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Amazon backtracks on lock screen ads for Kindle Fire HD

updated 05:38 am EDT, Sun September 9, 2012

Amazon offers users opt-out option on ad-supported Kindle Fire HDs

Amazon has backtracked on its decision to include non-removable ads and special offerson the lock screen and home screen of its new Kindle Fire HD tablets. Following a negative reaction to its decision to include the ads without an opt-out option, the company has reversed course and decided to allow users to opt out of the ads for a $15 fee.

The company has used a similar strategy on its cheapest E Ink Kindle e-reader, but charged users a one-time $30 fee to remove the ads. The decision to include the ads has been has been one way in which the company has hoped to recoup the low up-front cost it sells its hardware to end-users. However, on this occasion, Amazon was hoping to keep the ads in place and neglected to mention this during its media event a few days ago.

Its business model has been to develop a forked version of the Android operating system that drops access to the Google Play store and other Google-centric apps in favour of its own Appstore and multi-media content. The ad-supported model was one way of helping to drive users to purchase content through Amazon's digital portals.

"We know from our Kindle reader line that customers love our special offers and very few people choose to opt out," reads an official statement from Amazon. "We're happy to offer customers the choice." [via TechCrunch]

by MacNN Staff



  1. apostle

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-16-08

    Now if cable TV offered an opt-out of ads option I might resubscribe. The final straw were the ads that started running on the screen while the program was in progress. :

  1. gskibum3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-25-06

    apostle I haven't had cable since 1986. I watch TV only occasionally via antenna. So I really don't know. You mean to say that there are now ads flashing or crawling across the screen during a program?

    One of the reasons I cut the chord all those years ago is that I just could not reconcile paying for television that has advertising.

  1. daqman

    Junior Member

    Joined: 09-15-00

    The "in your face" advertising that I hate most is in show product placing. I tried watching the new Hawaii-5-O series last year and one of the characters photographed a crime scene with his cellphone. "Not bad" you think except there was a three minute tutorial as he showed the other characters how easy it was to do and how to send the photograph back to headquarters. Weaving advertising into the story line? Not cool!

  1. apostle

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-16-08

    Yes, there are now ads that appear along all edges of the TV screen while a program is in progress, though the majority run along the bottom. They include large visuals and sound and for the most part are promos for other shows. Two examples,

    One was a firetruck that ran along the bottom of the screen, during the program, sirens wailing. Followed by large colorful text telling you to tune in to some other show later that night.

    The second was a promo for a Joan Rivers show that she does with her daughter. The promo, again while a show was in progress, appeared in the upper right hand coorner of the screen. There was no sound on this one but had Joan Rivers and her daughter playng around and then a large banner telling you to tune in to their show.

    I have an Aunt in NJ who has the same thing with her cable, though the in-show ads do feature products. Like "tune in later tonight for such and such, brought to you by Fritos Corn Chips, it isn't a party without Fritos".

    Back in the 80's when cable first came to our town my Dad subscribed. He cancelled it almost immediately because, like you, couldn't see "paying to watch commercials". He too went with the rabbit ears.


  1. noibs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-09-07

    Let's also not forget how much time each hour is not devoted to the real advertisements.

    In the 1960's 5 minutes or less per hour was devoted to commercials. Now there are slightly less than 3 minutes of show for each 1 minute of commercials, or about 44 minutes of show per hour.

    Can you say "Let's shoot the goose that laid the golden eggs?"

    The morons who foist all these adds on us apparently don't have a clue as the degree that people are tuning out.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    I note that the quote from Amazon doesn't make it clear if the sponsored screensavers are going to continue or not, even if one pays.

    But really, the ads weren't the problem. The problems was Bezos deliberately leaving that out. That tells me EVERYTHING I need to know about Amazon and how they do business.

  1. apostle

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-16-08

    I found on this page

    (or if that doesn't work, it's the Kindle Fire HD product page)

    in the column starting (in orange type) "Stunning 8.9" HD display" a "feature" labeled "Includes special offers and sponsored screensavers - Learn More".

    When I click on "Learn More" a pop up box appears saying that if you pay an extra $15 when registering your device, an option will appear allowing you to opt out of ads. It does not state if this is $15 a month or a one time payment of $15 which leaves the opt out option available forever.

    And as chas_m pointed out, it doesn't state if the $15 covers "special offers", "sponsored screensavers" or both.


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