February 7, 2006

Amazon takes on 1000 author bloggers

Link: Amazon takes on 1000 author bloggers

Filed under: Marketing, Amazon by Brian Turner


Mediapost reports that Amazon has 1000 authors signed up for its blogging program.

A blog is a form of online journal, and has found favour recently as both a media publishing and viral marketing platform.

While Amazon can boast 1000 writers signed up, many have yet to begin blogging.

Something Mediapost rightly points out, refering to comments by Ashley Earnhardt-Aiken, director of marketing at Nelson Current, is that the strength of blogs for promotional purposes rests with the writer.

Regardless, Amazon plans to integrate the blogs with it’s book purchases, to help stimulate sales growth.

February 5, 2006

Amazon to launch contextual advertising program

Link: Amazon to launch contextual advertising program

Filed under: Webmaster, PPC, Amazon by Brian Turner


According to internet publisher Chris Beasley, Amazon are contacting partners for beta-testing a new contextual advertising network.

While originally thought it may be links to Amazon products, Chris Beasley was informed by the sales rep that Amazon are actually creating a full contextual advertising network - a clone of AdSense.

Amazon currently serve Google Ads to its own users, and it’s certainly not the only partner who may be looking to develop their own contextual advertising network.

However, with Microsoft AdCenter up for full release later this year, it remains to be seen what sort of impact Amazon can have on the contextual advertising market - both in terms of gaining advertisers and publishers.

One thing remains clear, though - Amazon have their own A9.com search engine, and by incorporating their own advertising program, they almost certainly intend to take a greater share of the search market.

February 3, 2006

Amazon sees profits fall

Link: Amazon sees profits fall

Filed under: Ecommerce, Finance, Companies, Amazon by Brian Turner


Amazon caused investor scorn when it reported it’s Q4 earnings - and revealed that operating profits had only increased 1% over Christmas.

Q4 Net profits actually fell on last year, from £190 million to £110 million.

Wall Street responded by dropping value of Amazon stock by 10%.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the ecommerce giant was struggling to sell in the biggest retail period of the year.

CEO Jeff Bezos had already informed Wall Street that he was more interested in cutting profits to gain customer loyalty. A free delivery scheme for US customers was especially blamed for loss of profits.

So while Amazon expect to make losses in the short-term, they have their eye on a much bigger picture.

March 15, 2005

Amazon settles securities class action

Link: Amazon settles securities class action

Filed under: Legal, Amazon by brian_turner

Amazon have filed a report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, stating that the company has now settled a class-action lawsuit that alleged false statements about the company’s finances.

Although Amazon disputes class-action allegations that the company was in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, it has apparently paid out a $27.5 million settlement to close the matter, the costs of which will apparently be passed on to insurers.

Additional suits are still pending against the company, including another class action claim, this time stipulating violation of the Securities Act of 1933. Others include proceedings involving companies such as Pinpoint, BTG International, IPXL Holdings, Toysrus.com, Soverain Software and Cendant Publishing.

Firefox counter to Google Autolink

Link: Firefox counter to Google Autolink

Filed under: Google, Amazon by brian_turner

Google, which has so far staunchly defended its implementation of its Autolink toolbar feature, faces a major challenge as a new Firefox extension has been released which adds similar links to Google’s own pages.

The news was widely reported at Threadwatch in Google gets a taste of it’s own Autolink Medicine. The website has led a campaign against the autolink feature, and even released code to prevent autolink running on webpages via server side and browser scripting such as JavaScript, PHP, Perl, ASP, and ASP.net.

As covered in Google releases new toolbar, faces consumer concern, and approached in more detail by Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineWatch in Google Toolbar’s AutoLink & The Need For Opt-Out, the Google Autolink feature allows the new Google Toolbar to add links in webmaster pages to third party sites, including to Google’s commercial partners.


Google’s Product Manager, Marissa Mayer, has continued to advocate the usefulness of the feature for toolbar users.

However, concerns and objections in the webmaster world are extensive, with publishers fearing this is a doorway for Google to monetise their content without their permission.

