Amazon to New York Times: Get your facts straight
An Amazon.com executive is publicly disputing an August 2015New York Timesarticle that painted an unflattering picture of the retailer’s corporate culture.
Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos blasted the article in an internal memo sent to employees shortly after it was published. However, Jay Carney, senior VP for global affairs of Amazon, is replying to the article in anew poston the blogging site Medium.
Carney leads off by revealing Bo Olson, a former Amazon employee quoted in the article as saying nearly everyone he saw cried at their desk, resigned from the company after admitting to defrauding vendors. According to Carney, the Times knew this fact but did not include it in the article.
In addition, Carney says reports of employees being anonymously criticized by coworkers through an anonymous feedback tool are false. The tool is not anonymous, and an Amazon employee quoted as saying she was “strafed” only received three pieces of feedback by named employees, who all included positive comments along with constructive suggestions for improvement.
Other specific items in the article Carney disputes include an employee who claimed he was berated in a performance review before obtaining a promotion actually receiving a positive written review and promotion. Carney also provided a quote from an employee who said in the article she once didn’t sleep for four days straight clarifying that it was her choice and related to an MBA program she was in.
Furthermore, Carney says he was promised by the Times reporters writing the story that it would be a balanced and nuanced look at Amazon’s culture. Amazon’s public editor has said the article is driven more by “generalization and anecdote” than “irrefutable proof.”
“Journalism 101 instructs that facts should be checked and sources should be vetted.,” Carney wrote. “When there are two sides of a story, a reader deserves to know them both. Why did the Times choose not to follow standard practice here? We don’t know. But it’s worth noting that they’ve now twice in less than a year been called out by their own public editor for bias and hype in their coverage of Amazon.”
TheTimeson Monday afternoon published executive editorDean Baquet’s responseto Carney’s piece on Medium, in which Baquet stands behind the reporting carried out by Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld.
“The points in today’s posting challenge the credibility of four of the more than two dozen named current or former Amazon employees quoted in the story or cast doubt on their veracity,” the post said. ”The information for the most part, though, did not contradict what the former employees said in our story; instead, you mostly asserted that there were no records of what the workers were describing. Of course, plenty of conversations and interactions occur in workplaces that are not documented in personnel files.
Survey: Most U.S. shoppers hate Black Friday
Most U.S. shoppers dislike Black Friday, but a third of them say they're planning to spend more than $500 that weekend anyway, according to a new survey.
BestBlackFriday.com, a deal tracking website focused on analyzing holiday sales, has released its annual survey made up of 1,140 participants who plan on shopping this year. While 47% of participants believe that stores should be closed on Thanksgiving, 33% will still shop in-stores or online.
Here are a few key points from the survey:
• 32% plan on spending $501 or more (53% men, 47% women)
• 38% plan on spending $1-$250 (45% men, 55% women)
• The 35+ group will spend more than the 18-24 group
• Of the 34% who believe stores should open on Thanksgiving, 57% are men and 53% are in the 18-24 group
• 68% of participants will begin their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving
• Only 16% believe Thanksgiving has better deals than Black Friday or Cyber Monday
• Only 29% believe Black Friday has the best deals of the season
• 79% dislike the Black Friday research and shopping process
• 81% believe that Black Friday deals are not improving from year-to-year
• 43% said Electronics
• 26% said Apparel
• 17% said Toys/Games
• 6% said Appliances
• 8% said Other
• 94% believe they will make at least one in-store purchase this holiday season
• 35% will use cash for in-store purchases. 39% will use debit cards and 23% credit cards.
Read the entire 2015 Black Friday and holiday survey by clickinghere.
Prime Day? Alibaba prepares for something bigger
For anyone who thought Amazon’s July “Prime Day” event was the biggest shopping day of the year, check out Alibaba’s upcoming “Global Shopping Festival” promotion.
Global Shopping Festival grew out of Singles Day, an informal celebration of the Chinese singles dating scene which Alibaba formally turned into a shopping holiday in 2009. Falling on Nov. 11, what is now known as
Global Shopping Festival generated gross merchandise volume of more than $9.3 billion on the Alibaba Alipay mobile and digital payment platform in 2014.
This year, more than 1,000 retail brands, with 180,000 stores in 330 cities across China, will participate. Consumers will be able to receive discounts in-store as well as online, including in retailers’ Alibaba online storefronts. Products in 10 major categories will be featured: automobiles, home furnishing and décor, household items, consumer electronics, beauty and health, food, apparel, body care, baby care, and travel and hotel accommodation.
The promotion will feature six million products from more than 40,000 merchants and 30,000 brands, including 5,000 overseas brands from 25 countries and regions such as the U.S, Europe, Japan and South Korea
“Omnichannel retailing is one of the key initiatives for this year’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival,” said Jeff Zhang, president of China Retail Marketplaces at Alibaba Group. “It marks the first step in achieving the full integration of digital and physical commerce. Alibaba Group is dedicated to working with brands and retailers to facilitate their transition from traditional to omnichannel retailing.”
Specific omnichannel features Alibaba will offer for Global Shopping Festival include location-based in-store coupons delivered through Alibaba’s Taobao mobile app, advance reserve purchases of discounted items in select stores, and optimized pickup and delivery of online purchases using Alibaba ERP-POS Link.
Alibaba has a significant advantage in its promotion compared to Prime Day, in that there is also a strong in-store component. Of course, although both promotions are global, Alibaba’s home market of more than 1 billion Chinese consumers is also a benefit.
It is also worth noting that Alibaba appears to be focusing on providing items consumers truly want, while many Prime Day deals were obvious efforts to clear slow-selling overstock and leftover merchandise. Given Amazon’s global reach and potential for omnichannel collaborations with brick-and-mortar retail partners, with some fine-tuning next year’s Prime Day may come closer to Global Shopping Festival volume.