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Nearly Half Of Amazon Prime Members Claim They’d Rather Cancel Than Pay More

Also in This Week in Amazon: Jeff Bezos really does read those customer emails.

Did Amazon Just Drop Google Shopping?

Prime Cut: It would appear so, if a report from global marketing agency Merkle bears out. A longtime holdout, Amazon began participating in Google’s Product Listing Ad (PLA) program — formerly Google Product Search — a year-and-a-half ago, largely in the home goods category, but began to limit its presence at the close of the first quarter.

TWICE Take: It’s not clear why Amazon would abandon the popular portal given the e-tailer’s vast product assortment, competitive pricing and 100 million Prime members, or whether this signals another flare up in the companies’ on again, off again turf war. What is fairly certain though is that Google’s other retailer search advertisers are all breathing an Amazonian sigh of relief.

See the full story at Merkle.

Nothing Says ‘I Love You’ Like A Fire TV Stick

Prime Cut: In a nod to moms and holiday promotions, Amazon is offering hefty discounts on many of its Echo, Fire and Kindle products in the week leading up to Mother’s Day. The biggest price drop at post time (Amazon’s pricing is fluid, to say the least) is a gift that moms can relish indirectly: a diversionary Kindle for Kids Bundle. The package includes a two-year warranty, protective case and FreeTime activity software for $80, which is $45 below its standard price of $125.

TWICE Take: Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the Mom’s Day deals is Amazon’s encouragement to see its proprietary tech up close and personal at a pop-up store near you. The current mini-shop count stands at 63 locations across 19 states, including shopping malls and select Whole Foods and Kohl’s stores, and the invitation reconfirms the company’s brick-and-mortar ambitions.

See the full story at TWICE.

Primal Scream

Prime Cut: On last month’s earnings call Amazon announced a $20 increase in the price of its annual Prime membership fee, to $119. While Wall Street cheered, customers were mad as hell, and many said they weren’t going to take it anymore.

TWICE Take: In a Yahoo Finance survey of nearly 7,000 Prime members, 45 percent said they’ll drop the program rather than fork out another 20 greenbacks, while another 20 percent were unsure. Among the nays, respondents said they don’t use Prime’s services enough to justify the added cost, and some said they’d just as soon turn to Walmart. But fear not investors; observers say the survey results are just an initial, emotional response, and that Prime members will eventually fall in line, just as they did for the last increase four years prior.

See the full story at Yahoo! Finance

Puppy Love

Prime Cut: We’ve already reported on at least two instances of malfeasance by Amazon delivery drivers, one of them downright malodorous. But the latest report of drivers gone wild, this time out of England, really takes the cake, or in this case, the pooch.

TWICE Take: According to Amazon customer Richard Guttfield, his black miniature schnauzer Wilma went missing after the e-tailer delivered a package of dog food to his home. Suspecting foul play, he emailed Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos, who famously maintains his [email protected] address for customers and reads most of their missives himself.

Soon thereafter the driver was tracked down, Wilma returned, and Amazon had a customer for life. “We take these matters seriously and this individual is no longer delivering Amazon packages for the independent delivery service provider,” the company said in a statement.

See the full story at CNBC.

Tech Boom In Beantown

Prime Cut: In a sign that Amazon intends to lead us into the brave new world of artificial intelligence — and possibly beyond — the company announced plans to expand staffing and space at its Boston Tech Hub, where work proceeds on Alexa, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its Audible spoken content unit.

TWICE Take: But Amazon clearly has larger ambitions, as its Boston road map includes a new 430,000-square-foot facility where an additional 2,000 engineers will toil in such disciplines as machine learning, voice control, Cloud computing and robotics. The expanded Tech Hub is expected to open in 2021.

See the full story at TWICE.

Amazon Quote Of The Week

“I feel like I’m paying more for the same or less.” — Amazon Prime customer Merry Gangemi, who is dropping her membership rather than pay the $20 increase for an annual subscription