business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Financial Times reports that "Amazon has accused the US Federal Trade Commission of harassing its top executives, including founder Jeff Bezos and chief executive Andy Jassy, as part of a probe into the ecommerce group’s Prime membership scheme.

"Since March 2021, the regulator has been investigating whether Amazon uses deceptive techniques to lure customers into signing up for Prime, the subscription service that offers free delivery and other benefits at a cost of $139 a year. The FTC is also examining whether Amazon unfairly complicates the process for customers who want to cancel their membership.

"In a filing from August 5 that was made public by the regulator on Monday, Amazon said the investigation had become 'unduly burdensome' on employees and executives after at least 19 were served individual subpoenas — or Civil Investigative Demands — to give evidence. The company called for the FTC to 'quash or limit' the demands, which it alleged served no other purpose other than to 'harass Amazon’s highest-ranking executives and disrupt its business operations'. Amazon said briefing Bezos and Jassy to testify on 'granular' details would be a 'tremendous burden on them'."

Oh, stop.  This is silly.  The FTC has legitimate questions about Amazon's business practices - even if you don't agree with some of its early conclusions - and is doing the people's business when it wants answers from the people who are paid the big bucks to answer them.  Stop whining, and book a flight to DC.

•  CNBC reports that "in its latest effort to contend with soaring inflation, Amazon is planning to raise fulfillment fees during the holiday season, passing off some of its increased costs to the millions of merchants who rely on the site to sell their products.

"Starting Oct. 15, and running through Jan. 14, third-party sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA, will have to pay 35 cents per item sold in the U.S. or Canada, the company said Tuesday in an email to sellers. For merchants using FBA, Amazon handles the process of picking, packing and shipping items.

"The holiday fee comes on top of existing charges that sellers pay for using FBA services. Those costs vary depending on an item’s size, category and weight.

Amazon said it’s implementing an added holiday surcharge for the first time as 'expenses are reaching new heights,' making it harder for the company to absorb costs tied to the peak shopping season."

•  From the Wall Street Journal this morning:

" has struck a deal with Nielsen Holdings PLC to have the ratings firm measure its coverage of 'Thursday Night Football' games on its Prime Video streaming platform, the two companies said.

"The deal marks the first time Nielsen will include ratings from a streaming service in its closely watched weekly television-viewing report, whose data is crucial for determining the value of commercial time. Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service has exclusive rights to the National Football League’s Thursday matchups starting this coming season, and the company has told advertisers its coverage would get a big audience."