Letter: Amazon Can Still Learn DM Lessons

I do not share Ken Magill's opinion that Jeff Bezos speaking at the Chicago Catalog Conference is a "sign that all is right" (iMarketing News, Feb. 18).

The conference program indicates Bezos will address how to sell online "successfully and profitably" in his June 11 keynote. I am curious what Mr. Bezos will say on this topic. Amazon to date has evaporated billions in shareholder investment.

Amazon's tiny profit posted fourth quarter last year, less than a penny a share, rests on a $16 million non-cash gain from the devaluation of the euro. Without this currency fluctuation, Amazon would have posted an $11 million loss for the quarter. Amazon has indicated it will lose money in the first quarter of 2002.

I am a satisfied, loyal and frequent Amazon customer. However, Amazon has yet to make money, and it is unclear when it will.

Survey after survey suggests that many of the folks making real profit online are old-economy direct marketers, such as catalogers. We welcome Mr. Bezos to our Chicago conference. And we all should invite him to attend some of the excellent sessions on direct marketing offered there.

Alan Rimm-Kaufman, Vice president of marketing, Crutchfield Corp., Charlottesville, VA,


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