Amazon has been described as “one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world”, but behind it all there is a sorry tale of corporate greed deeply entwined with a pervasive “profit at all costs” culture. From small beginnings Amazon now encompasses e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming and artificial intelligence and is considered to be one of the “big four” alongside Google, Apple an Microsoft.

The backbone of any company is its employees and how  they are treated can truly reflect the ethos of both the line management  and those at the very top. Let’s see how that plays out:

Amazon’s warehouses, oddly named in their corporate-speak as “fulfillment centers”, have long been criticized for the way in which employees are  treated. In an in-depth documentary recently undertaken by Frontline,  interviews of fifty workers from warehouses across the USA revealed some  worrisome issues. One of the main concerns of employees was the unrealistic targets imposed upon them and in an attempt to meet these targets, safety rules could not be followed. Employees ended up feeling  like robots as their performance was being constantly monitored by the  use of technology by Amazon.

During the documentary, Frontline were able to interview 15 former or current Amazon executives and  insiders. Issues raised were again about safety, ethics or lack thereof,  and a call to actually break up Amazon as it had become too big, with Amazon’s very first employee Shel Kaphan saying it had become a ‘huge  and unstoppable force.”

On the face of it, Amazon’s warehouses  are a perfect picture of automation, efficiency and speed. But the human  factor looms large with the heavy and repetitive physical work being  done by “stowers” who fill the racks at a frenetic pace. With state of  the art employee surveillance in place, workers could be fired if they are found out not to be up to speed. Work related injuries such as joint  inflammation and back sprain are commonplace. The company’s relentless  push for speed has lead the warehouses being referred to as “injury  mills.” The rate of serious injuries in these locations is more than  double the national average with 9.6 injuries per 100 full-time workers  in 2018, compared to the industry average in that year of just 4. Amazon  spokesperson, Ashley Robinson, gave a somewhat bizarre response saying  that their aggressive recording of worker injuries caused these numbers. Come on Ashley, it’s not April the 1st yet! Moreover, she also claimed  that the injured workers  only went back to work when they were ready.

Many employees who suffered work related ailments disagreed vehemently with this as they were either cast out or placed back in jobs which further  aggravated their physical conditions. On the run-up to Black Friday, workers face mandatory 12 hour shifts and the company’s own records have  shown weekly injury counts spiking around special deals for Cyber  Monday and Prime Day. So bad is the safety situation at Amazon, that  they have made their way onto the National Council Occupational Safety  and Health’s 2019 Dirty Dozen list of the most dangerous employers in  the United States. And I am not just talking about back injuries here as  the report cited 6 Amazon worker deaths between November 2018 and April  2019. On top of this, there have been several news reports over the  years detailing dangerous work conditions. An Amazon spokesman said “As a  company, we work hard to provide a safe, quality working environment  for the 250,000 hourly employees across Amazon’s US facilities. Safety  is a fundamental principal across our company and is inherent in our  facility infrastructure, design and operations.” Really?

We’re never going to fix safety at Amazon, because we’re never going to fix what the real issue is.
from a statement by a former senior safety manager

​The only way to advance in the company is through greater production numbers. So the pressure is on from the top down as the task masters oversee the stowers, pickers and packers. A former senior operations manager who had leadership roles at multiple facilities said

It incentivizes you to be a heartless son of a bitch.    
Former senior operations manager
‘Go back to work’: outcry over deaths on Amazon’s warehouse floor
Billy Foister died last month after a heart attack at work. The incident was just one in a series of recent accidents and fatalities
Ruthless Quotas at Amazon Are Maiming Employees
Speedy robots. Constant surveillance. Ruthless quotas. A new investigation into why the injury rate for Amazon’s warehouse workers is sky-high.
Under pressure, afraid to take bathroom breaks? Inside Amazon’s fast-paced warehouse world
Amazon warehouse workers afraid to go to the bathroom or take a sick day. Unattainable productivity targets. Constant surveillance. How accurate is author James Bloodworth’s portrayal? A tour in Kent delivers some answers.

