15 September 2010

woot and amazon

I dont usually comment on an individual news event unless it has a broader meaning, but i could not help to do so with the acquisition of woot by amazon a few months ago for a reported $110M. especially since we were on the grouponomics topic anyway.

For one - i love woot. I bought my first digital camera from them years ago ("you've seen the best, now try the rest" was the product description). They are a much hipper, quirkier, less sexy version of groupon that pioneered the deal of the day concept. If you have the time, you should read CEO Matt Rutledge's view on the Amazon purchase. Among other things they did the deal "every company that becomes a subsidiary gets two free downloads until the end of July" and that Woot's employees are partnering with Amazon, the "billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture." They headquarter a few miles my place (another plus), and mastered the art of selling junk and "over-witting" most other sites with their beat writing skills. Its too bad groupon built a better business model, but I don't expect the wooters to care too much. They expect to be profitabile in 2043.

But Amazon certainly will. It's early to tell, but i like Amazon's acquisition strategy so far. They are gobbling up highly unique companies with extremely loyal customers (they bought Zappos for $1B and Audible.com for $300M recently). Amazon has mastered the logistics of online commerce - I for one was a huge doubter when they spent hundreds of millions in the early 00s to build distribution centers. But it worked, they executed well. And I think they see the marriage between their operating excellence with great online sales models of the companies they are acquiring.

So i'll give Amazon a "woot" for their strategy - let's see how it plays out. As for woot fans like myself, don't fret about upcoming changes. The site will "continue to be an independently operated company full of horrible, useless products and an untalented jerkface writing staff, same as it ever was."

1 comment:

  1. WWOOOOTTT...I did not know Amazon bought them. I agree, Amazon seems to have a good strategy. While back seems like ebay was going to overtake Amazon, but its making a beautiful comeback.

    I personally like their GUI and ease of use. They are smart to use a strategic method to help somebody pick an item to buy as a gift, and then of course have the most 'reasonable' prices with 'free shipping', why wouldn't you just go through Amazon.

    Wonder if woot.com and zapos.com will feel the same to the user or will Amazon inevitably put its touch all over it. Will the average consumer notice any strategy/pricing difference? Will be interesting to observe as the years go by.