(ZG News): What Amazon is really worth, a parent’s headache is Amazon’s multi-million dollar business, and Amazon takes care of our vets, plus more!

(ZG News): What Amazon is really worth, a parent’s headache is Amazon’s multi-million dollar business, and Amazon takes care of our vets, plus more!

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So that you know everything we know

Take Stock of Your Amazon Life

This past week Amazon’s stock catapulted past it’s e-competition to hit $1,000 per share for the first time in its history. That puts the company’s market value at $478 billion, which is more than double the value of top traditional retailer Walmart and 15 times the value of Target. It’s been a little over a week since the 20th anniversary of Amazon’s initial public offering (IPO). When Amazon first went public in 1997, its stock was priced at just $18 per share. If you had invested a mere $100 in Amazon’s IPO, that investment would have been worth $63,990 by close May 12, 2017 (adjusting for splits).

Amazon has avoided stock splits like the plague (after doing so 3 time post the 1997 IPO) and Bezos says that option isn’t in their plans. If you have a thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket, is it wise to invest in this e-giant? In one way or another you are actually invested in Amazon.

Whether you buy/bought company stock or placed funds into your own Amazon business, you’ve definitely made an investment. We encourage you to celebrate this benchmark valuation either way, knowing that your money is growing as this e-giant continues to take over the online world. Even if your marketplace store hasn’t reached your goals yet, remember that it may be a steady climb. Just like Amazon’s stock.

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Everything Is In Order Now

It’s Sunday morning, you’re sleeping in for a change and your child (who’s always up at the crack of dawn) is watching their favorite show while simultaneously playing their favorite game on a mobile device. A few days later and too late to cancel, you see an unexpected Amazon charge for a kid’s game along with a few accessories…and it’s for hundreds of dollars! Knowing you didn’t make that purchase, you ask your partner. When they say “no” you’re left with only one other explanation: Your very savvy child. Not realizing they’ve done anything that you haven’t done a hundred times before, your little genius is probably just as confused over the fuss as you are. (For different reasons of course.)

The problem came about because the way Amazon’s software was designed – it allowed kids to spend unlimited amounts of money in-apps and games without requiring parental consent. Taking advantage of this fact, game developers would then often blur the lines between what’s free and paid, offering kids the chance to buy in-app currencies, coins or other items to enhance gameplay. In early 2013, the system was updated, this time requiring passwords, but allowing for a 15-minute window where no password was required. Unfortunately, that very important info wasn’t properly disclosed to parents who thought they were finally protected against wandering little fingers.

If you complained to Amazon (along with thousands of parents) about the unauthorized in-app purchases and the complicated refund process; you may have become frustrated and peeved at Amazon’s lack of refund request instructions. And further aggravated when Amazon suggested that refunds weren’t possible.

A few years of Amazon customers complaining and more than $70 million of children incurred purchases later; Amazon made refunds available this week.

All eligible consumers should have received an email from Amazon. Consumers who believe they might be eligible can also go to:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/refund-orders/in-apprefund/(link is external)

Or, log into their Amazon.com accounts and go to the Message Center to find information about requesting a refund under Important Messages.
Refund requests can be completed entirely online. Consumers do not need to call Amazon or send anything by mail to receive a refund. The deadline for submitting refund requests is May 28, 2018. Any questions about individual refunds should be directed to Amazon at 866-216-1072.

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Amazon’s Military Leaders Program

Amazon has it’s own way of taking care of American veterans: Hiring them. With a commitment to providing jobs for 25,000 vets (including military spouses) over the next five years; Amazon launched its Military Leaders program to take advantage of the skills military personnel acquire during their active duty career. Amazon finds those abilities to be ideal for keeping their fast-paced, ever-expanding logistics operations on track.

The idea for the Military Leaders program was actually inspired by the success of various Amazonians with service backgrounds. Veterans currently hold some high-ranking positions in the company:

Jeff Helbling, a former Army captain is now the technical adviser to Jeff Bezos (one of the highest-profile roles within the company).

Jim Adkins, a former Navy officer is the vice president for automotive, tools, home improvement, lawn and garden, sports and outdoors.

Ardine Williams, a former Army captain as well, is one of the lead recruiters for Amazon Web Services.

Veterans hired under this program are put on a fast-track to promotion. Amazon recently hired former military staffers to start out as area managers. Each Amazon warehouse has dozens of veterans who coordinate the assembly of customers’ orders. At this point they oversee between 50 and 200 people.

Six months down the road, Amazon predicts most will be promoted to operations managers, where they will oversee the area managers, before continuing up the chain.

Amazon will hire 75 employees via the program this year, and 150 in 2018. Oohrah!

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Amazon’s New Parachute Shipping Label Patent

Among a fascinating and long list of Amazon’s Prime drone delivery-related patents, is the latest one they were granted for shipping labels that have built-in parachutes. Yeah, you read that correctly. The whole idea behind unmanned drone built-in parachutes is to enable softer landings.

The system calls for a packaging label (that looks like any other) which would be integrated with a folded parachute and a network of cords for packages to be released with parachutes mid-flight.The design may also include a harness to keep the rig in place and incorporates a breakaway cover, shock absorbers along with a network of sensors to track the package’s descent. Drones would also be able to accommodate any item’s size and could incorporate several parachutes for heavy packages. The parachutes could be adorned with everything from barcodes and QR codes, to the delivery address, to coupons and more.

It’s unclear if Amazon will actually bring this system to market, but this patent is filled with clues as to their drone ambitions. And who knows where it would be used since as of today, non-human supervised automated drones isn’t legal in the U.S.

So what’s Amazon’s next level drone service going to look like? First drone message: “Thank you for ordering a scuba mask.” One minute later, second drone message: “We thought you might like fins and sunscreen to go with your recent order.”

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And finally … Did You Know?

Amazon Is Offering an Advanced Sponsored Ads Webinar

If you run Sponsored Product ad campaigns and could use some more fruit-bearing strategies, Amazon’s Jack Mitchell will be offering a free 30-minute webinar called Beyond the Basics. During this June 14, 2017 training, if you are a current Sponsored Products advertiser, then you can ask questions in a live Q&A with Sponsored Products experts to learn how to leverage the advanced functionality in Campaign Manager. While the agenda below doesn’t necessarily look advanced, the opportunity to ask your questions can take this webinar to the level you seek.

-Refine your keyword strategy
-Set up an automatic and manual campaigns
-Measure ROI with performance reporting

You have nearly two weeks to think about what those questions might be, but we recommend registering now. On the registration page, at the top right corner is a drop down menu so you know the precise hour in your time zone. Higher ROI ad rate returns, here we come!

register now

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