Another list which Amazon managed to get itself onto is the “The Evil List” published by slate.com. This looks at which tech companies are doing the  most harm and Amazon sailed to position number one by out-performing  and out-smarting stiff competition from the likes of Microsoft, Apple, Uber, Alphabet and Facebook, who came in a close 2nd (try harder next  time Mark).

Which Tech Company Is Really the Most Evil?
The 30 most dangerous corporations in the industry, ranked by the people who know.

How did Amazon’s behaviour earn that coveted top spot? Well for starters, Elizabeth Warren is getting stuck into Jeff Bezos because of AmazonBasics. She wants tech giants that own a marketplace to stop participating in that marketplace. There is a realisation that the growth of AmazonBasics and other Amazon private label merchandise is killing off small businesses as these independent sellers are trying to market near identical products right alongside what Amazon are pushing. This private label business of Amazon has grown to an estimated sales value of $7.5 billion in 2018. Anti-trust advocate Lina Khan said “If you’re going to be a dominant marketplace then you perhaps shouldn’t be able to sell on that marketplace, putting yourself in direct competition with all the merchants that are dependent.” Both Khan and Warren see  this as a very unfair competitive advantage.

Elizabeth Warren is coming after AmazonBasics. Why Amazon shouldn’t fight it.
Just hear us out, Jeff.

A New York Times investigation expanded upon how Amazon went about this:Amazon would use data from the 3rd party sellers to find out what they sell best, copy the same and to make it even more difficult for the smaller  players, Amazon would give itself better product placement. Moreover, due their status and buying power, Amazon could achieve better pricing  than the independent sellers who, unfortunately, are unable to take  their business elsewhere.

Hopefully legislation will be forthcoming to stop this unethical behaviour.

Anything in your home which connects to the internet puts you at risk of being spied upon and your privacy can be seriously compromised. Now that Amazon has bought Ring Video, the doorbell company, a whole new avenue for creepy corporate voyeurism has opened up. Coming along with the package was also Ring’s existing user data, the much sought after fuel for all big tech corporations. The concept behind it is for Amazon, under the Amazon Key service, to be allowed to make in-home package deliveries. Not just shoving a box on the other side of the door, but  putting perishables into the fridge as well, with a smart lock allowing access to the property. Amazon have spent big to deepen their footprint in your house and have now brought Ring, Alexa and Amazon Key into our  lives. What could possible go wrong?

Ring does not have a good track  record as to who can and cannot access your data as they have previously  left databases of private user videos unencrypted while giving access to teams of contractor staff and engineers. For additional “security” in  the home, Ring also has a range of miniature cameras to be used  indoors. An investigation by Electronic Frontier Foundation revealed that the “Ring for Android” app shares user data including names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers and sensor data with a  number of 3rd party trackers. At least 4 analytics and marketing companies receive such information. “Ring claims to prioritize the security and privacy of its customers, yet time and again we’ve seen these claims not only fall short, but harm the customers and community members who engage with Ring’s surveillance system”, Bill Budington, senior staff technologist at the EFF and author of the report said.  Damning words indeed.

Worse still, every time the customer opens the Ring app, it sends information to our old friend Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. He gets details about the user, the time zone, device model, language preferences, screen resolution and a unique identifier. A business analytics firm called MixPanel receives the most information including user’s full name, email addresses, device information such as operating system version and model, whether Bluetooth is enabled and the number of Ring devises installed. On its website Ring discloses it  utilises third-party data analytics, but Budington said the extent of  the data collection was not made clear in the post and the important  fact that Facebook received data was not included.

EXPOSED! Facebook - What the Zuck is he up to now?
> Take in all of a subject’s experience, from phone numbers dialled and e-mail messages viewed to every breath taken, step made and place gone A quote from the LifeLog wiki. Talk about coincidences. On the same day that Facebook was founded, the Pentagon killed off the LifeLog project. But was it j…

Ring has recently partnered with hundreds of US law enforcement agencies, offering departments access to its platform in exchange for outreach to residents. This has lead critics to fear that it is building up a for-profit private surveillance network. Ring’s power over Police Department communications with the citizens they serve is just the  latest question about the company’s operations.

Ring is also facing a number of class action lawsuits after many of its cameras were hacked and used to harass users.

