business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to our story about Amazon’;s coming out with a kid-friendly version of the Alexa system, MNB reader Dan Blue wrote:

I've been buying stuff on Amazon for 20 years, and have been an early adopter for many of their devices and programs. I have owned an Echo for over three years (got in on the beta program) and recently got Dots for my sons room and "The Cave". We love the "Drop In" feature which operates like and intercom, so I can let my 11 year old dinner is ready from two floors away. As a music unlimited subscriber, it's also great since we can listen to music all over the house. My son is a classic rock fan (going to see John Fogerty this summer), so we haven't had much of an issue with inappropriate content. However, as we discovered recently when one of his friends was over, they can play ANYTHING and there is no way to block or hide content (interestingly, it was my son who said it was inappropriate and changed the playlist and then told my wife after the fact. Otherwise, we wouldn't have known).
Content, apparently, has been a source of frustration for parents for years (lots of forum posts on why Amazon would launch an ecosystem without ANY ability to block content). Response from Amazon? Mostly crickets, but with an occasional canned, tone deaf response sprinkled in. Now, they have solution, but you have to pay. Yes, it would only cost me $60 (already subscribe to Free Time Unlimited), but they NEED to make this backward compatible. If they don't, there will be many unhappy parents out there who are already invested into their ecosystem (echo-system?).

Regarding Amazon in creasing the cost of a P{rime membership in the US by 20 percent, MNB reader David Spawn wrote:

Even before this announcement, I guess I am the rare individual/old fart who does not see the value of Prime membership.  I cancelled my membership yesterday, as it barely saves me any money on shipping  - when you actually do the math of how much I ordered that was under $25, I was losing money even when the membership was $99.  The other “benefits” – Prime Video, pass (Netflix and Hulu are enough for my limited tv time); Prime Music, pass (don’t listen to music via downloads, yes, there’s the old fart); e-books, don’t read ‘em and probably never will, as I far prefer the feel and heft of a printed book.

As for the “guaranteed 2-day delivery” which was the hook for – as you might say, “that’s a crock.”  Three out of my 4 most recent purchases exceeded the 2-day window, including one that took a week to get to me.  Of course, I’m just one person but it didn’t do it for me, maybe in the future it will, but for now, I don’t see the value of an Amazon Prime membership.

I’d say you’re right. A Prime membership isn’t for you.
KC's View: