Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jeff Bezos - An Apology from Amazon

Jeff Bezos posted to the Kindle Community Discussions forum a simple but eloquently spare apology with no excuses for the remote deletions that understandably caused Amazon a tremendous loss of trust in one week for the clueless handling of a digital rights management situation which involved having inadvertently sold illegally-published books (uploaded by the trusted Mobile Reference folks who have done such good work on public domain works) and deciding to give refunds while erasing the files from servers and from network client Kindles without warning to customers who had paid for the books.

The wording is so effective, to my mind, that this will go a long way toward restoring a good bit of the trust they've had from long-time customers.

For my money, it was a classy statement, not put out to the world through a press release but directly to the Kindle community itself. Excellent move.

To check whether it was officially from Amazon, I saw that management had caused the two sticky topics at the top of that forum to become unsticky at the top - one was a Customer Service Announcement thread and the other was a Kindle FAQ given sticky status long ago for customers to help other customers.  Only management has the rights to change those placements and I think it was possibly inadvertent while placing his announcement post there:
" Initial post: Jul 23, 2009 12:16 PM PDT
Jeffrey P. Bezos says:
This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our "solution" to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO "
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  1. Tomlin,
    A complex response to a simple question.

    I know this will seem bizarre but I haven't paid much attention to feeds. More traffic here brings higher google ranking which brings more poeple to visit. A lot of people put only the first paragraph into their feeds in order to encourage traffic so the site isn't buried where no one can find it, from lack of traffic.

    But I do a full feed for the Kindle edition because they at least pay bloggers a pittance (30%).

    To get a feed to someone daily data, I like the simplest one on earth - Google reader, and then I just put in the URL of the website. You might want to try that for other sites.

    If I decided to encourage use of feeds instead of coming here to see the changes in the right-hand column (which don't appear on the feed) or from taking the inexpensive Kindle full edition with images that I hope help the stories and which helps us gauge actual interest, I'd put this on the page:

    (I had to go look it up.) I hope you enjoy it. Most feeds tend not to take images, but it seems a couple of them do.

    - Andrys


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