Some people worry about the amount of dominance that Facebook has in our personal lives, and the fact that both Google and Facebook really don’t seem to care about privacy. Some worry that Walmart and other corporations have far too much power over our buying choices. However, people may want to put Amazon under a greater microscope, especially after several moves in recent years to enter every consumer space possible, and intrude into every single aspect of our daily lives. Over the past few years Amazon’s consumer dominance has continued to grow, and at this rate, it seems as if there’s almost nothing to stand in its way.
10. Bezos Bought The Washington Post Just For His Own Personal Propaganda Purposes
Bezos bought the ailing Washington Post back in 2013 for roughly $250 million and quickly turned the paper’s fortunes around. Before long, the Washington Post was doing amazing again, and many people’s fears that a man who had no experience in the newspaper business would only make the company fail more were proved to be unfounded. However, for those who were worried that this was just one more step in Bezos’s attempts to conquer and control basically every aspect of our lives, it wasn’t long before he started using his newspaper in a more sinister way — he decided to make it a propaganda vehicle to destroy Donald Trump.
Now, to be clear, we aren’t saying there is anything wrong with criticizing President Trump. Presidents get criticized. It comes with the territory. However, the reason CNN remains so popular and trusted, by comparison, despite The Donald constantly referring to it as fake news is that despite the human bias that will always exist to some extent, CNN is actually trying to report the news as they see it. On the other hand, Bezos has been perfectly open about directing his paper to do its level best to smear and tear down Trump at every turn. Whatever your opinion of Trump, positive or negative, this should be alarming. The purpose of a newspaper is to report the news, not take down a political enemy, and in the hands of the richest billionaire who is actively working to increase his fortunes, it is downright disturbing to see this behavior.
9. Amazon Just Bought Out Whole Foods So Bezos Could Control Retail Grocery As Well
In Amazon’s largest single acquisition yet, which ballooned their employee count, they paid $14 billion to buy the Whole Foods grocery store chain. Now, at first this might sound great to many consumers, as Amazon has promised to bring down prices, and further integrate it with their own Prime services, but it has disturbing long term implications. After dominating the sale of almost all other products, what many felt Amazon at least couldn’t control was food — after all, it is hard to control perishables without brick and mortar stores.
However, now Amazon has a whole mess of brick and mortar stores and a pre-established business all over the country that they can integrate with their online services as they feel necessary. They are able to easily expand into the perishable home food delivery service now, since they have physical food stores all over the country that they can even get fresh produce from as needed. Despite some worrying about Amazon monopolizing everything, there was no real antitrust fight and Amazon continues to gobble up more properties.
8. Amazon Employs Well Over Half A Million People And Is Growing Rapidly
Amazon is one of the biggest single employers in the world, and recently greatly increased their employee count after buying the Whole Foods grocery store chain. They now employ well over half a million people; approximately 566,000 at the last count. As they continue to grow, they will continue to provide more and more jobs around the world, but their claims to be a job creator are extremely disingenuous. Amazon has put countless brick and mortar stores and even online retailers out of business and all of those businesses employed people who now need jobs. Amazon is not really creating jobs, but shifting them more from private business to Amazon itself.
This would be nice if Amazon were one of those big corporations who is good to its employees, but they are really not known for that at all. As Amazon continues to expand and control more and more sectors of the economy, it will be more and more important to keep them in check and keep an eye on their employment practices. We cannot expect them to simply start treating employees better once they finally settle down and control literally all aspects of our economy.
7. Jeff Bezos Is Trying To Change The Way You Shop For Groceries In Retail
Jeff Bezos has his hands in the retail and retail grocery game, and as a man known for not being so nice to employees, it may be no surprise to most that he is also trying to remove physical employees from the process whenever he possibly can. In his new Amazon Go convenience store in Seattle, Bezos is testing a system where someone firsts scans a QR code before they enter, and then incredibly sophisticated cameras watch your every single move, and add items to your virtual cart if you pick them up, or remove them if you put them back.
