Summary of “Amazon Is in a Battle With the Far Left for the Soul of Seattle”

As the city struggles to decide just how far left it wants to drift, housing prices, Amazon’s head count, and the homeless population all continue to rise.
Despite Amazon’s charitable efforts, Seattle infrastructure is increasingly littered with graffiti tags like “Amazon Get Out” and “Fuck Bezos.” The tensions between Amazon and its home city came into stark relief when the company announced in September it was going to choose a second headquarters through a thirst-inducing public bidding process.
The HQ2 search was an acknowledgement that Amazon was getting too big for Seattle.
Sawant had been pushing for a head tax in Seattle since her first year on the City Council, to no avail-a previous head tax, adopted in 2006, was repealed after it was deemed a drag on the economy during the recession.
As the City Council was settling on a $500-per-employee tax proposal, Amazon paused construction on a new tower and floated the idea of subleasing its office space in another, pending the head tax vote.
The figure represented the most Amazon had told the mayor it’d be willing to pay, according to the Seattle Times.
” talked about Amazon so much that they forgot Seattle is an incredibly diverse economy that has both blue- and white-collar [jobs], tech and businesses like Dick’s Drive-In, who would have been included in the tax as well,” Spady says.
“Having seen Amazon lead the fight to repeal such a reasonable tax in Seattle, that would help significantly address issues of homelessness in that city, it really cast a doubt in my mind about whether or not we want to see Amazon expand in Austin,” he says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How a cabal of romance writers cashed in on Amazon Kindle Unlimited”

Shortly thereafter, Amazon rolled out the next iteration of Kindle Unlimited – authors would now be paid per page read. Many self-publishers, says Gaughran, moved on to producing books that were thousands of pages long.
Either way, book stuffing plagues the romance genre on Kindle Unlimited, with titles that come in at 2000 or even 3000 pages.
It’s not clear to what extent Valderrama was involved in book stuffing or other techniques, or how many of her other clients engaged in the kind of marketing strategies Willink says she told her about at RWA. Her current roster of clients includes multiple authors whom sources in the romance community named as prolific book-stuffers and who have regularly published books clocking in at a thousand pages or more, including Cassandra Dee.
There are over 5 million books available via Kindle, with over a million books available on the Kindle Unlimited system.
As described earlier, Carter’s books were removed from Amazon in June, for reasons that Amazon declines to explain.
In the Kindle Unlimited program – where readers pay a $9.99 monthly subscription to “Check out” as many books in the program as they want – a reader can indulge any passing impulse to peek behind a cover.
Scattered throughout the top featured titles in the Romance category for Kindle Unlimited are books labeled “Compilation,” “Anthology,” “Collection,” or “Box Set,” running thousands of pages long.
In June, one of the top books in romance was Cassandra Dee’s Pregnant By My Boss: A Romance Compilation, clocking in at over a thousand pages.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon’s share of the US e-commerce market is now 49%, or 5% of all retail spend – TechCrunch”

Amazon is set to clear $258.22 billion in US retail sales in 2018, according to eMarketer’s figures, which will work out to 49.1 percent of all online retail spend in the country, and 5 percent of all retail sales.
The rocket ship for Amazon’s growth at the moment is its Marketplace – the platform where Amazon allows third-party sellers to use its retail and logistics infrastructure to sell and deliver items to Amazon shoppers.
It’s currently accounting for 68 percent of all retail sales, working out to nearly $176 billion, versus 32 percent for Amazon’s direct sales, and eMarketer projects that by the end of this year, Marketplace’s share will be more than double that of Amazon’s own sales.
“More buyers transacting more often on Amazon will naturally attract third-party sellers. But because third-party transactions are also more profitable, Amazon has every incentive to make the process as seamless as possible for those selling on the platform.”
All of these are already up by 38 percent or more over a year ago, but what’s perhaps most notable is how Amazon has been investing in being a direct player in each of the categories as well.
“However, e-commerce in the grocery sector is a challenge. Share of online sales in this category is low because most people, for a host of reasons, prefer to buy food in brick-and-mortar stores. Amazon has an advantage because its shopper base is comfortable with shopping online. Along with insights gathered about Whole Foods shoppers, Amazon probably has the best chance of converting in-store grocery buyers to online grocery buyers.”
All of these will not just boost Amazon’s own direct sales but help create an environment for people to come to Amazon to buy either these at price-busting rates, or other-brand alternatives.
People think that it is unlikely that Amazon would stand an antitrust investigation because e-commerce is still a small part of all commerce, and Amazon would argue that in the world of “Omnicommerce” it’s still just a bit player.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I’m Starting to Have Serious Doubts About Amazon Prime”

