Author Topic: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers  (Read 620 times)

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Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« on: November 27, 2019, 12:48:22 AM »
If you're getting too many ads when you shop on Amazon, this article explains why. Sadly, I imagine the situation is going to get worse as we get further into the holiday season--and it's probably going to stay that way even after the holiday season is over!

https://apnews.com/a5ad925b06b7454ea746764399e1a096
 

notthatamanda

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2019, 01:14:37 AM »
Semi related - yesterday my friend sent me a link for something funny via email.  My internet provide wouldn't let me open it unless I gave them permission to access my machine and my data, specifically for the purposes of targeted ads.  That's what it said, we want your data so we can show you ads.  I should have screenshotted it, but I didn't think of it at the time.  I didn't allow access, closed the window and searched for the subject matter and looked at it on a different site.

I don't know if this is new or not, but apparently now the internet providers are getting in the ad game, and probably selling the data too.  I haven't kept up, as far as I know California is the only state in the US that has some legislation about the data gathering and selling, and you can opt out.  Next will be my internet provider offering me ad blocked service for an extra X dollars a month.
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2019, 01:49:22 AM »
Semi related - yesterday my friend sent me a link for something funny via email.  My internet provide wouldn't let me open it unless I gave them permission to access my machine and my data, specifically for the purposes of targeted ads.  That's what it said, we want your data so we can show you ads.  I should have screenshotted it, but I didn't think of it at the time.  I didn't allow access, closed the window and searched for the subject matter and looked at it on a different site.

I don't know if this is new or not, but apparently now the internet providers are getting in the ad game, and probably selling the data too.  I haven't kept up, as far as I know California is the only state in the US that has some legislation about the data gathering and selling, and you can opt out.  Next will be my internet provider offering me ad blocked service for an extra X dollars a month.
At the risk of being overly political, this is the kind of exploitation (refusing access to certain sites or making it conditional) that net neutrality was designed to prevent. Actually, there also used to legislation that prevented ISPs from selling your data. That was repealed.

It's a hassle to switch service providers, but I'd be sorely tempted if one demanded such a thing from me.

We forget that back in the pre-cable days, when TV was all delivered over broadcast, all programs were ad-supported. You had to buy the TV, of course, but once you had it, all the content was free. You just had to put with ads. Cable companies got us to switch to a fee-based model with the promise of ad-free service. The mischievous part of me would want to ask the ISP what kind of rate reduction I was going to receive in exchange for putting up with their ads. 


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Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 
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notthatamanda

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2019, 02:31:13 AM »
We actually just switched to this provider.  We switch there and back to the other one every two to three years. It is a hassle but it literally saves us a hundred bucks a month.

I know google does it, and Amazon, I was just surprised to see the internet provider jumping in the game.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2019, 03:03:11 AM »
We actually just switched to this provider.  We switch there and back to the other one every two to three years. It is a hassle but it literally saves us a hundred bucks a month.

I know google does it, and Amazon, I was just surprised to see the internet provider jumping in the game.
But Google just displays ads. It doesn't extort permission by denying access to web content. That's the part I find most suspect. Or am I misunderstanding?


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
Bill Hiatt | fiction website | education website | Facebook author page | Twitter
 

Shoe

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2019, 03:22:08 AM »
I just roamed Amazon in Firefox and Edge (without ad blockers) and my experience was fine. I expect to see ads on shopping sites, but only if they're identified as such, which is the case on Amazon. All the ads we're relevant and, as I was searching for products I'm considering buying, helped broaden my search without having to click through Google.

What destroys my "user experience" when not using ad blockers are the forever loading ads on non-shopping sites, the ones most in need of ad revenue (like USA Today).

Nearly forty percent of internet users use ad blockers. Why isn't it ninety percent? I think it's because a majority of web surfers aren't very tech-savvy and view the internet as a shopping mall anyway, when not tracking down the latest celebrity gossip or harrumphing over fake news on Facebook, or from AP, where that article came from.

The sub rosa "tracking" of our internet habits and searches is a bit creepy, at least the idea of it, but there's a practical side to it from which we derive some benefit. Aren't VPNs a solution for those who can't bear this idea?
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

notthatamanda

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2019, 04:10:55 AM »
We actually just switched to this provider.  We switch there and back to the other one every two to three years. It is a hassle but it literally saves us a hundred bucks a month.

