Amazon Needs More Lobbyists, More Former Government Professionals… Pronto!

September 26, 2022

I have no idea about Amazon’s lobbying efforts. I don’t want to know. The money spent on DC insiders and Beltway Bandits makes me wish I still lived in the DC area. Selling work? Not too tough for those with connections. Heh, heh, if you know what I mean. Also, I am not confident that the modern RNA treatment for Potomac Fever works. What is supposed to chug along with reasonable predictability is influence peddling.

Amazon Loses Effort to Exclude Jassy and Bezos from Testifying in FTC Prime Probe” seems to highlight an instance when events don’t go according to a plan. I learned from the allegedly real news CNBC story:

The Federal Trade Commission late Wednesday rejected Amazon’s bid to exclude CEO Andy Jassy and founder Jeff Bezos from testifying in a probe into the retail giant’s Prime program.

I can hear the “Commissioner, thank you for that question. I don’t know the complete answer. I will have the information you request sent to your office, etc, etc.”

Prime is a subscription or membership or a knock off of a low rent country club. Members get special treatment; for example, Thursday night football games, allegedly better-faster-cheaper delivery, and benefits at an Amazon grocery store like free delivery. Sorry, strike that free delivery for any Prime member. There’s even a page which explains what a member-subscriber-spender gets at this link and here.

The write up says:

The FTC has been investigating sign-up and cancellation processes for Amazon’s Prime program since March 2021. The agency is looking into whether Amazon deceives users into signing up for Prime, while failing to provide a simple way to cancel and avoid recurring charges. The Prime subscription program, which costs $139 a year and includes perks like free shipping, now has some 200 million subscribers worldwide. Amazon said last month it has been complying with the FTC’s requests so far, producing some 37,000 pages of documents.

I am curious about other Amazon business activities which may warrant some scrutiny; for example, certain interesting content on Twitch, products which appear to be from a well known “brand” but are slightly different from those in old fashioned stores, and the mechanisms for charging for certain functions on AWS.

Amazon Fire up the C-SPAN, get the popcorn, and tally the number of “thank you for the question” answers. Exciting. A bit late in the Monopoly game, but good theater.

Lobbyists will be watching to learn what to put in their next pitch to the Amazonians assigned to make this hearing stuff go away.

Stephen E Arnold, September 26, 2022

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