Amazon has announced an advertising-subsidized version of the Kindle. But at $114 the "Kindle with Special Offers" is only $25 cheaper than the ad-free edition. So which will customers prefer?
It's a well-known fact that advertising is unpopular and many people will go to great lengths to avoid having it imposed on them.
So why would anyone choose an e-reader with built-in ads?
In this case the lure is likely to be the deals and offers that are going to be exclusive to the Kindle with Special Offers, which will include $10 for a $20 Amazon.com gift card. discounted Audible books and Amazon mp3 albums, and a $10 credit when you buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card. The advertising is also restricted in that e-books themselves won't have ads in them, just the home screen and the screensaver.
The first series of the specially-designed screensavers come from big brands including General Motors Co's Buick, Procter & Gamble's Olay, and Visa Inc.
Why should these advertisers be interested in promoting themselves to a cheapskate audience - a group which is looking for special deals and has decided to put up with advertising for a 20% discount on the hardware?
Perhaps part of the appeal is "AdMash", a free Kindle app and website capable of providing useful market research results. AdMash asks users to choose between alternative versions of the display advertisements that will become Kindle sponsored screensavers.
In addition, Kindle with Special Offers customers provide Amazon with feedback on the style and types of sponsored screensavers they would like to see. From the Manage Your Kindle page on Amazon.com, customers can use Kindle Screensaver Preferences to indicate what screensaver elements they would like to see more or less of:
So customers are lured by exclusive deals; sponsors are attracted by getting feedback on how best to appeal to a potentially huge audience; and Amazon, of course, sells ever more products.
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