The price increase will be in effect for new customers who sign up after March 20, and will apply to all existing customers when they renew after April 17. As a result, Amazon is likely bracing for a last-minute surge of new subscribers racing to take advantage of one more year of the old $79 price. “That is, pardon the expression, f-ing brilliant,” said Levin. “They will get a rush of signups.” Amazon is actually counting down the days to the Prime membership change on its homepage.
Amazon’s $99 Prime problem – CNET Amazon is in a bit of a pickle. It probably would like to raise the fees on its popular Prime membership to help balance out its skyrocketing shipping costs and heavy investments in new businesses. But at $99 a year increasing Primes fee by just a buck could suddenly create a psychological barrier for many customers. One hundred dollars? Im not paying that much! That problem was apparent on Thursday when Amazon reported its latest quarterly earnings which included a 43 percent jump in shipping expenses to $3.9 billion. That spike helped depress the companys profit resulting in Amazon badly missing Wall Street earnings expectations and driving down the stock price. Amazon shares fell 6 percent to $769.69 in after-hours trading. Weve been investing quite openly in a lot of areas and continue to do so Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said on a call with analysts Thursday adding that Amazon will keep putting money into developing its Alexa voice assistant and creating faster shipping methods. We believe thats working. Were happy with the results especially for Prime customers he added. But Amazon appears to have a plan to wring out a little more subscription money from its most loyal customers and avoid more shipping costs to boot. In just the past month the online retailer rolled out new ways to sidestep that $99 ceiling. It offered three free Prime perks Audible Channels Prime Reading and an updated Prime Music that double as gateways to its monthly subscription services. The Amazon Echo smart speaker and its Alexa voice assistant are among Amazons latest big investments. CNET Amazon has been pretty clear about the fact that its membership fee doesnt cover the costs of Prime with CEO Jeff Bezos even saying Amazon wants it to be such a good value that youd be irresponsible not to be a member. Thursdays earnings however help highlight an inherent contradiction in Prime despite its huge success for the company: The more you use Primes most popular service two-day unlimited shipping the more it costs Amazon. As the company continues to mature it will likely look to beef up its often weak (or nonexistent) profits by finding new ways to convince its best customers to buy and subscribe to even more from Amazon. This strategy isnt new for the company with Amazon in 2011 offering the Prime Video streaming service for free to members which also included for-sale digital movies and TV shows displayed right by the free videos. Two weeks ago the e-retailer added a series of paid tiers to its streaming music service. Amazon now allows Prime customers to continue listening to a smaller library of songs for free through Prime Music or pay $8 monthly for a wider selection with the new Amazon Music Unlimited. That announcement followed the same model of free-for-a-little pay-for-more that Amazon introduced with Audible Channels (a slimmed-down version of a $14.95-a-month Audible audiobook membership) and Prime Reading (a slimmed-down version of a $9.99-a-month Kindle Unlimited e-book membership). Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote 1 – 5 of 18 Next Prev All three of these subscriptions offer digital media so dont include shipping costs. (While not the same Amazon this week introduced another monthly subscription this time for AmazonFresh its grocery delivery service.) Despite the steep shipping costs Prime has helped Amazon ramp up its sales and grow its rolls of repeat customers. Amazon has plenty of reasons to keep these folks happy. Prime members now reaching an estimated 65 million in the US tend to spend twice as much at Amazon as non-Prime members according to market researcher Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. (Amazon doesnt publicize how many Prime members it has but says it has tens of millions in the US.) On Thursday Amazon reported a profit of $252 million well ahead of last years $79 million. Per-share earnings were 52 cents far under Wall Street estimates of 78 cents a share according to Yahoo Finance. Revenue continued its strong rise jumping 29 percent to $32.7 billion matching expectations. But operating expenses rose the same percent to $32.1 billion. Amazon spokeswoman Julie Law said the latest Prime benefits werent meant as a trick to get people to spend more but instead were a way to introduce Prime customers to more Amazon services and give them more for their membership. Were not thinking about all these things as upsells she said last week. Were thinking about what we can carve out special for Prime members. When asked about the potential of raising Prime fees she said: We certainly dont intend to or plan to but the value of Prime is far more than what you pay for it. In Primes decade-only history Amazon raised its annual membership fee just once to $99 from $79 in 2014. This April it also started offering a $10.99 monthly subscription for Prime which works out to $131.88 a year. Does this mean Prime will stay $99-a-year for good? Probably not but for now Amazon may create even more Prime perks that could if youre interested get you to subscribe to yet another Amazon service. Lets block ads! (Why?) – Repost from: cnet Post – New Upgrade !! [V 1.5.3] U can download IT app for android from bit.ly/ITapp-v153
ESCAPE TO THE PAST WITH: The Little Bride by Anna Solomon Minna Losk is a 16-year-old Jewish orphan in Odessa in the late nineteenth century. She has been living a life of loss, fear, and poverty and has no hope of a better future in Odessa – but she has one chance of escape. She can offer herself up as a mail-order bride and go to America.
Minna is sustained throughout her long and difficult journey by a fantasy of the handsome, young (even weathy) husband awaiting her. However, when she arrives at her destination—South Dakota—she finds nothing more than a sod house and a failing farm. Her husband-to-be is more than twice her age and she is to be step-mother to his two teenaged sons. Minna is appalled. Worse, she is trapped.
Although there are kindly neighbors who offer advice, aid, and occasional companionship, these neighbors are a long way off. Minna’s world is pretty much limited to the ramshackle farm and the three males in her strange new family. Her betrothed is fussy and devout. Her younger stepson to be is devil-may-care and friendly, but a little annoying. And then there is Samuel. Her eighteen-year-old future stepson is serious, handsome, sometimes helpful, and sometimes aloof. Minna cannot force herself to love the man who will make her his bride. Unfortunately, she also can’t stop herself from thinking about Samuel. She grows increasingly attracted to him – and guesses that the feeling is mutual.
Best Buy is getting whacked as Amazon comes after its key advantage (AMZN, BBY) – Shares of Best Buy are getting clobbered, after it was reported that Amazon is going after one of the company's key advantages. For customers wanting in-person help setting up their complicated new technology, Best Buy's Geek Squad was one of the most well-known options. Now, according to reporting from Recode , Amazon will be a major competitor in the space. The retail giant has started to offer in-home tech consultations and installations in select cities. The new offers began after the company saw a higher than average return rate for smart-home electronics and started the service in an attempt to lower those rates, according to Recode's Jason Del Ray . Shares of best Buy are plummeting after the news broke. Shares of the retailer are down 7.4% on Monday and are trading at $53.89. According to job postings found by Recode, Amazon is looking to expand their network of installation professionals across the nation. Right now, the company will send a technician to your home for about $99, if you live in one of several West Coast cities. Amazon is also rolling out free smart-home consultations as well, where technicians will demonstrate the various capabilities of smart home devices. The services are highly rated according to Amazon's information page. Best Buy is up 25.32% this year, even after Monday's decline. The company is trading at $53.94. Amazon is trading 0.83% higher at $987.79. Click here to watch Best Buy's stock price in real time… SEE ALSO: Microsoft to offer local version of Azure cloud service Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: An economist explains what could happen if Trump pulls the US out of NAFTA