Two years ago, I made a resolution to boycott Amazon.
Yesterday, I received two parcels from Amazon. But as far as I knew, I hadn’t broken my resolution. I hadn’t ordered anything from Amazon.
What I had ordered was two items from Ebay, from two separate sellers. But both items arrived packaged in Amazon-style cardboard boxes, sealed with Amazon Prime tape and addressed with Amazon postage stickers.
So what’s happened? Are both the sellers actually Amazon in disguise? Is Amazon’s new strategy to set up front operations on Ebay to sell to boycotters like me?
Or is it something less conspiratorial? Large Ebay sellers running their operations through Amazon Web Services? Or is is a feasible business model just to pay for Amazon Prime and trade as a middleman, sending deliveries directly to your Ebay customers?
I contacted both sellers and asked. Apparently, Amazon’s nationwide warehouse operations are so extensive, they have huge unused capacity which they rent out to other businesses. Both of the Ebay sellers were running sizeable businesses on top of the Amazon platform, using it as a managed service providing storage, packaging and distribution for their products.
Through its warehouse network and AWS, Amazon is turning itself into a foundational component of our economic infrastructure.
Boycotting it is becoming harder.
I am undeterred.