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July 30, 2009

Dear Zappos - Please Put Up Info on the Amazon Merger

By Li Evans

Complete Disclosure* - I'm an AVID Zapos fan.

I love Zappos.

But I'm afraid!

Zappos has such an open embrace of social media, I point to them time and time again to clients as to how they should model their interaction in social media with their customer after.  If you are looking for someone to model how you deal with a community with - its' Zappos.

I've read their culture book which i got at Pubcon 2008.  I have read article after article after Tony Hsieh, one of the most recent coming this past May there was this article about him, it really made me think!  It made me love Zappos even more.  I changed my shopping habits for shoes to go there first, that's how much I have come to respect Zappos.

Last week, Amazon bought Zappos.  I found myself a little saddened.  Much like this whole Yahoo / Microsoft deal.  I feel like this little... awesome ... company who truly understands the use of social media is being swallowed up into a larger entity who has no clue about social media.  These huge companies see social media not as a way to engage customer like Zapos does, but more as another place to drive traffic from.

Amazon's team is really noted for watching that "buy" button.  They have an entire team dedicated to watching how you, me and anyone else interacts with the "buy now" button.  What's sad is that they dont' really see what happens several times before someone hits that buy button.... or what happens AFTER!

Zappos worked hard on their "unboxing" promotion.. pushing it hard at this past year's SxsW conference in Austin, TX.  Add that into their contest for winning a trip to Las Vegas and their headquarters which was won by a Philly local - Gloria Bell of Red Stapler Consulting - they were doing some pretty awesome social media initiatives.

Unfortunately I've become a bit concerned, mostly because already there's a small sign of the corporation taking over.  Just like any other startup that's been bought buy a huge company, I'm afraid Zappos is going to loose their customer centric focus and loose what makes them fun because now they have to deal with the big corporation "machine". 

No where do I see on their site's main page, any information about their merger with Amazon.  Zappos has always been very open and upfront about this kind of stuff in the past.  However now, I'm relegated to blog post and news pieces about the acquisition via a search on Google.  No Where .... nada... is there information on Zappos.com information about this merger.  For a company dedicated to customer service.. this is just really surprising. 

For a company that's so upfront about what's going on, Zappos.com not having a big link graphic about the acquisition on their main page leading to the blog post about and how it will affect customers (it likely won't, but still reassure the folks not on twitter or gettin emails from Zappos employees!) is a big worry for me.  There's nothing... not a small blurb, not a big graphic... nothing on the main page.  Take a look at the screen shot below.


Dear Zappos ... I love your company, I love your philosophy for customer service.... please for the love of social media, search, and all of your current customers online - please post something easily accessible about this Amazon acquisition prominently on your website not just on your blog!   Perhaps post something on your front page linking to that blog post?   At least give us some hope you won't loose what makes you some fun to deal with!

*More Disclosure - I'm on a social media panel with Brian Kalma of Zappos at SES San Jose in August.


What small signs do you see of Amazon taking over?

You can teach someone how to complete a job but you can't teach them how to follow your vision. I think with every corporate some of that vision slips through the cracks.

Is no news a signn of future non-disclosure or could it be that Zappos itself is unaware of the effects of this merger?

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