Every time Amazon raises the price of Prime Membership, tech writers around the world flock to the topic and wonder, “Is Amazon Prime still worth it?” Heck, I wrote my own version of that blog post when the price went up a couple years ago.
It’s still mind-boggling to me that I went from buying two things a year on Amazon to buying 112 things a year, undoubtedly because of my paid Prime membership.
It does feel crazy that I’m paying Amazon over $100 a year simply to encourage myself to buy more shit on Amazon.
The craziest thing is that I keep re-convincing myself that Amazon Prime is the best deal in tech.
According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Prime customers spend more than twice as much money on Amazon goods than non-members, and when Amazon hikes the price of membership, those Prime customers actually spend even more.
Historically, Amazon has actually lost money on perks like free two-day shipping, but the company is making up for it not only by impelling Prime customers to buy more stuff but also, increasingly, by encouraging them to buy goods from Amazon’s private label brands, which get promoted above other brands in searches on the site.
Don’t even get me started on how Amazon has been hawking the data-hungry Echo, which is a potential privacy nightmare and yet another way that Jeff Bezos tricks you into buying more shit on Amazon.
I don’t know if I’ll renew my Amazon Prime membership this year.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Day I Drove for Amazon Flex”

Flex operates year-round, not just during the holiday season, which suggests there’s another reason for it: It’s cheap.
Amazon has rolled out Flex in more than 50 cities, including New York; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Memphis, Tennessee.
The company doesn’t share information about how many drivers it has, but one Seattle economist calculated that 11,262 individuals drove for Flex in California between October 2016 and March 2017, based on information Amazon shared with him to help the company defend a lawsuit about Flex drivers.
Flex workers get no health insurance or pension, and are not guaranteed a certain number of hours or shifts a week.
One Amazon Flex driver in Cleveland, Chris Miller, 63, told me that though he makes $18 an hour, he spends about 40 cents per mile he drives on expenses like gas and car repairs.
He made slightly less than $10 an hour driving for Uber, he told me, once he factored in these expenses; Flex pays a bit better.
Miller’s wife has a full-time job with benefits, so his Flex earnings are helpful for paying off his family’s credit-card bills.
I became an Amazon Flex independent contractor by downloading an app, going through a background check, and watching 19 videos that explained in great detail the process of delivering packages.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Everything You Need to Know About What Amazon Is Doing in Financial Services”

From payments to lending to insurance to checking accounts, Amazon is attacking financial services from every angle without applying to be a conventional bank.
While the buzz that Amazon will take the plunge into banking seems to get louder each year, it’s important to first understand Amazon’s existing strategy in financial services – what Amazon has launched and built, where the company is investing, and what recent products tell us about Amazon’s future ambitions.
AMAZON PAYMENTS. Amazon has aggressively invested in payments infrastructure and services over the last few years.
The goal is to enable 5,000 kiosks with the new service by year end, and, if successful, Amazon could look to roll out services to more kiosks down the road. Amazon Allowance: A kid-friendly solution.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card – Launched in 2017 with Visa, this card gives Prime members 5% cash back at Amazon & Whole Foods, 2% cash back at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores, and 1% cash back on everything else.
Amazon Visa Credit Card – Partner card with Visa for non-Prime customers that offers 3% cash back on Amazon purchases, 2% cash back at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores, and 1% cash back on everything else.
The existing services above show that Amazon is pushing into checking, primarily through Amazon Cash.
Zooming out a bit further, one can see the beginnings of what the Bank of Amazon could look like – a variety of key financial services products that support Amazon participants first and enable them to buy, sell, and transact much easier than any other platform.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Welcome to Blaine, the town Amazon Prime built”

