Here's the real reason Amazon announced drones

The company is getting millions of dollars in free advertising on the biggest e-commerce shopping day of the year.

By MSN Money Partner Dec 2, 2013 2:12PM
By Nicholas Carlson, Business Insider

Sunday night, Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos went on "60 Minutes" and announced that Amazon's R&D department is working on drones that can deliver packages within 30 minutes. He called the service Amazon Prime Air.

The thing is, Amazon Prime Air won't be available for many years. Even Bezos said Sunday night that the earliest Amazon Prime Air could be in service is 2015 because that's the soonest the FAA could update its laws.

But The Wall Street Journal reports that the FAA isn't planning on beginning the certification of commercial drones until 2020. 

There is a good reason for this. Drones can be very dangerous. In March 2013, a commercial airliner flew within 200 feet of a small drone flying at 1,750 feet over a neighborhood in New York. The collision would have killed hundreds of people.

A retired commercial pilot named Tom Jeffries told the airliner almost hit the drone because drones don't appear on radar. 

Jeffries says:  “You’re never going to see them until they hit something. When they suck one of those drones into the engine of an airplane, then it’ll get everybody’s attention.”

The fact is, there is a very good chance that, last night, Amazon "announced" a service that will never exist in reality.

Why did Amazon do that? logo © Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The answer is free advertising. Even better: free advertising the night before the biggest e-commerce shopping day of the year, Cyber Monday.

How much was that free advertising worth? Well, "60 Minutes" gave more than 15 minutes to its Amazon story. A 30-second spot during the 7 p.m. show usually costs just over $100,000.

If you figure Amazon got 30 30-second commercials' worth of time, you can estimate that it got about $3 million worth of "earned" media. 

But $3 million is probably a very low estimate. That's just the cost Amazon would have had to pay to reach "60 Minutes'" 13 million viewers. Thanks to all the coverage Amazon Prime Air has gotten in other outlets, many more millions of people are talking about the company Monday.

The funny thing is, talking about "drones" is a fairly common PR stunt at this point.

After the "60 Minutes" show last night, a Hacker News reader compiled a list of previously announced delivery drone programs, many of which were also PR stunts:

More from Business Insider

Tags: AMZN

Let's see another reason drones will not delivery goods -- people will be shooting down drones in their back yards to get at the $10,000 diamond rings the drones will be carrying and probably sell the drone for a couple of thousand on the black market.



Dec 2, 2013 5:03PM

Gee Mommy did the stork bring my baby brother?

No dear the " amazon drone" did

Dec 2, 2013 4:40PM

50 million drones in the sky??



Dec 2, 2013 4:26PM
These drones will be used to spy on us.
They're not going to be delivering pizza.

Dec 2, 2013 5:15PM
Thousands of drones buzzing around delivering more crap that people don't need?  What could possibly go wrong?
Dec 2, 2013 4:50PM
Hackers - will re-route all the good stuff to a gravel pit where they can load their trucks and flee the scene.  Also, with more states legalizing marijuana, Amazon will probably also go into the pot supplying business and what a great service - the weed of your choice and it will arrive in 30 minutes.  Most stoners can't plan more than 30 minutes ahead anyway so this service will fit their life like a cap on a bottle.  Of course they will want to pay in cash so that still has to be worked out.  Bitcoin, Potcoin maybe........hmmmmmm?
Dec 2, 2013 4:59PM


Oooops, there goes one now....Watch out for that tree.....Ohhhh, nooooo, OMG....grab the box..

Dec 2, 2013 4:57PM

Having an aviation background I can't see the FAA ever allowing Amazon or any company to utilize drones to deliver items, this doesn't take in the liability issues should once crash or run into someone or something.

Granted the idea is unique and displays progressive thinking, but I don't see it being doable. Amazon should had hired someone with an ATC background to be on their development team to avoid costly mistakes that this will end up being.

Dec 2, 2013 5:03PM
Even if they can get the Feds to ease regulations they still have to deal with the teamsters!
Dec 2, 2013 5:57PM
Land one in the Ghetto and it never goes back.

Dec 2, 2013 4:56PM
Soon to be followed by "Amazon employee arrested for taking naked photos of unsuspecting citizens"...
Dec 2, 2013 5:17PM
I find it odd that we can comment on this but nothing else important
Dec 2, 2013 6:12PM
Breaking news.......UPS and FedEx are now equipping their drivers with Stingers.
I don't trust these things and i guarantee you'll see them shot out of the sky and taken to court over privacy.
Dec 2, 2013 5:31PM

"There is a good reason for this. Drones can be very dangerous."

Just ask all of the civilians Obama has killed with them.

Dec 2, 2013 5:07PM
I can't wait to see the lawsuit after an Amazon drone is accidently inhaled into a fully loaded 747 engine during takeoff from JFK or LaGuardia on a hot NYC summer day... and then the plane and its hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel crashes into Manhattan instead.  If Amazon EVER starts using these drones I KNOW what stock I will be buying PUTS on! 
Dec 2, 2013 7:22PM
christ, stop the world and let me off. I'm soooo damn tired of all this technology and things changing all the time. Why can't the world just chill the fak out and slow down a little. The happiest days of my life are when the internet didn't even exist yet.
Dec 2, 2013 6:08PM
Most of these drones will just be stolen or shot down by kids with slingshots. Or grabbed by dogs.  Or hacked by kids.  They can put a GPS tracking device on them but it would be cheaper to just deliver the goods than track them down.
Dec 2, 2013 4:51PM
Mother's Little Helper  ....things are different today, what a drag it is getting droned....
Dec 2, 2013 7:44PM

We have enough drones in the U S already. Just look at our elected officials.



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