When you walk out of the store, it charges your Amazon card on file for whatever you took. Some shoppers find this convenient and others find it dystopian, jarring, or downright bizarre, but others are more worried about the removal of the human element. As a company that is rapidly expanding into all sectors of our lives and trying to edge out the competition whenever possible, it is frightening that they are also looking to find ways to remove the need for employees — thus removing jobs permanently from many sectors — and unfortunately they may have found a fairly efficient system that could theoretically work.
6. Amazon, Despite Edging Out So Many Competitors, Doesn’t Make Much Money
Amazon is moving forward with a truly frightening business strategy that could end up as more than one kind of disaster, and is risky for a lot of people in a lot of ways. The strategy is something Amazon has been going forward with since the beginning and it involves their plan to continue to attempt to dominate all aspects of the market and never settle on one core competency or ever stop expanding. Bezos constantly reinvests heavily in the business, including updating infrastructure and buying other businesses to add to his rapidly expanding portfolio.
This business plan means that Amazon almost never makes any real significant earnings, because almost all net profits are spent on some new buyout or other crazy scheme that Bezos is working on to take over the world. To put into perspective just how much of his net profit Bezos puts into further expansion, Walmart recently made more net profit in one week than Amazon did in an entire quarter of earnings. However, Walmart also did not heavily increase their holdings and continues to gain market share in every single sector they have entered into. If Amazon were to start falling they would take a lot with them and their fall would be very ugly considering how little extra cash on hand they have, and how many properties they own. However, if they can maintain momentum, they will be hard to stop.
5. Amazon Is Raising The Price Of Prime, But People Will Probably Still Pay For It
Amazon is raising the price of Prime from $99 per year to $119 per year, which is a full 20% increase — for those who just want Prime Video, you can still get that for only $8.99 a month for now. This is probably not too surprising to many who have been watching closely, as Amazon already increased the price of Prime from $10.99 to $12.99 for those who were paying monthly and clearly cannot sustain the cheaper prices they were offering anymore. While many news articles are sounding the alarm and talking about how “upset” consumers are, there is no talk of boycotts or anyone planning to end subscriptions, and people are unlikely to do so. Those who pay monthly already have dealt with their big price hike, and the yearly payers tend to be fairly wealthy and have a lot tied up in Amazon.
The truth is that Amazon has increased the value of Prime in recent years and also increased their dominance in the market while they have been at it. Prime at first simply offered two day shipping on millions of items, but now they offer it on many millions more, and have an excellent video and music streaming service and an eBook service as well. They have continued to add more and more media to these services over time, increasing the value and trying to get you to put all of your digital life into their hands. For many people, the combined value of all Amazon services will still be worth the price, and with the Whole Foods connection Amazon can now offer even more perks to sweeten the deal — with over 100 million subscribers, it would have to be a tremendous amount of people leaving to have any noticeable impact.
4. Amazon’s Employment Practices Are Horrific And Probably Won’t Get Better Soon
As Amazon becomes a bigger and bigger employer, the fairness of its employment practices become much more important to closely watch and police. Unfortunately, most of Amazon’s employees work at their warehouses and the conditions are not known for being very good. In many big name companies you hear about some kind of special culture where the company looks out for its workers, but Amazon has never really cared much about that kind of rapport. Using temporary workers is common, and Amazon will offer people a cash package after their first year as an incentive to leave. If the employee decides to forego the cash and stay, it shows their drone-like commitment and loyalty to a company that doesn’t even care to make sure people get proper bathroom breaks.
Yes, Amazon has come under fire recently as some employees have complained to the media about conditions that make work… kind of awful. Some who work in the warehouse in positions where you are pretty much doing constant menial labor find it pretty much impossible to be allowed to go to the restroom outside of their scheduled breaks, which don’t necessarily always occur when scheduled anyway. Some employees have resorted to peeing in bottles or trash cans — certainly not an environment that will create loyal employees.
