Almost all the coverage, and certainly all the anger about Amazon’s price check app are about features that the app have provided for years, namely taking a product in the store and finding out Amazon’s price. This encourages people to free-ride on the retail experience. But people are only complaining now because Amazon is promoting it, in particular paying people to use it.
But there is another aspect of the app which is new, pointed about by Malcom [sic] Digest and Tony in the comments at Marginal Revolution. Tyler Cowen uses the word “report” in his link, copied from the subtitle of the Guardian article, but the article does not discuss its significance. The change is that the promotion requires the user to tell Amazon the price in the store. As MD puts it:
Isn’t the whole point of the Amazon Price Check app to allow Amazon.com to adjust prices accordingly? When Amazon is setting the prices for you, it’s not like they need to compete with every store in the country, just the ones in your neighborhood.
The real suckers were the price-checking consumers; Amazon’s eating into the consumers surplus not into the High Street book seller sales.
Of course, they are also getting people to use the old price check functionality and cutting into the bricks&mortar sales, too.