Is Amazon’s Dispute With Hachette Hurting Its Brand Image? Not Much

According to new consumer survey data, Amazon’s brand image among consumers isn’t suffering much even as the biggest bookseller in the world takes criticism from some of the most popular authors in the world.

A weekly survey about positive and negative brand recognition by YouGov, an international research and consulting firm, among thousands of U.S. adults suggests that perceptions of Amazon have only diminished “minutely”:

amazon buzz score

The red line on the chart above represents what YouGov calls “buzz.” Buzz is measured by asking survey respondents, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” Negative mentions are subtracted from positive mentions to result in the index.

According to the chart, Amazon’s brand perception has dipped slightly in May, but not significantly, according to a YouGov spokesperson.

“Although the dispute with Hachette has received considerable attention, Amazon’s perception changes — as measured by YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz scores — over the past few weeks can best be described as ‘minute’ and word of mouth scores have remained steady,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

In the past several weeks, as Amazon’s contract dispute with Hachette has continued and, at times, intensified, several big-name authors, most of them working with Hachette, have come to the publisher’s defense and attacked Amazon publicly. The latest was celebrity and author, Stephen Colbert, who dedicated several minutes of his show to slamming Amazon. Malcolm Gladwell, James Patterson and Penguin Random House author John Green have also piled on. At the same time, some authors have come Amazon’s defense. At least according to YouGov, in the short term, the attacking authors likely have had little effect.

The grey line on the chart measures “word of mouth,” which, according to YouGov is an index based on the question, “Have you spoken about the brand in the past two weeks – in person, online or through social media?” Amazon’s score in this area has also remained stead, suggesting that what is a captivating news story in the publishing world isn’t really breaking through to the broader consumer marketplace.

More on the issue from YouGov.

2 thoughts on “Is Amazon’s Dispute With Hachette Hurting Its Brand Image? Not Much

  1. Richard Pawlowski

    As a late-to-the-ebook-party author, I can’t say enough about how smart and effective I think the Amazon website is and the incredible after-the-sale connection to readers – for reviews- is very special. I think that most of those who are main-stream authors, are bitching because they have other resources for publishing but the new wave of authors and self-publishers do not. Most newbies actually NEED Amazon more than the “establishment” does. Those authors and publishers who are established can afford to play politics and jerk around in the media.

    I’m going to stick with Amazon and help promote my books thru them rather than play follow-the-herd in the disgruntled set.



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