There’s no doubt that Amazon continues to grow their power in the world of ecommerce. Here’s an interesting look at how they continue to grow their role with each additional transaction.
As crowds build on either side of the platform, the middleman becomes ever more indispensable. Oh, sure, a new platform can enter the market—but until it gets access to the 480 million items Amazon sells (often at deep discounts), why should the median consumer defect to it? If I want garbage bags, do I really want to go over to Target.com to re-enter all my credit card details, create a new log-in, read the small print about shipping, and hope that this retailer can negotiate a better deal with Glad? Or do I, ala Sunstein, want a predictive shopping purveyor that intimately knows my past purchase habits, with satisfaction just a click away?
Similarly, the more online buyers and sellers are relying on Amazon to do their bidding or settle their disputes, the less power they have relative to Amazon itself. They are less like arms-length transactors with the company, than they are like subjects of a despot, whose many roles include consumer and anti-fraud protection.
While this may be an argument against the practice, there doesn’t appear to be any change coming. Until there is, there’s no reason to believe Amazon won’t continue to grow.
See the full post From territorial to functional sovereignty: the case of Amazon at openDemocracy.
Disclosure: Long AMZN