Why We Work With Amazon

Full Disclosure: This was written when we were affiliated with Amazon. As of 2020, that will no longer be the case. We will keep this article available to maintain transparency.

By Josh MacEwen

A text image that says "Amazon is way more than just an Online StorE"

Logically, we will be asked why we work with Amazon. Dufferin’s Spotlight claims to be a strong supporter of local business, so it may seem hypocritical. We are aware that their e-commerce platform is a significant competitor for many local businesses. We are also conscious of the other services they provide.

The Amazon product that we promote most often is the Prime membership. If you choose to boycott the e-commerce platform and its two-day shipping, there are other benefits that Prime provides. There are two streaming services included, Prime Video and Prime Music. A new addition, Prime Reading, gives members access to e-books. Prime membership also includes more targeted services such as Amazon Family (20% off diapers) and Twitch Prime. Lastly, Amazon Photos is included, which gives you free cloud storage for all your photos. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, this service won’t reduce your photo quality. At an annual cost that is cheaper than Netflix, you can see the value in this service.

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Outside of the Prime membership, Amazon offers a diverse range of other products and services. This includes a self-publishing platform, giving authors a platform to take charge of how their work is marketed. They also sell fairly priced Kindle and Fire products. They distribute digital goods including e-books, in addition to a great library service called Kindle Unlimited. Even more convenient than e-books are audiobooks, which they provide through Audible. Lastly, and the most controversial, is Amazon’s Marketplace and Fulfillment services. Many stories highlight their problems. The reason I feel comfortable promoting these services on our website is that I know of small businesses built on them. My warning to those who do use these services is that they should not become overly dependent on them. Amazon does not rely on providing these services, and they could find it more profitable to change things with little warning.

If you still want nothing to do with this company, you should know exactly what that means. I’ve highlighted the easy to recognize Amazon services, but they own many companies. Have you ever used IMDB to look up information about TV shows, movies, and actors? Amazon owns that. They also own Whole Foods, Twitch, and Ring (the doorbell that catches videos like the one below). If you are able to remove those companies from your life, get ready for the next one. Much of the web, from Netflix and Spotify to the PlayStation Network, runs on Amazon Web Services. This even includes McDonald’s point-of-sale system. It is hard to use the internet without running into Amazon. Speaking of the internet, some may have gotten Eero Wi-Fi extenders from Rogers. Guess who is buying Eero? If this feels overwhelming, check out this article from a journalist who tried boycotting Amazon and the other big tech companies. Spoiler Alert: It was almost impossible, and I wonder if she knew that eating McDonald’s fries counts as cheating.

Source: ViralHog
A video caught by a Ring camera, brought to you by Amazon.

Honestly, I feel more guilty about using Facebook to promote our business. I was off of it for several years, and I did not miss it. I only rejoined because of this company, and I am aware of much of what Facebook has done. They have let their employees access our passwords. Newsfeeds have been manipulated to conduct psychological tests without informed consent. They have put little care and thought into content moderation, leading to at least one contractor dying at their desk. The more you look into it, the more you will realize this is just the tip of the iceberg. So if you believe we are selling out our values, please make sure you call us out for affiliating with Facebook, not just Amazon.

Source: The Verge
If you are a Facebook user, I urge you to check this out. A video about the working conditions of a Facebook content moderator.

The fact of the matter is that if these companies didn’t improve our lives in some form, they wouldn’t be as big as they are. I believe Amazon does provide benefits to our community (so does Facebook). Arguably, the benefits increase when you do not use their e-commerce platform, as there are legitimate social and environmental problems with that business. I am not going to lie though I still use it. As I’ve expressed, there are not enough small businesses in Dufferin. As Dufferin’s marketplace becomes more diverse, our need for Amazon will decrease. At that time, we hope that it becomes possible that Dufferin’s Spotlight is only affiliated with local businesses. Until then, we appreciate the benefits and support that Amazon provides us.

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