Amazon’s ruthless practices are crushing Main Street — and threatening the vitality of our communities
Even by the anything-goes ethical code of the corporate jungle, Amazon.com’s alpha male, Jeff Bezos, is considered a ruthless predator by businesses that deal with him. As overlord of Amazon, by far the largest online marketer in the world (with more sales than the next nine US online retailers combined), Bezos has the monopoly power to stalk, weaken, and even kill off retail competitors–including going after such giants as Barnes & Noble and Walmart, as well as draining the lifeblood from hundreds of small Main Street shops. He also goes for the throats of both large and small businesses that supply the millions of products his online behemoth sells. They’re lured into Amazon by its unparalleled computerized base of some 200 million customers. But once in, they face unrelenting pressure to lower what they charge Amazon for their products, compelled to give it a much better deal than other retailers can extract.
Lest you think that “predator” is too harsh a term, consider the metaphor that Bezos himself chose when explaining how to approach small book publishers to make them cough up ever deeper discounts to Amazon as the price of getting their titles listed on his website. As related by Businessweek reporter Brad Stone, Bezos instructed his negotiators to stalk them “the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.”