> Suddenly faced with online competition from rival bookseller Barnes &
> Noble, Amazon.com says it will cut its prices for online book
> purchases as much as 40% on select titles. The company says hardcover
> discounts will start at 30%, and paperback at 20%. Barnes & Noble
> says it has no plans to match the price cuts. (St. Petersburg Times
> 16 Jun 97)
Zip a dee doo dah, I love perfect competition. You go, Amazon!! Take
that nasty category killer Barnes and Noble, and kick em in the groin!!
Not only is Amazon.com better than barnesandsmickennoble.com, but it
beats http://www.altbookstore.com/ too, as Red Rock Eaters recently noted:
> I mentioned switching from amazon.com to www.altbookstore.com after
> the amazon.com people started sending me unsolicited commercial email.
> My recommendation of altbookstore was based on my students' positive
> experience with them. My own experience, however, was not so happy.
> That $100+ order I mentioned was a mess. They charged my credit card
> for the money in mid-May, and it was only in mid-June, after several
> phone calls and some increasingly strident legal threats, that I got
> anything back from them beyond vague excuses. What a nuisance.
Now watch with amazement as Red Rock Eaters takes the theme of
Amazon.com and merges it with our recent discussion of spammail...
notice nothing in my sleeves...
> Several people wrote to argue that, contrary to what I wrote,
> amazon.com's mailings to its customers shouldn't be regarded as spam
> because they fall in such a clearly separate category from the
> forged-headered messages from Tim's XXX Porn. I don't think it's a
> useful exercise to try defining the word spam, not least because it
> opens the door to the fog-creation devices of spam's defenders. What
> does matter is what definition gets written into law. Since the issue
> pertains to speech, any law should obviously be written as narrowly as
> possible. Both of the bills in Congress clearly do not outlaw
> commercial e-mail within the bounds of an existing commercial
> relationship, and this seems reasonable. It's easy to imagine abuses
> when the "commercial relationship" is very minimal, for example when
> all you've done to initiate this "relationship" is ask for product
> literature. Even so, your capacity to exact revenge in such cases is
> clearly much greater than with Tim's XXX Porn right now.
> Other people complain that bills that outlaw unsolicited commercial
> e-mail do not outlaw noncommercial e-mail nuisances, such as the
> recent spam of passages from the Bible. The fact is, however, that
> only commercial mail has caused a major nuisance so far, and laws
> restricting speech should be closely tailored to real and proven
> Another objection is that laws against unsolicited commercial e-mail
> could be construed to apply to messages whose "commercial" content is
> marginal or incidental, such as a newsgroup posting by Company X's
> employee that adds further facts to some other posting's praises of
> Company X's product, or an unsolicited personal message that includes
> a company affiliation and slogan in a signature file.
> It's good to accumulate these scenarios, but it's not okay to use them
> to create fog. The whole point of law is to consider all of these
> cases and make a theory that defines the real offense, so that the
> laws regulate the right things. What we need now is serious legal
> theory about the issues surrounding spam.
In a separate but related not, EPIC mentions Amazon.com in its June 1997
"Surfer Beware" report on personal privacy and the Internet at
> Several web sites provided reasonably good privacy notices. Amazon.com,
> for example, tells users that it does not rent or sell its mailing list
> to anyone. But Amazon also advises users, "If you would like to make
> sure we never sell or rent information about you to third parties, just
> send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org." We thought this statement
> created unnecessary ambiguity in an otherwise good policy.
Excuse me while I go order Bruce Schneier's <cite>Applied
Cryptography</cite> from Amazon, being sure to email email@example.com
while I'm at it...
Books? I heard about them once on MTV.
-- Richard Cross