My husband bought me a Kindle Fire last December. At first, I was reluctant to give up hard-copy books, but eventually I became obsessed with it (if anyone from my generation remembers the TV cartoon “Inspector Gadget,” this thing reminds me of Penny’s book/computer). So when the HD version came out, I decided to splurge on an upgrade.
The first thing I noticed about the new device wasn’t the better graphics, or better sound (though that’s a great feature when I need a soundtrack for cleaning the house), but the “recommendations” that have taken the place of its predecessor’s “favorite’s shelf.” So, as I’m perusing my homescreen and flipping through the “recent items” list, I’m able to see product recommendations based on what other customers purchased with their copy of Great Expectations (I’m currently rereading).
Amazon has essentially brought its website interface to its tablet device. Even though I’ve tried to turn the feature off (to no avail), I regularly find myself checking out the recommendations. I can even get deals through the interface or the lock screen. And guess what link is number one on the homescreen? “Shop.” (Crap. I might need a credit card just to pay for all my new Amazon purchases.)
Let’s just call this what it is: advertising. And this format is a very smart and seamless way to get consumers to buy more: create a device where users exclusively buy and use your products. And then advertise more of your products. It almost sounds like the most laughable idea, but Amazon has made it work. They have taken a hated thing—mobile advertising, those darn, flashy pop-ups that are either ads for what you just searched for or something way off-base—and turned it into something that’s wanted. Kindles may not be the best tablet out there, or the most popular, but they have sure found a way to ensure they continue to make profits.