Are Amazon spying on you???
I have been a great admirer of Amazon and actually wrote a case study on them in 1998 for a Financial Times Management Report I authored on supply chain challenges of e-tailing as they were starting out but I think they are now beginning to abuse their very dominant market position in many areas – and I don’t say that just because I have founded Books4Spain – I knew they were there but probably didn’t realise quite how powerful they have/would become over the last 2 years.
I am all for competition and Amazon do provide consumers with a great, if soulless, experience (see my post Are Amazon a ruthless money making machine in response to some comments by James Daunt of Waterstones in December) BUT since launching Books4Spain in late November, three of our independent reviewers have received targeted emails from Amazon offering them very specific books about Spain – in fact 2 of them were offered books they had reviewed or were about to review (one of which had not even been released) as well as some other books related to their areas of expertise.
All 3 have accounts with Amazon BUT 2 of them have not bought books for months/years and have not signed up for any email newsletter offers. Both assure me that they have not searched Amazon for any of the titles (or similar) that they have received special offers for. None of them have their email addresses on our site and only one has his real name.
So the question is – how can Amazon be so smart to specifically target these people with offers for books which they have reviewed and/or are about to review and other books which are closely related to reviews they have done when two of them have not used Amazon to either search for, or buy, books related to Spain?? Granted they live in Spain and their account will reflect that but its a big jump from not using the service for months and not being signed up for email notifications to receiving targeted emails. The 3rd one lives in UK and does use Amazon but NOT for books about Spain.
It very much smacks of 1984 and Big Brother and I´d like to know if anyone else has had the same experience or if they know how Amazon carries out this very targeted type of campaign?