Now webmasters are striking back, with developer Mark Pilgrim releasing an extension for Firefox which allows links to third-party sites to appear exclusively in Google’s own pages.

Simply named Butler, the new Firefox extension is claimed to be able to do the following:

  • removes ads on most Google pages
  • fixes fonts on most Google pages
  • Google web search:
  • adds links to other search sites (”Try your search on…”)
  • in news results, adds links to other news sites
  • in movie results, adds links to other movie sites
  • in weather results, adds links to other weather sites
  • in product results, adds links to other product sites
  • Google image search:
    • adds links to other image/photo/art sites
  • Google News:
    • adds links to other news sites
  • Froogle:
  • adds links to other product sites
  • Google Print:
    • Removes image copying restrictions
  • adds links to other book sites
  • Google Toolbar Firefox page:
    • adds links to other Firefox-friendly toolbars

    Additionally, Mark Pilgrim uses Google own arguments to justify the product:

    No, Butler is not spyware. It does not track the pages you visit, display ads, hijack Amazon affiliate links, log keystrokes, steal passwords, set cookies, “phone home,” or install any bundled software on your computer. It is simply a Firefox script that modifies a few Google services in ways that I find useful. If you don’t like it, you can easily uninstall it.

    Microsoft had attempted to release a similar system called Smart-Tags for Internet Explorer a few years ago, but later withdrew it in view of webmaster outrage.

    It is difficult to imagine Google continuing with the Autolink feature despite the rising publisher objections to its use. However, until the company is seen to act to webmaster concerns, the reputation of Google continues to suffer damage.

    February 3, 2005

    Amazon suffers lack in market confidence

    Link: Amazon suffers lack in market confidence

    Filed under: Economy, Amazon by brian_turner

    Finance markets are frowning on Amazon, as rising revenues are met by falling profits.

    While Amazon posted increased profits in Q4 of $2.5 billion, it posted profits of just over $102 million for the same period, after a tax credit of $244 million.

    Overall,Amazon reported profits for 2004 of $588.5m on revenues of $6.92bn. That compares with 2003 earnings of $35m on revenues of $5.26bn.

    However, market analysts suggest too much money is being wasted on consumers, rather than being given over to stockholders.

    November 24, 2004

    Diamond necklace on Amazon

    Link: Diamond necklace on Amazon

    Filed under: General, Amazon by brian_turner

    You’ve got to hand it to Amazon for their ambition - after all, it’s not everyday you get to see a ��100,000 diamond necklace available to buy online.

    In this instance, you can add it to your wish list, but 1-click shopping appears to be disabled…

    October 22, 2004

    Amazon posts profits, shares drop

    Link: Amazon posts profits, shares drop

    Filed under: Economy, Amazon by brian_turner

    Amazon is the sort of company most online entrepenuers can only dream of building. It’s shown what good vision and hard work can bring to internet business, despite the hype of the dotcom boom bust years. As a long-term shares investment, it looks juicy.

    As reported by CNet news:
    Amazon posts profit, but outlook disappoints

    Amazon.com on Thursday posted quarterly earnings that more than tripled on strong international sales but offered an outlook for the current quarter and next year that was below the more bullish analyst forecasts, sending its stock down 8 percent.

    Seattle-based Amazon had third-quarter net income of $54.1 million, or 13 cents per share, up from the year-earlier net income of $15.6 million, or 4 cents per share. Revenue rose to $1.46 billion from $1.13 billion, driven by a 52 percent increase in international sales and strong growth in its electronics and other merchandise segments.

    Excluding items, the quarterly profit met the average analyst forecast but the company’s outlook for 2005 implied a forecast for a drop in sales growth from near 30 percent in 2004 to a range of between 6 percent and 22 percent in 2005.

    I guess it reflects a strange sort of fickle expectation that stock traders looking for immediate profit who are now downsizing the company, are the ones who effectively built up the dotcom bubble in the first place.

    Still, all good for the long-term investor.