The Monday Stack: Two Days for Your Diary
Remember SOPA and PIPA? Those were heavy-handed measures proposed by the Senate and House respectively, aimed at online copyright infringement, but threatening free expression on the web by placing an impossible burden on websites to preview and validated user-generated content.
If you don't remember them, the main reason is that a concerted day of action left swathes of the Internet dark on January 18, 2011 — Google blacked out their logo; Reddit and Wikipedia redirected to a protest page; 2.4 million tweets on that day referred to the controversial legislation — and Senators and Congressmen ran for the hills.
One group which played a major role in coordinating the protests, the nonprofit Fight for the Future, is hoping history will repeat itself this Wednesday, when major tech companies will join a day of action aimed at saving net neutrality.
The FCC's proposed rule which would allow the elimination of net neutrality will impact not only individual freedom of speech, but commercial freedom of speech too, with brands likely facing increased costs to ensure their marketing messages are fast-laned by ISPs.
Who has signed up for the Wednesday protest? Reports say Amazon, Reddit, Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, Google, Spotify, Mozilla, Vimeo, Kickstarter, and PornHub are among the tech titans set to participate, at least by posting informative alerts for users. Facebook and Google confirmed participation to The Hill on Friday, but details have not become available.
The FCC is currently accepting public comment on its proposal. You can review comments here.
But before we even get to Net Neutrality Day, we have Amazon Prime Day to navigate. That's scheduled for tomorrow, July 11, but since it's scheduled to be a 30 hour day, it begins this evening. Essentially, Prime Day, an annual event since 2015, adds another big shopping holiday to the calendar. Because if Mother's Day, and Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, and Christmas aren't enough, Jeff Bezos can just decree another one. And it's global.
One difference this year is the centrality of Alexa to the Prime Day experience. Amazon will be offering not just additional discounts, but cold, hard cash incentives to online shoppers who use Alexa to make Prime Day purchases.
How will Prime shoppers decide what to buy? New research from Bazaarvoice suggests the ratings and reviews on the Amazon website play a surprisingly important role (Bazaarvoice helps brands leverage user-generated reviews to increase sales). Almost half of shoppers surveyed said they would buy a completely unfamiliar product based only on reviews; indeed, almost half are not likely to purchase a product if it does not have ratings and reviews. Over 50% always read ratings and reviews before making a Prime Day purchase; 80% consider ratings and reviews important to their purchase decision.
Another interesting perspective on Prime Day, which reached us courtesy of customer engagement platform SessionM: "loyalty" is instantly rewarded. Where most loyalty programs deliver rewards based on accumulation of points over a period of time, Amazon Prime members get a host of benefits just by being members when Prime Day rolls around. Of course, that helps Amazon rake in new membership fees: It also pays off in term of future loyalty — Prime members spend more than twice as much as non-Amazon customers throughout the year.
2016 Prime Day was the biggest day of sales ever for the world's biggest retailer. Look out for another big bang tomorrow.
Monday Stack logo by Hilary Allison