As the only US border town located in the shadow of a major Canadian city, Blaine’s economy is uniquely dependent on the relationship between the two countries.
Blaine’s handful of residents have grown accustomed to a regular stream of Canadians who come to town specifically to pick up their US packages.
For these Canadians, Blaine is simply a mailing address: the nearest, cheapest, and most convenient way to order packages from Amazon and other major US retailers.
As Amazon continues to step up its Canadian operations and a growing number of American retailers have made it easier to ship to Canada, Canadians are no longer as dependent on their US mailing addresses.
In 2017, Blaine collected nearly $1.7 million in sales tax, which is two to five times the amount collected by comparably sized towns not on the Canadian border.
In the past two years, Amazon’s Canadian arm has driven up growth in its Prime memberships, introduced same-day delivery in select cities, and vastly extended both the range and number of products available in its Canadian store.
What’s good news for Canadian shoppers could be bad news for Blaine.
If Amazon sets up its own lockers in Blaine – as Amazon.com has in more than 50 US cities and Amazon.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon’s Clever Machines Are Moving From the Warehouse to Headquarters”

Former and current employees say the retail group that used industry connections to lure brands to Amazon and helped create an e-commerce colossus is now being merged with the team that runs the marketplace, an automated platform that lets anyone with an internet connection price, market and sell their wares on Amazon without interacting with a single person.
Amazon began automating retail team jobs several years ago.
If a brand notified Amazon about an upcoming marketing blitz for a product, an Amazon manager could increase the order in anticipation of demand the algorithm didn’t expect.
“Amazon realized a lot of expensive employees were spending a lot of time working on things that should really be automated,” recalls Elaine Kwon, who worked as a vendor manager at Amazon from 2014 to 2016.
Growth in Prime subscribers and Fulfillment By Amazon, which lets independent merchants use Amazon’s warehouse and distribution network, made the self-service platform a magnet for products without any help from its retail team.
The center of gravity in retail shifted, and most major brands wanted to be seen on Amazon where so many people were shopping.
The retail team, which had far more employees, watched its importance fade and money funneled into projects like Amazon Web Services and Alexa.
Now, instead of calling their vendor manager at Amazon, the makers of handbags, smartphone accessories and other products simply logged into an Amazon portal that would determine if Amazon liked the deal being offered and the quantity it was willing to buy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Underpaid and exhausted: the human cost of your Kindle”

The increasing reliance on a disposable workforce by companies has alarmed the Chinese government, and in 2014 it changed its labour laws to limit dispatch workers to just 10% of a company’s staff – and then only to cover temporary work.
Bezos is worth an estimated £102bn, a fortune he acquired against a backdrop of global reports of misery for Amazon’s warehouse workers, exhausted by the demands made on them in return for the most basic of wages.
Foxconn promises agency workers a minimum of 3,700 yuan a month, but pay slips and workers’ own accounts suggest real wages rarely get close to that figure.
Another worker tells her she, too, is suffering: “While working at the same work position and doing the same motions over and over again each day, she felt exhausted and her back was sore and her neck, back and arms could barely take it any more.”
Workers complain about the living conditions, including leaks in the roof and lights in the showers not working.
“Around 4am, the workers across from me stopped working. I continued observing. The workers across from me told me I didn’t need to watch any more as the quota had already been reached. At this time, I saw that some of the people in the work positions behind us had also stopped and were sitting due to lack of work. I felt very tired so I rested my head on the assembly line. After a while, the line technician came over and tapped me and said I couldn’t sleep on the assembly line, so I sat up again.”
Foxconn uses a large number of dispatch workers and violates workers’ interests.
Kara Hartnett Hurst, Amazon’s head of worldwide sustainability, responded to Li Qiang’s concerns, telling him: “Amazon takes reported violations of our supplier code of conduct extremely seriously. Amazon recognises our responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of factory workers manufacturing products for Amazon.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “From Facebook to Amazon, these are the default privacy settings you should change”

You probably haven’t even looked for your privacy settings.
They tout we’re “In control” of our personal data, but know most of us won’t change the settings that let them grab it like cash in a game show wind machine.
On your phone’s Facebook app, tap the button with three lines, then scroll to Settings & Privacy, then tap Settings, and then Privacy Settings.
In the Facebook app under Settings & Privacy, then Settings, then Timeline and Tagging switch On the option Review posts you’re tagged in before the post appears on your timeline.
While you’re in Ad Preferences, head down to Ad settings and switch to Not allowed for Ads based on data from partners and Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere.
On your phone under Settings & Privacy, then Settings, then Ad Preferences tap open Ads Settings and switch to No One the setting for Ads that include your social actions.
You can delete whole bunch of recordings at once by logging in to your Amazon account on the Web, then looking under Account and Lists settings and finding at finding manage your content and devices.
Amazon’s settings don’t offer as much as you might want: there’s no setting to stop Alexa from saving recordings in the future.

The orginal article.