With more than 100 million members worldwide, Amazon Prime gives customers access to streaming video, free shipping, Prime Day discounts, and a variety of other Amazon-specific services and deals for $119 per year. For many, the service is a no-brainer for the shipping perks alone, but there's a lot more to a Prime membership than free shipping and streaming services.
Snap refused to disclose any financial terms of the partnership. It could be earning a referral fee for each thing you buy from Amazon, or it could just be doing the legwork for free in exchange for added utility. A Snapchat spokesperson tells me the latter is the motivation (without ruling out the former), as Snapchat wants its camera to become the new cursor — your point of interface between the real and digital worlds.
The service debuted on September 7, 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the United States. On September 4, 2008, the service was renamed Amazon Video on Demand. The Unbox name still refers to the local program, which as of August 2014 is no longer available for downloading purchased instant videos. On February 22, 2011, the service rebranded as Amazon Instant Video and added access to 5,000 movies and TV shows for Amazon Prime members.
Brian Sheehan, who teaches advertising at Syracuse University, said Amazon's tactics are "fair game," at least until the U.S. regulators determine otherwise. While it's common for big-box retailers to launch private-label brands based on what sells best in their stores, Amazon could be viewed differently because of its size and level of influence, he said.
If you’re a vinyl record collector, we offer a wide selection of easily searchable LPs so you can get the best of Bob Dylan and David Bowie or the latest from Nine Inch Nails. We also offer a huge selection of CDs and MP3s. And if that wasn’t enough, we also offer a music trade-in program that can help you turn your eligible albums into Amazon.com gift cards. With other programs like our Live at Amazon series, Best of the Year, Artists on Tour, free tunes from new artists, and a huge selection of music deals, you can explore new and chart-topping favorites.
These days, Amazon's many tentacles have put the company in the crosshairs of competitors and critics from many directions. Privacy advocates have raised alarms about Amazon's data-gathering inside people's homes. Reports have scrutinized instances of harsh working conditions. Retailers have blamed Amazon for bankruptcies, hundreds of store closings, historic meltdowns and the death of America's malls.
Amazon Prime membership in Germany, the United Kingdom, India, and the United States also provides Amazon Video, the instant streaming of selected movies and TV shows at no additional cost. In November 2011, it was announced that Prime members have access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which allows users to borrow certain popular Kindle e-books for free reading on Kindle hardware, up to one book a month, with no due date.