Amazon to Woot it Up

Discussion
Jul 01, 2010
George Anderson

By
George Anderson

Woot.com,
a website
that sells
one item per day at discount
price, announced yesterday that
it had agreed to be acquired
by Amazon.com.

The company, which will continue to operate from its headquarters
in Carollton, TX, follows previous acquisitions, including Audible.com and
Zappos, that Amazon has pretty much left to run on their own.

In his usual tongue-in-cheek style, CEO Matt Rutledge wrote to his employees, “We
plan to continue to run Woot the way we have always run Woot — with a wall
of ideas and a dartboard. From a practical point of view, it will be as if
we are simply adding one person to the organizational hierarchy, except that
one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and
sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture.”

 

In a similar vein, Mr. Rutledge added, “We
think now is the right time to join with Amazon because, quite simply, every
company that becomes a subsidiary gets two free downloads until the end of
July, and we very much need that new thing with Trent Reznor’s wife on
our iPods.”

Woot is a combination online store and community site that
focuses on selling a single item a day at cheap prices. It originally started
out in 2004 as “an
employee-store slash market-testing type of place for an electronics distributor,” but
eventually became a viable retail business on its own. The company also operates
other sites, including kids.woot, shirt.woot, sellout.woot and wine.woot.

Terms
of the deal were not disclosed.

Discussion Questions: What do you think Amazon is looking to gain with
its purchase of Woot? Do you see aspects of the Woot model that you believe
would apply to other areas of Amazon’s business?
[Editor’s Note] In what is probably a happy coincidence, Woot is selling an Amazon Kindle with 6″ screen for $149 ($5 shipping) today. The same item on Amazon goes for $189 (free shipping).

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10 Comments on "Amazon to Woot it Up"


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David Dorf
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

First of all, Matt’s letter to Woot employees is hilarious. I love the Woot culture and hope it remains unchanged.

There are several similar websites that offer “deals of the day” and generally make shopping fun. Amazon tries to do this with their Gold Box, but its just not the same. Woot brings a loyal following, and a different perspective.

Max Goldberg
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

In buying Woot, Amazon gains a different type of outlet to sell products and another business model. Woot is to products what Living Social and Groupon are to services–a location for consumers to get a great deal every day. Since they never know what will offered for sale, consumers enjoy a great, money-saving treasure hunt. Woot may not become a big part of Amazon’s business, but it’s a good nice-to-have.

Mark Burr
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

Okay, seriously, I’m the “fool who said ‘who?'”

And, George, you’re right, no coincidence in the offering of the day!

Mel Kleiman
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

Great move, especially because Amazon has seemed to learn a lesson that most other companies have never learned. Buy a great idea that is being well executed, learn from them and let them learn from you, but don’t try to make them into what you are. (Don’t kill a successful culture because when you kill the culture, what you are really doing is killing the personality of the the firm or in other words, giving them a frontal lobotomy.)

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

I’ve been a Woot person since the very beginning (although I have slacked off over the past few years). The bottom line? Woot is a hoot. And I hope Matt’s pockets are happily lined with coin.

What does it do for Amazon? I don’t know really. I suppose Amazon gets a rabid new community and hopefully, an opportunity to take itself a little less seriously. Mess with Woot’s culture, and its got nothing. But that was true of Zappos as well. Mess with the culture and it’s just bunch of shoes.

So here’s hoping Amazon can emulate the best of Zappos and Woot…great customer service with a sense of humor.

Doug Fleener
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

Like Paula I’ve been a loyal Woot customer from the beginning. And to prove it I have plenty of the “crap” that CEO Matt Rutledge says they sell. I wouldn’t think of starting my day without checking the Woot every day, although I have to admit I no longer make the midnight rollout.

I think Amazon can bring their expertise and make Woot more efficient and profitable. I also believe that Jeff Bezos and his team are smart enough not to screw it up. I don’t really see Woot’s exact approach being brought into Amazon, but I do believe that they can learn from Matt and his team on how to build a loyal community.

Signed,
A Loyal Wooter

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

If you have not looked at Matt’s video to Woot employees you are missing something well past hilarious. I would want to work there just for what I perceive is a the laid back, satisfy-the-customer culture. Doesn’t this remind you of Zappos? Amazon recently purchased them and now Woot. The two new players in the Amazon family have similar cultures. Most important, and like Amazon, they are both seriously Customer Focused (caps are intentional because I think that should be every company’s major quest).

A final thought: who is next on Amazon’s hit list?

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

“…except that one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture.”

Ha Ha! (Here’s to hoping the line remains amusing rather than becomes ironic). But back to the main issue; I had a friend who was a member of this site–if that be the right term for it–trying to explain it to me, and I’ll confess I didn’t really get it…and I still don’t; but others here seem to be fans, so I’ll give a Amazon a pass: at worst they seem to be following the rummage sale approach (buy everything in sight that’s cheap, and hope you get a few gems).

Jeff Hall
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

First Zappos. Today Woot. Amazon is sending a strong message here: An authentic brand culture and obsession with being customer-centric are EVERYTHING. Period.

Kai Clarke
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

Matt is a smart man! He knows when to put together a winning deal, with a winning team and to profit from a deal like this one. I am confident that this will not be Matt’s last deal, nor his last attempt at one. Go Matt!

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