I know google does it, and Amazon, I was just surprised to see the internet provider jumping in the game.
But Google just displays ads. It doesn't extort permission by denying access to web content. That's the part I find most suspect. Or am I misunderstanding?
Very true.  I missed the part you were emphasizing.  I'm not thrilled with my data being sold no matter who is doing it.
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2019, 04:16:38 AM »
I use adblocking without any qualms whatsoever because I research the things I want to buy. I don't see an ad and have a lightbulb moment.

I definitely don't do impulse buys - I'm trying to get rid of crap, not buy more crap.


 
 
 

 
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notthatamanda

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2019, 04:17:09 AM »
I'll try to do the screen shot here:  I stink at this.  I am not tech savvy and don't have an ad blocker.

Okay I couldn't screen shot it, well I think I did, but where on my lap top I put it, I don't know.  This is what it said:

Before you continue...
HuffPost is part of Verizon Media. Verizon Media and our partners need your consent to access your device and use your data (including location) to understand your interests, and provide and measure personalised ads. Verizon Media will also provide you with personalised ads on partner products. Learn more. Select 'OK' to continue and allow Verizon Media and our partners to use your data, or select 'Manage options' to view your choices.

So maybe it's on all Huffington Post stuff now?  We just switched to Verizon, that's why I thought it was that.
 

notthatamanda

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2019, 04:17:51 AM »
I use adblocking without any qualms whatsoever because I research the things I want to buy. I don't see an ad and have a lightbulb moment.

I definitely don't do impulse buys - I'm trying to get rid of crap, not buy more crap.
The ads get annoying, but I haven't bothered with an ad blocker yet.  Since you are getting rid of crap, you must have lots of room, want some of mine?
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2019, 04:20:03 AM »
It's probably the CPRDA or whatever it's called. California came up with their own version of the GPDR, and I guess US website are now scrambling to cover themselves.

I use firefox, and I have it set up to nuke all but whitelisted cookies whenever I close the browser. It's not perfect, but it's a start. Also, I hear that Firefox is introducing a feature soon where each browser tab is like a completely fresh browser window. So, if you log in to Facebook in one tab, you're not logged in to FB in any of the others.

 
 
 

 
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notthatamanda

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2019, 04:44:01 AM »
Thank you, that's helpful.  Although it probably means I am going to have to "manage options" to see anything and therefore must educate myself on said options.
 

Shoe

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2019, 04:47:14 AM »
I research the things I want to buy.

That's what's confounding these days--research. I just did Google and Edge searches for a "Samsung SE310 Series S27E310HS" computer monitor. Both engines returned four or more pages of commerce sites, a few under the guise of legitimate, unbiased "consumer review" websites, but with "buy now!" buttons, of course.

I sometimes find better data using broad searches such as "worst computer monitors" or similar.

Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 
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Arches

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2019, 04:59:23 AM »
If you're getting too many ads when you shop on Amazon, this article explains why. Sadly, I imagine the situation is going to get worse as we get further into the holiday season--and it's probably going to stay that way even after the holiday season is over!

https://apnews.com/a5ad925b06b7454ea746764399e1a096

Back to the original post about Amazon ads, I'm sure they're studying every nuance of how consumers react to all those ads at the top of the page.

Because I use an ad blocker, I don't see them, but I think Amazon has figured out a way to make money on the vast majority of self-pub books that don't sell much. Amazon can make a lot more from the author in ads than they can make by actually selling the books to readers who don't seem to want them.
 

Anarchist

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2019, 05:39:11 AM »
If you're getting too many ads when you shop on Amazon, this article explains why. Sadly, I imagine the situation is going to get worse as we get further into the holiday season--and it's probably going to stay that way even after the holiday season is over!

https://apnews.com/a5ad925b06b7454ea746764399e1a096
Back to the original post about Amazon ads, I'm sure they're studying every nuance of how consumers react to all those ads at the top of the page.

Exactly.

I think a lot of people perceive the presence of ads as a binary equation. Consumer like them vs. consumers hate them. But of course, the equation is more complex. Amazon is probably determining how ads (their placement, volume, variety, relevance, etc.) affect macro-level metrics like visits per day, visits per hour, Prime subscriptions, sales conversions, etc. Additionally, they're probably measuring their effect on these and other metrics during sales-heavy times of the year (i.e. Black Friday, the run-up to Christmas, etc.).

My clicks are in the seven figures. And my conversion rates are healthy. Evidently, there are a lot of people who are happy to see the ads, click the ads, and buy the products being advertised.

