Dan Gilbert confirms hes trying to get Amazon to build its second HQ in Detroit

Dan Gilbert wants Amazon in Detroit. The real estate mogul confirmed to TechCrunch that he has formed internal and external teams to fully explore the possibility of Amazon locating its second HQ in Detroit. Amazon would join General Motors, Quicken Loans, Ally Financial, Comerica and others in having a headquarters in the city’s bustling downtown region.

Amazon announced today that it is opening a search for a city in North America to make its second headquarters, envisioned as a “full equal” to the company’s existing home in Seattle, where it employs over 40,000 people in 8.1 million square feet of office space. Gilbert said he believes Detroit will make an extremely strong pitch to be that city.

Detroit does have a lot going for it. The city is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and several developers are rapidly transforming the area; Gilbert is one of them. Another, Illitch Holdings, has been making significant investments in the downtown region — including just this week opening a new stadium for the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons.

The startup scene in Detroit is exploding. Detroit has 50 percent more venture-backed startups than it did three years ago. This comes from a study from the Michigan Venture Capital Association (MVCA), which found there are 35 active venture-backed startups in Detroit. Sure, that’s not a huge number compared to other regions, but the growth is notable.


The city also has a fantastic commercial airport, access to several cargo airports and rail lines and is located in close proximity to the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and countless others. Michigan has, after all, been home for a century to some of the largest engineering and sales companies in the nation. Michigan knows how to build and ship products.

But there are negatives, too. There’s a dearth of housing in downtown Detroit and many of the neighborhoods have not felt the same explosive transformation as the downtown corridor. Public transportation is lacking, too. The city’s second light rail line just opened. It goes just 3.3 miles.

Even if Gilbert is unable to convince Amazon to look at downtown Detroit, the company could find a home in the vast metro Detroit area that has many of the same logistical advantages as being located downtown. Metro Detroit just isn’t as cool.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/07/dan-gilbert-confirms-hes-trying-to-get-amazon-to-build-its-second-hq-in-detroit/

Amazon files for arbitration against Kindle Direct authors and publishers

Amazon has accused several book publishers, marketers and authors of using the Kindle Direct Publishing system to artificially inflate their sales numbers and has now filed for arbitration against them.

Amazon has laid out five arbitration demands in a complaint filed with the American Arbitration Association (obtained by TechCrunch, see below), accusing the involved parties of offering services to boost the number of pages read in books, fraudulent customer reviews, creating fake user accounts to download e-books and inflate the numbers and other schemes to boost the amount of royalties authors and publishers were able to pull from Amazon’s self-publishing platform.

One such accusation alleges a publisher guaranteed authors Amazon Best Seller status using a service offering 10,000 automatic downloads of the author’s e-book through a network of readers by the next day.

While the vast majority of authors and publishers using Kindle Direct Publishing are genuinely working in good faith to publish and promote their books, a small minority engage in fraud to gain an unfair competitive advantage,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Today’s news reflects yet another step in our ongoing efforts to protect readers and authors from individuals who violate our terms of service and manipulate programs readers and authors rely on.”


Amazon is now seeking an injunction against the accused parties to stop the activity, as well as asking defendants to pay damages “in an amount to be proved in arbitration.”

This seems to be a first case for Kindle Direct Publishing, but Amazon has taken others to task for fraudulent activity on the site. In 2016, the Everything Store cracked down on fake reviews suing at least three sellers for buying them.

You can see the five arbitration cases below:

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/07/amazon-files-for-arbitration-against-kindle-direct-authors-and-publishers/

Amazon’s second HQ will have 50,000 jobs, but in what city?


Amazon said on Thursday that it’s expanding to a second U.S. headquarters, igniting a race among major cities to host the giant online marketplace.

The building will be a full HQ, not just a satellite campus, and workers will be able to choose which of its two headquarters locations to work from.

Why would anyone want Amazon to move to their city? For one, it plans to put $5 billion into its massive project, and hire as many as 50,000 employees. The company says its “HQ2” will be a “full equal” to its headquarters in Seattle. It claims to have invested $38 billion in its home city between 2010 and 2016.

“Amazon HQ2 will bring billions of dollars in up-front and ongoing investments, and tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “We’re excited to find a second home.”

Amazon mapped out its preferences for any city looking to make a bid. First, the city should have a metro area with more than one million people. It should also have a “stable and business-friendly environment,” and consist of urban and suburban areas that can attract talent. Officials will also need to somehow convince the company that they’re thinking “big and creatively” when looking at locations. More specific preferences include being close to downtown and less than 45 minutes from an airport.

The upcoming headquarters is just the latest development in Amazon’s growth frenzy. In 2011, Amazon had just 30,000 employees. Now just short of 400,000 people work for the world’s largest online retailer. In late July, Amazon purchased Whole Foods and followed it up with a huge job fair to hire tens of thousands of additional employees.

Amazon is expected to announce where it will build HQ2 next year.

North American expected to be in contention include Los Angeles, New York City, Mexico City, and dozens more.

H/T New York Times

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/amazon-hq2-headquarters/