In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
The e-retailer temporarily closes membership in its Amazon Mom discount program.
Amazon.com Inc. has waded into waters that many retailers—indeed, many companies—would likely find risky: Taking an action that could annoy mothers.
In the case of the world’s largest e-retailer, the action was temporarily shutting down new memberships in its nearly 15-month-old Amazon Mom program. Consumers who receive free memberships—yes, those consumers also can include dads, cousins, aunts, grandparents and any other shoppers who fancy themselves caregivers for babies and toddlers—gain free shipping and discounts on a variety of child-rearing products, including disposable diapers and wipes.
“At this time, we are not accepting new members to our program,” Amazon says in a statement on the Amazon Mom site. “If you’d like to be notified when Amazon Mom memberships reopen, please join our waitlist.” Consumers can click a link to go to that list to submit their e-mail addresses.
While an Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the membership rolls had indeed been closed for now, she offered no details about why, or how many members Amazon Mom has, or how much patience the waitlist wait will entail. “At this time, Amazon Mom is not accepting new members,” she says. “Current members will not be affected and will continue to receive their Amazon Mom benefits.”
And while mothers have a long history of delivering political punches (temperance, anyone?), or of organizing boycotts and related efforts (think racy TV shows or heavy-metal music), Amazon, at first glance, appears safe from their wrath—at least going by postings from consumers on Baby Cheapskate.com, a site that aggregates deals and offers information related to baby gear.
Amid speculation about the reason for the membership closure, and tips about other places where non-members can buy affordable diapers, site founder Angie Wynne yesterday told her readers to be patient. “There’s been some speculation that it will re-open after the holidays, but who knows?” she writes. “If you don’t want to clip coupons and buy in-store, and you don’t think store brands are for you, my best advice is to hang tight. Even if you can’t get into Amazon Mom right now, Amazon still offers the best online prices on disposable diapers.”
Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.