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The Apple and Amazon Side Hustles

  • May 16, 2021

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Both Apple and Amazon collect cash from companies that want to pitch their products to us. Let me make the case that these side hustles are icky conflicts of interest that hurt us — and ultimately these tech titans, too.

Here’s what I mean: Try typing “dog beds” into the search box on Amazon. You might assume that Amazon will show you what it considers to be the very best dog beds. But actually the first options you’ll see are most likely from companies that paid Amazon to appear directly in front of your eyeballs. They’re advertisements in semi-disguise. Amazon tags these listings as “sponsored,” and once you start to notice them you realize that these advertised products are everywhere.

Apple does this, too. Try searching for “fitness” in the iPhone app store. The first option might be a workout app that appears in a shaded blue box. Again, it’s an ad. (Android app stores tend to do this, too.)

Amazon and Apple preach their obsession with doing the best things for customers, but these advertising businesses aren’t really about us at all.

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