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Amazon is preventing non-Prime members from buying some games and DVDs

By midian182
Apr 22, 2016
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  1. It appears that Amazon has added a number of video games and DVDs to its list of Prime-exclusive goods. First spotted by Videogamer.com, several of the online giant’s UK customers (and now in the US, too) have discovered that they are unable to purchase certain titles without being a member of the £79 (or $99 in the States) per year service.

    All non-Prime members are seeing the “This item, sold by Amazon, is currently reserved exclusively for Prime members” message instead of the “add to basket” option on certain pages, including those for games such as GTA V, Rainbow Six: Siege and Far Cry Primal.

    However, the move doesn’t mean that non-Prime members are now totally unable to purchase any games or DVDs from the site. The new ruling is only being applied to titles sold directly by Amazon; the items are still available for purchase by non-subscribers through third-party sellers, which Amazon often uses itself to complete customer orders.

    Other titles sold directly by Amazon that are now locked behind the Prime paywall include Minecraft, FIFA 16, Dishonored: Definitive Edition, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Elder Scrolls Online, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Battlefield Hardline, and, somewhat surprisingly, Farming Simulator.

    Even though the games and DVDs are still available through third-party sellers, the move is being heavily criticized by users, and shows that Amazon isn’t afraid to expand its list of Prime-exclusive items as an aggressive way of getting more people to subscribe to its service.

    Amazon has released the following statement regarding the matter:

    "One of the many benefits of Amazon Prime is access to exclusive selection on a number of great products. Customers who are not Prime members can sign-up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, or they can purchase those items from a Marketplace seller."

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,663   +775

    OK ... let me get this straight. A company that wants to increase it's market share by restricting people from buying it's products? More and more I am seeing Amazon go the way of Sears, JC Penny, and other catalog sales centers. Lesson 1 in retail: Some money is better than no money; Lesson 2: The customer is always right; Lesson 3: The ignorant of those lessons won't be here long. On line retailers are popping up each day, giving the buying public lots of new choices.

    Amazon is starting to look at lot like Walmart, promising lots of great things and delivering very few.
     
    psycros, mosu and Reehahs like this.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,547   +2,346

    They are shooting for 'more money.' They'll probably get it, too.

    Not by a long shot.

    Tell that to Goldman Sachs.
     
  4. fl21289

    fl21289 TS Booster Posts: 59   +38

    You are wrong is so many ways.... (I worked in retail) And Amazon is not even just a retail shop anymore like they started.
     
    davislane1 likes this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,663   +775

    As demonstrated by several .... ignorance is still bliss! LOL
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  6. asclepius

    asclepius TS Rookie

    Meanwhile, a sigh of pure delight was reportedly heard from HMV, GAME et cetera, et cetera.
     
  7. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,547   +2,346

    I've worked retail sales. You're literally spouting the buyside bulletpoints sales associates and marketers are trained to sell you.
     
  8. jwdR1

    jwdR1 TS Enthusiast Posts: 26   +18

    So they want me to pay $99 or whatever for Prime membership + $60 or so for the game that I really wanted?

    ...www.anyotheronlineretailer.com :)

    I tried their video streaming service and other than Stargate SG-1, couldn't find anything else I wanted to watch. All the good stuff I still had to pay extra for. :(
     
    psycros likes this.
  9. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,508   +498

    Ok so you are shooting blanks everywhere here.

    People will get into it for the easy-ness, we are "savvy" in what we do or we wouldn't be commenting here so for us this is blasphemy, for the common folk it may be a price they are willing to spend for hassle free purchases.

    Lesson 1: Forget everything you thought you knew.
    Lesson 2: Big corporations never loose.
     
    davislane1 likes this.
  10. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,038   +269

    Amazon thinks they have an exclusive on the market, and thinks they will get away with restricting things. I was a prime member for a while as a student (even properly registered part-time students qualify). However, when my student status with Amazon was to expire, I cancelled my membership. I simply was not using enough streaming or buying enough to justify my continued membership.

    This practice sounds akin to extortion, and my bet is that it will backfire on them. After having dropped my prime membership, I placed several orders with free shipping. The orders simply sat without shipping, so I cancelled them and got them quicker by ordering them elsewhere.

