business news in context, analysis with attitude

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• The Associated Press has a story about how "Amazon has turned its online store into an advertising powerhouse in just a few years. It overtook Microsoft last year as the third largest ad platform in the U.S. following Google and Facebook, according to market research firm eMarketer. That’s mostly due to Amazon’s search bar: Most shoppers now go to Amazon first instead of Google to look up products, according to Jumpshot, which tracks online shopping behavior."

But there's a problem: "Companies and brands can bid to get their products in Amazon’s search listings, sometimes pushing down what shoppers are searching for and making them harder to find. It risks betraying Amazon’s customer-friendly reputation…"

However, it seems unlikely that Amazon will back down from the plethora of ads that show up on its site: "Advertising is one of Amazon’s fastest-growing businesses, helping to offset some of its more expensive endeavors like one-day delivery, which is hugely popular with customers but also a drain on the company. Amazon hasn’t said exactly how much it makes from ads, but its 'other' business is mostly made up of advertising, which brought in $9.3 billion in the first nine months of this year, up 38% from the same period the year before."

I'm on Amazon multiple times a day, and to be honest, I haven't found the ads to be particularly intrusive. I also think that if the ads underwrite faster deliveries, it seems like a reasonable trade-off. But … I'm not at all sure that every Amazon shopper will feel this way, and I would agree that if it is even perceived as getting out of hand, it will subvert its shopper-centric culture and reputation.
KC's View: