Amazon Buys Goodreads, Agenda of World Conquest Marches On
By Matthew Yglesias at Slate
Amazon is acquiring GoodReads, a nifty social book recommendation engine that many of my friends with book-length attention spans love.
The somewhat curious thing about this is that GoodReads’ primary revenue source appears to be Amazon affiliate links. But they don’t have an exclusive deal from Amazon, as it stands the “buy” options link you to a number of sites. If GoodReads is becomes fully integrated as an Amazon-only property, it won’t necessarily make any money at all but it will cut off sales to other companies while perhaps providing Amazon’s algorithmic recommendations with valuable strategic insights. More grandly, it’s a foray into the world of social networking. Once upon a time, Amazon was but a humble bookseller. Now it’s a world-destroying retail juggernaut. Once upon a time, Kindle was but a humble book-reading-implement. Now it’s a full-fledged tablet platform. Today, GoodReads is about book recommendations. But tomorrow could it dethrone Facebook?
Probably not. But maybe. Amazon is an impressive company. Freed from shareholder demands to show meaningful profits, and led by a strategically daring and technologically skilled team they’re the competitor I don’t think anyone wants to face.
When Goodreads started I found it useful and began to load my reading information into its various files. But after awhile I realized Goodreads is just another social networking site like Facebook which I have tried to avoid at all costs so I purged all my information from the site. At the time I maintained a personal website on Apple servers which has subsequently been ported onto WordPress. I guess I’m not fearful about exposing myself or my opinions but I do not like to think that these social sites are bleeding me and so many others for free information that may eventually allow them to conquer the universe. WordPress is enough for me and Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and the like are beyond the pale.
Now Amazon is taking over Goodreads with yet another avenue to channel their marketing power and turn us all into good Amazon consumers. I don’t like it. Will Google, Facebook, and Amazon be the major combatants in the next world war … the new Axis of Evil, dethroning Microsoft and Apple?