Amazon backtracks, will offer $15 opt-out for ads on Kindle Fire tablets
Bungled up debut
After being severely criticized for forced ads in just released Kindle Fire HD tablets, the company has decided to allow users to opt-out of being harassed by ‘special offers’ ads, but for a fee.
The ability to opt out of advertisements is being welcomed by Kindle users, who are looking forward to the implementation of Amazon’s decision. This is especially true for owners of the Kindle Fire HD tablet.
An Amazon Spokesperson, when contacted, had the following to say regarding the decision:
"I wanted to let you know that with Kindle Fire HD there will be a special offers opt-out option for $15. We know from our Kindle reader line that customers love our special offers and very few people choose to opt out. We're happy to offer customers the choice."
While skeptics do point out that customers are largely unhappy with the ‘special offers’ ads, many Kindle users have reportedly decided not to opt out of receiving them. Whether this is because they appreciate the same, or do not want to part with the $15, is not yet clear.
In a follow-up interview, the Amazon spokesperson specified that the opt-out will be available on both the Kindle Fire HD and the entry-level Kindle Fire model.
This decision is a complete turnaround from Amazon’s ‘no opt-out’ policy that was disclosed to publications earlier.
On Thursday morning, a new and updated line of Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets were introduced at a press conference held in Santa Monica. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos had failed to mention, however, that all of the new tablets were the ‘Special Offers’ versions that included advertisements on the lock screens and the main home screens.
By Friday morning, the users of these new products had already started complaining about this nuisance, especially since there did not appear to be an option on Amazon’s website to purchase a non-special-offers version at a higher price, as was the case with previous e-ink readers.
The popular sentiment was that users would be able to purchase an ad opt-out after having purchased the product, similar to what you can do with current ad-supported Kindles. And, Engadget reported that at least one Amazon support representative had said exactly that to a customer.
None of this had been confirmed at the press conference, nor was it mentioned anywhere on the product pages of the new Kindle Fire HD, however, a contact working with the Amazon support unit confirmed that no opt-out would be available.
Fury on social networks
The ensuing reaction on social media was, suffice it to say, negative. Even though consumers understood that the ads provided financial stability to Amazon to ensure proper quality control on their products, the lack of an opt-out option was, in the words of an agitated consumer, “the most demented thing that Amazon could possibly have done.”
But 24 hours later, Amazon finally corrected its decision and announced that the opt-out would remain in effect for all Kindle models.
By doing so, the company has effectively removed a red flag from its image, which was certainly the need of the hour with the new line of tablets shipping next week, just two days after arch-rival Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone and quite possibly, its own smaller iPad.