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Amazon Most Gifted Tagline, Promotion

The "most gifted" tagline and promotion is effective... particularly in the web's largest marketplace with the web's largest collection of products. And that's why it looks so similar to how they market year after year. And that's why I like it year after year!

Note: here is the original announcement in November 2009:

", Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN – News) today announced that November is already the best sales month ever for Kindle, even before Cyber Monday. Kindle continues to be the most wished for, the most gifted, and the #1 bestselling product across all product categories on Amazon."

Amazon's Aggressive Homepage

Here is Amazon's homepage - aggressively positioning the Kindle Fire HD against the forthcoming iPad Mini. It compares pixels, speakers, and video quality... but what will really matter to consumers: the price. (Of course Apple would position the two alongside iTunes and form factor).

Amazon Brings All 7 Harry Potter Books to Kindle Lending Club

This is pretty significant news out of Amazon: all seven Harry Potter books are now available in the Kindle Lending Club. It is the all-time bestselling book series and is a testament to Amazon's willingness to put marketing muscle behind Kindle and the Lending Club. And considering the reach and popularity of the Harry Potter franchise - it is a win for Kindle owners, Harry Potter fans, and Amazon users. It is also worth noting that it is a couple days from Mother's Day and Amazon's merchandising exists (upper right corner) but is far smaller than the Harry Potter announcement or the Amazon Local promotion. I would have assumed that the week would be dedicated to Mother's Day preparation - particularly highlighting one-day shipping, etc.

Microsoft Deal Strategy from 2009-2012: Yahoo, Nokia, Skype, Nook.

This is the front page of Tuesday May 1st's Wall Street Journal. It's a well done graphic overlaying Microsoft's big-dollar entrances into "markets where it lags behind rivals": - Search: Yahoo (2009): Microsoft's billion-dollar+ deal to power search and ads.

- Mobile OS: Nokia (2011): billion-dollar+ deal to push Windows Mobile OS

- Social / Video: Skype (2011): $8.5B acquisition

- Mobile / Tablets: Nook (2012): $605m investment to bolster tablet strategy

It's an expensive but necessary (?) avenue into three massive verticals that, as WSJ notes, Microsoft is far behind in: search, social, and mobile (OS + hardware). It is marks about one of these big, billion-dollar bets a year (four deals over the 2009-2012 period).

Price aside (Skype in particular feels very expensive unless deeper integrations in Office & on XBox emerge quickly), the Nook deal is is the one that strategically feels odd. Windows 7 users love the product - but the Nook is so far behind iPad and Kindle, that it feels as though Microsoft is better served entering the tablet market elsewhere OR focusing primarily on phones and then paying-up when the 3rd place tablet-provider has greater share. Of course that's my take from a very, very distant seat.

Yet Another Reminder of Amazon & Kindle's Importance: Proliferation

Reminder yet again that Amazon and Kindle are important parts of the mobile, cloud, content and application universe... these are the registered Kindle devices to my family: it's a combination of devices, platforms, formats, etc. More and more I am using Kindle like Evernote (one of my daily, most-used applications): I forward important documents to my personal Kindle emails. It's great. And for some use cases, its the equivalent of Evernote or iCloud.

And like Evernote - the content is accessible anywhere, nearly instantly. I love the email component of it and think that personalized emails as a content direction / entry mechanism are underutilized - Evernote and Tripit are examples of products that (for me) are most useful through email.

Designing for Mobile: 7 Guidelines for Mobile Apps & Mobile Web

Note: this article originally appeared on TechCrunch: Designing for Mobile: 7 Guidelines for Startups to Follow As an investor, I’ve seen hundreds of mobile application pitches. And as a consumer, I’ve downloaded hundreds more – some out of curiosity and others in the hope that I’ll find something so useful and exciting that I’ll make room for it on my iPhone’s home screen. From both perspectives, I am rarely excited by download numbers. What gets my attention is engagement: how frequently an application is used and how engaged those users are. This ultimately is the barometer for an application’s utility and/or strength of community. And if either of those two factors are strong, growth will certainly come. Just ask Instagram, Evernote, LogMeIn and others.

Creating great mobile experiences requires dedication to building product specifically for mobile. It sounds obvious, but it’s so often overlooked. Mobile users have different needs, desires and environments; and as the application creator, you have different opportunities to create utility and engagement. With that in mind – and with the help of my former eBay colleague and Dogpatch Labs resident, Rob Abbott (founder of EGG HAUS and Critiq), we’ve put together 7 design guidelines to consider when building for mobile.

Just like the presentations on leveraging Facebook (both and off-Facebook) and Twitter, success comes from building meaningful experiences that are honest to the native environments.

Read all of the startup presentations: - Leveraging Facebook for Startups: Part II, On-Facebook - How to Leverage Facebook for Startups: Part I, Off-Facebook - 14 SEO Tips for Startups - How to Grow Your Brand on Twitter. 5 Overarching Guidelines. Tons of Examples. - How to Create an Early-Stage Pitch Deck

7 Guidelines to Great Mobile Design

Amazon Applies Intelligence to the App Store. You Should Too.

I've long argued that Apple's iTunes and the app store are woefully unintelligent. They are akin to merchandising in a storefront... when there is data available to make the store experience more compelling and better converting. Here's an example of that argument beginning in 2009 (!). After a week with the Amazon Kindle Fire (more to come - hint: I love it), they get the storefront concept and execute it well.... as we have come to expect from Amazon. Rather than using Facebook data, Amazon uses your purchase and search data. Below is an example of the Kidle Bookstore and notice that it's not just a compilation of bestsellers. Theses are items specifically tailored to me based on what I've bought, what I've searched for, and what they consequently think I like (sports, health, tech, young families, etc).

What's this mean for you? You likely won't have Amazon's breadth of data and users profiling... but platforms like Twitter and Facebook do - and you can leverage them to personalize your experience specifically for your users. It's more compelling. It's differentiated. And it's therefore converts.

Amazon's Kindle Lending Club Makes the Already-Affordable Kindle Fire Even More Attractive

In the last month alone, I have purchased three books on the Amazon Kindle store (I use the Kindle app on the iPad)... had Amazon's new Kindle Lending Library program been live, I would have simply purchased the Kindle Fire and considered it an eventual cost-saving: - I've spent $40+ on books over the last month alone - The device itself is $199, now comes with effectively free books... and a gadget with much more

No brainer right? (big caveat: assuming content library is strong - it certainly appears to be)

And that's why Amazon is brilliant: - They changed the tablet landscape through pricing. - They used it, along with other launches, to drive Prime membership and usage. - They are now introducing a new way to deliver / consume books ... which has already happened to music (hello:, Spotify, Pandora) - And yet again users have to ask if the Apple & iTunes & iBooks experience is worth paying more for than Amazon's (Kindle Fire, Kindle Store, ec)