Also in 2006, Amazon introduced Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a virtual site farm, allowing users to use the Amazon infrastructure to run applications ranging from running simulations to web hosting. In 2008, Amazon improved the service by adding Elastic Block Store (EBS), offering persistent storage for Amazon EC2 instances and Elastic IP addresses, and offering static IP addresses designed for dynamic cloud computing. Amazon introduced SimpleDB, a database system, allowing users of its other infrastructure to utilize a high-reliability, high-performance database system. In 2008, Amazon graduated EC2 from beta to "Generally Available" and added support for the Microsoft Windows platform.
Promising review: "I love these pads. They are magnetic so they easily stick to the fridge. The items listed are the items that you use most often, and it is organized into sections that correspond to aisles at most grocery stores. Each section has a few additional blanks for adding those items that it doesn't list. This thing saves me a bunch of time!" —Steven Dix
"I'm very Type A, so I live my life according to the lists I write for myself. I decided I needed a weekly planner pad to set on my desk so that I could better plan out my week, and after much searching, I found this one by Hashi. It has the perfect amount of space for writing, cute designs on the pages, and it's not dated, so it can last beyond the calendar year." — Malarie Gokey
Promising review: "I've been boiling various pasta noodles at least twice a week for over 25 years. When I first saw the Fasta Pasta microwave cooker demo video, I was a bit skeptical, but interested enough to purchase the product from Amazon. After using the product three times, I can honestly say that it not only cooks pasta very fast, but better, with less mess and energy, than boiling the noodles in a pot. Just follow the simple instructions and you will have perfectly cooked pasta without having to check it while cooking for readiness. I wish that this product had been invented years ago." —George Miller
In March 2014, Amazon increased the annual US membership fee for Amazon Prime from $79 to $99. Shortly after this change, Amazon announced Prime Music, providing unlimited, ad-free music streaming. In November 2014, Amazon added Prime Photos, adding unlimited storage of files deemed to be photographs in the users' Amazon Drive. Amazon began offering free same-day delivery to Prime members in 14 United States metropolitan areas in May 2015.
One key finding of our research is that Prime membership is the principal support for Amazon’s apparel expansion, as Prime members show a much higher tendency than the average consumer to buy apparel on the site. As we show below, Prime membership has trended strongly upward in the recent past. The inference must be that further growth in Prime membership will, in the near term at least, be the foundation on which Amazon will build greater share in the apparel category.
Prime Pantry: Prime Pantry gives members access to low-priced groceries as well as household and pet care items. Now a subscription service, Prime Pantry costs $4.99/month (in addition to your Prime membership). The service includes unlimited free shipping on Pantry orders of $40 or more. Orders under $40 incur a $7.99 shipping fee. Prime Pantry orders cannot be shipped to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.
Amazon has actively used Vine Voices to help introduce its private label brands. An analysis of more than 1,600 products across ten of Amazon’s private-label brands, including AmazonBasics, Amazon Essentials, Mama Bear, Pinzon, Goodthreads, and others, showed that about half had Vine reviews. Of those 835 products, more than half of the first 30 reviews were from the Vine program, according to ReviewMeta.com, an online tool that helps customers identify inauthentic reviews.
In April 2015, Amazon rolled out a new travel site called Amazon Destinations, which focuses on helping customers find "getaway destinations" within driving distance of their homes. Amazon Destinations featured hotel selections in three United States metro areas: L.A., New York and Seattle. Later that year, Amazon discontinued the service.
Promising review: "I AM ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO IS ALWAYS COLD AND I LOVE THIS BLANKET. VERY THICK! VERY WARM! VERY SHERPA-Y! This blanket is vastly superior to other furry blankets on Amazon and costs less. I am usually a you-get-what-you-pay-for kind of person but that isn't the case here; this blanket is incredible and affordable! I'm very picky and LOVE this blanket." —matt
On the surface, the move into the private label business (in which goods are sold under the retailer’s name rather than that of an outside vendor) appears to be a deft move by Amazon. Analysts predict that nearly half of all online shopping in the United States will be conducted on Amazon’s platform in the next couple of years. That creates a massive opportunity for Amazon to more than double revenue from its in-house brands to $25 billion in the next four years, according to analysts at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey. That’s the equivalent of all of Macy’s revenue last year.