Budington noted “There is an adage that if you aren’t paying for the product then  you are the product—but in this case you are both paying for the  product and you are the product. Companies can do better.”

Seems we’d be a lot safer without Ring and better off just leaving the key under the mat.

How video doorbells could actually be spying on your home
Privacy concerns are mounting over internet-connected smart home devices after a video doorbell company owned by Amazon was found to have been quietly revealing “unfiltered, round-the-clock” user videos to a team of researchers in Ukraine.
Smart doorbell company Ring may be surveilling users through its app
Electronic Frontier Foundation report finds Android app shares names, IP addresses and other data with third parties
Ring Doorbell App Packed with Third-Party Trackers
Ring isn’t just a product that allows users to surveil their neighbors. The company also uses it to surveil its customers.An investigation by EFF of the Ring doorbell app for Android found it to be packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers’ personally identifiable...

My negative views about data harvesting are well known on this blog and it  now transpires that, right from the very start, Jeff Bezos had this in mind, seeing it as a critical component of the Amazon strategy. Customer’s behaviour was studied, predicted and potentially influenced. Amazon’s former chief scientist Andreas Weigend told Frontline that “I  was shocked to see how predictable people are” and through what the site  tracked, he could see what people “were falling for”. He further  comments that “We did not think about it as exploiting. We thought about helping people make better decisions.”Given that the cloud computing  division now has a massive contract with the CIA, Bezos is in a position  not just to shape the future of commerce but that of technology and  national security as well.

In the beginning, in order to get to the top of the publishing game Amazon focussed on cutting out the competition by challenging smaller publishers with tough tactics on prices and profit margins. The mantra was to forgo profits in order to gain market share, putting out of business those other companies which could not afford to take losses.

Then of course there is Alexa.  “Convincing people to deploy something like this in their home---it’s a  brilliant trick,” says privacy expert Meridith Whittaker, co-director of  the A.I. Now Institute at NYU. Yes, and just like the others, Amazon employed thousands of people around the world to listen in. Ex co-founder of Amazon Web Services, Robert Frederick says he turns off his Alexa devices “whenever I want to have a private moment.” Enough  said.

I have written before about the evils of facial technology and Amazon of course had to jump on the bandwagon. It seems that Amazon  pushed its product to law enforcement whilst it was prone to making  mistakes with darker skinned faces. Former Amazon Web Services principal  scientist Anima Anandkumar said “The tools are not what I call battle-tested and we still do not understand how well they work in the environment in which they’ll be applied.”

It is often said that size matters but in the case of Amazon they want to play this down. Anti-trust scrutiny is in the offing and thus employees have been instructed not to use the M word. That’s right...monopoly! James Thomson, a former senior manager at the company said they were told to use the “market segment share” instead of the “market share”. The company is worth nearly a trillion dollars and I think that is a shit-load in anyone’s books. Market dominance like this does bring about anti competitive behaviour so now the Federal Trade Commission, EU regulators and the US Congress have Amazon under the microscope.

Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos
FRONTLINE examines Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ ascent to power, and the global impact of the empire he built.
“You’re Just Disposable”: New Accounts from Former Amazon Employees Raise Questions About Working Conditions
In a new FRONTLINE documentary, former fulfillment center employees describe an environment in which intense productivity is prioritized over safety and well-being.
“Amazon Empire”: 10 Key Takeaways from FRONTLINE’s Documentary on Jeff Bezos’ Rise and Reign
Plus, where to stream the two-hour special.

Concerning product safety, Amazon manages to weasel its way out of responsibility by, just like other big tech companies, stating that it is not responsible for harmful products sold by 3rd parties on the site. An investigation by the Wall Street Journal found out however, that thousands of products which are either mislabelled, banned or declared as unsafe by federal agencies were listed on the site. There were a whole range of items from medicines claiming to be FDA-approved when  they were not, medications without child safety warnings, banned baby products, electronics with false certification and toys with unacceptable amounts of lead or were a choking hazard. Ironically, some  of these had the Amazon Choice label and there were even 157 items which Amazon themselves had banned. Since Amazon does not take responsibility for these 3rd part sellers then customers are basically on their own if product issues arise. These items fall under the “Fufilled by Amazon” banner but on the site it was hard to distinguish them from the “Sold by  Amazon.com” items. Amazon say they have “built robust programs designed  to ensure products offered for sale in our store are safe and  compliant.” Based upon the above, those programs either don’t exist or  simply don’t work.