"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." - Thomas Sowell

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notthatamanda

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2019, 05:58:56 AM »
Apologies for the thread derail.   

But do you think people who aren't selling books are spending money on advertising? If so, I can't really fault Amazon for taking it.

From the article:

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 guess there is no way to know but I wouldn't attribute the increase to just self published authors (not that you said that).  My guess is that the more data they mine, the more the algos improve, the more vendors see results, the more willing they are to put their advertising dollars in Amazon's basket.  I think continuously fine tuning to get their advertisers better results is the key to Amazon's advertising success.  Now it seems they are running the risk of alienating their customers with the clutter on the page and the implied endorsement of products when you search on something.  I didn't know what sponsored products meant before I started advertising and I bet that a lot of other people don't either.   So like you said, they will watch that and fine tune it, if it seems to be detrimental.

 

twicebitten

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2019, 06:13:21 AM »
Count me as an ad-blocker and script-blocker and everything-blocker here. Also, I shop with cash, and locally, not with a card, so not even a bank knows if I prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate over no chocolate at all. Also, no cell phone. The last thing I want is Google knowing how long I shop for my chocolate bar in the store or if I like the store or the route I take to get there or where I live, period. (My internet provider tells websites I'm 35 miles away from where I am, which I hope they keep doing.) I'm not on the planet to make rich people richer. They can go find someone else to scam who is not-me. I don't buy anything from ads. I buy things because I'm out of them, like toilet paper and salt (and no, not magical pink Himalayan salt) and socks.

The article was interesting. "It borders on a breach of trust." Hmm. Well, I don't trust them, so they can't really breach anything.

 
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PJ Post

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2019, 06:17:56 AM »
AMS is for the entire store. As far as KDP goes, I'd guess they're making more profit in Ad spends than they are in e-book sales.
 

Shoe

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2019, 07:34:33 AM »
Count me as an ad-blocker and script-blocker and everything-blocker here. Also, I shop with cash, and locally, not with a card, so not even a bank knows if I prefer milk chocolate over dark chocolate over no chocolate at all. Also, no cell phone. The last thing I want is Google knowing how long I shop for my chocolate bar in the store or if I like the store or the route I take to get there or where I live, period. (My internet provider tells websites I'm 35 miles away from where I am, which I hope they keep doing.) I'm not on the planet to make rich people richer. They can go find someone else to scam who is not-me. I don't buy anything from ads. I buy things because I'm out of them, like toilet paper and salt (and no, not magical pink Himalayan salt) and socks.

The article was interesting. "It borders on a breach of trust." Hmm. Well, I don't trust them, so they can't really breach anything.

I admire your follow-thru and tenacity.

I don't mind the internet knowing where I get my jollies, but I am steadfast is in not using U.S. Banks, which I view as evil. I do take exception to your comment on pink Himalayan salt--I find it tastier and it has a third less sodium than iodine-enhance table salt.
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

BillSmithBooksDotCom

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Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2019, 10:55:24 AM »
I use the original ad-blocker -- my eyes just skip right over them.

Seriously, most ad money is wasted on me, I very, very rarely am intrigued enough by an ad to consider buying the item advertised.
Bill Smith is the author of the Outlaw Galaxy series of space adventure novels and several Star Wars books. Found at all major retailers as well as at www.BillSmithBooks.com or www.OutlawGalaxy.com. Bill blogs at www.BillSmithBlog.com. Get the Outlaw Galaxy: Little Wind and Other Tales short story collection FREE at all major retailers.

 
 

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Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2019, 01:32:23 AM »
I'll try to do the screen shot here:  I stink at this.  I am not tech savvy and don't have an ad blocker.

Okay I couldn't screen shot it, well I think I did, but where on my lap top I put it, I don't know.  This is what it said:

Before you continue...
HuffPost is part of Verizon Media. Verizon Media and our partners need your consent to access your device and use your data (including location) to understand your interests, and provide and measure personalised ads. Verizon Media will also provide you with personalised ads on partner products. Learn more. Select 'OK' to continue and allow Verizon Media and our partners to use your data, or select 'Manage options' to view your choices.

So maybe it's on all Huffington Post stuff now?  We just switched to Verizon, that's why I thought it was that.
Yes, this sounds like a HuffPost-related message, not a Verizon ISP message. That makes me feel better.

