Founded in 1994, the online superstore Amazon.com was created by CEO Jeff Bezos and sold only books. Little did we know, the little site he originally wanted to name “Cadabra.com” would soon transform into one of the biggest commercial sites on the Internet.
While you can find a lot of things on Amazon and the convenience is undeniable, here are 10 kind of shady things about the company they don’t exactly like to broadcast.
10. Take Customer Reviews With A Grain Of Salt
You can’t always take a glowing review at face value on Amazon. Turns out that some of the site’s most prolific reviewers regularly receive free products from publishers, agents, authors and manufacturers in exchange for their “unbiased” opinions. There’s even a site called Fakespot that will analyze reviews for authenticity.
9. Free Shipping Helps You Overspend
Amazon offers free shipping for those who spend more than $25 on certain goods. Amazon Prime members get free two-day shipping on many items as one of the benefits of their membership. Research shows that free shipping actually causes customers make more impulse buys as well as spend more money online in general. #8 really took me by surprise.
8. Their List Prices Are Misleading
When shopping Amazon’s site, don’t be dazzled by those sky-high list prices and eye-popping “bargains.” There’s a good chance that the original prices on Amazon’s site are nowhere close to actual prices that are commonly charged for the item. Amazon’s vendors tend to use high list prices to make their “sale” prices seem that much more attractive.
7. They Hurt Mom-And-Pop Stores
Brick-and-mortar stores with high overhead and sales taxes simply can’t match Amazon’s discounts. While that might not mean much to consumers looking for the best deals, it’s independent stores that have really suffered. Ten years ago, there were about 4,000 independent bookstores in the U.S., according to the American Booksellers Association. Today, only about 1,900 remain. Number 6 made me a bit uncomfortable.
6. They Know More About You Than You Realize