Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Sounds to me like someone at Amazon is good at marketing. Let a few things go for an insane deal, knowing it will hit the front page of every blog. Then reap the rush of next years prime day with people scouring the site for pricing "errors". Pretty cheap and effective marketing.

Kind of like a raffle but without having to get all the lawyers involved to make sure you comply with raffle laws.

> Sounds to me like someone at Amazon is good at marketing.

Ah yes, finally someone will be talking about Amazon and Prime Day.

To me is the first time i hear about it.

I personally first heard about the Prime Day strike, figured it had to be some sort of sell-day mania in the middle of summer. Anyway, tactics like this one have been carried out by the biggest webshop in my country for a few years now. The first time it happened most of us thought it was a genuine mistake, the following iteration though revealed the move for what it really was: pure marketing.

The problem here is though, barely anyone has heard about this story and Prime Day is now over. I just sent this article to three photography friends, one of which works at a camera store, and none of them had heard about it yet.

The only way this deal was discovered it seems, is by careful watchers on slickdeals as well, so I'm going to lean towards this being a legitimate pricing error and not some attempt and sneakily generating PR.

The intentional PR being generated here will be Amazon going "fine, let's eat the loss and show that we put our customers first" instead of going "nope, cancel delivery and don't ship any more, then start requesting voluntary retrieval on the ones that have delivered!" which many companies would have to do but Amazon will likely lose less by letting customers keep them than they net in minutes (if not tens of seconds depending on how many actually shipped).

I still do not know what it is :/

Its one of those gimmick sale days like "Black Friday", "Cyber Monday", "Back to School Blowout", etc. The only difference is the sales have historically just been on junk[1] rather than desirable items.

[1] Unless you are the type who needs a 55 gallons jug of lube. https://observer.com/2015/07/at-1k-55-gallon-bottle-of-lube-...

Cheap cameras and lube... what a time to be alive

I didn't know this exists and I'm an amazon customer since 2001 or so.

Not everybody recognizes the corporate holidays. Their loss I say, those 7/11 lines are long as it is!

Or someone on slickdeals is good at marketing because that's what half the article talks about.

I'm surprised Amazon honored such a big price mistake. A few weeks ago, some Western Digital drives were priced incorrectly. About half off. Everyone got cancelations. And yes, I heard about it on front page of slickdeals...

As a dev for Slickdeals, I can tell you this was not planned on our side haha.

Once the deal was caught by one of our mods, the site went into a frenzy. Unfortunately I was AFK during the deal, but this will go down as one of the best price mistakes of the year if not the best.

IIRC in the WD drive case the drives were on backorder so Amazon had a longer time window for cancellations.

Similar things have happened on past Prime Days / Black Fridays, I remember some smartphones (Moto?) being sold for under $3 - some were canceled, but some shipped before Amazon managed to cancel them.

Even when literally losing thousands of dollars to honor a price advertised to customers, HN manages to spin's Amazon's actions as somehow duplicitous.

Oh no, Amazon's profit margin!

Being less flip: it's a massive corporation, which by default don't really care about consumers happiness directly, just that which is necessary for us to part with our many. I find it hard to have sympathy for said corporation -- especially considering the power that they now wield over modern western society.

And it wouldn't be the first time a corporation is duplicitous, that's for sure. I don't personally think this was done on purpose, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

Having just spent time overnight dealing with customer pain I can assure that we do care about customer happiness and talk about it every day.

If you feel like you need to defend them from the accusation that they're doing marketing, it means they're really good at marketing.

I lost some pennies in my couch one time and I didn't go looking for them or even really regret their loss. This would be analogous to this situation, if Amazon had lost 100s of thousands of dollars.

You are HN as well. Don't be so dismissive.

Thousands of dollars for probably hundreds of millions made in the next few years because of this one simple trick.

This is actually quite a common tactic I've seen other ecommerce stores do around Black Friday. It's also highly illegal, but I guess the companies don't worry too much about it because they don't think the gov agencies can prove it was anything but a mistake. Some companies repeat this trick every 3 years or so. And yes, they do get a ton of media for it every single time.

I see it more as people rationalizing their own decision to take advantage of such an obvious mistake.

How much is the total press worth?

It's most likely a mistake this year. Used to work for an online retailer. With my experience, at any moment there's always several items with really terrible pricing mistakes that we probably have to honor.

This is my guess. Prime Day loses its allure if word gets out that the low prices aren’t being honored, so they eat it.

My wife is a buyer for B&M retail, pricing issues like this happen a lot. In her space, it’d probably take a week to fix.

Happen a few years ago at our local Walmart, a solar kit (panel, battery and invertor) for $999.99 was priced at $99.99 - even the cash registers showed that price. I found out about them when one of the guys at work bought two of them. By the time I arrive at the store later that day all the kits were gone and the price was corrected on the store's computer too.

Or some employees had some fun as part of the Amazon protests.

My first thought was “next year i have to dig into all of amazon’s offering to find such ‘mistakes’”. It immediately had the effect of gaining me as a new customer. Excellent marketing indeed!

I was thinking this exactly. How much would that kind of advertising cost?

And the money essentially goes to their customers rather than an advertising agency.

Exactly. The funny thing is: It's basically the same thing as the "prime day" itself.

Provide stuff at a price point no one can compete - do this just good enough to hook people and keep the thought in their heads to buy at your place.

Not totally reasonable when thinking it through but that's just marketing of people who know how the human psyche works.

@amzn marketing: well done.

Ding! Ding! Ding! This feels like the right explanation. And if not, I am going to use it for future marketing efforts.

The Klein effect strikes again!

> I need to coin a term for this concept, I see it on every Hacker News thread once it reaches a certain size. It is the attribution of the topic to some nefarious intention of a dude in marketing. Once you start noticing it you can't unsee.

> Intel fires their CEO? It's a PR stunt.

> Startup abandons Europe due to GDPR? PR STUNT!

> AlphaZero beats professionals at Dota 2? You guessed it, it's just PR for oligarchy parent Alphabet.

> I see this so often now it's becoming humorous. As if some how this being all about PR explains everything. It doesn't explain anything! Although I'm sure Bill over in marketing loves that he has subsumed the historical role of deity in explaining the unknown.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17499447

My thought exactly, especially since they didn't cancel it.

Astute assessment.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact