Amazon’s Latest Hustle

Hus•tle. \ˈhə-səl\ 1. n., the unique partner dance done in ballrooms and nightclubs to disco music.; 2. v., to sell something to or obtain something from by energetic and especially underhanded activity.

Scrip. /skrip/ n., a certificate to be exchanged for goods, as at a company store.

Amazon.com, like Microsoft before them with Microsoft Points, have rediscovered Company Scrip. We usually just call these schemes “gift cards” or “gift certificates,” but this one is different. Per the Terms of Use, the value is subject to change, there are no refunds, and it isn’t transferrable. So it is actually worse than scrip.

The lock-in continues. Amazon.com have announced a program called “Amazon Coins,” whereby you give them money and they give you credit to use to purchase apps and games. They haven’t included books and other goods in the program, but I’m sure that is only a matter of time.

This seems like a hustle to me. Then again, if you are using an Android device, you are used to being hustled.

I’ve provided two definitions for the word “hustle” at the top of this entry. Deciding which definition is appropriate for Amazon Coins is left as an exercise for the reader.

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