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A ‘Grass Roots’ Campaign to Take Down Amazon Is Funded by Amazon’s Biggest Rivals

21 September 2019

From The Wall Street Journal:

About 18 months ago a new nonprofit group called Free and Fair Markets Initiative launched a national campaign criticizing the business practices of one powerful company: Amazon.com Inc.

Free and Fair Markets accused Amazon of stifling competition and innovation, inhibiting consumer choice, gorging on government subsidies, endangering its warehouse workers and exposing consumer data to privacy breaches. It claimed to have grass-roots support from average citizens across the U.S, citing a labor union, a Boston management professor and a California businessman.

What the group did not say is that it received backing from some of Amazon’s chief corporate rivals. They include shopping mall owner Simon Property Group Inc.,  retailer Walmart Inc. and software giant Oracle Corp., according to people involved with and briefed on the project. Simon Property is fighting to keep shoppers who now prefer to buy what they need on Amazon; Walmart is competing with Amazon over retail sales; and Oracle is battling Amazon over a $10 billion Pentagon cloud-computing contract.

The grass-roots support cited by the group was also not what it appeared to be. The labor union says it was listed as a member of the group without permission and says a document purporting to show that it gave permission has a forged signature. The Boston professor says the group, with his permission, ghost-wrote an op-ed for him about Amazon but that he didn’t know he would be named as a member. The California businessman was dead for months before his name was removed from the group’s website this year.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Sorry if you encounter a paywall)

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7 Comments to “A ‘Grass Roots’ Campaign to Take Down Amazon Is Funded by Amazon’s Biggest Rivals”

  1. Bezos biggest blunder to date was entering the political arena. That lost the support of the folks who can usually be relied upon to support business and markets. The ripples just keep moving out.

    He may not be paying as much attention to the internal environment now, but he needlessly made the external environment much more hostile. Unforced error.

  2. “It claimed to have grass-roots support from average citizens across the U.S …”

    If it actually had that kind of support Amazon would have closed its doors years ago.

    Having worked warehouse (and much nastier jobs) the whining I’ve heard about what Amazon does has always had me shaking my head that the whiner has never worked elsewhere and has no idea what they’re whining about.

    Yes, Amazon does things some people don’t like, what company doesn’t? I have plenty of beefs about how Walmart does some things (and don’t get me started with Oracle’s games!)

    Just some ADS companies trying to hide behind yet another ADS clown (and everybody just loves clowns – don’t they?)

    When we hear that Amazon stock is dropping into the basement, when the USPS sees Amazon as more a pain than a boom (and I have two brothers in the post office and right now the USPS loves the extra work/money Amazon is bringing in.)

    • ^THIS^

      When I was much younger, able only to offer a strong body and a malleable mind to employers – I would have loved an opportunity to work a warehouse job. You have not lived until you’ve worked an Arizona summer in a dog kennel, or washed dishes in a school cafeteria kitchen. (There are worse jobs, too, that I managed to miss.)

      Coincidentally, I have a son who is moving just this week from a different company’s DC to the new Amazon DC here. I will be very interested to hear his comparative opinion after a month or so. (I already know that the approximately $3.00 an hour base pay differential has him enthusiastic; I’ll see whether that wears off.)

    • The USPS will soon enough be crying over Amazon business–as it goes away. Amazon has ordered 100,000 (exclusive) electric delivery vans. 10,000 by 2023.

      https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/amazon-rivian-electric-van-delivery-bezos-2021/

      There are 42,000 zip codes in the US so if they’re all deployed in the US it would be 2 per zip code (twice a day delivery?)

      The USPS will miss their business soon enough.
      Or maybe the USPS will contract out the mail to AmazonDelivery. 😉

      • Online retail and technology giant Amazon said at an event today it plans to be completely carbon neutral come 2040, and electric-vehicle startup Rivian will help it get there.

        I’m a great fan of electric motors, mainly because of maintenance, reliability, simplicity, and lifetime RPM. And that doesn’t even consider 0-60 runs.

        But carbon neutral? Where does all that electricity come from?

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