Three, if you believe this guy, is the magic number. Yet for Amazon, the site that changed online shopping, and Facebook, the site that forever altered social media, 15 and 500 million, respectively, seem to be pretty awesome numbers, too.
On Friday, Amazon turned 15 years old. Launched into the public collective in 1995, Amazon has had a bumpy, memorable and ultimately game-changing 15 years. For starters, let’s give Amazon a round of applause for saving Christmas. Many a retail smack down has been avoided during the holidays thanks to Amazon. Bookstores, however, suffered big time thanks in large part to Amazon. Why toddle on over for the latest Harry Potter when Amazon can bring it right to you? Only the toughest book retailers survived as Amazon unleashed the Kindle on the world and, thanks to an Oprah endorsement, once again changed the way we read.
Yet I’d argue one of the biggest changes Amazon helped usher in was the way books are marketed. Thanks to Amazon’s customer reviews, publishers and authors knew what readers thought of their books days after they were released. Publishers were pushed into action to provide Amazon and other sites with maximum information and author interviews if they wanted their titles to be found on the massive inventory. Authors soon were expected use social media to connect with their readers and help market their books. Amazon paved the way for DIY marketing and for companies directly talking to their bread and butter.
By the time this blog is published, Facebook will have reached 500 million users. It’s an impressive yet slippery slope for the social media giant. This colossal success has been met with even bigger criticism ranging from the paranoiac to the sociological. However, Facebook has changed marketing, too, like Amazon. Social media advertising and upkeep is now its own industry thanks mainly to Facebook. But the question now is what’s next? Marketers wonder if the social media well is nearly dry as Facebook starts to dip in the all-important 18-24 demographic. Facebook itself is highly addictive and fascinating to watch so it’s befitting that the inner-workings of the conglomerate are equally as thought provoking.
So whaddya think? What was the first thing you bought from Amazon? Did Amazon kill books or save books? And is the tidal wave of Facebook popularity destined to be met with a tsunami of backlash? Spill it in the comments section below!