Amazon is reportedly listing thousands of unsafe or banned products
Amazon is reportedly selling thousands of products that are mislabeled, banned, or declared unsafe by federal agencies, according to an investigation from The Wall Street Journal. It found that no fewer than 4,152 items fitting those criteria were freely available to buy on Amazon’s storefront.
How Amazon Steers Shoppers to Its Own Products
The company now has roughly 100 private label brands for sale, but few of those are sold under the Amazon brand.

As complete a list of all Amazon brands, companies, divisions, co-operations and joint ventures as we could gather...take a  deep breath!

APPAREL AND ACCESSORIES

7Goals

An Amazon brand of women’s activewear.

28 Palms

An Amazon brand of men’s floral-print button-ups and polo shirts.

206 Collective

An Amazon brand of leather-based men’s and women’s shoes.

A for Awesome

An Amazon brand of children’s clothing.

Amazon Essentials

An Amazon brand that offers men’s and women’s basics.

Arabella

An Amazon womenswear brand including bras, shapewear, and sleepwear.

Body Labs

Amazon acquired the 3D body model startup in 2017. It was recently recruiting volunteers​ to get their bodies scanned.

Buttoned Down
An Amazon menswear brand that offers business and casual options.

Cable Stitch

An Amazon brand of women’s knitwear.

The Cambridge Collection

An Amazon brand of women’s formalwear.

Camp Moonlight

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

Clifton Heritage

An Amazon brand of men’s clothing and accessories.

Coastal Blue

An Amazon brand of women’s swimwear.

Comfort Denim Outfitters

An Amazon brand of men’s denim.

Core 10

An Amazon brand of women’s activewear.

Crafted Collar

An Amazon brand of men’s collared shirts.

Daily Ritual

An Amazon brand of women’s loungewear.

Denim Bloom

An Amazon brand of women’s denim.

East Dane

A subsidiary of Amazon, the global online retail site offers more than 125 designer men’s brands.

Ella Moon

An Amazon brand of bohemian-inspired women’s wear.

Emma Riley

An Amazon brand of girls clothing.

Essentialist

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

The Fix

An Amazon brand of shoes and accessories.

Franklin & Freeman

An Amazon men’s dress footwear line.

Franklin Tailored

An Amazon men’s business wear line.

Good Brief

An Amazon brand of men’s underwear.

Goodsport

Amazon’s activewear brand.

Goodthreads

An Amazon menswear brand.

HALE Denim

An Amazon brand of women’s denim.

Haven Outerwear

An Amazon brand of outerwear, including coats and vests.

Hayden Rose

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

Indigo Society

An Amazon brand of women’s denim.

Isle Bay Linens

An Amazon brand of men’s clothing.

James & Erin

An Amazon women’s wear line.

Kid Nation

An Amazon brand of children’s clothing.

Kold Feet

An Amazon brand of socks.

Lark & Ro

An Amazon brand that offers women’s wear-to-work staples and polished essentials.

Leather Architect

An Amazon brand of leather wallets.

Lily Parker

An Amazon brand of women’s denim.

The Lovely Tote Co.

An Amazon brand of handbags.

The Luna Coalition

An Amazon brand of women’s loungewear.

Madeline Kelly

An Amazon brand of women’s underwear.

Madison Denim

An Amazon brand of women’s denim.

Mae

An Amazon brand that offers fashion intimates, loungewear, and sleepwear.

Mariella Bella

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

Mint Lilac

An Amazon brand of women’s activewear.

Moon and Back

An Amazon brand of baby clothing.

North Eleven

An Amazon women’s wear line featuring cardigans, sweaters, and ponchos.

Ocean Blues

An Amazon brand of women’s swimwear.

Painted Heart

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

Paris Sunday

An Amazon women’s brand of dresses and separates.

Peak Velocity

An Amazon men’s activewear brand.

Plumberry

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

The Plus Project

An Amazon brand of outerwear.