You're right about entities selling your data being creepy. I'd be happier if there was a way to limit data permissions to a specific site. I'm not really harmed if that site serves more relevant ads to me. Scattering my data around to anyone who wants it is a different matter.


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Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2019, 01:43:09 AM »
If you're getting too many ads when you shop on Amazon, this article explains why. Sadly, I imagine the situation is going to get worse as we get further into the holiday season--and it's probably going to stay that way even after the holiday season is over!

https://apnews.com/a5ad925b06b7454ea746764399e1a096
Back to the original post about Amazon ads, I'm sure they're studying every nuance of how consumers react to all those ads at the top of the page.

Exactly.

I think a lot of people perceive the presence of ads as a binary equation. Consumer like them vs. consumers hate them. But of course, the equation is more complex. Amazon is probably determining how ads (their placement, volume, variety, relevance, etc.) affect macro-level metrics like visits per day, visits per hour, Prime subscriptions, sales conversions, etc. Additionally, they're probably measuring their effect on these and other metrics during sales-heavy times of the year (i.e. Black Friday, the run-up to Christmas, etc.).

My clicks are in the seven figures. And my conversion rates are healthy. Evidently, there are a lot of people who are happy to see the ads, click the ads, and buy the products being advertised.
I have bought items from ads, and, like Shoe, for the most part, the sponsored products that show on my book pages are relevant. The sponsored ads I see elsewhere on the site are relevant.

What I see around the Internet in general? Not so relevant. And when they are relevant, sometimes they're relevant in a spooky way. Every site I visit now has ads for a shopping site I've tried recently. FB is the worst. When I start looking around, I find ads for virtually every website I've visited.

I was using a VPN, but there were sometimes performance issues, and I've also run into several websites that won't accept VPN traffic, or at least have blacklisted the IP the VPN has assigned me, which could mean someone else has been doing evil things with it. So that solution isn't a perfect one.


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notthatamanda

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2019, 01:58:41 AM »
I'll try to do the screen shot here:  I stink at this.  I am not tech savvy and don't have an ad blocker.

Okay I couldn't screen shot it, well I think I did, but where on my lap top I put it, I don't know.  This is what it said:

Before you continue...
HuffPost is part of Verizon Media. Verizon Media and our partners need your consent to access your device and use your data (including location) to understand your interests, and provide and measure personalised ads. Verizon Media will also provide you with personalised ads on partner products. Learn more. Select 'OK' to continue and allow Verizon Media and our partners to use your data, or select 'Manage options' to view your choices.

So maybe it's on all Huffington Post stuff now?  We just switched to Verizon, that's why I thought it was that.
Yes, this sounds like a HuffPost-related message, not a Verizon ISP message. That makes me feel better.

You're right about entities selling your data being creepy. I'd be happier if there was a way to limit data permissions to a specific site. I'm not really harmed if that site serves more relevant ads to me. Scattering my data around to anyone who wants it is a different matter.


Thanks.  I haven't seen it on any other site so you are probably right.   But the whole "Access your device" thing, nope, not happening.
 

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Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2019, 03:01:22 AM »
I'll try to do the screen shot here:  I stink at this.  I am not tech savvy and don't have an ad blocker.

Okay I couldn't screen shot it, well I think I did, but where on my lap top I put it, I don't know.  This is what it said:

Before you continue...
HuffPost is part of Verizon Media. Verizon Media and our partners need your consent to access your device and use your data (including location) to understand your interests, and provide and measure personalised ads. Verizon Media will also provide you with personalised ads on partner products. Learn more. Select 'OK' to continue and allow Verizon Media and our partners to use your data, or select 'Manage options' to view your choices.

So maybe it's on all Huffington Post stuff now?  We just switched to Verizon, that's why I thought it was that.
Yes, this sounds like a HuffPost-related message, not a Verizon ISP message. That makes me feel better.

You're right about entities selling your data being creepy. I'd be happier if there was a way to limit data permissions to a specific site. I'm not really harmed if that site serves more relevant ads to me. Scattering my data around to anyone who wants it is a different matter.


Thanks.  I haven't seen it on any other site so you are probably right.   But the whole "Access your device" thing, nope, not happening.
That's a good point I wasn't remembering. All sites should be able to ask for in an ideal world is to record your browsing data on that site. They shouldn't be able to demand access to your device--whatever that means. It might be a little less spooky if the demand was for something more carefully defined. This language is a real carte blanche.


