October 10 update: Here. It lists help forums for Kindles, Fires and other products. – D.R.
The shutdown will happen October 13. What’s the logic here?
Amazon writes that “If you have a help question about your device, starting the morning of October 9th, Pacific Standard Time, we will be introducing an improved help forum experience, with expanded discussion categories.” I’m skeptical—let’s see.
Nate Hoffelder at the Digital Reader this week noted that the closure would be “a loss” to the user community. But he said: “Since the forums serve no clear purpose, why would Amazon keep them open?” He said that Amazon reps no longer bother with answering questions via the forums.
But not all useful information comes from Amazon. What about info from other customers—both positive and negative? And Spark and Goodreads, mentioned by Amazon and Nate, are no substitutes for the forums. They lack all the accumulated knowledge, which adds to the value of Amazon products. Granted, it’s tempting to herd customers into places where Amazon can more easily monetize their passions. But Bezos needs to think of the whole, even while favoring Spark and Goodreads. If nothing else, the forums reduce the load at least somewhat on Amazon’s phone support people.
I very much hope Amazon will reconsider, Nate, and ideally you’ll do the same. You, TeleRead readers and other members of the user community should join me in writing firstname.lastname@example.org and reminding Bezos how much the forums add to the value of Amazon’s offerings. Especially when anti-trust risks are increasing for Amazon, the company needs all the goodwill it can get from customers.
If nothing else, I hope that the links will stay in place. Loyal customers—I myself have spent thousands of dollars on Amazon over the years and rely on it for some of my groceries—don’t need corporately induced amnesia.