Chapter 6 Will Captain Bezos boldly go where no retailer has gone before? While attention lately has been focused on Amazon.com 's launch of a tablet PC, the e-commerce giant, led by Jeffrey Bezos, has been quietly taking bolder steps in another part of its business. It is trying to sell more advertisements for competing retailers, even promoting products that Amazon itself sells. For example, a search for a barbecue on Amazon takes a shopper to a page that highlights an Amazon-sold product. But further down, near Amazon's own "related items" it also lists "product ads from external websites." These include pictures of barbecues along with their prices. This might seem a counterintuitive step in the hyper-competitive retail sector. But by accepting such ads, Amazon is turning itself into the ultimate destination site for online retail of any kind. The same effort has seen Amazon broaden its selection of goods to encompass everything from grocery items to consumer electronics. Already, more shoppers go to retailers' websites than search engines as a first step towards a purchase, according to
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