Quality Durables Co.

An Amazon brand of casual men’s clothing.

Rebel Canyon

An Amazon activewear and sports apparel brand.

Rugged Mile Denim

An Amazon brand of men’s denim.

Savoir Faire

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

Scout + Ro

An Amazon brand of clothing for children.

Shoefitr

Software that recommends shoe sizes for customers. Amazon acquired Shoefitr in 2015.

Signature Society

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

The Slumber Project

An Amazon brand of pajamas.

Smitten

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

Social Graces

An Amazon brand of women’s formalwear.

Society New York

An Amazon women’s business casual wear line featuring dresses and purses.

Something for Everyone

An Amazon brand of casual clothing and shoes.

Spotted Zebra

An Amazon brand of children’s clothing.

Stocking Fox

An Amazon brand of stockings.

Suite Alice

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

Trailside Supply Co.

An Amazon brand of men’s ski and snowboard gear.

True Angel

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

Ugly Fair Isle

An Amazon brand of Christmas sweaters.

Velvet Rope

An Amazon brand of women’s formalwear.

Wild Meadow

An Amazon brand of women’s clothing.

Wood Paper Company

An Amazon brand of men’s clothing.

Zappos

An online shoe and clothing shop owned by Amazon. It was acquired by Amazon in 2009 for $1.2 billion.

BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORES

Amazon 4-star

A chain of three stores featuring a selection of the top products rated four stars and above for sale on Amazon.com. The first Amazon 4-star store was launched in 2018.

Amazon Books

A chain of 19 brick-and-mortar bookstores that launched in 2015.

Amazon Go

A chain of 13 no-checkout convenience stores launched in 2016.

Presented by Amazon

A chain of four kiosks of top brands on Amazon.com that launched in November 2018.

EDUCATION

Amazon Inspire

A resource group for teachers and educators to share and discover digital resources, worksheets, lesson plans, and assessments.

Amazon Whispercast

A platform that lets educators buy, manage, and distribute e-books and apps from Amazon’s Kindle and Apps & Games stores, directly to students.

TenMarks Education

A company that provides personalized online math practice and enrichment programs for K-Algebra/Geometry using technology products. Amazon, which acquired the company in 2013, recently discontinued TenMarks’ tools.

ELECTRONICS AND DEVICES

Amazon Alexa

Alexa is an intelligent personal assistant service developed by Amazon.

Amazon Cloud Cam

An internet-connected security camera that works with Alexa. The device, launched in October 2017, works as a part of Key by Amazon, a service offered to Amazon Prime members as a way to get deliveries inside their home by giving Amazon contractors a one-time code to smart locks.

Amazon Echo

A smart speaker that connects to the voice-controlled, intelligent personal assistant service Alexa. The market research firm eMarketer estimates​ the Echo will account for roughly 63% of all US smart speaker sales in 2019. To compare, the firm estimates Google will account for 31% of the market.

Amazon Fire

A tablet computer developed by Amazon and Quanta Computer.

Amazon Kindle

An e-book reader sold by Amazon.

Blink

A home automation company that creates outdoor and indoor security cameras. Amazon acquired the company for a reported $90 million in late 2017.

NuPro

An Amazon brand of tech accessories, including screen protectors for Amazon Fire tablets.

Ring

A smart doorbell company Amazon acquired in 2018 for $839 million that offers a line of Wi-Fi-enabled devices and services including the Ring device, which is a Wi-Fi–enabled doorbell that can stream live video of a doorstep to a smartphone or tablet.

ENERGY

Amazon Wind Farm Texas

A 100-turbine wind farm in West Texas, opened in late 2017. The farm is the largest of Amazon’s 18 renewable energy projects, including wind and solar farms, in the US. Amazon said it would purchase 90% of the facility’s output.

FOOD AND BEVERAGES

AmazonFresh

Amazon’s grocery delivery service currently available in some US states, London, Tokyo, and Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg, Germany.

Amazon Restaurants

Amazon’s food delivery service. The company recently shut it down.

Amazon Treasure Trucks

These food trucks are scattered around the United States and sell everything from steak to Philips Hue lights.