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Jeff Tanyard

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2019, 07:56:05 AM »
I was using a VPN, but there were sometimes performance issues, and I've also run into several websites that won't accept VPN traffic, or at least have blacklisted the IP the VPN has assigned me, which could mean someone else has been doing evil things with it. So that solution isn't a perfect one.


While certainly possible, I wouldn't assume that.  The likelier explanation is that they simply want your eyeballs on their ads, and if they can't get them, or if a VPN means they can't target you for those ads in a useful fashion, then they don't want you taking up their bandwidth.  You're the product, after all, not the customer.  The people who pay for ads are the customers.

You see the same thing with ad blockers: you're often prevented from reading an article at some news site or other because they detected your ad blocker.  Which is why ad blocker blocker blockers are now a thing.   :dizzy
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Marti Talbott

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2019, 08:55:07 AM »
We actually just switched to this provider.  We switch there and back to the other one every two to three years. It is a hassle but it literally saves us a hundred bucks a month.

I know google does it, and Amazon, I was just surprised to see the internet provider jumping in the game.

I use Google Chrome which is free and haven't seen this problem...yet.
Author of over 50 full length historical and mystery novels.
 

j tanner

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2019, 09:27:37 AM »
That's a good point I wasn't remembering. All sites should be able to ask for in an ideal world is to record your browsing data on that site. They shouldn't be able to demand access to your device--whatever that means. It might be a little less spooky if the demand was for something more carefully defined. This language is a real carte blanche.

The problem here from the advertising side is that some of these new laws are a bit overzealous in categorizing what's considered "personal" data. For example, advertising IDs were created to give a simple way to advertisers to serve relevant ads to you without needing to track all sorts of other personal data about you to make that connection. And for you to control whether to share this ID with advertisers and to clear it at any time. Simple right?

Well, then the lawmakers go and classify ad IDs as "personal" data which means there are all sorts of disclosure requirements and massive penalties for non-compliance.

There are a variety of similar counter-intuitive examples in the laws. Even lawyers are struggling to understand if advertisers and ad publishers are in compliance.
 

selyons

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2019, 09:36:28 AM »
I keep Bezos's motto in mind when I consider AMS:

"Your margin is my opportunity."

Our indie author margin is in that 70% / 35% of the sales price of our books (less other costs, covers, editing, promotion, etc.)

Bezos is coming for that margin and AMS is a very good way for him to get it.

The Author Formerly Known as Sela
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2019, 02:45:43 PM »
You see the same thing with ad blockers: you're often prevented from reading an article at some news site or other because they detected your ad blocker.  Which is why ad blocker blocker blockers are now a thing.   :dizzy

I use Firefox with all the security I can find for day-to-day browsing. (I have to whitelist javascript on every new site I visit.)

If something comes up demanding I disable my ad-blocker, and I really want to see it, I paste the URL into Chrome instead. I have very little browsing history there for them to study. In fact, all have is other 'disable your ad blocker' sites.

But most of the time I'm out of there. The web isn't short of content.

 
 
 

 
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Marti Talbott

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2019, 02:10:29 AM »
I guess Nike has decided not to sell their shoes through Amazon anymore, and instead are selling on their own site saving the cut Amazon usually takes. I wonder if this is the beginning of a trend. Some authors are selling on their own sites, but I don't know if they are having luck with it. The problem for small businesses is getting buyers to trust their security systems. I'm one of those who sticks with the tried and true sites when I want to buy, mostly Walmart and Amazon.
Author of over 50 full length historical and mystery novels.
 

PJ Post

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2019, 02:58:59 AM »
Nike's only been selling on Amazon since mid 2017 or so. I believe they ended up on the platform due to issues with counterfeits and third party vendors.
 

Marti Talbott

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2019, 03:07:27 AM »
Nike's only been selling on Amazon since mid 2017 or so. I believe they ended up on the platform due to issues with counterfeits and third party vendors.

That makes sense.
Author of over 50 full length historical and mystery novels.
 

notthatamanda

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2019, 03:16:47 AM »
I'm not sure I get that. Is it because if Nike had product on Amazon they would be able to point to it and say, "This is our product, not that."?  Amazon once refunded my money unasked because I got a counterfeit pair of Lightning McQueen Crocs.

