The Kindle Fire Ads Kinda Burn


OK, we’re not surprised that the new Kindle Fires will have ads.  There’s some confusion, but at this time it appears the ads are going to be banging around the retinas of new Kindle Fire users like it or not.  So I’m going to write with the assumption this is the plan.

I’m not happy with it.

Oh, it makes sense.  As I noted earlier I think Amazon is experimenting a bit with what they’re trying to do, so this has the stench of “it seemed like a good idea at the time” wafting off of it.  Though who thought it was a good idea needs to really re-assess their personal dictionary.

I see a number of problems – and problems that are going to affect us progeeks in technology and media.

First, this will quickly eclipse the new announcements.  It’s not a good marketing move.

Technology-wise it’s a bit worrysome because I have to wonder what backchannels, system mods, and other tech had to be grafted into and onto the system.  I also wonder how easy it’d be to hack and abuse . . . you can guess people are lining up to figure it out.  Could backfire on Amazon.

It also brings up questions of ad-supported mobile apps.  If Amazon is going to leverage advertising on the Kindles, then it brings in the question of what ad policies other software may have to follow.  The “ownership” of the platform by Amazon has been clearly stated – what restrictions will they next place.

I’m concerned this may lead to others trying it – which I consider kind of hare-brained.  But hey Amazon is doing it, and one thing I’ve learned in the valley is that “if a successful company does something rock stupid, people will assume it’ll work for them.

I also am concerned that, if Amazon pushes this, they’ll try more and more invasive approaches.  Will they have associated ads with books, turning them into another broadcast stream?  I dunno.

I’m waiting to see reaction to this by people who brew and burn their own systems.  They just got a new reason to do what they do.

Still I think this is the experiment stage, and one I expect to quickly be turned into “here’s an option to turn it off.”

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, nerd and geek culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at