Amazon’s Sneak Attack on Google (and You)Written by Kevin Wallach
September 30, 2011 # 11:57 am # Marketing Insights # 5 Comments
Ok so I’ll admit the title was a blatant act of sensationalism. Sorry about that. But when I read about Amazon’s entry into the tablet market, the Kindle Fire, I had sudden visions of the chess club champion sucker punching the quarterback of the football team. Is Google the quarterback in that analogy? Of course it is.
For months now Google and Facebook have fired shots across each others’ bow. Countless industry experts and amateur enthusiasts have speculated on whether Google + will take down Facebook in the end. All the talk really amounts to little though if Amazon succeeds in making their tablet name eponymous with the most frequent and essential social, commercial, and search aspects of Internet usage. Someday you may say “I Fired it” rather than “I Googled it” or “Check out our Fire page.”
How could a simple tablet unseat an Internet audience powerhouse such as Google or Facebook? It’s simple the way I see it. When you look at it in the most elemental way, people use the Internet each day just as they do most other repetitive things, habitually. If you look at the habits behind using Google and Facebook they are no less anchored than the toothbrush you use or the car you drive. Temporary and flimsy consumer loyalty is what I’m getting at. So what does this all have to do with Amazon’s tablet? If Amazon is really going to sell it for $199 then you can begin with price. Look no further than cell phone companies to find evidence of how audiences can be built on the back of a free or discounted piece of hardware. Of course it doesn’t end there. A comparison of the features of the Kindle Fire beside the Apple iPad and others in the tablet marketplace will reveal that Amazon has serious intentions to compete with Apple’s tablet. Affiliates may be wondering what any of this has to do with performance marketing. Patience, I’m getting there.
Here’s where this gets complicated for current-day 800 lb gorillas Google and Facebook. Behind the Kindle Fire is Amazon’s cloud computing powerhouse that will do a lot in the way of revealing user preferences, buying habits, etc. And when you couple all the data storage and inherent targeting capabilities Amazon will have with the social aspects of many users on a common mobile Internet device you start to see that it would be simple for Amazon to make it easier for users of their tablets to also use their social, search, and commerce applications. Control the entry point to the Internet and control the user experience. Google has tried to do the same thing without much success and Facebook seems to be moving in the same direction. But the Internet is a very unforgiving place oftentimes when you are the 2nd or 3rd company to adapt to an opportunity to grab a large chunk of an available audience away from the reining champion. Remember MSN, Yahoo, and MySpace?
Now if you’re still wondering what this has to do with your daily media buy or other aspects of your life as an Internet marketing wizard consider this last question. What will a company that has already shown a relative lack of concern for performance marketing partners such as affiliates in California do when it has even more power over the Internet users that you are attempting to get your advertisements in front of? I’ll give you a hint. You are the quarterback and the chess club champ is behind you with a big grin on his face.