Amazon may be the world’s largest retailer (it made a whopping $125.6 billion in revenue in the last quarter of 2020), but that doesn’t mean the company is an absolute success.
We felt compelled to write an open letter to Jeff Bezos a couple years ago, calling him out for tax dodging, shady employment practices, failing to curb the site’s many counterfeit problems and generally being a crappy dude. And it’s only gotten worse since then.
Today, Amazon continues to be called out for its poor treatment of workers and its monopoly of the U.S. e-commerce market, among other things (Blue Origin is just the tip of the iceberg). In fact, there’s an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the criticism the brand receives. Seriously…it’s so bad that Bezos once got dragged for donating $98 million to charity.
People obviously believe Amazon and Jeff Bezos suck, but there are a few things the CEO could do to change his company’s reputation—starting with using a .SUCKS domain.
EVERYONE THINKS AMAZON.SUCKS
If bad press and legions of spiteful social media commentators aren’t enough to convince you that Amazon sucks, here are some more fun statistics: the term “Amazon sucks” is searched for an average of 1,100 times per month; and “Amazon delivery sucks” receives 260 average monthly hits; “Amazon Prime sucks” and “Amazon Prime video sucks” see 230 and 150 average monthly searches, respectively. Terms like “Amazon delivery sucks” (120), “Amazon shipping sucks” (50) and “Amazon logistics sucks” (20) are also regularly searched for.
You might not think the above numbers are astronomical—and they aren’t—but consider this:
- “eBay sucks” is searched for 670 times per month,
- “Etsy sucks” is searched for 150 times per month, and
- “Alibaba sucks” is searched for 30 times per month.
According to search behavior, Amazon sucks more than its top competitors—in some cases, by a lot more. That’s about 1,930 disgruntled searches for some variation of “amazon sucks” every month. Mr. Bezos needs to start getting serious about revamping his company image if he wants to remain relevant, especially in a world where people are increasingly concerned about the ethics of consumerism.
THE (ETHICAL) FUTURE OF BUSINESS
An Accenture survey of more than 25,000 consumers across 22 countries found that today’s “Reimagined” shoppers are less motivated by product quality and price. Instead, they’re motivated to buy based on a brand’s approach to health and safety, personal care and convenience, among other factors. In addition 76% of consumers said they’re attracted to brands that follow ethical sourcing practices an 65% said they want to do business with bands that are committed to minimizing harm on the environment.
A First Insights study (cheekily titled “Amazon: Past Its Prime”) revealed that the frequency of U.S. consumers shopping at Amazon has been steadily dropping since 2016, Amazon Prime membership rates are declining, users report that they’re more likely to buy from Amazon competitors (Walmart and Target are sneaking into the picture) and the average number of purchases per user has gone down.
Clearly, the tides of public opinion are turning—slowly but surely—and even Bezos is cognizant of the fact that Amazon can and may fail.
STOP SUCKING WITH .SUCKS
There are plenty of ways Bezos et al. could go about fixing Amazon’s haggard reputation. And since we know the CEO extraordinaire loves money, we’re offering our brainstorming work free of charge. Check out these clever ways the brand could have used a .SUCKS domain:
- Homelessness.Sucks: Bezos could turn his controversial donation into a movement. Tossing money around looks like a PR move—building and propagating a whole charitable campaign shows real sentiment. Customers want to see C-level executives step up and do some actual work. Instead of just making a donation, Amazon could have turned a custom landing page into a touchpoint for the cause, celebrating charities and companies for doing great work, and putting a name and a face behind the issue.
- Amazon.Sucks: Rather than letting those 1,450+ disgruntled monthly searchers land on unsavory news pieces, Amazon could benefit from directing them to a webpage it designed. It could be used to address pain points (and what the brand is doing to alleviate them), take suggestions or offer a roadmap for improvement. We think people would be pleasantly surprised to type “Amazon sucks” into their search bar, and receive a message from the company saying, “We know, we hear you, and we’re planning to do better.”
- AmazonPrimeVideo.Sucks: When users attack a specific service you offer, you have an awesome opportunity to make it right. Amazon offers channel subscriptions to Starz, Paramount+, Cinemax and Showtime. So even if users hate on Amazon, there’s a chance they might be willing to stick around for a different reason. What if AmazonPrimeVideo.Sucks linked to an offer for a free month subscription to one of any of the above. “We’re sorry you hate us, have some free Outlander!” People love free stuff and it could assuage any spite they might feel.
We don’t believe that Amazon is too far gone…but beware, Bezos, you’re getting pretty close. Donating to charity is a great start, but it’s time to wake up and become the company that the world needs right now—not the one that is most likely to line your own pockets one-thousand lifetimes over. Other brands can learn from this, too. Profits come and go, but a reputation is forever.