Amazon halts $7.99 monthly Prime plan after under 2 weeks of testing


Amazon Prime is a great way to save money if you are well-invested in Amazon’s services. You get free 2-day shipping, Amazon Instant Video streaming and free book rentals – not a bad deal for $79 a year, right? Except seeing that $79 charge to our bank account is much harder than the pricing plan Amazon recently decided to test. Sadly, after less than 2 weeks of testing, Amazon has changed its mind and halted this new plan, which would give you all the benefits of Amazon Prime for only $7.99 a month.

“We regularly test new options for our customers. At this time, we’ve completed our test and are no longer signing up new customers for Amazon Prime monthly memberships.” -Amazon

You may have managed to sign up, but you are out of luck if you decided to wait a bit. This came as a great deal for those that don’t like to see that $79 fee for buying the service outright, but it is actually $17 more per year to go for the monthly plan. This is why we recommended that you get the annual plan, if you know you will be using Amazon’s services.

This move was probably mostly aimed towards customers of other video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu+, which also charge $7.99 per month. Those services don’t offer shipping and book lending, though, which is where Amazon could have the advantage, but it is also why this pricing scheme could fall short.

Users would be able to simply go on a shopping spree and get everything with free shipping, only to cancel the service the next month. An idea that seems great for the consumer, but not so much for Amazon. Still, testing this pricing structure for only 2 weeks seems a bit unreasonable. Amazon should have at least waited a month and see if this service could be profitable.

Who knows, maybe it will come back after the holidays, when all the Christmas shopping is done. Were you able to sign up for Amazon Prime at $7.99 per month? Do you prefer it over paying $79 for a whole year?

[via AllThingsD]

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  • Mitchell Taylor

    I’m sure they realized how much they were losing on shipping revenue as holiday shopping/shipping goes into full swing.

    • AROD

      Bingo!

  • Chris Brown

    I perfer the one time payment so I won’t have to make sure i leave money in my account each month

    • Edgar Cervantes

      That is actually a good point. I find it kind of annoying having to leave money on my account for automatic payments and stuff. Then when there is an emergency and I NEED the money, I usually end up having all these issues with unpaid bills.

  • Josh Smith

    I just signed up for the monthly Prime last week. I guess it felt like less of a commitment to “pay as you go”. If I find that it is something I will use regularly then I will switch and pay up front. It was an impulse buy for me. I was looking for a movie on my Roku. Netflix didn’t offer it but Amazon Prime did. So I figured that I could try using both to supplement each other. Having both is very convenient when using Roku’s new universal search feature. Plus I order a TON of stuff off of Amazon. Now I wont have to fill my cart with $25 dollars+ every time I purchase something to get free shipping. The fact that they lowered the barrier for entry is what got me in. I get a month free and then only $8/mo. I can cancel anytime I want. There are always going to be people trying to game the system. (ie order a bunch of stuff and then drop the service the next month, but they already give you the free trial to do that anyway. I feel if they can get you into their ecosystem at a low price point ($8), than most people can justify that expense for content and free shipping. Look at how many people keep their gym memberships, but hardly use them. A monthly payment of $10 or under is inconsequential to a majority of consumers, let alone the fact that it can more than pay for itself if used semi-frequently. I think it is an excellent business model, but the timing is bad. They should have rolled this out after Christmas, when shipping demands are lower. There will also be a ton of streaming devices gifted this holiday season. That would been a great time to promote it. We will see if they bring it back early next year. I have a feeling they will.

    BTW – The movie that prompted my entry into Prime, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Don’t judge me!

  • http://twitter.com/inguatu ingua2

    yearly is the only way to go. Cheaper, done in one shot and you know you have it. The shipping on products over the course of the year has paid for the service already.

    BTW, the book lending is only for Kindle hardware users. They should expand that to those who are Prime members and have access to any Kindle App (pc, android, ios or a crappy osx junker)

    • Shy_Doris

      > The shipping on products over the course of the year has paid for the service already.

      You pay $80 just for shipping? Everything I ordered over the past year just avoids Amazon’s high shipping… by not using Amazon. Order from other companies that already offer free-shipping, or extremely-low shipping. “Membership fees” = $0. Newegg, NCIX, OutletPC, MacMall, and 100s of others.

  • http://www.swornbrotherhood.com/ nemesys06

    I thought about signing up to the monthly charges and dropping netflix but I see that will have to wait

  • veetann

    Man I had no idea Android was so cool!

    http://www.Getz-Anon.tk

  • Ed Anderson

    I tried to find it on Saturday – either it was already gone by then or just well hidden. Oh well – took the 1 month free instead

  • Shy_Doris

    There’s a reason why Amazon wants to lock you into a full year fee, right from day #1.
    The vast majority of the people will NEVER save enough money to benefit from the $80 sign-up fee.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tonimarie2448 Toni Mansbridge

    Interesting Amazon article. Have you heard of the ‘social selling’ trend?

    I found this site and love to sell on it – it’s sort of like an ‘Ebay/Etsy of Pinterest’. It’s called SellPin.

    http://www.SellPin.com – no listing fees and your item stays up/pinned on Pinterest until it sells.