Amazon: It’s All Frontline’s Fault

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'Generation Like I FRONTLINE I PBS' - www_pbs_org_wgbh_pages_frontline_generation-like“It’s all about likes,” the young teen said, so I decided to try it.  Well, kind of.  It was a go at Amazon Seller Central “support forums.”

I don’t even want to dig up the link because I never want to go back there again.  That’s what it is, social media.  No it isn’t videos of skateboarding kids, but it certainly isn’t business service.  It isn’t anything service.

My first question always is why do these people want to do this?  I can see why someone would go there if they have a real problem.  But everything else is social.  Why would someone be there, for hours a day, for any good, help, chat, complaining, or any other not in need reason?  The best reasons I can think of are boredom, loneliness, or an egotistical desire to prove their expertise.  At one point I even asked, “Why are you trying to defend Amazon when this is clearly an issue?”

I think the answer is they have become Amazon’s pawns.  They are so dependent on Amazon that they’re just intertwined.  On the forum they’re connected in this bizarre otherworld known as social media.

I would call the Amazon seller forum antisocial, or dysfunctional and pathetic, media.

Then the ubiquitous question is are the answers worth anything?  Again, I’d say the answer is social, or more precisely “sociability.”  If I wanted to be nice and believe them–this seemed like a real familiar clique–I would think their input was credible, but if I wanted to be neither nice nor accepting…  Well, they dragged me into it.  “You didn’t answer my question, did you really think Amazon would lose money?”  That discussion wasn’t exactly why I was there.

Amazon is a weird company.  I would characterize them as providing an almost-minimum product and service where nothing at all is expected.  I remember the time I was really perturbed about something and I actually got a hold of Bezos and said “You just don’t do anything that is not copyable by others.”[ref]Of course what I didn’t realize at the time was that Amazon had virtually no relationship to the products, suppliers, or manufacturers it sold (now they seem to have more proprietary products).  Interesting product concept, ‘let’s brand an idea’…  So when I complained about anything Amazon’s response was just a tad over uninvolved.[/ref]  For THINK Amazon doesn’t really provide anything more than a website and shopping cart (again, not unique); I suppose they provide a customer interface, but does the customer even realize the relationship between Amazon and the vendors on the marketplace?  With size and growth they’ve built up all kinds systems and procedures and rules and growth and that maybe does add something.  Okay, there’s the website…  So far it has produced close to nada on the sales and traffic front; for THINK, perhaps given its niche, it probably works better elsewhere and shopping carts and payment takers are…  you guessed it, available elsewhere.  Finally, building an Amazon-controlled customer review database isn’t something I covet; THINK is closer to customers–mostly dealers–and independently-capable of managing its overall positioning.

The lesson for THINK and I suppose me when I’m on the forum[ref]Boy how discussion forums have grown and changed.  Near instant responses and actual discussions even at odd hours and you see how it can become heated.  The Amazon seller forum is probably one on a scale to ten–it is a different mode of communication if not a whole new human personality. [/ref] as an Amazon seller is that there’s no business to be conducted there.  It is not useful information and it does not contribute to networking or sales.  But there is that product trial/panel thing…  I want THINK to not just be a subsistence Amazon seller; I want it to be a real company with outstanding products, employees, growth, dealers, etc.  Future accomplishments perhaps…  But the point is, don’t let Amazon dictate THINK direction!