In 2013, Amazon secured a US$600 million contract with the CIA, which poses a potential conflict of interest involving the Bezos-owned The Washington Post and his newspaper's coverage of the CIA. Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said, "It's a serious potential conflict of interest for a major newspaper like The Washington Post to have a contractual relationship with the government and the most secret part of the government." This was later followed by a US$10 billion contract with the Department of Defence.
On May 5, 2014, Amazon unveiled a partnership with Twitter. Twitter users can link their accounts to an Amazon account and automatically add items to their shopping carts by responding to any tweet with an Amazon product link bearing the hashtag #AmazonCart. This allows customers to never leave their Twitter feed and the product is waiting for them when they go to the Amazon website.
West Basics via Amazon offers the West Leathers Men's Italian Top Grain Leather Belt in several styles (202 pictured) for $25.99. Coupon code "KQDXI6PL" cuts that to $10.40. With free shipping, that's tied with our mention from two weeks ago, $16 off, and the lowest price we could find. It's available in sizes 20"-36" and 20"-42", although not in all styles. Deal ends November 7.
In March 2015, it was reported in The Verge that Amazon will be removing non-compete clauses of 18 months in length from its US employment contracts for hourly-paid workers, after criticism that it was acting unreasonably in preventing such employees from finding other work. Even short-term temporary workers have to sign contracts that prohibit them from working at any company where they would "directly or indirectly" support any good or service that competes with those they helped support at Amazon, for 18 months after leaving Amazon, even if they are fired or made redundant.
Free Shipping - While it has not yet made the announcement, I expect Best Buy to offer free standard shipping on all orders for the duration of the holiday season. As mentioned above, Amazon forces non-Prime members to spend at least $25 before being eligible for free shipping. If you are not a Prime member or are unable to sign up for a free 30-day Prime trial, then you should shop at Best Buy for small orders under $25. If you are eligible for a 30-day Prime trial or you are already a Prime member, Amazon wins easily because of its free two-day shipping with no minimum order size.
Sign up for Amazon Family and a Prime account to get special offers, coupons and discounts on family-oriented items. If you aren't a Prime member, you'll get a 5% discount on baby food and diaper subscriptions. Prime members get an additional 15% off with five or more active subscriptions. Get a 15% discount code and a free Welcome Box when you sign up for the Baby Registry.