Also, despite not being a bank or anything that high security, Amazon is so worried about theft from their employees that they make them wait in a long security screening line before and after work. Some employees complain the process of getting in or out can take 30 minutes, and Amazon is not offering to pay people for this time. The Supreme Court ruled that, federally, Amazon can get away with this, but on a state level that is not necessarily the case, and Amazon has settled one class action lawsuit from California out of court for $3.7 million, all while still claiming that they did nothing wrong.
3. Bezos Has Pushed Amazon To Work Its Way Into All Aspects Of Your Daily Life
Jeff Bezos has slowly turned Amazon into a ridiculous behemoth and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. One of his latest ideas is Amazon’s’ Alexa, which now comes in many different forms, but all fit the same central programming and theme — they are a smart device that connects everything in your house, allows you to control things with voice commands, and gives Amazon total intrusion into every single aspect of your daily life. Now, you can be reminded of the site you use to shop for books and knick knacks every time you want to do literally anything.
Alexa is designed to obey voice commands and search things for you online, buy products for you, but mostly just control everything in your house. In connection with companies like Philips Hue Lighting, or August Locks and others, you can now use it to control the lights in your house, the locks in your house, your TV, and eventually everything else in your house if Bezos has anything to say about it. In some ways, they are fighting Google on its own turf — attacking them in the search market and the home technology market by directly competing with Google Home, and they seem to be doing a good job of it so far.
2. Amazon Is Going Full Circle And Creating Their Own Retail Bookstore Chain
Some people have worried that Amazon would change things forever and bring all shopping, even food shopping, to where it was all simply online. These fears have been somewhat understandable as more and more brick and mortar stores, even chains, have slowly but surely gone the way of Amazon’s boot-heel. However, the truth is that while a lot of brick and mortar stores are suffering, it is not necessarily because of online shopping itself, but because as we mentioned earlier, Amazon is willing to forego profit for growth and continues to expand into every single sector of the economy. One of the biggest warriors still duking it out with Amazon is Barnes & Noble — the last major physical book retailer.
Now, while some are worried it’s inevitable that Barnes & Noble, and by consequence all physical book stores will soon be gone, the truth is that Amazon may soon make a lot of people swallow a very bitter pill, and pull the rug right out from under Barnes & Noble. Amazon is already experimenting with using their gigantic, cheap-book juggernaut to start supplying physical bookstores and has already opened 13 brick and mortar Amazon Books stores with more in the works if those are successful enough. If Barnes & Noble goes out of business because of Amazon’s efforts, Bezos could buy out the remaining stores, change them to Amazon Books and rub the final and most insulting salt possible into the gaping wound.
1. Bezos Practically Has A Monopoly On Online Sales And No One Seems Able To Challenge Him
While it isn’t a real monopoly enforced by anything, and thus would be hard to bust with antitrust laws, Amazon makes up 43.5% of all online sales currently. Ebay, Apple and Walmart combined can barely come close to a third of the online selling power of Amazon. To make matters worse, Amazon’s dominance in this sector is expanding extremely rapidly, as they went from about 38 cents of every eCommerce dollar spent in 2015 to about 44 cents in 2017. As if that wasn’t scary enough, the truth is that the figures don’t even show the full extent of Amazon’s market control.
Companies that are separate from Amazon but sell exclusively on the platform, even if they recently went public, may not properly show up in these figures as counting toward Amazon’s total percentage. Which means that the actual amount of customers buying through Amazon is much higher than these numbers can even show. The sad truth is that even most companies that do have their own online store still have to at least have a presence on Amazon, both for advertising purposes and to get those extra sales whenever they can. In many ways Amazon has become not just a store, but the biggest platform online for online sales, and it is insanely hard to get any kind of a foothold as an online retailer without using Amazon as some kind of springboard to help you get your start. With Amazon’s online dominance, and increasing retail dominance, they may soon became a bigger part of our daily lives than any company in known history.