    Twisting your customer's arm to buy something they do not want is never, as I see it, good business practice.
     
    psycros and Uncle Al like this.
  11. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,663   +775

    Well said!
     
  12. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Posts: 1,657   +309

    Classically stupid. Steam? GOG? NewEgg? Ebay? dozens of others?

    Hi, I'm here to buy the nice doggie in the window. No, I'm not 'primed'. What does that mean? Oh, I pay you to pay attention to me, your potential customer. So, I'm not allowed to buy the doggie unless I pay you for the privilege of buying the doggie. OK, right, fine..... by the way, know any good pet stores in the neighborhood? Yes, I understand that this may be the only Afgan Long-Nosed Blue-Hair on the whole East Coast - I just wanted a nice doggie, which I am not allowed to buy here. BCNU.
     
    psycros likes this.
  13. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,547   +2,346

    We have a winner, folks.

    They are doing nothing of the sort. They are simply choosing to limit Amazon-stocked items to Prime members. Every "prime exclusive" item will be available to non-prime members through the third-party sellers. For the majority of customers, especially those buying video games, this will result in no perceptible changes (in price or ship times).

    It is, however, very smart marketing on the part of Amazon. This will sell more Prime memberships because most people will think (mistakenly) that they are getting access to even better service with the exclusive inventory, even though the only thing changing is the stock shelf the item is being picked from.

    (Also, note how effective this article's title is in executing the opposite deception.)
     
  14. JaymondoGB

    JaymondoGB TS Rookie Posts: 21   +7

    My opinion is no one should be buying anything from the tax evading gits. The sooner this happens the better for the free market, which pays its territorial taxes and pays its staff a fair wage with a moral contracts.
     
    wiyosaya likes this.
  15. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,038   +269

    Smart marketing? I hate to say this since it is antagonistic, but what planet are you from? So you think deception is smart marketing? Good luck with that. Sounds to me more like an apple ripening for the FTC to pick.

    Many customers will eventually discover the nature of Amazon's ruse. I would not be surprised if the number of customers that have an intelligence that is much greater than the average sheep is high at Amazon, and at least some of them will not be happy to find out that they are not getting all that they think they are.

    As I covered in my original post which was written based on my direct experience with Amazon, Amazon treats non-prime member shipping quite differently. If the item is "prime eligible," and is fulfilled by Amazon, free shipping sometimes takes a week or more to ship. So, at least as I see it, there will be a difference in shipping time.

    But if you want to reward practices like these with your hard-earned money, that is certainly your right, and again, good luck with that.
     
    psycros likes this.
  16. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,323   +710

    What an awesome way to make your competition seem more appealing. Nice job, Amazon.
     
  17. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,547   +2,346

    Deception may be a strong word. But, as I see it, creating the illusion of something that isn't fundamentally true is a deception, such as the title of this article or the purpose of most marketing. In both cases, the purpose is to motivate people towards some action that they would otherwise not take. I'm merely calling a spade a spade.

    This is entitlement. If you pay for prime, you get free expidited shipping. If you don't, you won't. You instead get standard shipping options. None of that is changing.

    I know all about the differences in how Prime and non-Prime orders are treated. I used to have a Prime sub and cancelled it because I didn't see the value for my purchase frequency (1 or 2 purchases a month on avg.). This change isn't going to change anything for non-Prime members outside of the company listed on the invoice.

    Ergo, smart marketing: make it look like there's a big difference with order fulfillment when there really isn't.
     
  18. dgoodchild

    dgoodchild TS Member

    <blockquote>Customers who are not Prime members can sign-up for a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime, or they can purchase those items from a Marketplace seller."</blockquote>

    Or, you know… go to another website that sells the thing or even *GASP!* go to a store and be playing the game in a under an hour.
     
  19. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,547   +2,346

    I do not understand why anyone says this. Quite simply, nobody at Amazon cares. Their analytics (more importantly, their 100 billion in revenue) say they're right. My $100-$1,000 per year spent using their service means nothing to anyone in the company. Thus, no real power to reward or punish. Unless you think granting/refusing them 0.00000001% of annual revenue will even make it past the rounding function on a calculator?
     
