At first, the founders had an emphasis on the sale of books but over time, they delved into other products in a bid to meet the growing demand. It recently acquired Whole Foods and is the biggest retailer in the United States at present.

There are many reasons behind its massive success. First, people find it very convenient to shop in the site as they barely have to leave the luxury of their homes to meet their various needs. Another good thing about the website is that it has very many users and looking through the site will enable one to get a fantastic bargain on goods. The payment options are also many, allowing one to have a variety of choices in how they wish to pay for products. And oh, did I mention the frequent discounts on goods per season? The benefits are tremendous, and people can’t get enough of the convenience that the site brings to their lives.

However, it’s not all roses with this site as it poses a danger to all persons who access the site at any time. You see, any company with such a large following wields a lot of power over its users and this control can either be positive or threatening to its clients. You have seen companies with monopoly power take advantage of their consumers and the same could easily happen with Amazon, and thus there is a need for alternatives to this site.

In this way, consumers will have a chance to protect their privacy and conduct their transactions without having someone looking over their shoulder.


Why is there an emphasis on this decentralization?

Well, here is what Amazon could do to its clients if it were to abuse its power.

data collection

Data collection

Amazon can collect massive amounts of data regarding its sellers and buyers. Think about this. The moment you access the site and wish to purchase an item, you get to go through a series of stages, all of which require you to input some information about you. In the end, the site collects data regarding your name, where you live, your contact details, your credit card data, reviews on products, contact details of those close to you, your voice when using voice recognition software and personal data from your profile. In short, they could find you and those you love within a heartbeat. But that’s not all.

You see, the details as mentioned earlier are what you provide to the site on a voluntary basis. However, they also get to collect information from you when you access the site.

Your IP address, your log-in details, your computer features and other such information which you would rather keep private also get collected on accessing the site. The site uses this data as well as pages visited to rank top products and to correct errors on some pages. Movements such as scrolling and clicks also get monitored, thus showing a complete lack of privacy when shopping. The site also exposes your technical information. Though this is to prevent cases of fraud, it is a breach of confidentiality.

Accessing the site through your mobile phone further exposes you and your loved ones to data collection. It may not look like a huge problem at first but come to think about it, these tidbits collected over a considerable amount of time are enough to give one an understanding of who you are as a person. As such, if this information were to get into the wrong hands, say an oppressive government, then many people would be at risk of surveillance.

Attributes such as affiliations to ideologies and politics are easily identifiable by the wealth of information held by the site. Tax compliance could get enforced regarding one’s purchase history. What’s more, users can get tracked, thanks to all the data that the site has.

Though these instances are a peek into what could go wrong if Amazon were to turn against its clients, there have been cases of abuse of power by the company. Many users have admitted to finding their accounts closed without notification by the site. Employees have also complained as to the working environment in which they operate. These episodes are just a few examples of what the company has done wrong in public.

How about what they have done or are capable of doing in private?


The need for alternatives

Rather than speculate and hope for the best, it is better to find an option that works. Going to another company will only expose people to what Amazon is already doing to its users. As such, a decentralized system is the best fit. In this way, transactions can take place without interference, and people can have peace of mind that nobody is looking into their activities. It is high time that users take matters into their own hands and safeguard themselves from the dangers that come with using data collecting sites such as Amazon.


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