I always try to buy direct from the manufacturer whenever I can, but sometimes they aren't selling direct.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 03:25:32 AM by notthatamanda »
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2019, 04:43:46 AM »
I'm not sure I get that. Is it because if Nike had product on Amazon they would be able to point to it and say, "This is our product, not that."?  Amazon once refunded my money unasked because I got a counterfeit pair of Lightning McQueen Crocs.

I always try to buy direct from the manufacturer whenever I can, but sometimes they aren't selling direct.
Based on the articles I've read, I'd say it's easier for brands to police fakes on Amazon if they're selling on Amazon. It has something to do with the brands registry Amazon runs, I think. I'd have to look to see what the details were. Actually, I think there might have been something about that in the linked article in the OP.

Any brand that is well enough known could probably make a go of it on their own. Nike is a household word. People who want Nikes will go looking for them. Unfortunately, only a few authors have a large enough fan base and that kind of brand loyalty. "I can't find books by Bill Hiatt anymore? Ah, well, let me see which of the other 500 urban fantasy books published this week I might like to read."


Tickling the imagination one book at a time
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Simon Haynes

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2019, 05:27:45 AM »
Apart from a few really high-profile authors, I'd suggest that readers are looking for books, not the people who wrote them. Therefore, to sell my books I want them listed alongside other similar books - not sitting on my webpage all the way over here, out on their own.


 
 
 

 
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PJ Post

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2019, 06:24:01 AM »
Apart from a few really high-profile authors, I'd suggest that readers are looking for books, not the people who wrote them. Therefore, to sell my books I want them listed alongside other similar books - not sitting on my webpage all the way over here, out on their own.

I think the market is split on this. If we look at the other Creative fields, we see that the Creators are increasingly becoming celebrities in their own little ponds. So there is definitely a desire (demand) to follow and support specific Creatives. We can look at this segment as one with a high degree of consumer investment. An example of this would be when fans travel to see a band multiple times for each tour, another would be Patreon supporters. This is also the Thousand True Fans segment.

But we also have the commodity market, where the author and even the quality of the book take a backseat to convenience and price. These books are typically less ‘polished’ (literarily competent) - and since there's no market expectation that they should be - it's all okay. This market is characterized by low consumer investment expressed as high fungibility.

The key difference, from a business perspective, is differentiation. The former market expects something different, something special, even if it's just a new twist on an old idea. They also want to be appreciated as fans - they want to participate.

The commodity market necessarily rejects differentiation. These books need to be seen as being representative (exactly the same) as the last positive purchase experience the consumer had. It's why certain tropes/trends get played to death. It's why most pop music sounds exactly the same.

The really important part of all of this analysis, again, from a business perspective, is that neither is more or less virtuous than the other. One can make a lot of money with the copy and paste approach to publishing, just as one can by capturing those thousand true fans. The opposite is true when analyzing the artistic merits of each. Art is furthered by original content (differentiation) because it challenges the consumer and forces them to think, to ask questions - questions encourage participation. On the other hand, commodity markets are best served by avoiding anything new, precisely because we don't want our customers asking questions. Questions create doubt.

I believe that it’s critical for authors to know which market they're serving.

**Yes, I realize that in reality all of this is a spectrum, and that there are special cases where commodity market authors acquire large and ultra-enthusiastic fan bases, but my points above are about the broader market and the salient strategic approaches for each.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 06:28:53 AM by PJ Post »
 

LilyBLily

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2019, 06:44:44 AM »
And yet it seems to me that certain indie authors who have rabid fan bases and who have worked hard to create them and nurse them along as true fans also are commodity writers. Naming no names, but a dip into a few of their plastic pieces has turned me off completely.
 

PJ Post

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2019, 07:29:19 AM »
And yet it seems to me that certain indie authors who have rabid fan bases and who have worked hard to create them and nurse them along as true fans also are commodity writers.

I would argue that the commodity authors who have created those fan bases have also done so through differentiation, just not exclusively with their books. They've also leveraged their brand, personality and charisma through social media and other platforms. This is what we often see in pop music. The fans are not invested in the art, they're invested in the celebrity.
 

Tom Wood

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2019, 07:32:54 AM »
PJ - Your post reminds me of the technology adoption chasm. Simon Sinek and Seth Godin discuss it a lot.



Maybe the trick with authors is to figure out how to make that bridge from the small fanbase to the larger pool of readers.

« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 08:53:11 AM by Tom Wood »
 
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PJ Post

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2019, 08:29:22 AM »
PJ - Your post reminds me of the technology adoption chasm. Simon Simek and Seth Godin discuss it a lot.

