Friday, May 3, 2019

The making of Amazon Prime, the internet’s most successful and devastating membership program

Vox
It’s easy to forget now, but Amazon wasn’t always the king of online shopping. In the fall of 2004, Jeff Bezos’s company was still mostly selling just books and DVDs.

That same year, Amazon was under siege from multiple sides. Some of its biggest competitors were brick-and-mortar chains like Best Buy, which was still in expansion mode at the time, with sales growing 17 percent annually. Toys ‘R’ Us sued Amazon in a high-profile battle, alleging it had violated an agreement the two companies had for the toy store chain to be an exclusive seller on Amazon.com.

And during the holiday season, Amazon’s website suffered repeated outages, drawing the wrath of customers and the press alike. . . . more