Happy Belly

A private Amazon label of everyday essentials such as coffee and spices.

Prime Pantry

An Amazon service that ships nonperishable grocery items for an additional fee.

Single Cow Burger

Burger patties made exclusively for AmazonFresh.

Wag

An Amazon brand of dog food.

Whole Foods Market

Amazon bought Whole Foods in 2017 for a reported $13.7 billion. Whole Foods is a brick-and-mortar supermarket chain featuring organic foods as well as foods without artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, or hydrogenated fats.

Wickedly Prime

An Amazon brand that offers food and beverages such as popcorn, chips, soup, and tea. It’s like Amazon’s version of Trader Joe’s.

FINANCE

Amazon Lending

An invite-only loan program Amazon offers to sellers at various interest rates. The company said it has loaned billions of dollars to sellers since the program launched in 2011.

Amazon Pay

Amazon’s online payment-processing service launched in 2014. The company launched an earlier version of payment services in 2007 called Amazon Flexible Payment Services, which it discontinued in 2015.

Tapzo

Amazon acquired Tapzo, the popular Indian payment platform, for a reported $40 million in 2018. Then it shut down the company and moved its users to Amazon Pay.

GAMING

Amazon GameOn

An Amazon business launched in 2018 that enables developers to add e-sports competitions to mobile, PC, and console games so that players can win prizes.

Curse

A video game service company known for Curse Voice, which is like Skype for gamers. Players can easily get in touch and speak with each other over the internet as they play a game.

Double Helix Games

A video game development company acquired by Amazon and renamed Amazon Game Studios in 2014.

GameSparks

Amazon in 2017 acquired GameSparks, a “backend as a service” provider allowing game developers to build gaming features and manage them all in the cloud.

HEALTH CARE

1492/the Amazon Grand Challenge/Project X

A secret lab dedicated to health care research started in 2014. The project has reportedly started pitching Hera, which analyzes electronic medical records for incorrect codes or misdiagnoses.

Basic Care

Amazon’s over-the-counter medicine line that includes products ranging from its own brand of ibuprofen to hair-regrowth treatment.

PillPack

An online pharmacy purchased by Amazon for a reported $1 billion in 2018. PillPack is an online pharmacy that sends customers prepackaged medication doses.

HOUSEHOLD ITEMS AND FURNITURE

AmazonBasics

Amazon’s brand of household supplies, kitchen accessories, and tech accessories.

Fabric.com

A wholesale fabric store.

Mama Bear

Baby and family-focused products from Amazon, including diapers, baby food, and laundry detergent.

Pike Street

An Amazon brand of linens.

Pinzon

An Amazon brand that offers everything from luxurious sheet sets, duvet covers, and comforters, to high-quality bath mats and bath towels.

Presto!

A household-essentials line from Amazon that offers bio-based laundry detergent, dish soap, paper towels, and more.

Rivet

An Amazon private-label brand of midcentury modern furniture and decor.

Small Parts

An Amazon brand of spare parts, including magnets and steel wire.

Solimo

An Amazon brand of assorted household, personal care, beauty, and pet products.

Stone & Beam

An Amazon brand of furniture made with performance and stain-resistant fabrics to last.

Strathwood

An Amazon brand of outdoor furniture.

MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT

AbeBooks

An Amazon-owned company that offers vintage books, rare collectibles, and fine art sold by independent sellers.

ACX

A marketplace for professional narrators, authors, agents, and producers to connect and create audiobooks.

Amazon Media on Demand

An Amazon business that manufactures and ships CDs and DVDs.

Amazon Prime Music

Amazon’s ad-free access to curated Prime Playlists and personalized Prime Stations available to Prime members.

Amazon Prime Video

Amazon’s internet video on demand and streaming service.

Amazon Publishing

Founded in 2009, Amazon Publishing publishes and owns a number of imprints, including Montlake Romance, Thomas & Mercer, 47North, and Amazon Crossing.

Amazon Rapids

Amazon’s collection of children’s books in the format of text messages between characters.

Amazon Studios

A division of Amazon that develops television shows, distributes and produces films.

Amazon Tickets

An Amazon business launched in the UK in 2015 that sold tickets to concerts and live events. It was closed in 2018.

Audible

A subsidiary of Amazon that sells and produces audiobooks and shows on the internet.

Audiobookstand

A website of audiobooks available for purchase. It closed​ in 2018.

Avalon Books

The book publisher, which Amazon acquired in 2012, specialized in hardcover mystery, “wholesome” romance, and Westerns. Avalon books are now published under imprints of Amazon Publishing.

Book Depository

The UK’s largest online bookseller has millions of titles available for shipping within 48 hours.

BookSurge

An on demand self-publishing service Amazon acquired​ in 2005.

Box Office Mojo

A site owned by IMDb, which is owned by Amazon, that tracks box office revenue and publishes the data on its website.

Brilliance Audio

An audiobook publisher bought by Amazon in 2007.

ComiXology Unlimited

An Amazon subscription service described as the "Netflix for comics.”

CreateSpace

BookSurge and CustomFlix, another Amazon acquisition, merged to become CreateSpace in 2005. CreateSpace provided tools and services to independent authors to self-publish books through the site. It later merged with Amazon’s KDP​ (Kindle Direct Publishing).

Goodreads

This subsidiary of Amazon, acquired in 2013, allows readers to connect with one another online through book recommendations and reviews. The site has 90 million members and 2.7 billion books added to member profiles. Another book-cataloging social network, called Shelfari, that Amazon bought in 2008 was merged under Goodreads.

IMDb

A subsidiary of Amazon, the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, is an online database of information related to films, television programs, and video games, including casts, production crews, characters, biographies, plot summaries, trivia, and reviews.

IMDbPro

Members pay a monthly fee to access entertainment industry information, including credits and contact and representation information for TV and film professionals.

Kindle Direct Publishing

Amazon’s self-publishing service that allows people to publish Kindle e-books.

Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

Kindle owners who are Amazon Prime subscribers can choose from more than 800,000 books to borrow for free with no due dates.

LOVEFiLM International

Amazon acquired LOVEFiLM in 2011 for $312 million during the age of DVDs-by-mail. Six years later, Amazon closed the company.

Prime Video Direct

A film and video distribution service that allows filmmakers to upload their projects onto the site to be seen on Prime Video.

Twitch.tv

A livestreaming video platform for gamers to connect and stream videos. It has 15 million visitors daily and over 2 million unique creators who broadcast each month. It was acquired in 2014 for $970 million.

Westland Books

A publishing company based in India that Amazon acquired in 2016.

Withoutabox

A free submission service for film festivals and filmmakers acquired by Amazon through its acquisition of IMDb. Festival judges can use this application to view and rate films on a large-screen TV.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Home Services

Through Home Services, Amazon offers 1,200 unique professional services from housecleaning to lawn work.

Mechanical Turk

A marketplace that gives businesses access to an on demand workforce and gives workers a selection of thousands of paid tasks to complete whenever it's convenient.

SHIPPING AND LOGISTICS

Amazon Air

A freight delivery service dedicated to Amazon’s delivery logistics network with its own $1.5 billion hub in Northern Kentucky.

Amazon Global Store

Ships millions of products to over 100 countries.

Amazon Maritime

Holds a Federal Maritime Commission license to operate as a non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVOCC), which enables the company to manage its own shipments from China into the United States.

Amazon Robotics

Amazon acquired Kiva Systems — a mobile robotic fulfillment system formerly used by retailers like the Gap, Walgreens, Staples, Office Depot, Crate & Barrel, and Saks Fifth Avenue — in 2012 for $775 million. Now known as Amazon Robotics, it’s exclusively used at Amazon warehouses. It’s basically a bunch of Rumba-like robots flying around picking up boxes and bringing them to workers who place your items into a box to be shipped.

Prime Air: Drones

A system of delivery drones launched in 2013 but still in an experimental phase. In June 2019, Amazon revealed a new version of the drone​ with covered rotors for safety.

SHOPPING SITES AND SERVICES

Amazon Advertising

Third-party merchants on Amazon’s platform pay for advertising to promote their listings. The online commerce market-research firm eMarketer projects that Amazon’s US ad business will grow by more than 50% this year, and its market share will increase to 8.8% from roughly 4%.

