This week in e-commerce Amazon told its
users to be wary of Honey, PayPal’s shiny new acquisition. Now, it’s the reasoning that just has me so like… this just has all the trappings of a
made-for-TV drama. So pull yourself up a chair and let’s
talk about it. I really didn’t intend on this video series being a weekly report
on Amazon’s shenanigans. But, they’re 50% of the US market and they’re constantly
doing, to put it politely, the most interesting of things. This week is
no exception. PayPal recently acquired Honey, the
eCommerce discount coupon service. That’s so recent it just appeared in the Last
Week in eCommerce just a few weeks ago and I’ll link you to that video in the
description of this one if you want to learn more about that announcement. But
basically, this acquisition is brand new: fresh out of the oven, which makes me
think the timing of all of this is not a coincidence. I’m gonna tell you what
Amazon said. How their justification for it is total BS, especially coming from
them and how another news story from last week makes this oh-so-entertaining
and ironic. So let’s get right to it. There was a tweet back in December from Ryan Hutchins showing a message that Amazon was giving him about the Honey
browser plug-in he had installed on his machine. That message read: “Honey’s
browser extension is a security risk Honey tracks your private shopping
behavior, collects data like your order history and items saved and can read or
change any of your data on any website you visit. To keep your data private and
secure uninstall this extension immediately. Please note that all the
same Amazon offers, deals, and coupons are available without this extension.” Let me
get this right: Amazon, who collects and stores more data about your shopping
habits than pretty much anyone is now warning people that they’re being
tracked on the internet. That’s like a bank robber getting pissed off and
turning in someone else for robbing a liquor store in their neighborhood. It’s
like a murderer looking down upon someone who commits assault. It doesn’t
make you a good guy, it makes you a hypocrite. I know what you’re thinking:
it’s different. Amazon’s a website where you knowingly
give them your information and Honey’s nefariously running in the background
and collecting data as you browse around. Well there’s a couple of things to note
about that. First, nothing is free. You should have
learned that as a child when your mother told you not to take candy from
strangers. Anytime someone gives you something they are expecting something in return. On the Internet that’s either showing
you ads, collecting your data, or both. You don’t need some news story to tell you
this. Just seed that knowledge in your mind and know that going into a
situation next time so you won’t be surprised.
PayPal didn’t pay four billion dollars because you use some coupons. No, it spent
all that money because Honey knows a lot about how you shop. The second thing to
notice is that Amazon has a very similar plug in with their Amazon assistant. From
their promotional page: “Amazon assistant helps you discover Amazon products and
compare prices as you shop across the web. When you search for products online
you will see Amazon’s 30-day price tracker. Look for our low price badge.”
Well there you go, within the first two lines of their own
page we already know they’re collecting your search data. I haven’t seen any
reports of them warning users of that plugin. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out
and let you know if they do. I’m sure that’s not hypocrisy at all. Move along,
nothing to see here. And then in the same week that this story came out about
Amazon you had this other just golden nugget. Amazon fires employees for
leaking customer email addresses and phone numbers.
So apparently, twice in the same week Amazon announced that it had fired
employees for inappropriately accessing or distributing customer information. In
the first incident Amazon employees were distributing customer information to
third parties. They didn’t really give any details of exactly what all of that was
about but it definitely seems trustworthy. Don’t worry your data is
completely safe with Amazon. In the second incident in the same week they
had to fire some employees with their Ring video doorbell service because they
were inappropriately accessing customer video feeds. Oh yeah, I see it now! I’m not
sure how I could have possibly missed this before. I see now how Amazon is
uniquely qualified to be the user privacy and data collection police. The
company that has a speaker constantly listening and recording everything in
your house, a camera recording everything in your yard, a browser plug-in storing
your search history along with God knows what else and has access to just about
everything you browse and buy online, has employees with access that could benefit financially from that data. That’s
definitely the company I want to be the moral police of the Internet. In true
Amazon fashion, according to this latest story, they believe there’s no reason we
should trust our data to anyone… except Amazon. There’s just absolutely no way
this ends badly. I don’t want to speak ill of someone without them having the
chance to defend themselves, so I have my echo dot here to set the record straight.

So Alexa can you trust honey? “No more than you can trust Amazon” Alexa are you storing my data? “Ha!, of course I am you idiot. And quit manhandling me like this bro. Put me down or I’ll publish all your data.” There you have it,
let me know your thoughts on this in the comments of this video. Is Amazon in the
right here warning users about Honey or are they just using their platform to stifle
competition? Do not let my opinion be the only one that’s heard. if you’re serious
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