Amazon is making billions selling merchandise, but one of its prime cash cows is gathering personal info for Big Brother.
From Amazon’s inception as an alternative to brick-and-mortar bookstores, and despite the carnage it visited upon those venerable cultural gathering places—replacing friendly and knowledgeable clerks with a two-day package delivery system—the company has projected a benign image of good intention. But the dirty secret is that the low prices offered by Amazon, while effective in bankrupting a dizzying array of rival retailers, haven’t been the tech company’s most promising source of profit.
In fact, Amazon wasn’t content to merely slash prices as it strove to become an e-commerce giant. The company saw fit to collect the most intimate details about its customers’ tastes, habits and preferences.
Stored on cloud computing’s most extensive network of remote servers, this invaluable data is now the prime source of Amazon’s overall profits. Personal information is the foundation of the company’s vast marketing of its own wares, from the movies you watch to the Alexa device perched near your bed. Amazon is constantly capturing your life experiences and converting that information into future sales.
However, it is not the money earned on those sales, but rather the information gleaned from customers that has enabled Amazon to garner investor capital and high stock valuations. And it’s those higher valuations that provide the basis for anticipated higher profit margins, which have only started to grow substantially in the past three years.