This Week In Amazon: HQ2 Clue & NRATV

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A Clue To HQ2?

Prime Cut: Perhaps the hottest topic for Amazon watchers is where the company will build its second headquarters facility. While the list of competing locales was recently whittled down from 238 to just 20 finalists, the e-tailer has since remained mum. But some digital detective work by a local HQ2 news site would suggest that its hometown of Arlington, Va., may have the upper hand.

TWICE Take: Scouring Google Analytics, Arlnow.com found a sudden spike in traffic for a story about Arlington County’s recent award for environmental friendliness, most of which could be traced to an internal Amazon site. Adding fuel to the speculative fire: Founder/CEO Jeff Bezos has a mansion in the area, and owns the nearby Washington Post.

But, as the Washington Post itself indicates in a rumor roundup, the level of scrutiny being paid to the potential cities is worthy of TMZ coverage. 

See the full story at Architectural Digest and The Washington Post.

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Trump’s Tax Cuts Trump Amazon

Prime Cut: Add Amazon to the list of corporations and individual Americans that stand to lose from President Trump’s much ballyhooed tax code reform.

TWICE Take: According to Seven Corners Capital Management, the tax plan looks to be a “major negative” for companies like Amazon, Netflix and Tesla, which fail to benefit immediately from the lower corporate tax rate since they tend to generate minimal profits. What’s more, if higher government deficits lead to higher long-term interest rates, Amazon’s massive price-to-book multiple could crumble, leading to a significant stock price decline.

See the full story at Seeking Alpha.

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14 Things That Can Drive Amazon Customers Batty

Prime Cut: No question that Amazon has revolutionized the shopping experience, due in no small part to its fanatical commitment to customer satisfaction. Nonetheless, buying stuff on the site can often be perplexing, as shopping advice site DealNews.com has observed.

TWICE Take: Chief among the gripes: Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping guarantee doesn’t apply until the product actually ships, which can take way longer than 48 hours. Other perceived peccadillos include return policies that vary by seller and time of year; a live chat feature that’s well hidden from shoppers; and trusted buyer reviews that can’t always be trusted.

See the full story at DealNews.com.

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Walmart Vs. Amazon, Another View

Prime Cut: Last week we lauded Walmart’s 44 percent spike in online sales last year, which should give Amazon cause for concern. But critics point to a fourth-quarter downturn — 23 percent growth vs. 50 percent in Q3 — as signs that the discounter’s digital growth engine is sputtering.

TWICE Take: Walmart attributed the dip to the lapping of its Jet.com acquisition, although president/CEO Doug McMillon also acknowledged “some operational challenges,” including holiday stock-outs of basics like toothpaste and toilet paper. Others wonder whether Walmart is losing sight of its customer base as it pursues more upscale shoppers with its purchases of trendy e-tailers Bonobos, Modcloth and Moosejaw, and the addition this spring of a Lord & Taylor landing page on Walmart.com.

See the full story at The Ledger.

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Amazon Urged To Drop NRATV

Prime Cut: The unprecedented pushback against the National Rifle Association following the mass shootings at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School this month has led to numerous defections by former corporate NRA cohorts including United and Delta airlines; insurance giants Chubb and MetLife; national rental car agencies Hertz, Avis, Budget and Enterprise; digital security firms Symantec and Norton; and moving services Allied and North American Van Lines. Missing from the list: Amazon.

TWICE Take: Despite calls from high-profile activists, gun safety groups and a Change.org petition to drop the NRA’s online video channel, the e-tailer continues to stream NRATV via its Fire TV platform. But Amazon is not alone in the outcry; Apple TV, Roku, SiriusXM and Google’s YouTube and Chromecast are among the other digital holdouts being targeted.

See the full story at HuffPost and Deadline Hollywood.

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Amazon Quote Of The Week

“Today is the day we are asking Amazon … and Jeff Bezos to stop streaming the violent rhetoric of NRATV.” — Actress Alyssa Milano in a Twitter plea to the e-tailer and its founder/CEO