Will Amazon Respect Its Kindle Fire Customers?

The Amazon Kindle Fire launched with great success this holiday season. Sales have outpaced Amazon’s forecasts, and manufacturing has stepped up. But the iPad competitor has quality issues with more than 30% of buyers rating the device negatively to neutral (1 to 3 stars).


The New York Times ran an extensive piece about customers many Fire foibles. In it, Amazon promises an over the air update this week (one that has yet to arrive).

My 3 star experience with the Fire matches these less than thrilled customers. A suddenly dead Fire in the middle of a road trip prompted a tour of the Amazon site and resetting the device. Further issues include its movie watching capabilities, in turn turning me back to the iPad as the preferred, portable, long-form viewing device.

As Amazon seeks ubiquity with its less than perfect Fire, the negative reviews continue to rack up on the site. And now more media are reporting about it. When you see the product on Amazon, it is listed as a 4 star product, not at all representative of the significant minority of dissatisfaction.


Negative reviews are left unanswered by Amazon’s customer service team, with no private email or interaction, something social media users are quite familiar with as half of corporate brands ignore comments on their own pages. Amazon seems to have taken a software product attitude of we’ll fix it later or as we go, and you’ll have to deal with it.

One has to wonder if Amazon’s slow response can succeed in the face of the negative undercurrent. If the Kindle marketing strategy is all about ubiquity through low-cost sales, then the fastest way to ensure success is not just to sell a lot of Fires, but to quickly address customer service issues to enhance and strengthen word of mouth marketing. That means respecting your customers, even the ones who have had a negative experience.

What do you think about the Kindle Fire?


  • I’ve had zero problems and love the device.

  • Strikes me as a cynical device…a deliberate stopgap meant to maintain momentum just long enough to get a real one to market. Not really a substitute for an iPad *or* a Kindle, so I think a lot of people will feel tricked, which is never a good thing.

    I played with one for a minute in an airport and couldn’t see why I’d buy something with a hobbled OS when I could get a full Android tab for essentially the same price. eInk is what I love about my current Kindle…and now I’m also worried about whether Amazon will abandon all those devices in its rush to be one of the Big 3 in the media market.

    I think they’ll make it through this, but it’s always amazing to me when a company like Amazon doesn’t get the need to answer comments.

    • Well, I really liked it at first, but as time moved on I found issues with it. Is a great media consumption device when it works well.  The other issue with it though is they seemed to have rushed it to market in order to make the holiday splash.  And that’s just not so good.  We’ll see how the next iteration goes, but there does appear to be some lapses of judgement in the rush to own the tablet/media reader market.

      Thanks for the comment, William!

  • I thought Amazon bought up Zappos in order to improve its own customer service–including via social media channels. Seems they have a lot of work to do.

  • My daughter loves to read and I bought one for her this holiday.  Now I’m beginning to second guess.  I hope she enjoys it.

  • It’s a $200 device trying to mimic the iPad, so you gotta set the right expectations. I’ve had mine for a month now, and think it’s a good nice to have device. I wish the screen were a bit bigger, the power button was placed better, and the volume was better. Besides those issues, it works well. Is an iPad preferred, of course. It’s all about price. I’m sure Kindle 2 will hit the mark, especially with this huge customer base they are building. I say bravo, Jeff, keep up the good work and don’t let the naysayers slow you down.

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