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  • Amazon’s Kindle Special Offer Fiasco
Technology Articles > Gadgets > eReaders > Amazon’s Kindle Special Offer Fiasco

September 6 was a great day. Amazon announced a new Kindle Fire and an all-new device called the Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, proudly told eager press ears all about the new Amazon e-readers. What Bezos neglected to mention was that both the Paperwhite and Fire were Special Offer devices. Essentially, consumers who purchased these two devices would be subject to large advertisements while using the devices. These display ads would appear on lock screens, much to the anger of consumers. In addition, there would be no way to opt out of the Special Offer program.

It’s easy to see why some would be angry at Amazon’s decision. But, it’s also easy to see why Amazon made the decision to begin with. Amazon simply wanted to make some extra cash through advertising, while providing consumers with an affordable device. Now, Amazon has provided a way for consumers to opt out of the Special Offer program, though it will cost $20 to do so. Should you opt out or stick with the Special Offer deal?

What These Ads Look Like

The ads that will roll across your new Fire or Paperwhite are small. We aren’t talking about full-size ads that are hard to read around. We are, instead, talking about small ads that sit in the bottom of your screen. When your screen is locked, the ads will display, but who’s really looking at a locked screen anyway? I should also point out that the ads Amazon is displaying aren’t completely off topic.

Amazon’s Special Offer ads include ebook deals, book deals, and other discounts and offers that consumers might actually benefit from. If you believe that a small ad will bother you while you read, the Special Offer deal might not be for you. However, you will have to pay that $20 to opt out. Then there’s the principle of it -- and the sheer fatigue of being bombarded with ads around the clock. Amazon could have mentioned the advertisements when the company first previewed the new devices. For whatever reason, the ad factor wasn’t mentioned. Mistake or not, Amazon has lost some consumer confidence based on this small mishap.

Should You Opt Out?

If you are simply tired of looking at ads (no matter how big or small they are), you may want to pay that $20. Then again, you can save that money and buy something else with it, if those small ads just don’t bother you. Now that Amazon is actually offering consumers the option to opt out (why wasn’t this a choice from the start? Not offering an opt out options seems rather risky, Amazon), the choice is yours. I will restate, however, that these ads are very small and won’t bother most people. I’ll also restate that the ads Amazon has chosen are pertinent, useful, and some do offer great deals.

There’s just one more thing worth considering: if Amazon wants to push ads, shouldn’t those content downloads be less expensive? Seemingly, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to push ads on consumers while also charging consumers for content.