Maybe the trick with authors is to figure out how to make that bridge from the small fanbase to the larger pool of readers.

Thanks for posting this, I've not read their work before. I totally agree with your point. Although I'm not exactly sure where achieving critical mass would fall along the life circle curve, I'd bet that's what the Chasm represents. Off to learn new stuff.

 :smilie_zauber:
 

Tom Wood

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #40 on: December 04, 2019, 08:49:58 AM »
This TED Talk by Simon Sinek captures several cool ideas!



The adoption curve discussion starts at about the 11:00 minute mark.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 08:52:32 AM by Tom Wood »
 
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Shoe

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #41 on: December 04, 2019, 08:53:18 AM »
And yet it seems to me that certain indie authors who have rabid fan bases and who have worked hard to create them and nurse them along as true fans also are commodity writers.

I would argue that the commodity authors who have created those fan bases have also done so through differentiation, just not exclusively with their books. They've also leveraged their brand, personality and charisma through social media and other platforms. This is what we often see in pop music. The fans are not invested in the art, they're invested in the celebrity.

I think I know what you mean by commodity authors, but I can't think of any doing much via social media or other platforms. Would you mind mentioning a few of those authors? I'd like to see what engaging social media and other platforms actually means in terms of commitment.
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

Shoe

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #42 on: December 04, 2019, 09:05:17 AM »

Maybe the trick with authors is to figure out how to make that bridge from the small fanbase to the larger pool of readers.

I doubt there's a trick aside from writing books a proven audience wants to buy, some strategic marketing, and patience.

There's nothing hiding out there. We all know all the various marketing channels and gimmicks (everything aside from research, writing, and editing is marketing, right?). I only use a few of them and things are going along fine (two and half years in), which tells me we don't have to employ every means possible to make a living at this.
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

PJ Post

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #43 on: December 04, 2019, 10:40:53 AM »
This TED Talk by Simon Sinek captures several cool ideas!

I feel like the choir. I must have read them before, or other works discussing their ideas, because I’m totally on board and have been for a pretty long time. And he’s right, Apple is a great example. Most people think they are a computer company, or maybe a technology company, but the truth is that they are a lifestyle brand. Their product is aspirational affirmation - which gets to Simek’s ‘Why’ component. The rules of fashion marketing play a much more central role to Apple’s more recent success than RAM or screen resolution. Look at how they market their iPhone cameras, not with the tech, but with the end result - the artistic expression of your inner self.

A few years ago, the CEO of HBO defined their product as addiction.

For some industries, maybe all of them, marketing is increasingly less about the product itself, and more about consumer aspiration. The leading edge of that graph represents the person we want to be. The hump in the middle is who we are.

I think I know what you mean by commodity authors, but I can't think of any doing much via social media or other platforms. Would you mind mentioning a few of those authors? I'd like to see what engaging social media and other platforms actually means in terms of commitment.

Tribalism has become a big driver in both marketing and social media. So, it’s not so much about commitment as it is about leveraging that shared identity, which, for this discussion, usually manifests as charisma or celebrity. Like Sinek says in his video, it’s not the What of it so much as the Why.
 

Shoe

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #44 on: December 04, 2019, 12:23:28 PM »

Tribalism has become a big driver in both marketing and social media. So, it’s not so much about commitment as it is about leveraging that shared identity, which, for this discussion, usually manifests as charisma or celebrity. Like Sinek says in his video, it’s not the What of it so much as the Why.

The word tribalism first made me think of cabals, then cliques, then I circled back to "tribe." I suppose my audience is my tribe, but I'm far from being a charismatic leader type when I step outside my books. Hence, my tribe has no leader, aside from my novels.

I know several romance authors who leverage their shared identity by sharing their mutual admiration in newsletters (with links!). I don't think this is a great option for non-commodity authors.

I enjoyed the video (thanks Tom). The "why" part made me ask myself "why do I write books?" I was not prepared for the question and don't yet have an answer (I know it's not for the money, or because I wish to entertain). I'm giving it all a think and suspect if I find the right answer it'll dump some nitro in the tank.
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

Tom Wood

Re: Ad business a boon for Amazon but a turn-off for shoppers
« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2019, 01:01:03 PM »
This is Seth Godin's signature book about tribes:

https://www.amazon.com/Tribes-We-Need-You-Lead-ebook/dp/B001FA0LAI/