Jamie Lendino from PC Magazine considers it to be disgraceful that the new Amazon Kindle products come covered with more ads than an outlet mall. These “special offers” are apparently sprinkled throughout the Kindle Fire HD tablet and Kindle ebook reader. While giving the products praise for their design, Lendino seems to feel that the ads are a terribly annoying distraction for consumers seeking to enjoy the product in peace.
Lendino admits that the special offers have benefits to both Amazon and possibly the customer.
“I can’t believe I’m not seeing more about this in the press coverage. Amazon first pulled this stunt last year, with the 4th generation Kindles (and, retroactively, to the renamed Kindle Keyboard). The advantages to Amazon are obvious: Special Offers let the company introduce devices at lower price points than they would have been otherwise, and the ads drive more revenue to sales of other products on its website, since it’s still first and foremost an online retailer.”
After admitting that there are benefits to Amazon for having the ads, the tech expert goes into why he finds it annoying that his personal device is inundated with uninvited content:
“I don’t want mandatory ads on a device I own. It’s different on the Web; if you don’t like the way a site shows ads, you can visit another site. It’s different on TV; you can change the channel, or you can watch public television, or not watch broadcast TV and instead view DVDs. Instead, imagine your PC or Mac had ads built into the desktop and the screensavers, and that you couldn’t remove them. A few low-tier PC manufacturers even tried this many years ago, in an effort to bring down the base price of the PC. They were quickly buried and forgotten.”
Lendino also says that the problem with the ads for the Kindle is that, in contrast to the arguments of Amazon execs, the ads to take away from the experience of the reader. To hear Lendino tell the story, you would think that there are ads everywhere.
The thing is, part of the reading experience is picking up the book. Each time you pick up the Kindle to start reading, you’ll have to click through an ad. Go get a cup of coffee, come back to the book, and you’ll see another one. When your child picks up the ebook reader, that’s the first thing she sees. How is that not part of the reading experience?
It seems that Amazon is the boldest among its competitors when it comes to introducing ads into the daily reading experience for the consumer. Whether this strategy is going to work or not, it’s not clear. One thing that is clear is that it probably isn’t going to help sales to upset opinion writers at key technology blogs. That we know for sure.