  20. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,310   +56

    I just hate membership outfits. The credit card gets hacked, a new one is issued without updating the date, etc. Amazon keeps having to get bailed out, and I don't think collecting money for no reason is their saving grace. Does everything just point strongly to stealing, always? I just don't know what rock these dumbell, decision making people crawled out from. People have degrees? Did any of them even attend ANY school? The first hazing ritual in school is what the hottest site to steal media from is. Path of least resistance. Instead of fumbling with credit cards, it's easier to drive to the library and make a duplicate. Here lately I believe in extraterrestrials because these people must have attended martian school. How do the new, super secure chip credit cards work on the web? Overlooked that? Did you know I'm around at least 100 mostly older people and only 1 or 2 have even 2 year degrees, one being my brother? I think we're reaching the point of not using money, only thinking of the hacking.
     
  21. Space Cat

    Space Cat TS Member

    *Shrug*
    The fact is, Amazon has almost 60 millions Prime subscribers now.
    And each of them spends on average 2-3x times more money per year compared to all the others, according to some survey. Have to justify your $100 subscription fee somehow.

    For Amazon, Prime customers are much more valuable than regular ones.
    And they would really, really like to switch to the all-Prime model.
    Like Costco for example, who makes a lot of of their money from membership while selling everything in their store at cost.

    Case in point - Amazon recently raised min cost on free shipping. I think this will actually have more of an impact on everyday casual sales than any than any game restrictions.

    So yes, they are trying to encourage more people into Prime, and if that means some of the bottom feeders (periodic shoppers, or those buying at no profit) go elsewhere - they wont be too sad about it. They will presumably be able to increase their profit by adopting a more focused strategy.

    Whether that actually works out for them or not, well have to see.
     
    davislane1 likes this.
  22. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,508   +498

    Again and for those who don't get it. Companies don't take decisions out of the blue or because someone felt like it, they study the market, do some research, then study some more, then research some more and then... well you get where I'm going, scroll up a bit and look at lesson 2 on my other post.

    Yet no likes were given that day... :(
     
    davislane1 likes this.
  23. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,547   +2,346

    I've got your back, bro. (y)
     
    Kibaruk likes this.
  24. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,176   +578

    You really underestimate what one person's purchasing power can do. Sure if you put only the amount you gave them vs their total of course it's going to sound like pigeon feed. What you're missing is that your individual purchases effect stock, which affects supply and demand. Amazon might decide to markup or markdown based on their stock. When you purchase something you not only decrease their stock but you also increase the demand. The little "Only x Left" next to something is to get people to buy the last few and can easily be spurred by individual purchasers.

    There's also word of mouth. If less and less people are talking about Amazon that translates directly to less sales. Amazon hasn't been doing themselves any favors with that either, drastically raising the price of free shipping and adding more and more to prime. What's going to end up happening is Amazon is going to split it's user base. Prime users will get all the benefits while free users will get service lower that what other websites can provide. In fact I can attest to that now.

    I used to purchase almost everything from Amazon when I had the 1/2 off student membership. That expired so I canceled prime. Now, due to the high free shipping requirement I very very rarely do business with amazon. The 2 times I have done buisness with them have been horrid as well. Each order took 2 weeks just to get to me. That's worse than every other website and I can even get imported goods faster than that. In addition free users still have to pay the prime premium. That is, items that are on offer from Amazon are more expensive that other online stores to compensate for the cost of 2-day shipping. This is funny because many Ebay top sellers offer 2-day as the base shipping at no additional cost and they won't wait 2 weeks to ship your product out like Amazon will. Did I forget to mention that they don't charge a prime premium either?
     
  25. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,508   +498

    Hi and welcome to the internet, let me present you the Costco model...

    There, proven to work, cheaper prices, a lot of people getting membership just to be able to get into the store. Done. What else could you say? There is absolutely nothing more to say.

    I normally buy from Amazon because it tends to be cheaper, I don't have to take a cab to bring big things back home, and I can buy stuff like candies, detergent, or almost whatever. If I bought a couple (Maybe 5-10 purchases a year) of those thing from another store and Prime pays for itself. If you want to buy things from other retailers because it's cheaper, go ahead it's your freaking earned right to do so, without complaining on a forum, there, I said it :)

    Don't like the model? Try another.
     

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