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« Just in time for fall | Main | Video changes things »

Amazon crosses a line (and forgets to bring a gift)

I got an interesting email from Amazon today.

We noticed that you purchased an e-commerce related book in the past and we thought you might be interested in an exciting new product from Amazon Services: WebStore by Amazon.

This is the first time I can remember them cross-selling from a $20 book to a service that costs more than $700 a year. It feels a little weird. Their list of people interested in ecommerce is insanely valuable, but if they put off those very people, it becomes worthless.

The mistake continues when you go to sign up.  All the usual sign up bells and whistles are there, including a neat phone authentication tool, but there's no promises, no feature exposition, no benefits. It's just a rush to collect your credit card and start charging you. Other parts of the site promise a free month trial, but I couldn't see it mentioned during the sign up. I bailed at the very last page, because it wasn't clear to me what I was getting, why I wanted it and how much it would end up costing me.

It's very tempting to take your permission list and expand the offerings you bring to it. New products for your customers instead of new customers for your products. The challenge is that you must realize that this transition is a risky event and you need to be clear, pro-active and generous as you head down that path.

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