Amazon Art

Amazon’s store where artists can sell their art or prints in the marketplace.

Amazon Business

It’s like Amazon, but for business customers.

Amazon Handmade

Amazon’s version of Etsy where artisans can sell their handcrafted goods in the marketplace.

Amazon Renewed

A storefront on Amazon for refurbished products with a warranty.

Amazon Second Chance

A storefront on Amazon’s marketplace for secondhand goods.

#FoundItOnAmazon

Formerly known as Amazon Spark, #FoundItOnAmazon​ is a feature available to Amazon app users that allows them to discover and shop for products. Basically Pinterest, but on Amazon.

Amazon Vine

An invite-only program for trusted reviewers who are given free products to review.

Amazon Warehouse

This program offers shoppers or businesses a chance to buy used or slightly damaged merchandise from Amazon at a discount.

DPReview

A site owned by Amazon aimed at providing content and reviews about digital photography gear across the world.

Junglee

A shopping service launched by Amazon in India in 2012 where customers can find millions of products, read product and seller reviews, and check prices across a wide variety of product categories.

Quidsi

Amazon acquired this parent company of Diapers.com, Soap.com, and BeautyBar.com in 2010. It shut down the company seven years afterward because it was unprofitable.

Shopbop

A global online retail site and store on Amazon aimed at style inspiration and discovery. Shopbop offers handpicked women’s clothes and accessories from over 1,000 established and emerging designers.

SmallParts.com

Amazon acquired SmallParts.com in 2005 and made it a new arm of the company, called AmazonSupply, which became American Business in 2015.

Souq.com

Considered the Amazon of the Arab world, Souq was an English- and Arabic-language e-commerce platform. Amazon bought the company in 2017 for $580 million. In 2017, Souq bought Wing.ae, which develops next-day delivery networks for e-commerce sites. It later became​ Amazon.ae.

Woot!

A daily deals site and subsidiary of Amazon.

WEB SERVICES

Alexa Internet

Acquired by Amazon in 1999, this Amazon subsidiary, based in California, provides companies with commercial web traffic data and analytics.

Amazon Drive

Formerly known as Cloud Drive, Amazon Drive is a cloud storage application managed by Amazon.

Amazon Photos

A free online photo storage service available to Prime members that allows them to save and share unlimited photos on their desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

A secure cloud services platform, offering compute power, database storage, content delivery, and other services to businesses, startups, and government and educational entities. Clients include​ Netflix, Comcast, the CDC, FDA, US State Department, and PBS. Amazon has enhanced the products available through AWS through the acquisition of startups, for example:

●  Annapurna Labs
Amazon bought Annapurna Labs, an Israel-based semiconductor startup, in 2015 for $370 million. The lab’s chip technology was used to improve Amazon’s cloud business by making it more cost-effective to run.

●  Elemental
Elemental Technologies — now AWS Elemental, a backend mobile video service — was acquired by Amazon in 2015.

●  Macie
Amazon developed this data security service after acquiring the security startup Harvest.ai.

●  Rekognition
Rekognition is Amazon’s controversial facial-recognition tool, one of AWS’s cloud-based services for developers.

●  Safaba
Amazon reportedly​ acquired the machine translation startup in 2015 to provide developers with this tech through AWS to make their products available in multiple languages. The team was based in Amazon’s SouthSide Works office​ in Pittsburgh, which now works on Amazon Alexa technology and machine translation.

“It falls on us. I think they’re doing what the business schools teach them to do, and they’re doing it aggressively and skilfully and with great intelligence. And they will continue to do that unless they’re constrained by other forces in society.”  
Shel Kaphan, Amazon’s first employee.

Within the last few days, decentralize.today published an article in our  AltCoin Outlook series that could represent a way forward for online commerce with privacy, security and fairness at the forefront. Read more here about the Particl Open Marketplace development here:

AltCoin Outlook: The missing PART - Satoshi’s dream realized
As those regular readers of decentralize,today will know, I take a dim view of any platform which intentionally or unintentionally uses, loses or abuses people’s data. It is not just the social networks but also online shopping platforms that are moving in the wrong direction when it comes to dat…