivery drivers. The company doesn’t only work its warehouse staff like robots…
One big tweet
Tinder’s Chief Product Officer gives his take on Twitter’s continuing refusal to let users edit tweets.
Feature, not a bug.

It’s polarizing and differentiated—the specific ingredients that lead to a great product.

Moreover, lack of editing drives authenticity. Huge fan. Watch Twitter devolve into a cess pool if they ever modified the rule.
11:27 PM - 11 Sep 2018
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow. In the meantime, don’t forget:
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