Amazon just opened a new car research portal, and I’ve been asked by several people how that might affect Carjojo. Amazon’s offering is not currently a competitor to Carjojo, but could become one.
My response is “Welcome, Amazon. Seriously.”
In 1982 I worked for Apple Computer. Although a relatively small company at the time, Apple had a dominant market share in personal computers – there were hardly any competitors. Then IBM, at the time the world’s largest mainframe computer maker, announced that it was going to produce a personal computer, a direct competitor to Apple.
The world thought Apple would panic, but it didn’t. Instead, Apple ran a now famous full page ad in the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers. It’s headline was “Welcome, IBM. Seriously.” The point Apple was making was that the market could use the legitimization that IBM would bring, and that Apple would continue to produce superior devices and maintain itself as a successful company. IBM would make Apple better off, not worse off.
That is exactly how I feel about Amazon. Amazon plays to win, has tremendously large resources, and usually (not always, but usually) delivers at least a good, if not superb, product. Amazon will make the world realize that a truly good, independent provider of automobile shopping information and services, makes for a better customer experience. And Carjojo will gain from this, as we will continue to develop superior solutions.
Who wins? Hopefully Consumers Like You
For the consumer, my only fear about Amazon is if they rely on the business model common to most of the current crop of on-line car shopping services — being paid by car dealers so they can market free products to consumers. This model hurts consumers, because the on-line vendor is beholden to car dealers, who are trying to achieve the highest selling price possible for new cars, and of course the consumer wants to pay less. With this model, the consumer pays more, by definition. Vendors go to great lengths to mask this fact, but it’s true.
So here’s hoping that Amazon delivers a good product, and works in the best interests of consumers.
So welcome, Amazon. Seriously!